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[Synoptic-L] The introduction to mark part II

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  • RickR370@aol.com
    Mark 1:3 fwnh bowntov en th erhmw A voice cries out in the desert,              etoimasate thn odon kuriou prepare the way of the Lord euyeias
    Message 1 of 3 , Oct 18, 2004
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      Mark 1:3

      fwnh bowntov en th erhmw
      A voice cries out in the desert,    
              
      etoimasate thn odon kuriou
      prepare the way of the Lord

      euyeias poieite tav tribouv autou
      straight make you (pl) the paths of him

      Mark 1:3 is still part of the introduction to the document, Bownton and  poieite are in the present tense and therefore continue the thought of the writer concerning his compositon that he will send. His is a voice of crying in the desert. To understand the nature of his cry we must look to Isaiah 40 from where the words are drawn.  When we actually move to the Isaiah passage we are moving behind the proswpou of the document, this place behind the mask is the opiso, stripping off the before face so to speak. The opening lines of the prophesy are Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
      2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. Mark's good news like that of Isaiah is that times of refreshing are coming after Jerusalem has been destroyed and the temple raised. First the Babylonians destroyed her and in Mark's lifetime it was the Romans. But the devestation is over.


      In the first line of the Gospel we were directed to the prophesy of Isaiah, in the section above we are guided to the an exact chapter and verse. In Isaiah the passage reads "3 A voice cries:

      'In the wilderness prepare the way of the
      Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God'.


      On the chance that Mark means to say he is in the desert fulfilling the Isaiah professy as he writes, it behoves us to examine this prophesy closely. It is interesting to note that the Qumran community also took a special interest in Isaiah 40 and in the phrase "Prepare the way of the Lord". In the manual of discipline a member of the community after proving himself worthy for two years, would be seperated for an intensive study of the Mosaic Law. The community called this process "preparing the way of the Lord". 

      MT Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

      Spt 1 Comfort, yes, comfort My people, says your God.2 Speak, you priests, to the heart of Jerusalem; comfort her, for her humiliation is accomplished, her sin is put away; for she has received of the Lord's hand double for her sins.3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.

      The context of the passage that Mark has used for his introduction has three very stong implications.

      1 he is writing "good news" that parallels the good news in Isaiah.

      2 he is writing from a place in the desert.

      3 he is writing after the destruction of Jerusalem.

      I suspect that these implicatons are all factual.

      More to come.

    • Esa Hyvönen
      There has recently been some messages, which concern the beginning of Mark, by Rick Richmond. Two of them are included in Digest Number 1026 and Dr. Gibson s
      Message 2 of 3 , Oct 19, 2004
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        There has recently been some messages, which concern the beginning of Mark, by Rick Richmond. Two of them are included in Digest Number 1026 and Dr. Gibson's response to Richmond's earlier statements on the clause KATHWS GEGRAPTAI in Mark 1:2 (See Digest Number 1025). I tend to respond here to them all because they build up Richmond's argument together.
         
        One message contains the following:
         
            Mark 1:3 

            fwnh bowntov en th erhmw 
            A voice of one crying in the desert,     
                 
            etoimasate thn odon kuriou
            prepare the way of the Lord

            euyeias poieite tav tribouv autou
            straight make you (pl) the paths of him

            I neglected to mention that Mark has chosen the Greek Old Testament rendering which is significantly different than the M.T. Text

            M.T. A voice cries, "in the desert prepare ......

            Septuagint and Mark

            a voice of one crying in the desert, prepare...... 

            Mark is both Messenger and voice his action of crying is in the present tense
            and I believe he means to say he is in the desert after the destruction of Jerusalem. I am confident that I can also demonstrate that he
            has access to a substantial library from which he compile his Gospel.
         
        As a response to the above quote, the present tense does not necessarily apply to Mark. In fact, the whole key is Mark's exegesis of the OT which resembles both contemporary Jewish exegesis and the way to cite some particular texts in his cultural environment. As regarding latter, KATHWS GEGRAPTAI is pertinent citation techinique to the NT, Jewish literature and classics. I think this becomes clear in Dr. Gibson's response (also in Digest Number 1026) to Richmond's earlier message. 

