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[Synoptic-L] Trusting the text

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  • Bob MacDonald
    In a recent study, we came across the out of place use of parable in Mark 7:17. It seems there is a hole in the manuscripts at this point. Luke and Matthew
    Message 1 of 5 , Aug 30, 2003
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      In a recent study, we came across the out of place use of 'parable' in Mark
      7:17. It seems there is a hole in the manuscripts at this point. Luke and
      Matthew both cite parable - both have the blind leading the blind. Matthew
      has also the root and plant image. Mark mentions the word - but has no
      antecedent parable that it could refer to.

      If Mark composed based on Luke and Matthew, he had a momentary loss of
      compositional continuity. If Matthew and Luke used Mark independently, they
      both added what Mark left out. Of course we may have simply a corrupt
      transmission.

      Having seen this one gap in the text as we have it, whatever the
      explanation, I am asking some advice as I learn this complex tradition.

      How should one consider literary dependency based on the evidence that is
      before our eyes in the text?

      I am in process of colour coding the whole of the synoptics and bits of
      John - Mark is complete from his point of view - at least a first pass.
      http://bmd.gx.ca/synoptic/tuer.htm

      I am just beginning a Lukan point of view and a Matthean one.

      In this coding, the white spaces between words, indicate that the phrase is
      not common. Either word order or declension or conjugation is different, but
      the root is the same.

      As I begin the three way comparison from each point of view, should I mark
      the words as potentially dependent if they are in a different order? Or is
      this evidence of original authorship? For example: 'forty days' in Mark is
      'days forty' in Luke and Matthew.

      there are of course many levels of agreement of which this is only a simple
      example. What I have noticed so far though is that Mark is far less
      'contained' in Matthew than Hengle reports in his Four Gospels and the One
      Gospel. Not 80%, or 70% or 60% even - though I am looking at a glance
      rather than counting words. My impression is that Mark is dependent on Luke
      and Matthew together about 60% and that much is unique to him - great gobs
      of blue paint.

      A book might be useful but the exercise of actually being in the text is
      required first. I have to admit that the books I have seen to date are of
      varying usefulness. On this subject I have the following

      The Jesus Tradition in Q, Dale Allison
      The Synoptic Problem, William R. Farmer
      The Case Against Q, Mark Goodacre
      The Synoptic Problem - A Way through the Maze, Mark Goodacre
      Excavating Q, John Kloppenburg-Verbin (Of all these books, this one merits
      Akenson's criticism of footnotes as porcupine quills).

      Any advice on this kindergarten exercise is welcome.

      Thanks

      Bob


      mailto::BobMacDonald@...
      + + + Victoria, B.C., Canada + + +

      Catch the foxes for us,
      the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
      for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)
      http://bobmacdonald.gx.ca


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    • Dr. and Mrs. David B. Peabody
      Bob, I think your reading of the difficulty at Mk 7:17 is astute and I do not believe that appeal to Mk 7:15 as an answer to this diffficulty is adequate. I
      Message 2 of 5 , Aug 31, 2003
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        Bob,

        I think your reading of the difficulty at Mk 7:17 is astute and I do not
        believe that appeal to Mk 7:15 as an answer to this diffficulty is
        adequate.

        I also commend you for doing your own color coding of the texts of the
        gospels. Having done much of that kind of work myself, I can tell you
        there is no better way to master the relevant evidence and the intricacies
        of the Synoptic Problem.

        Therefore, I do not suggest that you consult Farmer's *Synopticon* or the
        color coded synopsis of Mark I produced with Tom Longstaff, now available
        from Trinity Press International, as a substitute for your own work, but
        simply as a hopefully, interesting comparison with it.

        I might also suggest that you also consult the volume, *One Gospel from
        Two,* also available from Trinity Press International, as a supplement and
        complement to books you have already consulted on Synoptic Source
        Criticism. This book represents, the latest statement by advocates of the
        neo-Griesbach (Two Gospel Hypothesis) on how Mark could have been composed
        by drawing material, often alternately, from both Mt and Lk. Hopefully,
        our analysis of Mk 7 there would also be of interest to you.

