Friday, February 18, 2005

The Chiasm in Mark 12: Mark points a finger at Paul

The Chiasm in Mark 12:10-37: Mark points a finger at Paul

Introduction
In this essay I will first construct a chiasm that provides persuasive evidence that the writer of Mark knew and used the writings of Paul. A second structure, draped across this chiasm, may provide evidence that the writer of Mark thought of, or perhaps intended others to think, that the writings of Paul were scripture. The second part of this essay explores some of the fallout for the Gospel of Mark, early Christian history, and historical methodology, from connecting Mark to Paul.

The structure of this chiasm is based on a model of Markan chiasms that I am currently developing and preparing for publication. Markan chiasms differ from other types known in antiquity. Whereas most proposed chiastic structures in antiquity roll out and roll back in simple repetitive structures ABC-C'B'A', in general Markan chiasms are characterized by simple exterior structures that bracket complex interior structures. These interior structures, often, though not always, signaled by the presence of keywords, vary from chiasm to chiasm. The great variety of interior structures of Markan chiasms is one of the reasons they have not received the kind of attention they deserve, for they are difficult to spot. In addition, traditional versification and pericoping frequently mask or destroy chiastic structures in Mark.

1. Delineating the Chiasm in Mark 12:10-37

Mark 12 opens with the Parable of the Tenants. Four pericopes then follow:

Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar
Mk 12:18-27 Sadduccees ask about marriage after resurrection
Mk 12:28-34 Which is greatest commandment?
Mk 12:35-44 A poor widow gives everything to Temple

The traditional pericoping masks another structure. Its basic framework looks like this:

Mk 12:10-11 Jesus is the Cornerstone

Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's
Mk 12:18-23 Sadduccees deny resurrection
Mk 12:25-27 Discussion of What Bodies will be like in Heaven
Mk 12:28-34 Commandment to Love
Mk 12:35-37 How can the Lord be the Son of David?

For the moment we will ignore 12:24 and the related verses. They will be returned to this structure later. Let us now take a look at what brackets this section from 12:13 to 12:34

Mk 12:10-11 Citation of Psalm 118
Mk 12:12 They feared to arrest him

Mk 12:35-7 Citation of Psalm 110 "why do scribes say....???"
Mk 12:38 'Ware the scribes!.

Note that here we have two Psalm quotations followed by commentary about those who want to kill Jesus. Psalms 118 and 110 both relate to Simon Maccabaeus, the great Jewish leader. Psalm 118 celebrates Simon's entry into Jerusalem, while Psalm 110, the most widely cited scripture text in the New Testament, contains his name as an acrostic in Hebrew. The two Psalm quotes with related themes linked to the enemies of Jesus seem to function as A-A’ brackets for a chiasm:

Table 1.
A 12:10-11 Citation of Psalm 118 and warning that they want to kill Jesus
B 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's
C 12:18-23 Sadduccees deny resurrection
C' 12:25-27 Discussion of What Bodies will be like in Heaven
B' 12:28-34 Commandment to Love
A' 12:25-37 Citation of Psalm 110 and warning to beware of scribes

At first glance none of the parts, except for the brackets, appear to have an obvious relationship. "Render Unto Caesar" doesn’t really work as either a complement or an opposition to "Commandment to Love." Nor does a denial of the Resurrection appear to have much of a connection to a discussion of what bodies will be like in Heaven.

Among the many parallels between Mark and Paul noted by Donahue and Harrington (2002:40) is that just as in Romans 13:1-7 and 13:8-10, in Mark 12:13-17 and 12:28-34, a command to love follows an injunction to obey the governing authorities. Table 2 shows what results when we plug that insight into our chiasm.

Table 2.
A Mk 12:10-11 Citation of Psalm 118 and warning that the scribes want to kill Jesus)
B Romans 13:1-7 Obey your government = (Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's)
C Mk 12:18-23 Sadduccees deny resurrection
C' Mk 12:25-27 Like Angels in Heaven
B' Romans 13:8-10 (Love is fulfillment of the Law) = (Mk 12:28-34 Commandment to Love)
A' Mk 12:35-7 Citation of Psalm 110 and warning to beware of scribes

As Table 2 shows, the two parallel passages from Romans 13 fall neatly into the B-B’ bracket of the chiasm. Is there another passage from Paul that parallels the C-C’ bracket?

There is. Mark 12:25-27 has the same theme as 1 Cor 15:35-50, a discussion of what bodies will be like in heaven. Further, just prior to that in 1 Cor 15, there is a discussion of those who deny the Resurrection -- just like the Sadduccees, whom the writer of Mark explicitly avers deny the Resurrection (note that of Jesus' opponents in Mark only the Sadduccees get such an explicit description of their beliefs, yet they only appear once). That gives us two blocks of material here that relate Mark and Paul. The table below displays the result of inserting the parallels from 1 Cor 15:

Table 3.
A Mk 12:10-11 Citation of Psalm 118 and warning that the scribes want to kill Jesus
B Romans 13:1-7 Obey your government = (Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's)
C 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 (What if there is no resurrection?) = (Mk 12:18-23 Sadduccee denial)
C' 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 (What is the resurrection body like?) = (Mk 12:25-27 Like Angels in Heaven)
B' Romans 13:8-10 (Love is fulfillment of the Law) = (Mk 12:28-34 Commandment to Love)
A' Mk 12:35-7 Citation of Psalm 110 and warning to beware of scribes

The B-B’ and C-C’ brackets form neat parallels to the Pauline epistles. Further, if we return to 1 Corinthians 15, we find that there is the same citation of Psalm 110 that the writer of Mark uses. Further, it is located in 1 Cor 15:25-6, right between the two blocs of material that the writer of Mark is echoing. This yields:

Table 4.
A Mk 12:10-11 Citation of Psalm 118 and warning that the scribes want to kill Jesus
B Romans 13:1-7 Obey your government = (Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's)
C 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 (What if there is no resurrection?) = (Mk 12:18-23 Sadduccees denial)
C' 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 (What is the resurrection body like?) = (Mk 12:25-27 Like Angels)
B' Romans 13:8-10 (Love is fulfillment of the Law) = (Mk 12:28-34 Commandment to Love)
A' 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 cites same passage from Psalm 110 as Mk 12:35-7

