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Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [XTalk] The Twelve

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  • Karel Hanhart
    ... Karel s response: No, I don t know your position on this text . I challenged you to offer an exegesis of Mark s open tomb story or of Matthew s open tomb
    Message 1 of 28 , Oct 6, 2002
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      Maluflen@... wrote:

      > In a message dated 10/5/2002 5:48:32 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
      > K.Hanhart@... writes:
      >
      >
      >
      >> In 1,29 - an arresting construction - we read " he entered the
      >> house of
      >> SIMON and Andrew, with James and John". Why does Mark use "Simon"
      >> here and not "Peter". I believe Mark was the first one who
      >> consistently
      >> translated Simon's nickname Cephas as 'Petros' from the list of 12
      >> on (3,16), because in his open tomb story he wanted to contrast the
      >> "monument" carved from the Rock (Gr petra) with "tell it to Peter"
      >> (Gr petros). Paul has always "Cephas", except Gal 2,8ff,
      >
      > Leonard:
      >
      >> I understand; for you most Synoptic data seem ultimately related to
      >> that carved rock tomb, which Mark alludes to, only seemingly in
      >> passing, in chapter 13.
      >
      > Karel:
      >
      >> Whence the dismissive terms in which you represent my approach to
      >> the
      >> resurrection story in 15,46)?
      >
      >> It is Mark, not me, who gave the tomb this prominent place. He
      >> certainly was not writing about the carved rock tomb "in passing",
      >> as you put it. He testified to his faith in the risen Messiah in
      >> critical times, just after the total destruction of the temple and
      >> the offer cult. The 'open tomb' is not a minor matter in the
      >> Gospel.
      >> I would much appreciate, therefore, your own exegesis of this
      >> astounding
      >> ending of Mark. I might understand your irony if you were prepared
      >> to
      >> offer a reasonable alternative to a literal EMPTY TOMB
      >> interpretation,
      >> which William L. Craig has offered in NTS 30.2 and in NTS 34.1. My
      >>
      >> analysis of the usage of Simon in 1,29 an 3,16 and his consistent
      >> use of
      >> 'Peter' thereafter is but one link in the chain. I am suggesting
      >> that
      >> Mark deliberately changed the current nickname Cephas for the Greek
      >> "Peter", because he wanted to emphasize the antithesis between the
      >> 'ex
      >> petras' in 15,46 and tell it to Peter (toi petroi) in 16,7.
      >
      >
      > Karel, I think by now you know my position on this text. I have always
      > been open to your interpretation of this passage as a midrash on Is
      > 22:16, even though the idea at first sight seems only slightly less
      > fantastic than your hypothesis of John the Evangelist as the first
      > defender of the Farrer Hypothesis in 1:43-51.

      Karel's response:

      No, I don't know your "position on this text". I challenged you to offer
      an exegesis of Mark's open tomb story or of Matthew's open tomb story
      for that matter.
      Thus far, I gather you have fairly and persistently defended the
      Griesbach alternative to Markan
      priority. And I disagreed.

      Karel wrote also:

      >> In the famous verse, "on this rock I will build my ecclesia"
      >> (Matthew 16,19)
      >> Matthew, I believe, provided the confirmation for my exegesis of
      >> Mark's
      >> open tomb story.
      >

      Leonard wrote:
      . Mark was very probably as innocent of the reference as have been all
      other commentators of Matthew down the ages -- till Karel Hanhart in the
      20th century.

      <snip>

      Karel:
      Again I ask you whence this dismissive irony? I am quite aware of the
      novelty of my proposals.
      The reason for a lifelong research was simply that I didn't find
      Bultmann's approach
      (- the tomb story is a first century myth - ) a satisfactory one. I am
      not alone in that.
      But rejecting Bultmann is not enough. Thus an attempt to unravel Mark's
      ending,
      now read in a first century Judean context is of necessity also a novel
      enterprise just
      as much as Bultmann's solution was.

