Sunday, February 13, 2005

Review of Bernard Muller's website Jesus: A Historical Reconstruction. Part I

Bernard Muller has built a large and seemingly well-researched website on the historical Jesus. He has also been a presence at many of the forums where skeptics and mythicists hang out, contending with them. For some time now I have been looking forward to going over Bernard Muller's website. Bernard and I agree on quite a bit, but we disagree profoundly on how much history is recoverable.

We'll start with some excerpts from his introduction.
MULLER: For a long time, the Homeric 'Iliad' was considered a most unreliable collection of legendary tales. Then came Schliemann. Believing the ancient book was partly factual, he made many related archaeological discoveries. Whenever a narrative is susceptible to be considered (and for good cause) as "unreliably" embellished and laced with extraordinary feats, then-known genuine matter-of-fact data can be inserted in order to instill some credibility. In the gospels (and some other N.T. writings), we have "down to earth", anecdotal and "against the grain" bits & pieces. They are without any suspicious & "unreliable" features and make a lot of sense on a human, social, cultural & historical standpoint. But how can we be sure of their truthfulness? Could these insertions be outright inventions?
Muller here presents the reader with the idea that many exegetes believe, that the Gospels in their 'against-the-grain' presentations offer information that may go back to Jesus. "Against the grain" refers to information that may tend to conflict with theological understandings, or present Jesus in a bad light; information, in other words, that should have been removed from the tradition as time went on. Many exegetes have argued that the preservation of such material indicates that it goes back to the historical Jesus.

This assumption is faulty for several reasons, but two are outstanding. First, the judgment of whether something goes 'against-the-grain' has a strong subjective element. Second, in most cases, what appears to be 'against-the-grain' is actually material that fits well with some goal of the writer's, and thus, is not really 'against-the-grain.' Most of these assertions, as we will see, stem from erroneous understandings on Muller's part.

Muller then goes on to titillate his readers with a list of tidbits that just might go back to Jesus:
- Why give Jesus four brothers and at least two sisters (Mk6:3), rather than emphasize his uniqueness?
- Why start his public life right after the arrest of John the Baptist, who attracted a much larger audience: "The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him [John]" (Mk1:5a)?
- Why have Jesus declare "among those born of women there is no one greater than John [the Baptist]" (Lk7:28a/Mt11:11a)?
- Why base him among the uneducated villagers of Capernaum, his new home (Mt4:13), a poor town in Galilee?
- Why bother to have him get a "mother-in-law" (Mk1:30) out of bed?
- Why give him a few "unschooled" fishermen (Mk1:16-20, Ac4:13) as his main followers?
- Why have him say: "you are worth more than many sparrows" (Lk12:7/Mt10:31)?
- Why tell of his family wanting "to take charge of him" and saying: "he is out of his mind" (Mk3:21)?
- Why should the disciples be "questioning what the rising from the dead meant" (Mk9:10), after they supposedly saw an alive Moses?
- Why would the alleged resurrection of Jairus' daughter be kept secret: "But He commanded them [disciples & parents] strictly that no one should know it" (Mk5:42b-43a) and the disciples (suspiciously!) be "strictly warned ... that they should tell no one about Him [as being the Christ!]" (Mk8:30)?
- Why write "Now as the people were in expectation, and all reasoned in their hearts about John [the Baptist], whether he was the Christ or not" (Lk3:15)?
- Why relate, after John's execution, ""Who do people say that I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah"" (Mk8:27b-28a), when Christ is set far above John (and John himself as Elijah: Mk9:12-13)?
- Why have Jesus disowned by his companions and crucified as "king of the Jews" (Mk15:26) for the benefit of Gentile Christians?
- Why would the most reliable early manuscripts of Mark's gospel end as such: "... And they [the women who allegedly witnessed the empty tomb] said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." (Mk16:8), and with no reappearance?

Many of these points, and a lot of other ones, were certainly not meant to support Jesus as the Son of God, Lord or Christ (Anointed One). And some of them were troublesome for the early Christian writers/preachers, as for Paul:
1Co1:23 Darby "... Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness;"
Gal5:11 "... the offense of the cross ..."
2Co13:4 Darby "... indeed he has been crucified in weakness ..."
Let's go over some of the Mark-related bits of this, because it goes a long way toward showing how Muller misunderstands the texts he is reading.
MULLER: Why give Jesus four brothers and at least two sisters (Mk6:3), rather than emphasize his uniqueness?
The passage in Mark 6 makes Jesus one of five sons. Not by coincidence, for it is one of the writer's programs to compare Jesus to the Maccabees, who were also a group of five sons, and above all to Simon Maccabaeus, who, like Jesus, became King and High Priest and secured an independent Jewish state. The writer of Mark does this by twice citing Psalm 118, which celebrates Simon's entry into Jerusalem, and by citing Psalm 110, which has Simon's name in an acrostic in Hebrew. The writer of Mark also makes other allusions to the Maccabee tales, especially in the Temple Cleansing scene, which is reminiscent of the story of Onias III in 2 Macc. In other words, the presence of brothers is easily shown to be fiction.

As John Meier (A Marginal Jew, Vol 1, 1987) suggests additional fictional origins for Jesus' family:

"It is probably not by accident that, like himself, all of Jesus' relatives bear names that hark back to the patriarchs, the exodus from Egypt, and the entrane into the promised land. His putative father was Joseph, the name of one of the twelve sons of Jacob/Israel and the progenitor, through Ephraim and Manasseh, of two of the twelve tribes. His mother was Mary, in Hebrew Miriam, the name of the sister of Moses. His four brothers, James, Joses, Simon, and Jude, were named after the patriarchs who begot the twelve sons/tribes of Israel (James =Jacob) and after three of those twelve sons (Joses=Joseph, Simon=Simon, and Jude=Judah)"(p207).
Further, the sisters relate to the "family" saying of Mark 3:31-5, where Jesus establishes who his real family is. They parallel the situation there, of mother, brothers, and sisters. Finally, the literary structure of this pericope, too complex to represent here, reveals the constructed nature of Jesus' family.