All that is needed to complete the chiasm is a citation of Psalm 118 in Romans. Sure enough, there is one in Romans 8 (recall that there were probably no chapter divisions in the letters that the writer of Mark used). Thus, our complete chiasm is:

Table 5.
A Romans 8:31 cites Psalm 118:6 Mk 12:10-11 Citation of Psalm 118 and warning
B Romans 13:1-7 Obey your government = (Mk 12:13-17 Render unto Caesar)
C 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 (What if there is no resurrection?) = (Mk 12:18-23 Sadduccees denial)
C' 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 (What is the resurrection body like?) = (Mk 12:25-27 Like Angels)
B' Romans 13:8-10 (Love is fulfillment of the Law) = (Mk 12:28-34 Commandment to Love)
A' 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 cites same passage from Psalm 110 as Mk 12:35-7

Or, in simplified form:

A: Romans 8
B: Romans 13
C: 1 Corinthians 15
C': 1 Corinthians 15
B': Romans 13
A': 1 Corinthians 15

If we return to the dispute that centers around Mark 12:24, we can construct an ABB’A’ chiasm that I believe is typical of the interior of Markan chiasms.

A Chreia A: Whose wife is she, anyway? (Setting)
B Mk 12:24: Jesus says you don't know the Scriptures and God's Power
B' Jesus says the dead are raised, and cites Scriptures: "I am the God of ..... Jacob"
A' Chreia A': You fools! He's the God of the living, not the Dead! (response)

The A-A’ bracket provides the setting and response of the chreia. Mark 12:24 is actually two opposed ideas; here the versification obscures the way the writer of Mark composed the interior of the chiasm. Note that the B-B’ structure is actually a miniature ABB’A’ structure, in which the first half offers the Scriptures and God’s Power, while the second half provides an example of each, respectively raising the dead (B’), and a citation of scripture (A’):

B Mk 12:24: Jesus says you don't know the Scriptures and God's Power
B' Jesus says the dead are raised, and cites Scriptures: "I am the God of Abraham....of Jacob"

The entire chiasm, assembled, is the most complex one in the Gospel of Mark. The table below depicts the entire construction:

Table 6.
A Romans 8:31 = Mk 12:10-11
B Romans 13:1-7 = Mk 12:13-17
C 1 Corinthians 15:12-14 = Mk 12:18-23
D-A Chreia A: Whose wife is she, anyway? (Setting)
D-B Mk 12:24: Jesus says you don't know the Scriptures and God's Power
C' 1 Corinthians 15:35-50 = Mk 12:25-27
D'-B' Jesus says the dead are raised, and cites Scriptures:
D'-A' Chreia A': You fools! He's the God of the living, not the Dead! (response)
B' Romans 13:8-10 = Mk 12:28-34
A' 1 Corinthians 15:25-26 = Mk 12:35-7

The writer has constructed a variation on his usual pattern of complex interiors, with a CD-CD pattern that contains his typical ABB’A’ structure, in this case interpolated between the C-C’ brackets.

The heart of this structure, however, is the arrangement of Pauline parallels. It is difficult, at least for this writer, to look at those parallels and not conclude that the writer of Mark directly knew and used at least some of the writings of Paul.

However, if the foregoing chiasm was insufficient to persuade, Mark 12:10-37 contains another structure that may clarify the writer’s intention of how these parallels were to be understood. In this other structure in Mark 12:10-37 the writer appears to emphasize the importance of the theme of "scripture." The fact is that this chiasm is draped over a ping-pong match about scripture between Jesus and various discussants. Consider the following:

(Jesus) 12:10: Have you not read this scripture:
(Discussant) 12:19: "Teacher, Moses wrote:
(Jesus) 12:24: Jesus said to them, "Is not this why you are wrong, that you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God?

(Jesus) 12:26: And as for the dead being raised, have you not read in the book of Moses
(Discussant) 12:28: And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, "Which commandment is the first of all?"
(Jesus) 12:35: And as Jesus taught in the temple, he said, "How can the scribes say that the Christ is the son of David? 36: David himself, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declared,

Observe how Jesus' actions and Markan keywords structure this sequence. Jesus cites Scripture and identifies it four times. Each time when Jesus names and cites Scripture, his remarks are sandwiching something about scripture being asked or quoted at him by someone else. The keywords that tie together the sequence are clear even in the English translation: scribe, writing, and scripture are keywords throughout the sequence. And yet, in the parallels that underlie this, the scripture being cited is Paul. The writer has also dropped another broad hint: this sequence is the first time in the Gospel that the word scripture appears. And there it is, on Jesus' lips, citing a "scripture" that occurs in both Paul and Mark, in a section which consists of discussions of what scripture says, filled with parallels to Pauline thought. The entire passage seems to indicate that the writer of Mark not only directly used Paul, but regarded Paul as scripture.

2. Implications

A. Local Structural Features
At the level of narrative composition, the chiasm in 12:10-37 may explain why the Sadduccees appear here, and only here, in the Gospel of Mark. Their most conspicuous trait is a disbelief in the Resurrection, as the writer of Mark explicitly reminds us at the beginning of the pericope. Because of this, they make convenient foils for a discussion on denial of the Resurrection.

B. Explaining Some Features of the Gospel of Mark
The writer's familiarity with the Pauline scriptures explains many puzzling features of the Gospel of Mark, as well as accounts for certain pieces of "historical" knowledge.

1. Markan use of Paul may also explain what the writer meant when he has Jesus exclaim “Let the Scriptures be fulfilled!” without any apparent reference to the Old Testament (Mk 14:49), or when Jesus makes his Passion Predictions with the implied reference to scripture that cannot be readily identified. In that case, he most likely means Paul, which apparently functioned as scripture for him.