      Leonard:

      > I'm not sure why a literal discovery of an empty tomb would be
      > unsatisfactory

      Karel :
      Here you give me an inkling of what your exegesis might look like.
      Of course, believing Mark wanted his readers to know that on
      Sunday morning the women found Jesus' grave to be empty, is a
      legitimate position, held by generations before us. I don't wish
      to ridicule that position. Many wonderful persons have believed
      this; others still believe it. I am simply reporting that a different
      interpretation of Mark's faith and hope is more acceptable
      in a historical and literary sense.

      cordially,

      Karel


      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
      List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      In a message dated 10/6/02 7:47:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time, K.Hanhart@net.HCC.nl writes: Karel s response:
      Message 2 of 28 , Oct 6, 2002
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        In a message dated 10/6/02 7:47:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
        K.Hanhart@... writes:


        Karel's response:

        << No, I don't know your "position on this text". I challenged you to offer
        an exegesis of Mark's open tomb story or of Matthew's open tomb story
        for that matter.>>

        I don't think it is necessary for me to give a full exegesis of these texts
        in order to make the point that I agree with you that the originator of this
        story (and I would add, as opposed to the one who essentially copied it) may
        well have been engaging in a midrash on Is 22:16. In the general direction of
        your argument, I think you have the advantage over Bultmann here to be sure.
        We disagree on the identity of the originator of the story, but I don't have
        the impression that you have ever seriously entertained, even for the sake of
        argument, the possibility that this was Matthew rather than Mark. I gave you
        some evidence in support of this view, to which you chose not to respond
        (Matthew's text is actually closer to Is 22:16 LXX than is Mark's). I have
        invited you in the past (but this is all I can do) to do something really far
        out, namely, to let go of the Markan hypothesis just long enough to see what
        would happen on the hypothesis that Matthew rather than Mark was the scribe
        who initiated this midrash. I realize that Peter is not mentioned in
        Matthew's resurrection account, and so part of your argument with reference
        to the text of Mark would not work with Matthew. But would it be possible,
        e.g., to make an even more effective and direct connection between the burial
        text and Matt 16:13-20 -- which, after all, is also based in part on the same
        Isaian text? The Markan reference to Peter in 16:7 could then be recognized
        for what I think it actually is, namely, a typical Markan expansion, based on
        Pauline tradition (1 Cor 15:5), but without any particular significance
        attaching to Mark's use of 'Peter' instead of 'Kephas'. How, by the way, do
        you expain the absence of a reference to Peter in the parallel passages of
        Matthew and Luke?

        Leonard Maluf



        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Karel Hanhart
        ... Karel: Leonard, You evidently haven t read my book - it is 600 pp ! -, in which among other themes I treat the four open tomb stories we have. In it I ve
        Message 3 of 28 , Oct 11, 2002
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          Maluflen@... wrote:

          > In a message dated 10/6/02 7:47:52 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
          > K.Hanhart@... writes:
          >
          > Karel's response:
          >
          > << No, I don't know your "position on this text". I challenged you to offer
          > an exegesis of Mark's open tomb story or of Matthew's open tomb story
          > for that matter.>>
          >
          > I don't think it is necessary for me to give a full exegesis of these texts
          > in order to make the point that I agree with you that the originator of this
          > story (and I would add, as opposed to the one who essentially copied it) may
          > well have been engaging in a midrash on Is 22:16. In the general direction of
          > your argument, I think you have the advantage over Bultmann here to be sure.
          > We disagree on the identity of the originator of the story

