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Re: [Synoptic-L] Trusting the text

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  • 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 1 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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    • Ken Olson
      ... believe that appeal to Mk 7:15 as an answer to this diffficulty is adequate.
      Message 2 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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