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Re: [Synoptic-L] Did Mark reject the Lord's Prayer ?

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  • Ron Price
    ... Jeffrey, The concept of the kingdom of God , like the role of Messiah , was too well-established in the tradition to be removed altogether. ... I ve not
    Message 1 of 21 , Jun 19, 2002
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      I wrote:

      >> On my synoptic theory (the 3ST), Mark decided not to include the
      >> complete Lord's Prayer from the early sayings source ('sQ') because he
      >> realized the clause "May your kingdom come" had political overtones, and
      >> he was anxious to present a gospel which would not unduly offend the
      >> Roman authorities.

      Jeffrey Gibson replied:

      >Two problems here, I think.
      >
      >One, on your thesis it would be difficult to explain then why Mark has
      >Jesus not
      >only use **any** BASILEIA TOU QEOU language, but begin his ministry with the
      >programmatic announcement HGGIKEN hH BASILEIA TOU QEOU.

      Jeffrey,

      The concept of the "kingdom of God", like the role of "Messiah", was
      too well-established in the tradition to be removed altogether.

      >Two, it would also be difficult to explain why Mark chooses to summarize what
      >Jesus preaches as the EUAGGELION TOU QEOU since EUAGGELION is a term with roots
      >in the propaganda of the Imperial Cult, and the addition of the phrase TOU QEOU
      >makes Jesus' message a **direct competitor** to the EUAGGELION of Caesar. (on
      >this, see Craig A. Evans "MARK’S INCIPIT AND THE PRIENE CALENDAR INSCRIPTION:
      >FROM JEWISH GOSPEL TO GRECO-ROMAN GOSPEL" at http://www.jgrchj.com/page67)

      I've not yet had time to study this article in detail, but certainly
      an initial look leaves me unconvinced that Mark had in mind any
      background other than the Tanak, and Isaiah in particular.

      >Then there is the problem that you have assumed what needs to be proven,
      >namely,
      >that the Kingdom petition in the LP is a call for God to bring in his BASILEIA
      >in the near future and therefore has political overtones.

      In a previous reply to you (dated Jun 13) I had already presented a
      case for seeing political overtones in the kingdom petition. You may not
      accept my case, but it is gratuitous to say that I "assumed what needs
      to be proven".

      >I hope you'll forgive me for taking the liberty of quoting myself on this
      >matter:

      Do proceed.

      >*********
      >Surely, the eschatologists argue, [the Kingdom] petition stands as conclusive
      >proof that for Matthew and Luke the LP is an eschatological prayer.

      Already you seem to be attacking a different target. Or are you, by
      quoting these words in the present context, assuming that if Matthew and
      Luke didn't take the petition as eschatalogical, then neither would
      Mark?

      > ..... And yet nothing is more certain in the portrait of Jesus that both
      >Matthew
      >and Luke paint than that Jesus knew God's kingdom to be a powerfully present
      >reality.

      This may be the dominant impression, but there remains a certain
      ambivalence. For both writers included the saying about the kingdom of
      God being "near" (Matthew twice, Luke three times), in addition to the
      kingdom petition itself.

      > ..... it seems unlikely
      >that the petition in Matt. 6:10a//Lk. 11:2c is a plea for God to act now to do
      >something he was expected to do only in the (distant?) future. Why urge anyone
      >to pray for the accomplishment of a fait accompli?

      It was presumably a matter of timing. In other words, a "soon" seems
      to be implied, as you appear to acknowledge in the quotation below.

      > Second, there is the observation that insofar as the wording of
      >petitions in
      >Jewish prayers wherein God is clearly urged to bring about the early dawning of
      >his Kingdom stands as any kind of evidence for what prayers with this intent
      >should look like or be worded .....
      > ..... Thus if what Jesus actually intended his disciples to
      >pray in the Kingdom petition for was God's speeding up the timetable for the
      >arrival of the BASILEIA TOU THEOU (reign/rule of God) .....
      > ..... "kingdom" or the expression "God's Kingdom" cannot be
      >found anywhere in the entire corpus of the literature of formative Judaism (let
      >alone that of Jewish petitionary prayers, or for that matter that of the NT) as
      >the subject of the verb "to come", we have good reason to doubt that the
      >expression ELTHETW hE BASILEIA SOU means what the proponents of the
      >eschatological interpretation of the LP claim is does.

      The argument here is that formative Judaism expressed its
      eschatalogical hope using certain phraseology. Jesus didn't use that
      phraseology. Therefore Jesus is unlikely to have been expressing an
      eschatalogical hope. But the Christian interest in Jesus is precisely
      because he *didn't* conform to all the norms of Judaism. He introduced
      both new ideas and new phraseology. We cannot therefore assume that in
      this particular case he would have been a conformer. In painting a
      picture of the "kingdom of God", Jesus was clearly using his paints in
      an original way to produce an original overall effect.

      > In fact what it seems to mean is "may we be made worthy of your reign by
      >being conformed not to our own will but to yours" .....
      > [much snipped]
      >****

      The synoptic context of the kingdom petition is being invoked here.
      But even if your interpretation of this context is correct, Mark may
      still have worried that his readers might interpret "May your kingdom
      come" in isolation and take it (as I think it was originally intended)
      as a plea for the early restoration of the Davidic kingdom.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
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