          Karel:
          Leonard, You evidently haven't read my book - it is 600 pp ! -, in which among
          other themes I treat the four open tomb stories we have. In it I've searched for
          the historical context that triggered the first narrative and to trace through
          an exegesis of all four why the four Gospels vary in detail. In my opinion
          your argument in the previous post is seriously flawed. On the one hand you
          agree that the "originator" of this story may well have been engaging in a
          midrash on Isa 22,16. On the other hand, you wrote "I'm not sure why a literal
          discovery of an empty tomb would be unsatisfactory." Therefore, you
          hypothesize (a) an "originator" writing a midrash on an Isaiah passage
          that deals with the conquest of Jerusalem. Analysis of the Isaiah passage
          led men like Rashi to conclude that the word "tomb" in Isa 22
          is used metaphorically for the temple. This is in contradiction to
          (b) your literal discovery of the empty tomb of Jesus. There is no tertium
          here. The word tomb is used metaphorically or we are indeed
          dealing with Jesus' literal grave.
          I prefer to start with the Gospel text itself in stead of proposing
          an "originator" who hypothetically knew that Jesus' grave was
          found empty. Starting with the texts we have, I noted that in none
          of the Gospels it is suggested that SOME of the miracles should
          be taken in a literal historical sense and OTHERS in a metaphorical
          sense. All miracles happen as a matter of course whether it be the
          silencing of the storm, the multiplication of bread or the contra-natural
          removal of a tombstone. The exegete is thus faced with the alternative:
          the Gospel writers (a) either want their readers to take all of them
          in a literal sense or (b) in a metaphorical sense. For they nowhere
          indicate that certain stories should be read in the (a) category and
          others in the (b).
          Believing a historically empty tomb is a legitimate position,
          held by generations before us. I don't wish to ridicule that position.
          Many wonderful persons have believed this; others still believe it.
          I am simply reporting that a different interpretation of Mark's faith
          and hope is more acceptable in a historical and literary sense.
          Mark and Matthew deliberately quote scripture in order to make
          sure their readers will understand their stories in the light of that
          Scripture. Take the key verse of Jesus' confession before Caiaphas
          which led to his death. The confession "I am" (Mk 14,62; namely,
          the Messiah) must be read according to Mark in the context of the
          divine promise made in the vision of the 'Son of Man' in Da 7
          - 'coming with the clouds of heaven' and of Psalm 110,1 -'sitting
          at the right hand'.
          I take it that we both do not opt for the fundamentalist's position.
          Mark's readers were perfectly aware that Mark wasn't in Caiaphas'
          courtroom noting what Jesus said. He is rather formulating the faith
          of the ecclesia some forty years after Jesus' crucifixion.
          You charge me of not having seriously considered that Matthew wrote
          before Mark. I did so at length. Just briefly. It is true that Matthew's
          citation is slightly closer to LXX Isa 22,16 than Mark's version
          (en petrai contra ek petras) . But Matthew is over all more precise
          in his citing of scripture, than Mark. He simply is correcting Mark here.
          However, as I have shown in my exegesis, the longer text of
          Matthew (27,57-66; 28,1-20) can be interpreted as a reaction by
          Matthew to Mark's story. Moreover, the opponents of Matthew's
          ecclesia (in the synagogue across the street - so to speak - ) also
          reacted to Mark's new post-70 story interpreting the meaning of
          the destruction of the temple in the light of his faith in Jesus'
          resurrection. The process was, I think, that Matthew's community
          received Mark's new post-70 ending of his Gospel and the opponents
          also learned of this "open tomb" story through hearsay.
          Matthew clearly responds in ironic fashion to charges by the opponents
          who mockingly said that the disciples had stolen the body (27,64).
          Moreover, in that same passage Matthew uses the Markan (!)
          unique phrase "after three days" (Mk 8,31;9,31; 10, 34) in stead of
          his own "on the third day" in the parallel predictions, thus showing
          that he knows the Markan passion predictions perfectly well.
          Matthew's emphatic 'opse' = "late", namely, on the sabbath,
          Nisan 16 in 27,1 (so rightly Goulder) can be well explained
          after one has read Mark first. For Mark has the women see
          that the stone has ALREADY been removed early in the morning
          "on the first day of the Feast of Weeks (which is the day of the "first fruits").

          But Matthew has an angel personally remove that stone earlier in time
          at the very moment the Sabbath of Nisan 16 turns into the Sunday
          of Nisan 17, namely, "late on the sabbath" when the stars begin to shine.
          On biblical calendar a new day begins in the evening and not 12.00 pm.
          In Matthew Roman soldiers fall dead while women are merely watching.
          This also reacting in faith to Roman might after 70. Goulder has shown
          that Matthew's embellishment can be explained after he had read Mark's
          version first. In other words the faith in Jesus' resurrection and
          its contradiction in the synagogue was a matter of bitter dispute especially
          after the destruction of the temple. Mark and Matthew (in that order) reflect
          that debate and instruct their readers accordingly..
          It is a fact of present history that in the synagogue the SABBATH is
          revered according to scripture to this very day and in it Nisan 16
          is taken to be the first of the fifty days of Pentecost. In the church,
          however, the faith in the risen Christ slowly developed in the
          substitution of the sabbath for the SUNDAY. This is not yet the case
          in the Gospels. In the Synoptics the open tomb story is timed on
          SUNDAY, Nisan 17, according to Lv 23,15! Thus the sad outcome
          of the Judean-Roman war formed one of the causes why the ways
          of the synagogue and the ecclesia parted.
          I already indicated that one can explain Mt 16,16-18 (NB "my ecclesia"!)
          as the confirmation of Mark's open tomb story, while it has been always
          difficult to explain Mk's version of Peter's confession (8,27-30) in the case
          Mark wrote LATER than Matthew.
          All four Gospel writers struggle with the meaning of the temple's
          destruction heralding the new exile and all try to relate that incisive
          political event to their belief of Jesus as the paschal lamb.
          IMHO Mark is the first author of the open tomb story and he wrote
          it after 70. He accuses a certain Joseph (coming from Rama) of trying
          in vain to bury "the body" of Jesus on the very day the Pharisees
          celebrate the feast of the "first fruits", In the Mishna emphatically
          Nisan 16. Joseph obviously doesn't succeed in this vain attempt
          - Pilate had derisively handed him only a corpse (15,44). But
          on the "first day" of the "first fruits" on the Christian festival
          calendar (cf Lv 23,15), the women heard the message that
          Jesus had already risen and was going ahead of his own
          into the Galil of the nations. For Mark believed with Paul that
          the ecclesia in exile was living BODY of Christ!