In this pericope Jesus utters a famous saying that is a commonplace throughout antiquity:

4: And Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house."
The family is there simply to serve as a foil for this saying. There is no historicity whatsoever in this pericope.

MULLER: Why start his public life right after the arrest of John the Baptist, who attracted a much larger audience: "The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him [John]" (Mk1:5a)?
Muller has his chronology confused. Jesus leaves John and immediately starts his public ministry. See the sequence in Mark 1 and 2. Sometime later John the Baptist is arrested. Whether John attracted a much larger audience than Jesus is not possible to decide; Mark's comment that "all the people of Jerusalem" being an absurd bit of hyperbole. In short, there is no support for Muller's observation here from the text itself.
MULLER: Why base him among the uneducated villagers of Capernaum, his new home (Mt4:13), a poor town in Galilee?
The situation is far more complicated than that. However, let me point out that the reason that Jesus is based in Galilee is easy to find: the writer of Mark invented it off the OT, like so much else in Mark:
Isa 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan- (NIV)
Note the mention of important themes in Mark, including the sea (in the gospel of Mark, the narrative function of the Sea of Galilee is to divide the Jews and the Gentiles. When Jesus crosses it, he is crossing from one ethnos to the other), gentiles, and the Jordan. In the Gospel of Matthew this association is made plain in Mt 4:15. Additionally, the rest of Isaiah 9 provides the writer of Mark with the motivation to place Jesus in Galilee:
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.(NIV)
There are other reasons as well, but we need not get into those.
MULLER: Why bother to have him get a "mother-in-law" (Mk1:30) out of bed?
The writer of Mark seems to have been familiar with the Pauline corpus, and borrowed the detail of Peter's mother-in-law from 1 Cor 9:5. As Joanna Mitchell points out, the scene is presented as a conventional raising of the dead, even using the same Greek terminology. The story the writer of Mark presents in v29-31, of Jesus curing Peter's mother-in-law and then she in turn serving him dinner, smacks of "folklore apocrypha" (Price, The Incredibly Shrinking Son of Man, p149).
MULLER: Why give him a few "unschooled" fishermen (Mk1:16-20, Ac4:13) as his main followers?
Muller has definitely not done his homework, and it shows. As Thomas Brodie has shown, the story of the disciple call in Mark 1:16-20 is taken from the calling of Elisha in the Old Testament. The motif of fisherman stems from Jeremiah 16:16, which offers a reference to "fishers of men" which, as Donahue and Harrington (2002, p75) and Meier (2001, p194n122) point out, occurs in an eschatological context:
Lo, I am sending for many fishers, An affirmation of Jehovah, And they have fished them, And after this I send for many hunters, And they have hunted them from off every mountain, And from off every hill, and from holes of the rocks.(YLT)
Meier (2001, p194-195n122) observes that Mark uses the same term for "fishers," haleeis, as the LXX. In the OT, he further notes, fishing for humans is a regular metaphor in the context of judgment and destruction (Habakkuk 1:14-17, Amos 4:2). Lucian, discussing Cynic philosophers, writes:
"Even if you are quite ordinary - a tanner, fisherman, carpenter, money-changer - there's nothing to stop you annoying others, so long as you have the cheek, the nerve... How about boat-man or gardener? Lucian, Philosophies for Sale, II." (Cited in Downing 1988, p5)
Many of the sayings in the Gospel of Mark have Cynic affinities (like Mk 6:4, cited above).
MULLER: Why tell of his family wanting "to take charge of him" and saying: "he is out of his mind" (Mk3:21)?
Muller does not really understand Mark. In Mark, Jesus is not presented as the born son of God, but as his Adopted Son, adopted at the baptism. Thus, it is perfectly natural and compatible with the writer's view of Jesus' relationship to God to have his family think he is out of his mind -- wouldn't you if your son suddenly started acting like Jesus? This gives the writer a chance to indulge in a bit of Markan irony. Jesus' family ironically identifies him correctly -- they claim he is possessed by a demon. According to the writer of Mark, Jesus really is possessed, but by God. This kind of irony is quite common in Mark.
MULLER: Why should the disciples be "questioning what the rising from the dead meant" (Mk9:10), after they supposedly saw an alive Moses?
As I noted before, Muller misses prominent themes in Mark, and here is another example. It is one of the most basic themes in Mark that the disciples were too stupid to understand Jesus, and never paid attention to his commands and instructions, finally denying him at the end. Tolbert (1989, p207), points out that once again the writer is poking fun at the disciples. The disciples question each other, instead of Jesus. Further, the absurdity is heightened as Peter, James, and John have already seen Jairus' daughter rising from the dead, and so have some idea of what Jesus might mean. In other words, the reason for the 3 disciples accompanying Jesus to see the daughter raised from the dead has now become apparent. It is so that, once again, the writer can skewer them for being clueless. Tolbert drives this home by pointing out that Peter, James, and John have even witnessed Moses and Elijah raised, and still haven't the foggiest notion of what Jesus might mean.

