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[Synoptic-L] response to Hanhart

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    In a message dated 11/22/2003 4:03:05 AM Pacific Standard Time, ... I have explained in my last two or three posts why this conclusion would be too hastily
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 22, 2003
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      In a message dated 11/22/2003 4:03:05 AM Pacific Standard Time, k.hanhart@... writes:

      The secret motif is primarily Markan. In the dilemma Markan or
      Matthean priority, therefore, one should prefer Markan priority.

      I have explained in my last two or three posts why this conclusion would be too hastily drawn in this particular case.

      Since Matthew's TWO BLIND MEN are brought up in the discussion, the fact
      that Mark has Jesus heal two different kinds of blind persons, Matthew'
      version is more easily explained as dependent on Mark.

      Why ever? Does this not reflect Mark's later interest in stories of curing from blindness as symbolic of ecclesial and perhaps even "sacramental" (i.e., baptismal) illumination? For this reason Mark chooses to focus on the blind people being cured by Jesus and their progressive journey toward spiritual vision. Most likely the stories were originally told as part of a proof from prophecy of the messianic character and authority of Jesus (as in Matthew). Mark's focus on the human individual receiving enlightenment from Jesus is certainly on a trajectory of interest in these stories that moves forward into the Gospel of John, even though John of course maintains at the same time a high Christological interest in the stories. And the same could indeed be said for Mark.

      He does not have to explain the Markan cryptic wordplay in10,46 : bar (Aramaic) and Timaios (Greek). Timaios is the title of Plato's widely known main work. Mark
      pictures here a Judean adept of Plato. Matthew does not have a bar-timaios
      in his version.
      He does not have the second cryptic Markan blind man either,

      who was healed in two stages ("I can see people like trees, walking" 8,24).
      It refers to the parable of Jotam in which indeed "the trees WENT OUT to
      anoint a king". The parable of the trees is a hapax in Tenach, the only
      instance of walking trees.

      Though unrelated to the original discussion in this line, these are in themselves very intriguing observations, if true, regarding Mark's blind men stories, and I would love to hear you expand upon them a bit some time.

      By simply placing the two men together Matthew
      simply combines the two Markan 'healings'. Matthew likes to present his
      material in orderly fashion.

      Nope, this is an unlikely scenario in fact. Mark's focus on (single) individuals as the recipients of Jesus' healing action is shared by the demonstrably secondary Gospels of Luke and John. The reversal of this kind of focus, and the "reduction" of blind men to formal ciphers, as it were, who witness in pairs, according to the requirements of Mosaic Law, to Jesus' messianic authority (as in Matthew) is a possible (I suppose), but not at all likely direction of the development of these traditions.

          I would take this opportunity to mention that thus far I havenot
      received a rebuttal on the argument that Matthew also reflects knowledge of the
      remarkable time indicator in Mark's passion/resurrection theme (8,31; 9,31
      and 10,34) in Mt 27,63, "that impostor has said while he was still alive.
      "AFTER THREE days I will rise again". Here again Matthew appears to avoid
      Mark's cryptic meaning for the sake of his larger audience (including the
      children and simple folk in the audience).

      I have not attempted to rebut these claims largely because I have never fully understood them. You seem to attribute a sophistication to Mark that remains so subtle as to be almost unbelievable, with no explicit confirmation anywhere in Mark of the author's genuine interest in the OT sources you imply he relies on his audience to pick up. Matthew's interest in these very sources, on the other hand, is both explicit and ubiquitous. I think Mark certainly shows independent signs of a knowledge of OT stories, but I am not at all sure that he had a scribe's knowledge of it, or the (somewhat arcane) interests of the apocalyptic scribe that are the hallmark of Matthew. See the wonderful book on the topic by D. Orton.

      Leonard Maluf
      Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
      Weston, MA
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