          Leonard:

          > I don't have the impression that you have ever seriously entertained, even for
          > the sake of
          > argument, the possibility that this was Matthew rather than Mark. I gave you
          > some evidence in support of this view, to which you chose not to respond
          > (Matthew's text is actually closer to Is 22:16 LXX than is Mark's). I have
          > invited you in the past (but this is all I can do) to do something really far
          > out, namely, to let go of the Markan hypothesis just long enough to see what
          > would happen on the hypothesis that Matthew rather than Mark was the scribe
          > who initiated this midrash.

          Karel:
          As you see, from the above, I did try in my book to follow your "far out" route
          but got nowhere. I am aware that the Griesbach theory is seriously researched
          but following the Matthew - Mark order, the open tomb story makes no sense.

          > Leonard:

          > I realize that Peter is not mentioned in Matthew's resurrection account, and so
          > part of your argument with reference to the text of Mark would not work with
          > Matthew. But would it be possible, e.g., to make an even more effective and
          > direct connection between the burial
          > text and Matt 16:13-20 -- which, after all, is also based in part on the same
          > Isaian text?

          Karel:
          In an earlier post I placed Mark's metaphorical burial/resurrection story next to
          Matthew
          16,16-18 showing that in this important passage Matthew was confirming and
          adopting the meaning of Mark's open tomb story. It is the start of the formation
          of the canon. Later Luke in his Gospel- Acts will try to explain to non-Judeans
          what the haggadic midrashim of Mk and
          Matthew meant. Matthew recognized Mark's story for what it was: a midrash on LXX
          Isa 22, 16; 33,16 and LXX Gn 28, 2.3 (re. a 'very large stone' to be rolled
          away). That is the reason why he also referred to the "key" in Isa 22,22 and
          stated that the (persecuted) ecclesia of
          Simon Peter in Rome held the "keys" to interpret Scripture.
          The time has passed that Jesus' resurrection was automatically but ineptly
          linked to a supposedly counter-natural, magical removal of a stone rolled before
          the "door'
          of Jesus' grave. This conception was the result of a long process of estrangement
          from the Hebrew tradition. The opening of tombs was long recognized as a metaphor
          of divine redemptive action, by the time Mark wrote his post-70 midrash.

          cordially
          Karel


          Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Maluflen@aol.com
          In a message dated 10/11/2002 2:30:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Karel, you are right that I have not (yet) read your 600 page book on the subject, and I
          Message 4 of 28 , Oct 11, 2002
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            In a message dated 10/11/2002 2:30:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time, K.Hanhart@... writes:


            Leonard,  You evidently haven't read my book - it is 600 pp ! -, in which among
            other themes I treat the four open tomb stories we have. In it I've searched for
            the historical context  that triggered the first narrative and to trace through
            an exegesis of all four why the four Gospels vary in detail. In my opinion
            your argument in the previous post is seriously flawed. On the one hand you
            agree that the "originator"  of this story may well have been engaging in a
            midrash on Isa 22,16. On the other hand, you wrote "I'm not sure why a literal
            discovery of an empty tomb would be unsatisfactory."  Therefore, you
            hypothesize (a) an "originator" writing a midrash on an Isaiah passage
            that deals with the conquest of Jerusalem. Analysis of the Isaiah passage
            led men like Rashi to conclude that the word "tomb" in Isa 22
            is used metaphorically for the temple. This is in contradiction to
            (b) your literal discovery of the empty tomb  of Jesus. There is no tertium
            here. The word tomb is used metaphorically or we are indeed
            dealing with Jesus' literal grave.



            Karel, you are right that I have not (yet) read your 600 page book on the subject, and I thank you for taking the time to give us such a good summary of its contents. By doing so, you have certainly given me the incentive to read the book because your thesis is quite brilliant and interesting. I must say, though, that I still find parts of your argument hard to accept. For example, I am still not sure why your understanding of a midrash here need absolutely exclude the discovery of an empty tomb on Easter morning. Can texts not be multivalent in this way? With both an historical reference, and then an overlay of biblical reflection and midrash? I see your point, but am not fully convinced yet that it requires abandoning any hint of historical remembrance of the woman at the tomb on Easter morning.