2. Many historical features of Mark may be attributed to the writer's use of Paul.

A. Jesus was designated, not born, the Son of God
Philippians 2:6-11
B. Jesus was of Davidic Descent
Romans 1:3
C. Jesus was handed over (betrayed)
1 Cor 11:23
D. Importance of Peter, James and John
Galatians 2:9
E. Pharisees hate Jesus
Philippians 3:5-6
F. Peter = Cephas
Several places in the Paulines, including 1 Cor 9:5 in some manuscripts
G. Peter is married and has a mother-in-law
1 Cor 9: 5
H. Abba, Father
Galatians 4:6
I. Divorce in Mark 10:12
1 Cor 7
J. Last Supper
1 Cor 11:23-5
H. Jesus Raised on the Third Day
1 Cor 15:4

3. It is widely argued that the Gospel of Mark is about discipleship, and that an important aspect of it is imitating Jesus. "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." A possible source for this would be 1 Cor 4:15-6, where Paul writes: "Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel. Therefore I urge you to imitate me." Similarly, "Food" and "eating" as a metaphor for the message of Jesus and its reception may stem ultimately from 1 Cor 10:1-4, where Paul writes: "I want you to know, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea, and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, and all ate the same supernatural food and all drank the same supernatural drink. For they drank from the supernatural Rock which followed them, and the Rock was Christ." The term "seed" is used as a metaphor for teaching and the message of God several times in 1 Cor and once in 2 Cor.

4. The writer of Mark's knowledge of Paul would also explain why the Crucifixion scene, as Crossan and others have pointed out, appears to be a complete fiction. While Paul lays great emphasis on the Crucifixion of Jesus, he never gives any details of the event. Paul's lack of detail compelled the writer of Mark to invent the Crucifixion scene from the Old Testament through his usual "midrashic" techniques. Similarly, the writer of Mark ignores Jesus' early life because Paul does.

5. Peter in Mark: the writer's attitude toward Peter is puzzling on its face. While he attributes narrative prominence to Peter, and by implication, historical prominence, he does not appear to know of the story that Peter was the first pope. Hence, nowhere in Mark is a prominent leadership position for Peter alluded to. This may indicate an earlier date for Mark, prior to the development of that legend. However, looking at the issue through the lens of Mark's connection to Paul, it seems plausible that the writer of Mark does not attribute formal status to Peter because Paul does not either. Further, Mark's negative attitude toward the leadership in Jerusalem may also be explained by Paul's attacks on them.

6. Mark 13:9-11 says:

9: "But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them. 10: And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11: And when they bring you to trial and deliver you up, do not be anxious beforehand what you are to say; but say whatever is given you in that hour, for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.

while 13:21-22 add:

21: And then if any one says to you, `Look, here is the Christ!' or `Look, there he is!' do not believe it. 22: False Christs and false prophets will arise and show signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

Could these passages have the stories told in Paul's epistles in mind?

7. More speculatively, I do not believe in Q. A few of the Mark-Q overlaps, for example, the pronouncements on divorce, the reliance on the holy spirit to speak through the believer in a trial, the "sign" remarks, taking up one's cross, the mustard seed (to "seed" metaphors in 1 Cor) seem traceable ultimately to Paul through Mark, providing additional arguments against Q.

C. Implications for Historical Methodology

A commonly-used criterion in historical Jesus studies is that of multiple attestation. It can no longer be regarded as valid where it involves relationships between Paul and the Synoptics.

Similarly, the putative but flimsily-supported oral tradition is no longer needed to explain the writer of Mark's knowledge of the early days of the Christian movement. Under this view, he sources everything about it from Paul, or invents it from older Jewish literature.

This also puts to rest the claim of Papias, currently held largely by conservatives, that the source of the Gospel of Mark was Peter. It was clearly not.

Finally, the idea of Mark as a Pauline gospel also raises another issue: which gospel did Marcion really have? The Patristic fathers indicate that it was a version of the Gospel of Luke. However, the writer of Mark apparently considered the Pauline letters to be scripture, a trait he had in common with Marcion.

To view this chiasm more clearly than this format permits, please see the slightly shorter version of this in my Mark commentary.

10 comments:

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael:

First, I think you should watch your style: you look really hateful and demented and one-sided and agenda-driven, to say the least. Very repulsive. Except for a few who love anything which "prove" that everything was invented about Christianity's beginning.

Second, for the record, I always thought "Mark" knew Paul's letters, for sure 1/2 Corinthians, Romans & 1Thessalonians. Also Hebrews. That shows in several of my pages. And he was inspired by them and also felt he had to "historialyse" part of them, more so the ones dealing with a human Jesus. But that would not cover the whole gospel by far, knowing that little in these epistles can be attributed to an earthly man.

Your chiasm does not concern me because I reject that part of GMark as having any authenticity.
Can you give me a list of the verses of GMark which are chiasmic in your view?

I'll go over one of your list, with my comments:

A. Jesus was designated, not born, the Son of God
Philippians 2:6-11

BM: I think that belief was still fairly common around 70 and way beyond that, and Paul himself started to say the same, and then adopted the pre-existence of Jesus, and then Jesus as the Son.
Philippians 2:6-11 is a good example of Paul's earlier thoughts on the matter.

B. Jesus was of Davidic Descent
Romans 1:3

BM: Actually, "Mark" did not agree with Paul on that matter. See Mk12:35-37

C. Jesus was handed over (betrayed)
1 Cor 11:23

BM: "delivered" is a neutral translation. Paul might not have meant "betrayed". Who do you think delivered Jesus, according to Paul?
Now how can you argue that Paul and "Mark" not know some common source (such as Peter/Cephas). Can you demonstrate "Mark" had to get "delivered" from Paul and not from somebody else, with other important infos, like from whom to whom?

D. Importance of Peter, James and John
Galatians 2:9

BM: I am not sure "Mark" knew about Galatians. And how do you explain "Mark" has also Andrew, Peter/Cephas' brother, with the threesome many times in his gospel? Andrew is not in the Pauline letters. Also the "James" of Galatians is not, according to Acts, the same as the ones in GMark, at least the one who is the most prominent in it. That James is John's brother. Of course you reject Acts as having any authenticity, but that's your problem. But now you have to explain why "Mark" then created a James as John's brother when that relationship is not in the Pauline Corpus. Except if "brother of the Lord" means "brother of John" for you.