Fiction, again.
MULLER: Why would the alleged resurrection of Jairus' daughter be kept secret: "But He commanded them [disciples & parents] strictly that no one should know it" (Mk5:42b-43a) and the disciples (suspiciously!) be "strictly warned ... that they should tell no one about Him [as being the Christ!]" (Mk8:30)?
Many years ago the Markan scholar Ted Weeden argued that the writer of Mark was writing an attack on the disciples, who claimed to have secret knowledge of Jesus, and thus, superiority. The Gospel of Mark parodies this claim by pointing out that such knowledge could hardly have been kept secret. Muller has missed the vital context. Why are injunctions to secrecy juxtaposed with open declarations of who Jesus is (the demons), crowds following him everywhere, and events that can't possibly be concealed, like the raising of Jairus' daughter (what was the family going to do, pretend the girl was still dead?). Clearly, once the reader grasps the context of the "messianic secret" it is easy to see that it is a literary invention of the writer.
MULLER: Why relate, after John's execution, ""Who do people say that I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah"" (Mk8:27b-28a), when Christ is set far above John (and John himself as Elijah: Mk9:12-13)?
Muller has missed the third part of this trio, for the same theme crops up in Mark 6:14-17. The writer of Mark has a program of comparing Jesus to Elijah, borrowing many of the latter's miracles for his stories about Jesus. Elijah is thus an important theme of the writer's that has nothing to do with history. Similarly, the mention of John relates to the rivalry between the followers of John and the followers of Jesus that crops out occasionally in later Christian texts, like the Gospel of John, where Jesus is depicted poaching John's disciples, and Acts 19, where Paul meets some who have no idea that John was the precursor of Jesus.
MULLER: Why have Jesus disowned by his companions and crucified as "king of the Jews" (Mk15:26) for the benefit of Gentile Christians?
Muller's errors multiply here. Jesus is not disowned by his companions (the women are still there in 15:40-1). The Crucifixion scene in Mark is a fivefold structure, in which Jesus is recognized as a king in fve different ways. The Crucifixion scene is entirely fictional and does not appear to have any historical elements at all, except for the presence of Pilate, and the Crucifixion itself. Jesus' disciples flee because that is the final realization of the writer's plan to denigrate the disciples, depicting them as weak and disloyal, the rocky ground of the Parable of the Sower (note how Peter's name is "rock").
MULLER: Why would the most reliable early manuscripts of Mark's gospel end as such: "... And they [the women who allegedly witnessed the empty tomb] said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." (Mk16:8), and with no reappearance?
Obviously because the ending disappeared prior to our earliest manuscripts!
MULLER: Many of these points, and a lot of other ones, were certainly not meant to support Jesus as the Son of God, Lord or Christ (Anointed One). And some of them were troublesome for the early Christian writers/preachers, as for Paul:
1Co1:23 Darby "... Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness;"
Gal5:11 "... the offense of the cross ..."
2Co13:4 Darby "... indeed he has been crucified in weakness ..."
Neither of these is cogent. Muller assumes that the Gospel accounts were intended to support Jesus as the Son of God, although at least in the case of Mark that is highly arguable. Further, he also misinterprets Paul. Paul did not find the stories of Jesus' Crucifixion troubling; the Greeks and Jews did. Paul rather gloried in the idea.

Muller finishes with a bit of a rhetorical flourish:
My approach, as an investigative and critical historian, will appear radically new. The research was not based on studying extensively scholarly works; but instead by inquiring about contextual facts, scrutinizing primary sources, getting free from past indoctrinations and, above all, doing a lot of thinking. Never interested in learned opinions, lofty intellectualism, slick rhetoric, agenda-driven "studies" or ill-validated theories (click here for the newest of those!), I strived to discover the bottom of things, the facts and the bare truth, as naive as it may sound.
I'll let this paragraph speak for itself. But one point: Muller is being modest; there's quite a bit of familiarity with scholarly work in there.

On to Part Two.

29 comments:

the_cave said...

It seems, Mr. Turton, that your thesis as presented in your Historical Commentary, is that GMk was not exactly a fable about a mythical Jesus, but rather a fictional tale about a man who was posessed by God. Do you think we can read anything into this in regards to Mark's purposes and inspirations, or can we make nothing of it? That is, is the man in this tale intended by the author to be just as fictional as any of the other elements, or is he supposed to represent someone (or something)?

Bernard Muller said...

Michael,
Are you going to read my whole website, or by rejecting stuff from my intro, pretend the rest is worthless?
I went through that trick already. I am getting very cynical about it.
Don't you read the whole book of others before you publicly comment on them? So I expect the same here.
More so, in the rest of my site, I go back in detail on many things I sketched in the intro and that makes a lot more sense. Furthermore, I titled my site, "... A reconstruction". I did not write "... THE reconstruction". I aimed to flesh out a plausible story from the earliest Christian writings (even if they are very flawed), to explain the beginning of Christianity. Give me a break.
So 'Galilee' is in the OT! Shock!!! Therefore "Mark" got it from there!!!
Does that prevent a Jesus to be from and operate in Galilee? Is it implausible? After all Galilee existed also in the 1st century.
What about Nazareth?
Not in Josephus' works, not in the OT. Because of that, many skeptics will reject that place as fiction.
If it is here ('Galilee'), good reason to reject it as unhistorical.
If it is not here ('Nazareth'), good reason to reject it as an invention of "Mark".
That's one example to show how biased methodologies can be concocted to destroy anything historical, even if very plausible.
One more example:
"Simon" appears in the OT. More, he is one of the tribal patriarch. So now we know where "Mark" got a name for one of Jesus' brothers? But do we?
'Simon', according to Josephus' works, was (with 'Judas') a very, very popular name among Jews in Israel.
Then about the 'fishers'. OK, "Mark" standarized the spelling on what he read in the LXX. But does that prevent Jesus to make a few fishermen in Capernaum as his friends? After all Capernaum was very much a very good place to fish from.
Agreeing with that does not mean we have to accept the circumstances in which a Jesus met those fishers. Nor that "Mark" invented the fishers to make use of some OT passage.
I would have a lot more to say about your methodology. I may sometimes.
Best regards, Bernard

Michael Turton said...

Hiya Bernard! I saw that we had spent a lot of time arguing about things on other lists. When I read over your site in preparation for the rest, I realized that except the fact you take seriously as historical details what are most likely inventions, we agree on most things important.

So, I AM going to interact with your whole website, but from a largely positive standpoint.

Can't agree with your "history" though. Does that mean we can't be friends?