                I prefer to start with the Gospel text  itself in stead of proposing
            an "originator" who hypothetically knew that Jesus' grave was
            found empty. Starting with the texts we have, I noted that in none
            of the Gospels it is suggested  that SOME of the miracles should
            be taken in a literal historical sense and OTHERS in a metaphorical
            sense.  All miracles happen as a matter of course whether it be the
            silencing of the storm, the multiplication of bread or the contra-natural
            removal of a tombstone. The exegete is thus faced with the alternative:
            the Gospel writers (a) either want their readers to take all of them
            in a literal sense or (b) in a metaphorical sense. For they nowhere
            indicate that certain stories should be read in the (a) category and
            others in the (b).


            Are you saying then that all the miracles in the Gospel tradition should be understood in a purely metaphorical sense? Again, I suppose I would have to agree with you if I were convinced that your dichotomy between literal vs. metaphorical was valid. I am not yet at that point.

                Believing  a historically empty tomb is a legitimate position,
            held by generations before us. I don't wish to ridicule that position.
            Many wonderful persons have believed this; others still believe it.
            I am simply reporting that a different interpretation of Mark's faith
            and hope is more acceptable in a historical and literary sense.
                Mark and Matthew deliberately quote scripture in order to make
            sure their readers will understand their stories in the light of that
            Scripture.


            My problem with the theory of two trained scribes as Evangelists is that I think it is more likely, a priori, that only one of the two was a trained scribe and that is why the other had to engage in so much copying. Now I don't see sophisticated use of the OT in Mark that does not have a parallel in Matt, and I do see sophisticated scribal use of OT in Matthew where there is no Markan parallel. The strict logical conclusion from this evidence is that Matthew is the scribe.


            Take the key verse of Jesus' confession before Caiaphas
            which led to his death. The confession "I am" (Mk 14,62; namely,
            the Messiah) must be read according to Mark in the context of the
            divine promise made in the vision of the 'Son of Man' in Da 7
            - 'coming with the clouds of heaven' and of Psalm 110,1 -'sitting
            at the right hand'.


            I agree that these two texts are involved here in these parallel texts, but how is Mark's "I am", in particular, based on these two scriptures, which after all are the basis of the Matthean text as well? And if the words "I am" do clearly reflect these texts, why does Matthew change this, in your view?


                I take it that we both do not opt for the fundamentalist's position.
            Mark's readers were perfectly aware that Mark wasn't in Caiaphas'
            courtroom  noting what Jesus said. He is rather formulating the faith
            of the ecclesia some forty years after Jesus' crucifixion.


            In general I would agree with this, but I guess I will have to read your book before I will be convinced that the Gospel texts we have absolutely require the lapse of forty years or so from the time of Jesus' death. I am not convinced of this yet, although I suppose it is possible.

                You charge me of not having seriously considered that Matthew wrote
            before Mark. I did so at length. Just briefly. It is true that Matthew's
            citation is slightly closer to LXX Isa 22,16 than Mark's version
            (en petrai contra ek petras) . But Matthew is over all more precise
            in his citing of scripture, than Mark.
            He simply is correcting Mark here.

                However, as I have shown in my exegesis, the longer text of
            Matthew (27,57-66; 28,1-20) can be interpreted as a reaction by
            Matthew to Mark's story.


            This would be interesting to read. But I suspect you are right in saying that Matthew's text CAN be interpreted as a reaction by Matthew to Mark's story. This is in general the shape of the argument of most Markan priorists. I know you also think that Mark's text CANNOT be derived from Matthew's. This is what is not clear to me yet. The next paragraphs in your post are also interesting, but much of the evidence you see as pointing to Markan priority seems patient of a reverse interpretation as well.

            [...]


            In an earlier post I placed Mark's metaphorical burial/resurrection story next to
            Matthew 16,16-18 showing that in this important passage Matthew was confirming and adopting the meaning of Mark's open tomb story. It is the start of the formation
            of the canon. Later Luke in his Gospel- Acts will try to explain to non-Judeans
            what the haggadic midrashim of Mk and Matthew meant. Matthew recognized Mark's story for what it was: a midrash on LXX Isa 22, 16; 33,16 and LXX Gn 28, 2.3 (re. a 'very large stone' to be rolled away).


            This description of Mark's work sounds so out of character for the author of Mark that I derive out of reading his text. And it is clearly in character for Matthew to be doing this kind of fairly abstruse midrash. He has been doing it from the very beginning of his Gospel. If he used the OT texts so creatively, with such scribal sophistication, in the opening two chapters of his gospel, why would Matthew then suddenly descend to basically copying Mark's scribal work in much of the body of the gospel? This is quite out of character with the way scribes work, I think.