E. Pharisees hate Jesus
Philippians 3:5-6

BM: Well, for me, the whole thing about Jesus and Pharisee/teacher_of_the_law, is not historical and likely invented by "Mark".

F. Peter = Cephas
Several places in the Paulines, including 1 Cor 9:5 in some manuscripts

BM: It has been attempts to replace 'Cephas' by 'Peter' in the Pauline epistles but in our earliest manuscripts (4th/5th century), it is most of the times 'Cephas' showing and not 'Peter', for each occurrence of 'Cephas'/'Peter'. It looks Paul was going with 'Cephas' all the way.
There are two exceptions in Galatians, but the small passage (2:7-8) is most likely an interpolation. I mention that on my page on 'Ignatius' and give a website as reference.

G. Peter is married and has a mother-in-law
1 Cor 9: 5

BM: Cephas appears married here but no mention of mother-in-law living in Peter's house in Capernaum etc. You do not need much about "evidence" of copying, don't you?

H. Abba, Father
Galatians 4:6

BM: Why would Paul use Aramaic in his letter?

I. Divorce in Mark 10:12
1 Cor 7

BM: I agree on that one.

J. Last Supper
1 Cor 11:23-5

BN: I agree on that one, also.

H. Jesus Raised on the Third Day
1 Cor 15:4

BM: I showed in one of my page that the whole of 15:3-11 is an interpolation. Anyway "the third day" does not appear in GMark, just "after three days". GMatthew and GLuke have "the third day".

You wrote:
"I do not believe in Q. A few of the Mark-Q overlaps, for example, the pronouncements on divorce, the reliance on the holy spirit to speak through the believer in a trial, the "sign" remarks, taking up one's cross, the mustard seed (to "seed" metaphors in 1 Cor) seem traceable ultimately to Paul through Mark, providing additional arguments against Q."

BM: I believe in Q, but that does not imply that most of it was compiled before GMark. On the contrary. Q owes a lot from GMark and sometimes directly from Paul but does not have to come from GMatthew. You may be confusing issue here.

BM: You will have a very hard case to prove that the whole of GMark comes from either Paul or the OT and nothing else.
Hmm, so Marcion wrote his gospel from GMark now!
A new theory is born.

Bernard

Michael Turton said...

Thank you for your comments. I've left off responses to

First, I think you should watch your style: you look really hateful and demented and one-sided and agenda-driven, to say the least. Very repulsive. Except for a few who love anything which "prove" that everything was invented about Christianity's beginning.What exactly about my style would you say looks "hateful and demented"? Feel free to identify specific comments. I will be happy to change them. But from my vantage point it I can't see anything that looks agenda-driven or hateful, so perhaps it's all in your head, not mine.

Second, for the record, I always thought "Mark" knew Paul's letters, for sure 1/2 Corinthians, Romans & 1Thessalonians. Also Hebrews. I haven't found any affinities to 1 Thess. What did you identify? On Hebrews I have the same suspicion, but haven't been able to uncover any hard evidence.

Your chiasm does not concern me because I reject that part of GMark as having any authenticity.
Can you give me a list of the verses of GMark which are chiasmic in your view?
Let's see. Definitely..

2:1-13.
3:20-32
6:1-6
7:1-23
15:20-39
12:10-37

I also have strong suspicions about 7:24-30 and several others, but I haven't worked out the specific chiasms yet. Larger sections are probably chiasmic, but they are harder to demonstrate. Several scholars, like Dart (_Decoding Mark_) have argued the whole thing is a chiasm, which is probably right, but I have not explored that in any detail. I have tried constructing my own for the whole gospel, but it fails in the center. Therefore I suspect that either it is another highly complex chiasm, or else there's been some pretty serious re-arrangement of the material.

If you email me I'll send you a draft of the paper I am working up. I haven't put in the footnotes yet, nor expanded the discussion properly. But the ideas are laid out clearly.

: A. Jesus was designated, not born, the Son of God
Philippians 2:6-11

BM: I think that belief was still fairly common around 70 and way beyond that, and Paul himself started to say the same, and then adopted the pre-existence of Jesus, and then Jesus as the Son. Philippians 2:6-11 is a good example of Paul's earlier thoughts on the matter.
Agreed.

B. Jesus was of Davidic Descent
Romans 1:3

BM: Actually, "Mark" did not agree with Paul on that matter. See Mk12:35-37
Even if the writer of Mark did not agree with this claim does not mean he didn't source it from there. Second, there are many ways to read the citation there, as I pointed out to you before. Fletcher-Louis writes: ""...Mark 12:35-7 is Jesus' thinly-veiled public statement on the question of Israel's God-intended eschatological constitution: the nation should, and will, be led by one who is both king and priest." Tolbert (1989, p249) interprets this as Jesus clarifying his status: it is fine to say Jesus' is David's son, so long as one remembers that he is also his lord. The witty chreia-like structure of the opening verses is also evident. The Messiah is David's son? But how can that be, when David himself calls him Lord? Donahue and Harrington note "Taken by itself, it is a proclamation of the lordship of Jesus."

C. Jesus was handed over (betrayed)
1 Cor 11:23

BM: "delivered" is a neutral translation. Paul might not have meant "betrayed". Who do you think delivered Jesus, according to Paul?
No idea. Don't care either.

Now how can you argue that Paul and "Mark" not know some common source (such as Peter/Cephas). Can you demonstrate "Mark" had to get "delivered" from Paul and not from somebody else, with other important infos, like from whom to whom?This is faulty logic. I am NOT demonstrating that Mark got no information from a common source. Rather, I am demonstrating where he did get at least some information: Paul. Once you couple Paul with Mark's other identifiable sources for his "historical" data, it is clear there is no need to rely on Peter as a source. However, that does not mean he did not get any information from Peter! That negative cannot be proven (you can't prove he didn't get information from space aliens either). You are proposing a logical fallacy. It is up to you to show, with positive evidence, that Mark got information from Peter.What you need, in other words, is text-based information that shows Mark sourced information from Peter. Since Peter left no writings, I do not know how you will be able to demonstrate that. As it stands, Mark is clearly a Pauline text that has no discernable connection to Peter.