        Second, Mark connects the passages he quotes with the keywords to each other and to the text which follows thereafter. Vv. 2 and 3 are connected with THN HODON and vv. 3 and 4 with EN TH ERHMW respectively. There are many such examples where the key word connections make the point in which the author argues from the OT sources. Thus there is no point to identify Mark in the desert after the fall of Jerusalem. The Ockham's razor is sharp in this case; the text connects the promise of Isaiah to John the Baptist with the clause of EN TH ERHMW. The present tense is just included in the quotation sources and might be a sign of editorial fatigue or Mark's respect for his scriptural sources not to change the present tense to correspond the actual past at the moment of his writing.
         
        Finally, in his second message Richmond seeks to prove his point that the Isaiah text applies to Mark in the desert after the fall of Jerusalem rather than to John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus. His argument is based on a similar usage of Isaiah 40 in the DSS wherein "in the desert prepare the way of the Lord" clause is applied to the Qumran settlement and to their practice to study the Mosaic Law in the Manual of Discipline. To make a direct comparison between the DSS and the NT is not recommented without hesitation. We can study similarities in these documents in order to illuminate our interpretation but it does not take away the necessity to exegete each text with their own merits. Mark is straighfoward to identify Isaiah's forthtelling (plus the block quote) with John the Baptist by the means of the above mentioned key word connections. Additionally, the parallel passages in the other two synoptics favor that the Isaiah quote (plus Exodus and Malachi) is applied to John the Baptist in early Christian tradition (cf. Isa 40:3 (LXX); Exod 23:20 (LXX); Mal 3:1 (MT); Matt 3:3, 11:10; Luke 3:4, 7:27). I cannot see that Richmond's argument proves anything.

        All the best,
         
        Esa Hyvönen
         
        ---
        Esa Hyvönen (Th.M.cand, Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven)
        Kappalaisenkatu 5 B 16, 50170 Mikkeli, Finland


        From: owner-synoptic-l@... [mailto:owner-synoptic-l@...] On Behalf Of RickR370@...
        Sent: 18. lokakuuta 2004 17:47
        To: Synoptic-L@...
        Subject: [Synoptic-L] The introduction to mark part II

        Mark 1:3

        fwnh bowntov en th erhmw
        A voice cries out in the desert,    
                
        etoimasate thn odon kuriou
        prepare the way of the Lord

        euyeias poieite tav tribouv autou
        straight make you (pl) the paths of him

        Mark 1:3 is still part of the introduction to the document, Bownton and  poieite are in the present tense and therefore continue the thought of the writer concerning his compositon that he will send. His is a voice of crying in the desert. To understand the nature of his cry we must look to Isaiah 40 from where the words are drawn.  When we actually move to the Isaiah passage we are moving behind the proswpou of the document, this place behind the mask is the opiso, stripping off the before face so to speak. The opening lines of the prophesy are Comfort, comfort my people, says your God.
        2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the Lord's hand double for all her sins. Mark's good news like that of Isaiah is that times of refreshing are coming after Jerusalem has been destroyed and the temple raised. First the Babylonians destroyed her and in Mark's lifetime it was the Romans. But the devestation is over.


        In the first line of the Gospel we were directed to the prophesy of Isaiah, in the section above we are guided to the an exact chapter and verse. In Isaiah the passage reads "3 A voice cries:

        'In the wilderness prepare the way of the
        Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God'.


        On the chance that Mark means to say he is in the desert fulfilling the Isaiah professy as he writes, it behoves us to examine this prophesy closely. It is interesting to note that the Qumran community also took a special interest in Isaiah 40 and in the phrase "Prepare the way of the Lord". In the manual of discipline a member of the community after proving himself worthy for two years, would be seperated for an intensive study of the Mosaic Law. The community called this process "preparing the way of the Lord". 

        MT Isaiah 40:1 Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. 2 Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned, that she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins. 3 A voice cries: "In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

        Spt 1 Comfort, yes, comfort My people, says your God.2 Speak, you priests, to the heart of Jerusalem; comfort her, for her humiliation is accomplished, her sin is put away; for she has received of the Lord's hand double for her sins.3 The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight the paths of our God.

        The context of the passage that Mark has used for his introduction has three very stong implications.