You write:

"If it is not here ('Nazareth'), good reason to reject it as an invention of "Mark".
That's one example to show how biased methodologies can be concocted to destroy anything historical, even if very plausible."

There's no mention of Nazareth in Mark, IMHO. Have you read my analysis of Mark 1:9 on my website?

"Then about the 'fishers'. OK, "Mark" standarized the spelling on what he read in the LXX. But does that prevent Jesus to make a few fishermen in Capernaum as his friends?"

There's no reason that Jesus couldn't have made a few fisherman friends. The problem is that the passage in question, Mark 1:16-20, is taken entirely from the OT. So when you make this claim, what evidence are you basing it on? There's no such claim in Paul, and I doubt very much that he would have passed up the chance to claim that Peter was an unlettered nothing from the least Jewish part of Palestine.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

the_cave:

[cop-out alert]

I am at the moment still thinking about how to best understand the author's intention....

No, seriously, I am still working on my interpretation of Mark.

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,
I remember what I was told once at work:
"Oh, that's not personal; as a matter of fact, we like you. If we say bad things about your work, it's because of politics, not you."
If you agree with me on most things important, why do you treat my pages as trash?

"There's no mention of Nazareth in Mark, IMHO."

Well there is. Just read Mark1:9.
I hate affirmation based on speculations. More so that on your own website, you wrote "it ['Nazareth'] appears to have been interpolated."

I read your site:
"The problem of Jesus' origin in Nazareth is really two problems. First, what does the author of Mark say is the relationship between Jesus and Nazareth?"

The author did not cover Jesus' origin. Probably Jesus before JB was so so nothing much or whatever else. Or only his (short) public life (considerably embellished) was of interest for "Mark".
As far as 1:9, "Jesus from Nazareth" is very clear. "Mark" stated from where is Jesus, very simply. And at the right place, because it's at 1:9 that Jesus first appears on the scene, on the Jordan river close to JB. So it's very normal to indicate the place of origin right there. And "the" Jesus is not called for, as you have been told by someone on a list. Actually, the form in 1:9 is just like the one as in 15:43 for 'Joseph of [from] Arimathaea' when he comes first in the narration.
A lot of the rest is just speculation, or 'the author should have say more', or AFS, raising some doubt, at best. You do not mention Mk6:1-6 where Jesus go to his 'place of origin', where he has mother, brothers and relatives and it is not Capernaum. So obviously, he had a prior home, according to "Mark".

You wrote: "First, it does not appear in the parallel passages in Matthew or Luke." But before Jesus comes on the Jordan, "Luke" and "Matthew" had already established Jesus was from Nazareth. Why repeat it again? These authors certainly changed GMark wording in many places.

According to your bit on the plucking out of the fishermen, I can see where you stand: if in any pericope, there is something or things which appear(s) drawn from the OT, or embellished beyond reality, or genuinely unhistorical, the whole is rejected. According to this criterion, I would reject everything too, because I do not acknowledge any whole pericope as completely factual & true. The difference with you is I sort out the embellishments, the redactional elements from the OT, any other craps and keep only the plausible. Then comes the next test: If I string all the 'plausible' together, is it possible to get a coherent explanation on how Christianity started, with a Jesus somewhere in the middle? If some 'plausible' does not fit, of course I have to reconsider it. Not everything which is plausible is true. As far as your OT parallel, I do not think it explains all of Mk1:16-20, far from that. Certainly not to prevent Jesus to have fishers among his followers. Actually the OT passage does not mention any fishermen.
Maybe someday, you'll come to realise it is easy to throw some doubt on anything (even 'Galilee'!). You certainly keep a lot of "fanatic" anti-Christians happy. It's a lot harder to be constructive and propose & substantiate a beginning of Christianity which is coherent & require the least "creativity".
Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,
you give me a lot of work:
let's look at that gem of yours:
You wrote: "Let's go over some of the Mark-related bits of this, because it goes a long way toward showing how Muller misunderstands the texts he is reading.

MULLER: Why give Jesus four brothers and at least two sisters (Mk6:3), rather than emphasize his uniqueness?
The passage in Mark 6 makes Jesus one of five sons. Not by coincidence, for it is one of the writer's programs to compare Jesus to the Maccabees, who were also a group of five sons, and above all to Simon Maccabaeus, who, like Jesus, became King and High Priest and secured an independent Jewish state."

Pure imagination! Jesus as a Maccabee? Jesus is not described as the High Priest in GMark. And he is not a ruler/king even if others (but not his Galileans' followers) apparently believe he would (a case of mistaken identity). Did he secured an independant Jewish state? No. Does even "Mark" believe so. Not as I can see. The Kingdom is in heaven (13:26-27).

Then you go next: "The writer of Mark does this by twice citing Psalm 118, which celebrates Simon's entry into Jerusalem,"

I read the psalm. Written during the Maccabees is pure speculation. There is nothing to say it was written so late, in favor of the Maccabees and about a triumphal welcome in Jerusalem. Furthermore, do you imply that because "Mark" would quote a small piece from a long Psalm, he endorsed all the rest? Including your very modern (and new for me) speculations about Jesus as the new Simon Maccabaeus (according to "Mark"!).

You go on "and by citing Psalm 110, which has Simon's name in an acrostic in Hebrew."

I read the psalm (BTW specified written by David), and again connection with the Maccabees is absolutely nowhere to be seen. And "Mark" quoted a small part of the psalm to "prove" Christ (also Jesus) is not a "Son" of David. Nothing to do with the Maccabees. Again, you assume because "Mark" quoted a part of a psalm, he agreed with all the rest, even your historialization of yours. Is that part of your methodology? I'll have to think it is.

You wrote next: "The writer of Mark also makes other allusions to the Maccabee tales, especially in the Temple Cleansing scene, which is reminiscent of the story of Onias III in 2 Macc."