D. Importance of Peter, James and John
Galatians 2:9

BM: I am not sure "Mark" knew about Galatians. And how do you explain "Mark" has also Andrew, Peter/Cephas' brother, with the threesome many times in his gospel? Andrew is not in the Pauline letters. Also the "James" of Galatians is not, according to Acts, the same as the ones in GMark, at least the one who is the most prominent in it. That James is John's brother. Of course you reject Acts as having any authenticity, but that's your problem. But now you have to explain why "Mark" then created a James as John's brother when that relationship is not in the Pauline Corpus. Except if "brother of the Lord" means "brother of John" for you.
I am pretty sure Mark knew Galatians. In my view his main Pauline sources were 1 Cor, Galatians, Romans, and much less, Philippians. Again you propose a logical fallacy. Taking your points in order (1) I have no explanation for why Mark placed Andrew with James, John, and Peter. I do know where the latter three come from: Paul. Most likely Andrew is an invention. Logically, Bernard, not being able to explain Andrew has nothing to with the origin of the names and prominence of John, James, and Peter. (2) Acts is a second century romantic fantasy and what it says about James is worthless as historical data. (3) Explaing James as John's brother is easy and there are several possible routes. But I am not explaining the relationships Mark posits, Bernard, just the source of the name.

F. Peter = Cephas
Several places in the Paulines, including 1 Cor 9:5 in some manuscripts

BM: It has been attempts to replace 'Cephas' by 'Peter' in the Pauline epistles but in our earliest manuscripts (4th/5th century), it is most of the times 'Cephas' showing and not 'Peter', for each occurrence of 'Cephas'/'Peter'. It looks Paul was going with 'Cephas' all the way. There are two exceptions in Galatians, but the small passage (2:7-8) is most likely an interpolation. I mention that on my page on 'Ignatius' and give a website as reference.
I agree, this one is textually shaky. But I put it in for completeness. Mark actually has his own reasons for Peter; he's the rocky ground of the Parable of the Sower.

G. Peter is married and has a mother-in-law
1 Cor 9: 5

BM: Cephas appears married here but no mention of mother-in-law living in Peter's house in Capernaum etc. You do not need much about "evidence" of copying, don't you?
Hey, you're right! There's no mention of a mother-in-law living in Peter's house in Capernaum. That's probably why I didn't source that fact from Paul! -- just the mention of the mother-in-law ;)

H. Abba, Father
Galatians 4:6

BM: Why would Paul use Aramaic in his letter?
Who cares? We're talking about the source of Mark's use of that term! In the NT Abba is used three times -- Romans, Galations and Mark. There's that strange coincidence of names. Not only is ABBA used, but in each case it is then defined. Strange coincidence, eh?

H. Jesus Raised on the Third Day
1 Cor 15:4

BM: I showed in one of my page that the whole of 15:3-11 is an interpolation. Anyway "the third day" does not appear in GMark, just "after three days". GMatthew and GLuke have "the third day".
I am still undecided on whether that is an interpolation. There is an alternate source for the three day claim, so it might well be interpolated in Paul. Thanks for the correction on Mark.

BM: I believe in Q, but that does not imply that most of it was compiled before GMark. On the contrary. Q owes a lot from GMark and sometimes directly from Paul but does not have to come from GMatthew. You may be confusing issue here.Possibly! Q was definitely compiled prior to GMark, as it is mostly Cynic in origin, especially in its earliest layers. But parts of it depend on Mark, as I think you also argued. We even identified the same one, the Beelzebub reference, as a tell-tale.

BM: You will have a very hard case to prove that the whole of GMark comes from either Paul or the OT and nothing else.Then it's lucky I didn't make that claim, eh?

Hmm, so Marcion wrote his gospel from GMark now! A new theory is born.An old one actually. Klaus Schilling had posted a summary of a German scholar who hit upon that solution too, but I have forgotten his name.

Michael

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael:

You wrote: "Second, for the record, I always thought "Mark" knew Paul's letters, for sure 1/2 Corinthians, Romans & 1Thessalonians. Also Hebrews. I haven't found any affinities to 1 Thess. What did you identify? On Hebrews I have the same suspicion, but haven't been able to uncover any hard evidence."

BM: 1Th4:15-17 => Mk13:26-27
Heb5:4b => Mk1:11
Heb2:18 => Mk1:13
Heb5:7 => Mk 14:35-36

MT: Fletcher-Louis writes: ""...Mark 12:35-7 is Jesus' thinly-veiled public statement on the question of Israel's God-intended eschatological constitution: the nation should, and will, be led by one who is both king and priest." Tolbert (1989, p249) interprets this as Jesus clarifying his status: it is fine to say Jesus' is David's son, so long as one remembers that he is also his lord. The witty chreia-like structure of the opening verses is also evident. The Messiah is David's son? But how can that be, when David himself calls him Lord? Donahue and Harrington note "Taken by itself, it is a proclamation of the lordship of Jesus.""

BM: Despite their efforts, that cannot cancel the conclusion:
Mk12:37 Darby "David himself [therefore] calls him Lord, and whence is he his son? And the mass of the people heard him gladly."

That comes to answer the question:
Mk12:35 Darby "And Jesus answering said [as he was] teaching in the temple, How do the scribes say that the Christ is son of David?"

One needs a twisted (or apologetic) mind to conclude "Mark" approved of Jesus as son of David.

MT: "Q was definitely compiled prior to GMark, as it is mostly Cynic in origin, especially in its earliest layers."

BM: Why to you think the alleged cynicism in Q makes the so-called cynic parts earlier than GMark?
Cynicism was a lot more popular at the end of the 1st century than earlier (as around 50).

Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael

You wrote:
"I am NOT demonstrating that Mark got no information from a common source. Rather, I am demonstrating where he did get at least some information: Paul. Once you couple Paul with Mark's other identifiable sources for his "historical" data, it is clear there is no need to rely on Peter as a source. However, that does not mean he did not get any information from Peter!"

