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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 3:31-35 pars. on the GH

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  • Eric Eve
    ... I take it that the reader here is one reading Mark s Gospel aloud to an audience (this is pretty apparent from what you wrote, but I was misled on first
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 11, 2002
      Leonard Maluf wrote:

      > Mark's version of the story is a Gospel dramatization in which
      > Jesus" coalesces in dramatic terms with the reader of Mark's
      > gospel, and Jesus' original audience coalesces with the ecclesial
      > audience of Mark, the crowd SITTING AROUND HIM (an expression
      > found twice in Mk 3:31-35 and not at all in the pars.) in a
      > circle, listening to the Gospel (as they await Baptism?).
      > The reader surveys this seated audience (thus acting out
      > the Gospel story) even as he describes Jesus doing the same
      > with the crowds around him, and then pointedly declares these
      > very people in front of him to be Jesus' new family.

      I take it that "the reader" here is one reading Mark's Gospel aloud to an
      audience (this is pretty apparent from what you wrote, but I was misled on
      first reading). That said, I'm broadly happy with your reading of Mark here;
      I also think his Gospel operates on two levels, much in the way you describe
      at this point.

      > Because Mark's audience is Gentile, a new semantic valence
      > may attach to the original reference to Jesus' family by
      > this time: they come now to symbolize those related to Jesus
      > by blood in a more general way, the Jewish people, or perhaps
      > the Jewish Christian community of Jerusalem, the mother church.
      > (This semantic development is probably already present in Luke's
      > text as well). Mark's text does not deny family-of-Jesus status
      > to these, but extends it pointedly to the new Gentile audience
      > of his Gospel.

      But here I'm not so convinced. I'm not saying that Mark *can't* be read this
      way, but I don't see anything in the text that *demands* or even *strongly
      suggests* this interpretation. Perhaps I'm missing your point somewhere, but
      to me your argument almost looks circular: because Mark is a later text
      aimed at Gentiles, the relatives of Jesus are a cipher for the Jewish people
      in general, which shows that Mark is a later text further removed from the
      events it purports to relate (than Matthew). I think I'd need mush stronger
      evidence from the text of Mark's Gospel that Mark intended to identify
      Jesus' relatives with the Jewish people in general before I could find this
      argument at all convincing.

      > Put in other words, in Matt, the primary contrast is between two sets
      > of Jewish people, the blood relatives of Jesus, on the one hand,
      > and the Jewish disciples of Jesus who are said to be his new family
      > on the other. Matt 12:50 opens the perspective to a possibly still
      > more comprehensive audience. By the time you come to Mark's text,
      > it is the Gentile audience of Mark that are (by dramatic implication)
      > directly contrasted with the "family" of Jesus, which now symbolizes
      > the Jewish people, or Jewish Christians. Thus understood, Mark's text
      > seems to be furthest from the likely historical event and closest
      > to the ecclesial application of the traditional Gospel story that
      > narrated this event.

      Well, I'd first need convincing that for Mark Jesus' family = the Jewish
      people or Jewish Christians. Even if that were the case, I'm not sure it
      would be a very strong indicator of relative dating. If we accept that
      Matthew was written for a (broadly) Jewish audience and Mark for a (broadly)
      Gentile audience, then it would hardly be surprising if Mark was more
      exercised by a distinction between Jews and Gentiles and Matthew more
      exercised by a distinction between different types of Jew. So all this
      really boils down to is that Matthew and Mark were written for different
      target audiences. From our previous exchanges I get the impression (please
      correct me and forgive me if I'm wrong) that you think that it is a priori
      more likely for a gospel aimed at Jews to be earlier than one aimed at
      Gentiles; if that is the case I simply disagree, *unless* you can also
      provide good arguments for a very early dating of Matthew, perhaps earlier
      even than Paul's letters to Gentile churches (I'm sure you catch my drift).
      Of course it may well be that you have such arguments and simply haven't
      stated them yet.

      Best wishes,

      Eric Eve
      Harris Manchester College, Oxford

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