Of course, you decided that the disturbance could not have happened and it comes from 2 Macc. But from where exactly? Can you provide the quote? I could not find anything remotely close in 2Macc. Another cheap speculation, I guess.

You wrote next: "In other words, the presence of brothers is easily shown to be fiction."

Great work. And mostly based on the alleged connection with the Maccabees through two Psalms (one of them specified from David). You surely understand the text! Good solid evidence for you, I guess.
If it is the best you can do, I am not impressed.
But now we know why Jesus' brothers are fiction!!! And what about the sisters? Come on, it should be easy to find two or more sisters in the OT, maybe not 1/2 Macc. Oh, I know of some biblical ones. Damned me, "Mark" must have got them from the OT. I do not know where to hide!!!

Keep the good work; you amuse me.
Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,
I'll keep going. I miss on your comments on the sisters:
"Further, the sisters relate to the "family" saying of Mark 3:31-5, where Jesus establishes who his real family is. They parallel the situation there, of mother, brothers, and sisters."

Good shot. The problem here is that the sisters are not with the mothers & brothers then. So "Mark" missed the opportunity to demonstrate your convoluted speculations by not having the sisters also.

Then next you wrote: "Finally, the literary structure of this pericope, too complex to represent here, reveals the constructed nature of Jesus' family."

Yes, we have to imagine "Mark" in deep sweat thinking about chiasms and complex literary structure, missed by anybody reading or listening to his gospel, except you and a scholar, some 19 centuries later.

SKIPPED

"MULLER: Why start his public life right after the arrest of John the Baptist, who attracted a much larger audience: "The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him [John]" (Mk1:5a)?
Muller has his chronology confused. Jesus leaves John and immediately starts his public ministry. See the sequence in Mark 1 and 2. Sometime later John the Baptist is arrested."

Actually, you are the one confused. Read 1:14.
Next you wrote:
"Whether John attracted a much larger audience than Jesus is not possible to decide; Mark's comment that "all the people of Jerusalem" being an absurd bit of hyperbole. In short, there is no support for Muller's observation here from the text itself."

The point I tried to make is, from even a Christian source, it is acknowledged JB was a lot more popular than Jesus. The popularity of JB is corroborated by Josephus (which you may reject). Of course, "Mark" exagerated. A good excuse to discard the whole pericope, again, isn't it?
Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael:
"MULLER: Why base him among the uneducated villagers of Capernaum, his new home (Mt4:13), a poor town in Galilee?
The situation is far more complicated than that."

Why? you are the one complicating things.

"However, let me point out that the reason that Jesus is based in Galilee is easy to find: the writer of Mark invented it off the OT, like so much else in Mark:
Isa 9:1 Nevertheless, there will be no more gloom for those who were in distress. In the past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the future he will honor Galilee of the Gentiles, by the way of the sea, along the Jordan- (NIV)
Note the mention of important themes in Mark, including the sea (in the gospel of Mark, the narrative function of the Sea of Galilee is to divide the Jews and the Gentiles."

So again here we are: the word Galilee appears in the OT. Stop the press. Let's get a new headline: Mark got Galilee from the OT. What about Capernaum & Nazareth? They are not in the OT. So he got them from somewhere else. Maybe 'Galilee' was also from this somewhere else, I dare to think. Or the rule is: if it is in the OT, "Mark" had to get it from here. If not, he invented it. But wait, Capernaum existed, so he did not invent it. But from where did he know it? Very boggling indeed.
Actually "Mark" did not pick up on "Galilee of the Gentiles" because he had Jesus running into Gentiles always outside of Galilee. So from where he got the idea Jesus' Galilee was not "of the Gentiles". I wonder. Certainly not from 'Isaiah'.
And the sea of Galilee, in the 1st century, was dividing Jewland with the Gentiles (the decapolis to the SE). We do not need Isaiah for that.

SKIPPED
"Additionally, the rest of Isaiah 9 provides the writer of Mark with the motivation to place Jesus in Galilee:
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.(NIV)"

Strange, "Mark" does not deal with the birth of Jesus. Furthermore, the text does not say where that one is born. And that one would rule over David's kingdom, certainly not what "Mark" was sponsoring. Anyway, "Mark" endorsing that passage from Isaiah for his Christ is just pure speculation, again.
Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael:
Let's keep going on your comments on my site:

You wrote: "MULLER: Why tell of his family wanting "to take charge of him" and saying: "he is out of his mind" (Mk3:21)?
Muller does not really understand Mark."

I am glad that you do!

"In Mark, Jesus is not presented as the born son of God, but as his Adopted Son, adopted at the baptism. Thus, it is perfectly natural and compatible with the writer's view of Jesus' relationship to God to have his family think he is out of his mind -- wouldn't you if your son suddenly started acting like Jesus? This gives the writer a chance to indulge in a bit of Markan irony. Jesus' family ironically identifies him correctly -- they claim he is possessed by a demon. According to the writer of Mark, Jesus really is possessed, but by God. This kind of irony is quite common in Mark."

Now "Mark" is ironic; that's a new twist. That would explain it! I cannot wait to see your study on Mark's irony. I do not have much to say here, because this "why" clause, like most of the others, is directed against those who think that Jesus was God on earth, not mythicists. But his relatives did not know it! I also noticed "Matthew" (& "Luke") dropped that from GMark. Maybe he lacked Mark's sense of irony or he found that too embarrassing. You know what I think. Would that scene be unrealistic? After learning Jesus was making a ruckus in Capernaum, his family would have reacted that way. I am surprised you did not find a "parallel" in the OT, or 1/2/3 Macc. What happened? You got work to do.

You wrote:
"... the most basic themes in Mark that the disciples were too stupid to understand Jesus ..."
"... the writer is poking fun at the disciples..."
How do you explain that?
Why would "Mark" invent that alleged fiction. Are the disciples of Mohammed, Buddha, David Koresh, etc., represented not understanding their spiritual leader?
Why would "Mark" ask his Christians to trust a Jesus who had stupid followers not understanding their guru! Except, of course, if "Mark" & others were demanding their flocks to believe things not known to have been heard or witnessed from/by Jesus' followers.