BM: you are very ambiguous here. It looks to me your methodology is: if I cannot find anything even remotely connected to the Pauline Corpus, or the OT, or 1/2/3 Macc., or etc., etc., then it is possible "Mark" got some infos from Peter (or an alien!). But if you still entertain that Peter, sometimes, would be a source for "Mark", why wouldn't it be then his primary source even when some "parallels" (often dubious & weak) appear in Paul's letters or somewhere else?
Please, I do not say a lot of the content of GMark comes from Peter, but that cannot be eliminated. Actually, the simplest way is to admit that some content of GMark, niblets of it (with embellishments and distortions), comes from an eyewitness. That's the simplest way to account for a small portion of the content of GMark, from trivial/anecdotal bits to mysteries such as about the Messianic secret.

MT: "It is up to you to show, with positive evidence, that Mark got information from Peter.What you need, in other words, is text-based information that shows Mark sourced information from Peter. Since Peter left no writings, I do not know how you will be able to demonstrate that. As it stands, Mark is clearly a Pauline text that has no discernable connection to Peter."

BM: It is up to you to demonstrate that nothing in GMark came from an eyewitness, and with positive evidence. On my website, I showed that in many cases, "Mark" reacted against the lack of testimony from eyewitness(es) on almost all core Christian beliefs (such as resurrection(s) and a Christian view of the Passion and Jesus as Christ) and Markan highly important(theologically or Christologically) fictional tales (such as the transfiguration and the miraculous feedings). And can you connect all of GMark to the Pauline Corpus, really?

You wrote:
"Mark actually has his own reasons for Peter; he's the rocky ground of the Parable of the Sower."

BM: That's rather far-fetched. But assuming you are right, why would "Mark" have Peter, his main follower, as a dead loss (and handpicked!). Except, of course, Peter's testimony was an obstacle to "Mark"' very Christian beliefs and his picture of the god-man on earth.

You wrote: "Acts is a second century romantic fantasy"

BM: Can you demonstrate that all of Acts is a 2nd century fantaisy?
More so that, in the 2nd century, Christian writers (Aristides, the interpolator of the ending of GMark, etc.) started to claim the disciples went preaching in the whole word after the alleged resurrection. But in Acts, they stay in Jerusalem and do not go (for only Peter & John) farther than Cesarea & Samaria.

Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,

You wrote:
"What you need, in other words, is text-based information that shows Mark sourced information from Peter. Since Peter left no writings, I do not know how you will be able to demonstrate that."

BM: Do not set the rules for me!
Peter, like other "apostles" (and Paul himself) in Paul's times, were communicating to their audience by the spoken word. Even at the very end of the 1st or the beginning of the 2nd century, that's what Papias trusted, rather than writings.
Paul said there were apostles before and during his preaching but we have no writing from them. Paul did write during his preaching years for the following reasons, as gathered from within his own Corpus:
1) Keep control on all the Christian communities he created around the Aegean sea. Because traveling was time-consuming & dangerous, Paul could not be everywhere at once. The best for him, in order to deal with issues, crise, problems, disbeliefs and the competition was to write letters. (for 'Romans', his aim was to prepare the ground for his planned visit)
2) Paul was a very poor public speaker and uncharismatic but his letters were deemed powerful.

What about the others? Either for whatever reasons (like being theologically/christologically poor), the letters (if ever written) were not preserved. Or they had no need or interest to write anything. Or they relied on their rhetorical skills on the spot. Whatever.

However, assuming because Peter or others did not write, or no writings were preserved from them, they did not have any influence or, indirectly, some input in either GMark or Q, is very narrow minded.
A lot of important people (even philosopher) in antiquity either never wrote anything or their writings got lost. One example is Socrates. We do not have any writings from quite a few Roman emperors also.

Personally, I think Peter never wrote. That does not mean he did not say anything and his spoken words could not be remembered. Actually, I am certain that Cephas visiting Corinth caused many problems for Paul, which he addressed at the beginning of 1Corinthians.

Bernard

Michael Turton said...

***********
BM: 1Th4:15-17 => Mk13:26-27
Heb5:4b => Mk1:11
Heb2:18 => Mk1:13
Heb5:7 => Mk 14:35-36
************


Hey thanks! I definitely need to explore this.


********
MT: Donahue and Harrington note "Taken by itself, it is a proclamation of the lordship of Jesus.""

BM: Despite their efforts, that cannot cancel the conclusion:
Mk12:37 Darby "David himself [therefore] calls him Lord, and whence is he his son? And the mass of the people heard him gladly."

That comes to answer the question:
Mk12:35 Darby "And Jesus answering said [as he was] teaching in the temple, How do the scribes say that the Christ is son of David?"

One needs a twisted (or apologetic) mind to conclude "Mark" approved of Jesus as son of David.
*************


No, one simply needs to realize what Psalm 110 is -- the only one in the whole OT that postulates the messiah as Warrior King and High priest, and among the most important texts for nascent Christianity. And then realize that Jesus is being witty and ironic. Many, if not most scholars see it that way. Robert Gundry, highly conservative, argues that this passage says "The Christ's Davidic sonship does not cease: once David's son, always his son. Since then session at trhe Lord's right hand does not supersede Davidic sonship, the Christ may be David's Son and David's Lord at the same time" and then goes on to discuss why your position is a complete misreading of the text.


In other words, Bernard, both arch-conservatives like Gundry, liberals like Tolbert, mainstreamers like Meier and Brown (Marginal Jew, Vol 1, cites Brown and makes own case on p240) and skeptics like myself all read this passage as saying (to quote Meier) that Davidic sonship is "simply and indication that it is of less importance than Jesus' status as Lord and Son of God." This is not a position of apologists and word-twisters, Bernard. It's a mainstream position, held across the spectrum, and appears to be the majority one, as far as I can see. Against that, Sanders appears to support the reading you do, as does Burger (cited in Gundry). Sanders does not make an argument, at least in _The Historical Figure of Jesus_, though.


What this really shows is that it is time you sat down and cracked a load of books on this topic. Unless and until you interact with the scholarship on it, you will only sound uninformed. Why should anyone pay attention to you, when you dismiss without interaction the lifework of thousands of intelligent and insightful people?



******
MT: "Q was definitely compiled prior to GMark, as it is mostly Cynic in origin, especially in its earliest layers."