        Best,

        David Barrett Peabody

        On Sat, 30 Aug 2003, Bob MacDonald wrote:

        > In a recent study, we came across the out of place use of 'parable' in Mark
        > 7:17. It seems there is a hole in the manuscripts at this point. Luke and
        > Matthew both cite parable - both have the blind leading the blind. Matthew
        > has also the root and plant image. Mark mentions the word - but has no
        > antecedent parable that it could refer to.
        >
        > If Mark composed based on Luke and Matthew, he had a momentary loss of
        > compositional continuity. If Matthew and Luke used Mark independently, they
        > both added what Mark left out. Of course we may have simply a corrupt
        > transmission.
        >
        > Having seen this one gap in the text as we have it, whatever the
        > explanation, I am asking some advice as I learn this complex tradition.
        >
        > How should one consider literary dependency based on the evidence that is
        > before our eyes in the text?
        >
        > I am in process of colour coding the whole of the synoptics and bits of
        > John - Mark is complete from his point of view - at least a first pass.
        > http://bmd.gx.ca/synoptic/tuer.htm
        >
        > I am just beginning a Lukan point of view and a Matthean one.
        >
        > In this coding, the white spaces between words, indicate that the phrase is
        > not common. Either word order or declension or conjugation is different, but
        > the root is the same.
        >
        > As I begin the three way comparison from each point of view, should I mark
        > the words as potentially dependent if they are in a different order? Or is
        > this evidence of original authorship? For example: 'forty days' in Mark is
        > 'days forty' in Luke and Matthew.
        >
        > there are of course many levels of agreement of which this is only a simple
        > example. What I have noticed so far though is that Mark is far less
        > 'contained' in Matthew than Hengle reports in his Four Gospels and the One
        > Gospel. Not 80%, or 70% or 60% even - though I am looking at a glance
        > rather than counting words. My impression is that Mark is dependent on Luke
        > and Matthew together about 60% and that much is unique to him - great gobs
        > of blue paint.
        >
        > A book might be useful but the exercise of actually being in the text is
        > required first. I have to admit that the books I have seen to date are of
        > varying usefulness. On this subject I have the following
        >
        > The Jesus Tradition in Q, Dale Allison
        > The Synoptic Problem, William R. Farmer
        > The Case Against Q, Mark Goodacre
        > The Synoptic Problem - A Way through the Maze, Mark Goodacre
        > Excavating Q, John Kloppenburg-Verbin (Of all these books, this one merits
        > Akenson's criticism of footnotes as porcupine quills).
        >
        > Any advice on this kindergarten exercise is welcome.
        >
        > Thanks
        >
        > Bob
        >
        >
        > mailto::BobMacDonald@...
        > + + + Victoria, B.C., Canada + + +
        >
        > Catch the foxes for us,
        > the little foxes that make havoc of the vineyards,
        > for our vineyards are in flower. (Song 2.15)
        > http://bobmacdonald.gx.ca
        >
        >
        > Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        > List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        >


        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
        List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
      • Dennis Sullivan
        I agree, Bob, that you have found one of the many difficulties in Mark. IMO, there are quite a few that need examination. Several years ago I, too, did the
        Message 3 of 5 , Aug 31, 2003
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          I agree, Bob, that you have found one of the many difficulties in Mark. IMO,
          there are quite a few that need examination.

          Several years ago I, too, did the synopsis coloring exercise in the older
          RSV version of Throckmorton's, also referring to Huck's Greek Synopsis.

          Even though I don't necessarily endorse the idea of Markan posteriority, the
          process of coloring can highlight passages that seem to point in that
          direction.

          I used red, yellow, green and orange to organize double and triple tradition
          phrases, and later used blue to color material unique to Mark. The colors
          taken together can certainly appear to support Markan posteriority, as well
          as pointing up Mark's tendency toward "language of excitement" when adding
          his color to units he possibly "picked up" from Matthew or Luke. (I posted a
          collection of Mark's unique sections to this list several years ago under
          the subject line of "Mark's creativity".)