You wrote next:
"MULLER: Why would the alleged resurrection of Jairus' daughter be kept secret: "But He commanded them [disciples & parents] strictly that no one should know it" (Mk5:42b-43a) and the disciples (suspiciously!) be "strictly warned ... that they should tell no one about Him [as being the Christ!]" (Mk8:30)?
Many years ago the Markan scholar Ted Weeden argued that the writer of Mark was writing an attack on the disciples, who claimed to have secret knowledge of Jesus, and thus, superiority. The Gospel of Mark parodies this claim by pointing out that such knowledge could hardly have been kept secret. Muller has missed the vital context. Why are injunctions to secrecy juxtaposed with open declarations of who Jesus is (the demons), crowds following him everywhere, and events that can't possibly be concealed, like the raising of Jairus' daughter (what was the family going to do, pretend the girl was still dead?). Clearly, once the reader grasps the context of the "messianic secret" it is easy to see that it is a literary invention of the writer."

If the disciples (and Jairus' family) were fiction, why would Jesus allegedly impose gag orders (very stupid indeed), more so about Jairus' daughter raising from death. And why not have Peter & others proclaim Jesus is Christ to everybody? Hey, if it is all fiction, disciples, Jairus, why not? Why raise doubt that the girl's resurrection was never heard of, as also Peter's appraisal of Jesus?
"Matthew" had Jesus called "Son of God" by Peter. GJohn has Jesus proclaiming that all over. What would restrict "Mark" there?

You wrote next:
MULLER: Why relate, after John's execution, ""Who do people say that I am?" They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah"" (Mk8:27b-28a), when Christ is set far above John (and John himself as Elijah: Mk9:12-13)?
Muller has missed the third part of this trio, for the same theme crops up in Mark 6:14-17. The writer of Mark has a program of comparing Jesus to Elijah, borrowing many of the latter's miracles for his stories about Jesus."

That's your assessment, not mine. And why would "Mark" suggest to his audience that some Jesus' miracles were "copied" by him from Elijah's deeds? "Mark" sponsored John, not Jesus, as the new Elijah. Why would he say: oops, people in Jesus' times did not agree with me.

"Elijah is thus an important theme of the writer's that has nothing to do with history."

Not that important, and "Mark" prefered that John, not Jesus, would be some reincarnation of Elijah.

"Similarly, the mention of John relates to the rivalry between the followers of John and the followers of Jesus that crops out occasionally in later Christian texts, like the Gospel of John, where Jesus is depicted poaching John's disciples, and Acts 19, where Paul meets some who have no idea that John was the precursor of Jesus."

Then why relate Jesus' contemporaries saw him as no more than his latter rival? More so when "Mark" lowered JB way below Christ. Like to say, I believe he was the Only Great One, but wait, some people who knew him thought he was the reincarnation of the janitor.

You wrote next:
"MULLER: Why have Jesus disowned by his companions and crucified as "king of the Jews" (Mk15:26) for the benefit of Gentile Christians?
Muller's errors multiply here. Jesus is not disowned by his companions (the women are still there in 15:40-1).

Gee, I forgot about the women! By companions, I meant the male disciples, Peter & all. The women are 'come late' in the narration, when there is a use for them (after all, the disciples were not available anymore, they fled!), and may be fiction in my view (as surely is the empty tomb, where they appear).

"Jesus' disciples flee because that is the final realization of the writer's plan to denigrate the disciples, depicting them as weak and disloyal, the rocky ground of the Parable of the Sower (note how Peter's name is "rock")."

Once again, why denigrate the disciples (more so if "Mark" invented them)? You normally do not do that for dear eyewitnesses of a great godly man?
What would be "Mark" motivation?

Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hello Michael

Let's do some more:
"MULLER: Why would the most reliable early manuscripts of Mark's gospel end as such: "... And they [the women who allegedly witnessed the empty tomb] said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." (Mk16:8), and with no reappearance?
Obviously because the ending disappeared prior to our earliest manuscripts!"

How can you be so sure? Do you have any evidence? Of course not. Totally unsubstantiated remark.

"MULLER: Many of these points, and a lot of other ones, were certainly not meant to support Jesus as the Son of God, Lord or Christ (Anointed One). And some of them were troublesome for the early Christian writers/preachers, as for Paul:
1Co1:23 Darby "... Christ crucified, to Jews an offence, and to nations foolishness;"
Gal5:11 "... the offense of the cross ..."
2Co13:4 Darby "... indeed he has been crucified in weakness ..."
Neither of these is cogent. Muller assumes that the Gospel accounts were intended to support Jesus as the Son of God, although at least in the case of Mark that is highly arguable. Further, he also misinterprets Paul. Paul did not find the stories of Jesus' Crucifixion troubling; the Greeks and Jews did. Paul rather gloried in the idea."

Look back at 2Co13:4. Certainly it was troubling for others, in Paul's times and even as late as Minucius Felix's times (160-250). And does not GMark (through God twice (1:11,9:7), and also Jesus (14:61-62), and many evil spirits) says Jesus is the Son of God, adoptive or not? I do not see what is highly arguable there. And you claim you know GMark.

Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,
You wrote:
"Hiya Bernard! I saw that we had spent a lot of time arguing about things on other lists. When I read over your site in preparation for the rest, I realized that except the fact you take seriously as historical details what are most likely inventions, we agree on most things important."

I wonder, on what important things do we agree? That does not show up in any stuff of your part 1. And I am not impressed on the methodology you used in order to ascertain your alleged inventions. I suppose if I would write "I flew to China", you would call me a lier, because that has been written before me. And if what was written before was: "we shipped wheat to Japan", that would be considered a close parallel, a sure proof a got inspiration for my claim. Of course, the plausibility for me to fly to China would not even been considered.