            That is the reason why he also referred to the "key" in Isa 22,22 and stated that the (persecuted) ecclesia of Simon Peter in Rome held the "keys" to interpret Scripture.
                The time has passed that Jesus' resurrection was automatically but ineptly
            linked to a supposedly counter-natural, magical removal  of a stone rolled before
            the "door' of Jesus' grave. This conception was the result of a long process of estrangement from the Hebrew tradition. The opening of tombs was long recognized as a metaphor of divine redemptive action, by the time Mark wrote his post-70 midrash.



            These are pertinent remarks, especially in commenting on Matthew's text. I would understand Mark's Gospel as already belonging to "the long process of estrangement from the Hebrew tradition", and perhaps as one who himself understood the (already traditional, Matthean) tomb story in a literal sense. It is clear to me that you vehemently oppose this position, but you have not yet persuaded me to revise my own historical reconstruction of the genesis and order of the Gospels, which I still think makes better sense of the data as a whole.

            Leonard Maluf
          • Karel Hanhart
            ... Leonard, In christian tradition the concept of Jesus resurrection has nearly always implied the change of a physical body (or corpse) into a spiritual
            Message 5 of 28 , Oct 12, 2002
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              Maluflen@... wrote:

              > In a message dated 10/11/2002 2:30:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
              > K.Hanhart@... writes:
              >
              >
              >
              >> Leonard, You evidently haven't read my book - it is 600 pp ! -, in
              >> which among
              >> other themes I treat the four open tomb stories we have. In it I've
              >> searched for
              >> the historical context that triggered the first narrative and to
              >> trace through
              >> an exegesis of all four why the four Gospels vary in detail. In my
              >> opinion
              >> your argument in the previous post is seriously flawed. On the one
              >> hand you
              >> agree that the "originator" of this story may well have been
              >> engaging in a
              >> midrash on Isa 22,16. On the other hand, you wrote "I'm not sure why
              >> a literal
              >> discovery of an empty tomb would be unsatisfactory." Therefore, you
              >>
              >> hypothesize (a) an "originator" writing a midrash on an Isaiah
              >> passage
              >> that deals with the conquest of Jerusalem. Analysis of the Isaiah
              >> passage
              >> led men like Rashi to conclude that the word "tomb" in Isa 22
              >> is used metaphorically for the temple. This is in contradiction to
              >> (b) your literal discovery of the empty tomb of Jesus. There is no
              >> tertium
              >> here. The word tomb is used metaphorically or we are indeed
              >> dealing with Jesus' literal grave.
              >
              > Karel, you are right that I have not (yet) read your 600 page book on
              > the subject, and I thank you for taking the time to give us such a
              > good summary of its contents. By doing so, you have certainly given me
              > the incentive to read the book because your thesis is quite brilliant
              > and interesting. I must say, though, that I still find parts of your
              > argument hard to accept. For example, I am still not sure why your
              > understanding of a midrash here need absolutely exclude the discovery
              > of an empty tomb on Easter morning. Can texts not be multivalent in
              > this way? With both an historical reference, and then an overlay of
              > biblical reflection and midrash? I see your point, but am not fully
              > convinced yet that it requires abandoning any hint of historical
              > remembrance of the woman at the tomb on Easter morning.
              >

              Leonard,
              In christian tradition the concept of Jesus' resurrection has nearly
              always implied the change of
              a physical body (or corpse) into a spiritual body and thus the ability
              of arising to a new mode of existence. The notion of a 'spiritual body'
              is usually borrowed from 1 Cor 15,44.46. For Paul was contrasting the
              known form of existence and a life far surpassing human understanding (2
              Cor 5.1-10). But Paul only uses the verb to 'be changed' with reference
              to the living, not the dead. "we, the living shall be changed and the
              dead shall be raised incorruptible". He is answering people who cannot
              'imagine' a general resurrection in the end. It is difficult to
              determine in how far Paul was using contemporary rabbinic theology - the
              general resurrection was part of their eschatology - or simply meeting
              a concern of readers and hearers who were used to a Platonic way of
              thinking. But nowhere Paul mentions an empty tomb when testifying to
              Jesus' resurrection. In fact, he simply can describe his own death as
              a 'departure' and 'raising the anchor' (Philp 1,23) and at the same time
              of hoping to attain "the resurrection of the dead" (Phil 3,11). He
              stresses, it seems, the 'wholly other aspect' of the life to come
              without worrying about how that can be. To him it is important to press
              on toward the goal (Philp 3,14).