          Such a hypothesis would help to explain Mark's "great excursion" usually
          referred to as the "great Lukan omission", since, on this hypothesis, Luke
          never saw Mark's version. This section also contains Mark's "U-turn on the
          lake" and yeshua's trip to the decapolis, the feeding of the four thousand,
          and the visits to Tyre and Sidon before rejoining Luke's account at the
          point of returning from this Markan excursion. (This pointed out by R.Steven
          Notley on Synoptic-L some months ago.)

          This leaves us guessing as to what happened here: Did Mark have access to
          another source unknown to either Luke or Matthew, or did he simply create
          the whole story by adapting similar passages to accommodate the
          sensibilities of his gentile readers by sending yeshua to visit the
          gentiles? And, did Mark adapt the Tyre/Sidon journey from Matthew, or was
          Matthew, writing later, influenced by Mark to include this in his gospel.
          ( I realize I just switched hypotheses here...)

          IMO,David Barrett Peabody has "nailed it" when he wrote of coloring a
          synopsis, "...there is no better way to master the relevant evidence and the
          intricacies of the Synoptic Problem".

          kol tuv (all the best),

          Dennis Sullivan
          Dayton, Ohio

          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Dr. and Mrs. David B. Peabody" <dbpeabody@...>
          To: "Bob MacDonald" <bobmacdonald@...>
          Cc: <synoptic-l@...>
          Sent: Sunday, August 31, 2003 10:40 AM
          Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Trusting the text


          > Bob,
          >
          > I think your reading of the difficulty at Mk 7:17 is astute and I do not
          > believe that appeal to Mk 7:15 as an answer to this diffficulty is
          > adequate.
          >
          > I also commend you for doing your own color coding of the texts of the
          > gospels. Having done much of that kind of work myself, I can tell you
          > there is no better way to master the relevant evidence and the intricacies
          > of the Synoptic Problem.
          >
          > Therefore, I do not suggest that you consult Farmer's *Synopticon* or the
          > color coded synopsis of Mark I produced with Tom Longstaff, now available
          > from Trinity Press International, as a substitute for your own work, but
          > simply as a hopefully, interesting comparison with it.
          >
          > I might also suggest that you also consult the volume, *One Gospel from
          > Two,* also available from Trinity Press International, as a supplement and
          > complement to books you have already consulted on Synoptic Source
          > Criticism. This book represents, the latest statement by advocates of the
          > neo-Griesbach (Two Gospel Hypothesis) on how Mark could have been composed
          > by drawing material, often alternately, from both Mt and Lk. Hopefully,
          > our analysis of Mk 7 there would also be of interest to you.
          >
          > Best,
          >
          > David Barrett Peabody
          >


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          List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
        • Ken Olson
          ... believe that appeal to Mk 7:15 as an answer to this diffficulty is adequate.
          Message 4 of 5 , Sep 1, 2003
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            On August 31, David B. Peabody wrote in response to Bob MacDonald:

            >>I think your reading of the difficulty at Mk 7:17 is astute and I do not
            believe that appeal to Mk 7:15 as an answer to this diffficulty is
            adequate.<<

            Dr. Peabody,

            I wonder if you could expand upon your reasoning here. In both Mark and
            Matthew, a disciple or more asks Jesus about his "parable" (Mt. 15.15/Mk.
            7.17) and Jesus responds by explaining his saying about what goes in and
            what comes out (Mt. 15.11, Mk. 7.15). Doesn't it appear that both Matthew
            and Mark take that saying to be the parable about which Jesus was asked?

            We could instead take the reference to Jesus' parable in Mt. 15.15 to be
            referring to Mt. 15.13-14. This is what I took Bob to be suggesting in his
            first post. If we do this, however, we have to wonder why Jesus ignores
            Peter's request that he explain his parable in Mt. 15.13-14 and instead
            explains the saying about what goes in and what comes out from Mt. 15.11.
            Doesn't this interpretation create a bigger problem than the one it was
            intended to solve?