You wrote: "So, I AM going to interact with your whole website, but from a largely positive standpoint."

I would like to see that. But I do not expect it from 'two faces' you.

"Can't agree with your "history" though. Does that mean we can't be friends?"

Your critique is very hostile and you treat me like dirt. And you want me to consider you as a friend? What is your logic here?

Best regards, Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,

I forgot to deal with:
"MULLER: Why bother to have him get a "mother-in-law" (Mk1:30) out of bed?
The writer of Mark seems to have been familiar with the Pauline corpus, and borrowed the detail of Peter's mother-in-law from 1 Cor 9:5."

Sure, there is a mother-in-law in 1Cor9:5??? Where do you read that? I quote from Darby:
"have we not a right to take round a sister [as] wife, as also the other apostles, and the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?"
You need to have a fertile imagination to see there the inspiration of Mk1:40.
Maybe you should look in the OT: there are plenty here, more so in 'Ruth'. I am quite sure you can fashion a killer argument from 'Ruth'!

You go on:
"As Joanna Mitchell points out, the scene is presented as a conventional raising of the dead, even using the same Greek terminology."

Really! The mother-in-law is not dead, she is said to have fever by Peter. The word for raise/rise is 'egeiro'. It is used for the paralytic (who is not dead)(2:9.11-12), the man with withered hand (who is already standing up) (3:3), etc. The same word is used in other contexts which have nothing to do with Jesus raising someone, or risen dead, like 4:27, 10:49, 13:8, 13:22, 14:42. So maybe you should check the claims of your scholars. I do. Because they say something you like does not mean they are thorough & right.

You wrote next:
"The story the writer of Mark presents in v29-31, of Jesus curing Peter's mother-in-law and then she in turn serving him dinner, smacks of "folklore apocrypha" (Price, The Incredibly Shrinking Son of Man, p149)."
Actually, Jesus' acts is to get (forcefully) the M-in-L out of bed, then she is found without fever. Nothing saying she is cured by Jesus.
That would compel her to resume her chores around the house, on behalf of the men (as into a Jewish environment). Maybe Price should go in some third world country, with little modern convenience, and observe some mother-in-law who has to live in the house of the (poor) husband of her daughter. Probably not so folkloric. And there is nothing about "serving him dinner" in GMark.

You finished your critique by:
"Muller finishes with a bit of a rhetorical flourish:
My approach, as an investigative and critical historian, will appear radically new. The research was not based on studying extensively scholarly works; but instead by inquiring about contextual facts, scrutinizing primary sources, getting free from past indoctrinations and, above all, doing a lot of thinking. Never interested in learned opinions, lofty intellectualism, slick rhetoric, agenda-driven "studies" or ill-validated theories (click here for the newest of those!), I strived to discover the bottom of things, the facts and the bare truth, as naive as it may sound.
I'll let this paragraph speak for itself. But one point: Muller is being modest; there's quite a bit of familiarity with scholarly work in there."

What is the innuendo here? You are the one who is quoting scholars against me. I do not blindly quote scholars to support my case, but you do.

Best regards, Bernard

Anonymous said...

Hi Bernard!

I;m in Taipei and away from home, so I'll have to answer you tomorrow.

But the comment about your knowledge of the scholarship was meant straightforwardly and as a compliment.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

MULLER: Hi Michael,I remember what I was told once at work:
"Oh, that's not personal; as a matter of fact, we like you. If we say bad things about your work, it's because of politics, not you." If you agree with me on most things important, why do you treat my pages as trash?

TURTON: Did I treat them as trash? You put up the arguments, didn't you? Don't you expect people to interact with them? If you don't want interaction, take your site down, Bernard. Any interaction, Bernard, should be taken as a compliment on your effort. After all, you don't see me wasting my time with fundy whackjob websites....

MULLER: Well there is [mention of Nazareth in Mark]. Just read Mark1:9. I hate affirmation based on speculations.

TURTON: Bernard, I make a whole multifaceted argument. I haven't accused you of engaging in "speculation," so don't do it to me.

MULLER: More so that on your own website, you wrote "it ['Nazareth'] appears to have been interpolated." I read your site: "The problem of Jesus' origin in Nazareth is really two problems. First, what does the author of Mark say is the relationship between Jesus and Nazareth?"

MULLER: The author did not cover Jesus' origin.

TURTON: Bernard, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim that "the author doesn't cover Jesus' origin" except when, for your purposes, he does here in Mark 1:9. The fact, Bernard, that he doesn't cover Jesus' origin is support for my case against Nazareth in Mark 1:9, not yours.

MULLER: As far as 1:9, "Jesus from Nazareth" is very clear.

TURTON: The issue is not whether the Greek is clear. The issue is whether Mark originally supplied that "Nazareth," the sole instance of that usage in the entire Gospel.

MULLER: "Mark" stated from where is Jesus, very simply. And at the right place, because it's at 1:9 that Jesus first appears on the scene, on the Jordan river close to JB. So it's very normal to indicate the place of origin right there. And "the" Jesus is not called for, as you have been told by someone on a list.

TURTON: Yes, Andrew Criddle pointed out that it is *not necessarily* the case because *some* Greek lexicons support that. Jesus was already introduced in Mark 1:1. I left that out, thinking it would be obvious to the reader. Perhaps I should put that in.....

MULLER: Actually, the form in 1:9 is just like the one as in 15:43 for 'Joseph of [from] Arimathaea' when he comes first in the narration. A lot of the rest is just speculation, or 'the author should have say more', or AFS, raising some doubt, at best. You do not mention Mk6:1-6 where Jesus go to his 'place of origin', where he has mother, brothers and relatives and it is not Capernaum. So obviously, he had a prior home, according to "Mark".