              >> I prefer to start with the Gospel text itself in stead of
              >> proposing
              >> an "originator" who hypothetically knew that Jesus' grave was
              >> found empty. Starting with the texts we have, I noted that in none
              >> of the Gospels it is suggested that SOME of the miracles should
              >> be taken in a literal historical sense and OTHERS in a metaphorical
              >> sense. All miracles happen as a matter of course whether it be the
              >> silencing of the storm, the multiplication of bread or the
              >> contra-natural
              >> removal of a tombstone. The exegete is thus faced with the
              >> alternative:
              >> the Gospel writers (a) either want their readers to take all of them
              >>
              >> in a literal sense or (b) in a metaphorical sense. For they nowhere
              >> indicate that certain stories should be read in the (a) category and
              >>
              >> others in the (b).
              >
              > Are you saying then that all the miracles in the Gospel tradition
              > should be understood in a purely metaphorical sense?

              yes

              > Again, I suppose I would have to agree with you if I were convinced
              > that your dichotomy between literal vs. metaphorical was valid. I am
              > not yet at that point.
              >
              >> Believing a historically empty tomb is a legitimate position,
              >> held by generations before us. I don't wish to ridicule that
              >> position.
              >> Many wonderful persons have believed this; others still believe it.
              >> I am simply reporting that a different interpretation of Mark's
              >> faith
              >> and hope is more acceptable in a historical and literary sense.
              >> Mark and Matthew deliberately quote scripture in order to make
              >> sure their readers will understand their stories in the light of
              >> that
              >> Scripture.
              >
              > My problem with the theory of two trained scribes as Evangelists is
              > that I think it is more likely, a priori, that only one of the two was
              > a trained scribe and that is why the other had to engage in so much
              > copying. Now I don't see sophisticated use of the OT in Mark that does
              > not have a parallel in Matt, and I do see sophisticated scribal use of
              > OT in Matthew where there is no Markan parallel. The strict logical
              > conclusion from this evidence is that Matthew is the scribe.

              Mark's task, (- the rewriting of a pre-70 document, possibly his own - )
              was quite different from that of Matthew. His special aim was to
              incorporate the awesome turn of events of 70 into the pre-70 passion
              story. He wasn't about to write a complete Gospel, but he wanted a
              passion week in which the destruction of the temple (including the end
              of animal sacrifice), the delay of the parousia and the new exile were
              now included. He related the crucifixion of the messiah and his
              messianic
              woes with the passion of his people. The Romans, wars and rumors of
              wars, Gentile nations and a centurion play a prominent role in his new
              script. The remainder of this second edition of "Urmarkus" had, of
              course, to be brought into line with the message of his new 'passion
              week'
              (11-16,8) as well as his three-fold passion prediction. His redaction
              left various traces in the remaining part. Especially in the first
              chapter (the prologue to his drama) he sketches in brief 2-line
              statements (f.i. re. the role of Baptist) the outlines of what was
              already written with certain specific alterations. The citation of
              Isaiah 40 now is preceded by means of a midrash by Exod 23,20; Mal 3,1
              (!) concerning the precursor and the refiners fire and the purification
              of the Levites. It appears that with these brief sketches he is
              reminding his readers of the pre-70 Gospel they already know and used.
              In Matthew and Luke a fuller account is written,f.i. of the Baptist and
              his disciples (= Q). The latter probably had a much more prominent place
              in this pre-70 Gospel. But the Baptist, personifying the contemporary
              Elijah still recur in canonical Mark throughout, up to 15,36 (!),yet his
              role is less emphasized.

              >> Take the key verse of Jesus' confession before Caiaphas
              >> which led to his death. The confession "I am" (Mk 14,62; namely,
              >> the Messiah) must be read according to Mark in the context of the
              >> divine promise made in the vision of the 'Son of Man' in Da 7
              >> - 'coming with the clouds of heaven' and of Psalm 110,1 -'sitting
              >> at the right hand'.
              >
              > I agree that these two texts are involved here in these parallel
              > texts, but how is Mark's "I am", in particular, based on these two
              > scriptures, which after all are the basis of the Matthean text as
              > well? And if the words "I am" do clearly reflect these texts, why does
              > Matthew change this, in your view?