BM: Why to you think the alleged cynicism in Q makes the so-called cynic parts earlier than GMark?
Cynicism was a lot more popular at the end of the 1st century than earlier (as around 50).
**************


MT: Cynicism goes back several centuries so it is impossible to say when the Christians picked it up. ++shrug++

*****************
BM: you are very ambiguous here. It looks to me your methodology is: if I cannot find anything even remotely connected to the Pauline Corpus, or the OT, or 1/2/3 Macc., or etc., etc., then it is possible "Mark" got some infos from Peter (or an alien!). But if you still entertain that Peter, sometimes, would be a source for "Mark", why wouldn't it be then his primary source even when some "parallels" (often dubious & weak) appear in Paul's letters or somewhere else?
Please, I do not say a lot of the content of GMark comes from Peter, but that cannot be eliminated. Actually, the simplest way is to admit that some content of GMark, niblets of it (with embellishments and distortions), comes from an eyewitness. That's the simplest way to account for a small portion of the content of GMark, from trivial/anecdotal bits to mysteries such as about the Messianic secret.
******************


MT: No Bernard, I am very clear here. What I am asking you is for POSITIVE EVIDENCE that Mark drew on Peter in writing the Gospel. It may be the simplest way to say that "Mark comes from eyewitnesses" but that is clearly an assumption. It is something that *you must demonstrate* and *you must demonstrate* it clearly with positive evidence. A link between texts or ideas.


What you are doing is making a NEGATIVE ARGUMENT -- "You can't prove, Michael, that GMark doesn't depend on Peter!" That's faulty logic.

Similarly, if you are treating it like a pre-supposition, your analysis is simply discovering its assumptions. Right now your claim that Mark and Peter are linked is unsupported by good evidence.


**********
BM: It is up to you to demonstrate that nothing in GMark came from an eyewitness, and with positive evidence. On my website, I showed that in many cases, "Mark" reacted against the lack of testimony from eyewitness(es) on almost all core Christian beliefs (such as resurrection(s) and a Christian view of the Passion and Jesus as Christ) and Markan highly important(theologically or Christologically) fictional tales (such as the transfiguration and the miraculous feedings). And can you connect all of GMark to the Pauline Corpus, really?
**************


MT:Bernard, I have already demonstrated that Mark's gospel is built up by haggidic midrash on various sources, including Paul. I believe you are quite correct that Mark was reacting against the lack of testimony from early Christian witnesses (there weren't any!) which is why he made up everything from OT and other sources. And for the second time, no, I don't connect all of GMark to the Pauline corpus.

If you want to claim that Mark was writing based on eyewitness testimony, it is up to you to show that. You can't take it as a pre-supposition. I could go over your website next week and show you where your "eyewitness testimony" is actually simply more creation off sources. Do you think, though, that it will be productive? Do you want to move this to another forum -- infidels, JM, etc -- so others can participate? I can simply repost everything at Infidels.


**********
BM: That's rather far-fetched. But assuming you are right, why would "Mark" have Peter, his main follower, as a dead loss (and handpicked!). Except, of course, Peter's testimony was an obstacle to "Mark"' very Christian beliefs and his picture of the god-man on earth.
***********


MT: See what I mean? Numerous scholars have already worked on this question of why Mark would turn Jesus' main follower, Peter, into a loser. How is it that you are not familiar with their work? Why don't you pick up one of the many works that addresses this, like Tolbert's _Sowing the Gospel_, Camery-Hoggat's book on irony in Mark, Weeden's monumental _Mark -- Traditions in Conflict_ or similar? There's nothing far-fetched about a Markan hack on Peter as the rocky ground of the parable, as both Tolbert and Donahue & Harrington noted. The question is not why they are making that connection. The question is why you never noticed it.


**********
BM: Can you demonstrate that all of Acts is a 2nd century fantaisy?
**********


MT: Myself, no. That will be my next project, a study of Acts. But I don't need to, as scholars have already broken that ground. Try something like Pervo's _Profit with Delight_ for showing that Acts is fiction. Steve Mason has shown how strongly linked it is to Josephus (See Josephus and the New Testament). For a contrary historicist view, Hemer's book on Acts is useful.


*****************
BM: However, assuming because Peter or others did not write, or no writings were preserved from them, they did not have any influence or, indirectly, some input in either GMark or Q, is very narrow minded.

Personally, I think Peter never wrote. That does not mean he did not say anything and his spoken words could not be remembered. Actually, I am certain that Cephas visiting Corinth caused many problems for Paul, which he addressed at the beginning of 1Corinthians.
*****************


MT: Aaaarggggggh! Bernard, I am sure that Peter spoke to early Christian communities. But that is not the issue. The issue is how you will demonstrate his influence on Mark without any evidence. See the problem here? You can't ASSUME that Mark knew anything of Peter directly. You have to DEMONSTRATE it. Note that I am not discounting the possibility. Instead, I am asking for positive arguments based on the text of Mark. Papias can't cut it as his citation comes too late and is obvious Church legend (and doesn't fit Mark at all) as everyone in the mainstream recognizes (see review of arguments in Schnelle History and Theology, but counterarguments in Gundry's Mark.)


Michael

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael:

You wrote:
"BM: Despite their efforts, that cannot cancel the conclusion:
Mk12:37 Darby "David himself [therefore] calls him Lord, and whence is he his son? And the mass of the people heard him gladly."

That comes to answer the question:
Mk12:35 Darby "And Jesus answering said [as he was] teaching in the temple, How do the scribes say that the Christ is son of David?"

One needs a twisted (or apologetic) mind to conclude "Mark" approved of Jesus as son of David.
*************


No, one simply needs to realize what Psalm 110 is -- the only one in the whole OT that postulates the messiah as Warrior King and High priest, and among the most important texts for nascent Christianity. And then realize that Jesus is being witty and ironic"

BM: First, "Mark" used a small part of Psalm 110 to make a point. You are assuming a lot when you say he approved of the whole Psalm. Where does GMark as Jesus as the Warrior King and High Priest? Nowhere.
Christian writers used many niblets from the OT. That does not mean they endorsed the whole chapter or book. Now "Mark" (or Jesus according to you!) is being ironic. I see now how irony is used to unexplained the obvious.