            Further, I think Bob's problem with Mk. 7.15 and yours are mutually
            exclusive. Here's your exposition of the relevant passage:

            >>Mk. 7.15. Mark omits "into _the mouth_" and "out of _the mouth_" from
            both parts of the saying in Mt. 15.11. This can hardly be considered an
            example of Mark's radical primitiveness. By omitting references to the
            "mouth," Mark not only disengages the comment from the Isaiah text upon
            which it is a comment, but renders the saying physiologically absurd. A
            Jewish audience might be prepared to give credence to a claim that what
            enters the mouth is not what defiles, but it would have been bewildered by a
            claim that everything that comes out of a man defiles him. Taken literally,
            for example, this saying would mean that one could not even exhale without
            defilement. The into and out of the mouth saying is difficult enough to
            envision in a strongly Jewish setting, but in the Matthean context of the
            Isaiah reference it is understandable. The removal of "mouth" from the
            saying does not represent radical authenticity, but unintelligibility.
            Those reading the Markan parallel must presuppose Matthew's exegesis of
            Isaiah here, although Mark's text does not contain all the elements required
            to support such a reading. The question and corban counterquestion may be
            primitive, but the use of the Isaiah reference as a mid-point proof text is
            characteristic of Matthew. Mark has blurred Matthew's precision regarding
            the technical use of scripture and Jewish attention to detail in matters of
            ritual cleanliness and purity<< [David B. Peabody, with Lamar Cope and Allan
            J. McNicol, eds., _One Gospel from Two: Mark's Use of Matthew and Luke
            (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 2002) 174].

            Bob MacDonald said, "no one at our study saw that phrase [Mk. 7.15] as a
            parable. It seems non metaphoric if any language can be said to be so."
            You, on the other hand, find Mk. 7.15 physiologically absurd, bewildering to
            the audience, and unintelligible if taken literally. It seems to me that
            the two of you are saying very different things here. He objects to calling
            Mk. 7.15 a parable because it's perfectly straightforward and
            non-metaphorical while you object to it as unintelligible if taken
            literally.

            Many Markan commentators explain the use of "parable" in Mk. 7.17 as a
            not-entirely-satisfactory translation of the Hebrew _mashal_ or "dark
            saying," meaning a saying that is difficult to interpret. Many also see the
            disciples' question and Jesus' response as part of Mark's motif of the
            incomprehension of the disciples. I think this addresses both Bob's point
            and yours adequately. You find the saying absurd, bewildering, and
            unintelligible if taken literally. Of course, in Mark's text, Jesus
            introduces the saying in 7.15 by saying, "Hear me, all of you, and
            understand." The command to "understand" would seem to indicate that the
            saying which follows is difficult to interpret and not to be taken
            literally. Mark also has Jesus give an explanation of the saying which
            precludes it being taken in the sense you suggest.

            If Mark is indeed dependent on Matthew, as you and Bob propose he is, it
            seems to me that he has tightened and clarified the pericope. He has
            clarified the relationship between the question about the parable and the
            parable to which it refers by removing the material that Matthew had placed
            between them in vv.15.12-14. He has also removed Matthew's references to
            the mouth in 15.11, 17 and 18. Matthew's saying that what comes out of the
            mouth defiles a person would appear to refer only to speech that defiles,
            but Matthew's expansion on the saying in vv. 15.18-19 shows that in fact
            Matthew means to include actions as well. Mark has clarified the
            relationship between what comes out of a person (both evil words and evil
            deeds) and that person's heart by removing Matthew's superfluous reference
            to the mouth.

            Best Wishes,

            Ken

            kaolson@...

            Kenneth A. Olson
            Graduate Student
            University of Maryland
            Department of History
            2115 Francis Scott Key Hall
            College Park, MD 20742-7315



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