        1 he is writing "good news" that parallels the good news in Isaiah.

        2 he is writing from a place in the desert.

        3 he is writing after the destruction of Jerusalem.

        I suspect that these implicatons are all factual.

        More to come.

      • Esa Hyvönen
        Dear Rich, Why did you send your ON-LIST responses on my name as a topic for the discussion Response to Esa Hyvonen , though the original discussion was under
        Message 3 of 3 , Oct 21, 2004
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          Dear Rich,
           
          Why did you send your ON-LIST responses on my name as a topic for the discussion "Response to Esa Hyvonen", though the original discussion was under the topic "The introduction to mark part II" which was open to a wider public? Thus I will return to the original format of this discussion and hope you will not go around the protocol again. If you wish to respond to me in private, it should not be posted publicly.
           
          --------
          Richmond writes:
           
           Esa Hyvönen writes:

           As a response to the above quote, the present tense does not necessarily apply to Mark. In fact, the whole key is Mark's exegesis of the   OT   which resembles both contemporary Jewish exegesis and the way to cite some particular texts in his cultural environment.

          Response: Qumran is about as current to Mark as we can get.

          Response: To say a thing is not necessarily so is not the same as saying it is not so or it cannot be. I have confidence that the things I present here by way of moving through the text and offering this fresh translation will stand on their own merit. Nevertheless, I am certain this list encourages good debate so let the process go on. 
          ---- 
           
          Please don't take my original message to say different than it did. My point was the Markan author's keyword method connects the OT quotes in Mark 1:2-3 to John the Baptist in the wilderness, not to a writer of the gospel in the wilderness. Qumran is contemporary to Mark but it does not mean that Mark interprets the Isaiah passage precisely the same way as the Qumranians do.
           
           
          --------- 
          Richmond writes:
           
          Hyvönen: Mark's exegesis of the OT which resembles both contemporary Jewish exegesis and the way to cite some particular texts in his cultural environment.

          Response: This is an interesting comment on Marks exegesis of the OT. I would be interested in hearing the your interpretation of Mark's understanding of the Old Testament. 
           -------
           
          Please, see my above response.
           
          ------- 
          My position is that Mark understands Isaiah 40 as a prophetic passage relating to the Destruction of Jerusalem: First by the Babylonians and More importantly by Titus in 70 CE  That the text of Isaiah has the former destruction as it focus us all but uncontested. That Mark sees in this passage a parallel between the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians and the Siege under Titus, is the issue at hand. I maintain that he does see it so, not just on the strength of the first line but several other points in the text. Let me suggest that the following verses from Mark twelve is even more convincing evidence.
          ------- 
           
          I thought that you argued with Mark 1:2-3 for the Markan writer in the wilderness after the destruction of Jerusalem. Was that not your original message about the beginning of Mark and the occasion it was written?
           
           --------- 
          "A man planted a vineyard, and set a hedge around it, and dug a pit for the wine press, and built a tower, and let it out to tenants, and went into another country. 2 When the time came, he sent a servant to the tenants, to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 And they took him and beat him, and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Again he sent to them another servant, and they wounded him in the head, and treated him shamefully. 5 And he sent another, and him they killed; and so with many others, some they beat and some they killed. 6 He had still one other, a beloved son;

          finally he sent him to them, saying, `They will respect my son.' 7 But those tenants said to one another, `This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' 8 And they took him and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the tenants, and give the vineyard to others.

          Sounds like the destruction of Jerusalem to me. 
           
          I think it is accurate to say that Mark is presenting his exegesis of Isaiah 40 as he writes his Gospel. I will continue to demonstrate how and where the compiler of Mark interprets the Old Testament as I present my translation.
          ----- 
           
          Why did you cut your quotation in v. 9? V. 12 tells plainly that the parable was understood by the Markan author to refer to the Jerusalem aristocracy such as the high priests, scribes and elders (cf. 11:27). This is not directly about the destruction of Jerusalem but the authority of the Jerusalem aristocracy is challenged here as a response to their challenge to Jesus' authority (11:27-33).
           
          The rest of your response repeats our previous discussion; so I do not take time to repeat myself.
           
          Best regards,
           
          Esa Hyvönen
           
           

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