              There are a number of options. Did Mt want to avoid his readers to think
              Mark was referring to the divine name: I AM? Did he want to stress that
              the Jesus didn't himself say he was the Messiah, because historically he
              hadn't done so? "Historical Jesus" research may one day provide an
              answer/

              >> I take it that we both do not opt for the fundamentalist's
              >> position.
              >> Mark's readers were perfectly aware that Mark wasn't in Caiaphas'
              >> courtroom noting what Jesus said. He is rather formulating the
              >> faith
              >> of the ecclesia some forty years after Jesus' crucifixion.
              >
              > In general I would agree with this, but I guess I will have to read
              > your book before I will be convinced that the Gospel texts we have
              > absolutely require the lapse of forty years or so from the time of
              > Jesus' death. I am not convinced of this yet, although I suppose it is
              > possible.

              I too hesitated for a long time on the date Mark. I always believed Mark
              was the John Mark we know from Scripture. In the end the combination of
              Mark's midrash on Isa 22 and Gen 29 forced me, as it were, to opt for a
              post-70 revision.

              >> However, as I have shown in my exegesis, the longer text of
              >> Matthew (27,57-66; 28,1-20) can be interpreted as a reaction by
              >> Matthew to Mark's story.
              >
              > This would be interesting to read. But I suspect you are right in
              > saying that Matthew's text CAN be interpreted as a reaction by Matthew
              > to Mark's story. This is in general the shape of the argument of most
              > Markan priorists. I know you also think that Mark's text CANNOT be
              > derived from Matthew's. This is what is not clear to me yet. In an
              > earlier post I placed Mark's metaphorical burial/resurrection story
              > next to.

              I wouldn't write 'cannot' in capital letters, myself. Any exegesis of
              Mark is dependent of its presuppositions. That's why research on Mark
              has reached an impasse. We must start with 'probabilities' re. the
              identity of Mark, the place he wrote from and his audience. Nietsche -
              it is told- first adored Wagner, witness his 'birth of a tragedy'. Yet
              in
              later years Nietsche came into his own, and doing so and because of it
              he turned against Wagner. So exegetes of the Gospel usually start
              studying it with great interest, curiosity or even out of love. But in
              the course of the research they investigate a certain aspect of the
              Gospels, - say the date of John, they publish their conclusions (in a
              thesis e.g.), then develop the thesis and end up defending that position
              as long as they can. All of us do this. It is very hard to turn away
              from one's own convictions on which one has spendt so much time and
              effort and openly admit it. Unfortunately, this state of affairs has
              greatly contributed to the impasse.

              >> Matthew 16,16-18 showing that in this important passage Matthew was
              >> confirming and adopting the meaning of Mark's open tomb story. It is
              >> the start of the formation
              >> of the canon. Later Luke in his Gospel- Acts will try to explain to
              >> non-Judeans
              >> what the haggadic midrashim of Mk and Matthew meant. Matthew
              >> recognized Mark's story for what it was: a midrash on LXX Isa 22,
              >> 16; 33,16 and LXX Gn 28, 2.3 (re. a 'very large stone' to be rolled
              >> away).
              >
              > This description of Mark's work sounds so out of character for the
              > author of Mark that I derive out of reading his text.

              > Mark was very careful in constructing his midrashim, f.i. his opening
              > midrash, the transfiguration scene and the final midrash. But other
              > aspects of his Gospel leaves much to be desired, for instance, the order
              and quality of his writing. His Greek is what I sometimes call
              immigrant Greek (the Aramaisms shine through), he retained from the
              pre-70 Gospel the entire story of
              > the death of the Baptist but abbreviated other stories by means of short
              > summaries etc. This fits the idea of his re-editing this pre-70 Gospel, somewhat in haste (- the long sought Q? - Urmarkus? -) for a purpose. It is a short first
              > reaction to 70 aimed for the annual reading and baptism ceremony of
              > new members during Passover/Shabuot. It was a first attempt and as
              > such it baffles modern readers while his own readers were perfectly
              > aware of what he was trying to do. Matthew and Luke developed his
              > story in a much more coherent fashion, but they accepted the main line
              > of his testimony.
              >
              >> That is the reason why he also referred to the "key" in Isa 22,22
              >> and stated that the (persecuted) ecclesia of Simon Peter in Rome
              >> held the "keys" to interpret Scripture.

              >> The time has passed that Jesus' resurrection was automatically
              >> but ineptly
              >> linked to a supposedly counter-natural, magical removal of a stone
              >> rolled before
              >> the "door' of Jesus' grave. This conception was the result of a long
              >> process of estrangement from the Hebrew tradition. The opening of
              >> tombs was long recognized as a metaphor of divine redemptive action,
              >> by the time Mark wrote his post-70 midrash.
              >

              Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

              cordially,
              Karl

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