You wrote next:
"Robert Gundry, highly conservative, argues that this passage says "The Christ's Davidic sonship does not cease: once David's son, always his son. Since then session at trhe Lord's right hand does not supersede Davidic sonship, the Christ may be David's Son and David's Lord at the same time" and then goes on to discuss why your position is a complete misreading of the text."

BM: that would make a lot of sense in view that Gundry is a conservative Christian. Those, and other Christians (liberals like Tolbert, mainstreamers like Meier and Brown), will take an apologetic view to explain that "Mark" does not conflict with "Matthew" & "Luke" on the matter of Christ as a son of David. BTW, "John" did not take position on the matter, just admitted that was the subject of debate. The author of the epistle of Barnabas used the same Psalm niblet to make a point against Jesus as son of David too:
"Since, therefore, they should one day say
that Christ is the son of David, David himself
prophesieth, being in fear and understanding the
deceitfulness of sinners, The Lord said unto my Lord,
Sit on my right hand until I make thy enemies thy
footstool."
I am surprised you are on the side of apologetic Christians on that one. But you cite others (presumably Christians too) who would support my position, despite their faith. So that's not so simple. Just to say, in this jungle, if you find one scholar to approve you on something, chances are you can find another one dead against the same thing. That's the biblical scholarly world for you.
As for me, I read the text, which is so short, and in it "Mark" has Jesus to declare he is not a son of David, period.

You wrote:
"What this really shows is that it is time you sat down and cracked a load of books on this topic."

BM: Yes, I would need a load of books to brainwash me that "Mark" never meant what he did.

MT: "the lifework of thousands of intelligent and insightful people?"

BM: You only mentioned three of these great people in your favor (who happened to be Christians), not thousands, and two others would approve of my view. So enough lyricism.

You wrote: "What you are doing is making a NEGATIVE ARGUMENT -- "You can't prove, Michael, that GMark doesn't depend on Peter!" That's faulty logic."

BM: your logic is even more faulty when you are so sure that "Mark" invented Andrew. Now you have to prove POSITIVELY that Mark invented Andrew.
Right now, your logic is: it is not in Galatians (which you assume "Mark" knew), with James, Cephas & John, so "Mark" had to invent it. Assumption based on another assumption. I have proven on my website that "Mark" had to take care of eyewitnesses' testimony detrimental to his christology/theology.

MT: Bernard, I have already demonstrated that Mark's gospel is built up by haggidic midrash on various sources, including Paul.

BM: and I know how, by very dubious and remote "parallels" and many assumptions, irony, etc.

MT: I believe you are quite correct that Mark was reacting against the lack of testimony from early Christian witnesses (there weren't any!)

BM: If there were not, "Mark" would have had a very easy time and simplified things, such as have Peter and others witnessing, or at least aware of the resurrection, claiming everywhere Jesus is the Son & Christ, their belief in resurrections, etc. And gag orders from Jesus would be totally unnecessary. Why be silent about the girl resurrection, for example.

MT: which is why he made up everything from OT and other sources.

BM: Can you really prove that ("everything"), including Andrew and the mother-in-law in a bed with fever in Peter's house?

MT: There's nothing far-fetched about a Markan hack on Peter as the rocky ground of the parable, as both Tolbert and Donahue & Harrington noted. The question is not why they are making that connection. The question is why you never noticed it.


BM: the question is why "Mark" made Peter so close to Jesus, and then, have him totally clueless.
If "Mark" had a grudge against Peter (to the point to make him stupid), why have him be Jesus' closest disciple for at least a year? I would have him out of the way quickly if 'Peter with Jesus in Galilee' was total fiction, just to prove Peter knew nothing about what Jesus "really" did, was and claimed. OR, have Peter and Jesus in bad term all the way and depict Pete as a false apostle. But you just do not have what is described as the best disciple be "rocky ground" unecessarily.
I am not against Peter being considered "rocky ground". I am just asking why.

MT: Aaaarggggggh! Bernard, I am sure that Peter spoke to early Christian communities. But that is not the issue.

BM: So what was he saying? How can you be so sure that "Mark" did not know what he was saying?
Yes, it is an issue.
There are items in GMark which are very well explained by a Peter witnessing some credited accidental healer, generating a ruckus in Capernaum for a short while, among other things. Actually, removing all kind of craps, a plausible story can be fleshed out, without any unhistorical elements and not even requiring God's existence or the extraordinary. And staying clear of those close OT parallels also.
I cannot built a time machine for you, but if it is the evidence you require (being there then), you will not get it from me.

Bernard

Michael Turton said...

Well...thanks Bernard. Your comments have been useful to me. I appreciate your time and effort.

Michael

Anonymous said...

Of course Mark (or whoever wrote that gospel) had heard of Paul. Paul is the earliest documented writer in he Bible - way before the gospels.

But Paul knew nothing of the miracles, virgin birth, etc - and believed Jesus Christ (or Joshua the Redeemer) had come to earth, like pagan gods)at some vague time in the past. And he believed he'd arrived in spirit form, had beencrucified at the instigation of wicked angels - not the Romans. Paul was also referred to as a Nazarene. But he didn't come frm Nazareth! Like Jesus was also referred to in that way. Look it up - they were a pre-Christian Jewish sect.

Jesus never baptised anybody.

And how can Jesus be of Davidic descent if he was virgin-born? Mary was not in the geanalogies in the Bible - got up before the virgin birth was grafted on. (There are large numbers of virgin births - Egyptian, Greek, Jewish, etc.

Lastly Paul cme from Tarsus, where Mithraism flourished. Check out Mithres - virtually identicalto Christianity, and predating it.

As for Peter, the name is a pun for 'petra' -rock.

JJ said...

Anonymous, those arguments are quite old and either rejected out-right or are simply of no usefulness in your argument (for instance, Peter = word play for Rock).

I am not sure what the point Bernard is trying to make... Hateful? Where?

This post looks interesting, but I simply cannot follow the logic... perhaps the paper will be more complete. I hope so... and that we can access it, because it is interesting and beneficial.

JJ