TURTON: Bernard, there's no "the author should have said more" argument in my case against Nazareth. All of the evidence is positive evidence.

As for mentioning Mark 6, I have a separate analysis of that pericope, so there is no need to mention it here. Further, there is no need to mention it here because it cannot logically apply. Even if your claim that Mark 6:1-6 says Jesus' home country is not Capernaum is true, *that cannot establish that it is Nazareth.* At best, it only establishes that it is not Capernaum. But then, the writer of Mark never mentions in 6:1-6 just what Jesus homeland is, does he? So the whole point is moot.

MULLER: You wrote: "First, it does not appear in the parallel passages in Matthew or Luke." But before Jesus comes on the Jordan, "Luke" and "Matthew" had already established Jesus was from Nazareth. Why repeat it again? These authors certainly changed GMark wording in many places.

TURTON: Sure. And here, both of them drop this. Yet elsewhere in their Gospels they support Mark's use of nazarhnos. And if Mark thought Jesus was from Nazareth, why does he consistently say he is "of Nazara?" Spin at Infidels pointed this out (I need to incorporate that in my website more clearly). Perhaps you can answer this question.

spin: how can a gentilic nazarhnos come from nazaret? You should expect nazarethnos.(http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?t=84435&highlight=Nazarhnos)

In other words, if the writer of Mark thought Jesus was from Nazareth, every use of "Naz-" in Mark should be some variant of nazarethnos -- from Nazareth. Instead, they are all nazarhnos -- of Nazara, which is generally translated as "Jesus the Nazarene."

MULLER: According to your bit on the plucking out of the fishermen, I can see where you stand: if in any pericope, there is something or things which appear(s) drawn from the OT, or embellished beyond reality, or genuinely unhistorical, the whole is rejected.

TURTON: I only "reject" the whole where I can show that the whole is based on the OT. And further, my formal position is not "it's fiction." That is only my belief. My formal position is that historicity cannot be demonstrated because the evidence will not support it. You can -- as you do -- maintain as a kind of faith commitment that Jesus really called fisherman on the Sea of Galilee. But there is no evidence from the text that supports it.

MULLER: According to this criterion, I would reject everything too, because I do not acknowledge any whole pericope as completely factual & true. The difference with you is I sort out the embellishments, the redactional elements from the OT, any other craps .....

TURTON: In fact, Bernard, you have not done that. First, every action in 1:16-20 is paralleled in the Elijah-Elisha sequence. The writer of Mark simply changed the substance of the actions, is all. The presence of "fisherman" is explained by the citation of Jeremiah. There isn't anything left besides OT and Markan redaction.

MULLER:....and keep only the plausible. Then comes the next test: If I string all the 'plausible' together, is it possible to get a coherent explanation on how Christianity started, with a Jesus somewhere in the middle? If some 'plausible' does not fit, of course I have to reconsider it. Not everything which is plausible is true. As far as your OT parallel, I do not think it explains all of Mk1:16-20, far from that. Certainly not to prevent Jesus to have fishers among his followers. Actually the OT passage does not mention any fishermen.

TURTON: Bernard, creating a "coherent explanation of how Christianity started" is the kind of agenda-driven criterion I have entirely rejected. You can't keep things because they cohere with some idea that you bring to the text (that the story it tells bears on how Christianity started and that the start of Christianity is involved in Jesus). Rather, you have to deduce, from the evidence given in the text, and criteria that are as nuetral as possible, what the relationship between the text and early Christianity is. The reason your methodology won't work is because it includes its results within its assumptions. In other words, it's circular. If you start with the idea that your results will include Jesus in the middle, then that's where you will wind up. As I point out repeatedly in the methodology section, the various "plausibility" criteria are both subjective and circular. Like yours.

You demonstrate this brilliantly with your complaint here:

MULLER: Certainly not to prevent Jesus to have fishers among his followers.Sure. It doesn't prevent Jesus from having fisherman, NBA basketball players, or space aliens from his followers. But that is not how history is done, Bernard. It isn't done by deciding what the story should be and then demanding that skeptics present proof positive that the story you postulate is fiction.

Rather, history is done by looking at the evidence of the text itself (in light of the context, of course). Jesus may have had followers, and some may have been fisherman. But the only evidence we have of that is contained in a source that has turned their calling into a fiction based on the OT. There is no reason to imagine, based on the evidence of the text of Mark, or any earlier text, that Jesus' earliest followers were fishermen. Perhaps some other evidence might show that, but I do not know what that would be.

I didn't start with any loaded criteria like that. In fact, what I did looks like what you did, Bernard. I eliminated everything whose historicity cannot be supported. The difference is I didn't deploy any criterion that had Jesus' existence built into them as an axiom, nor did I deploy any criterion that automatically assumed that there was a relationship between the text of Mark and the life of the historical Jesus. That can ONLY be deduced from reading the text. It cannot be brought to the text as an a priori they way you are.

MULLER: Maybe someday, you'll come to realise it is easy to throw some doubt on anything (even 'Galilee'!). You certainly keep a lot of "fanatic" anti-Christians happy. It's a lot harder to be constructive and propose & substantiate a beginning of Christianity which is coherent & require the least "creativity".

TURTON: I am not the least bit interested, Bernard, in "being constructive" in the sense you mean. I am more interested in finding out what information is in the text and how it relates to other information we have. If through analysis of the text we find that our history becomes opaque, that is not reason to give up. Discomfort with results does not mean that we should reject them.

BTW, if you read my discussion of the methodology carefully, you'll find at least one piece of prima facie evidence that supports you, at the bottom.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

Bernard, here is one of the problems with your "I don't pay much attention to scholarship" approach

MULLER: Now "Mark" is ironic; that's a new twist. That would explain it! I cannot wait to see your study on Mark's irony.

TURTON: You don't have to, Bernard. Camery-Hoggat is one of many scholars who comment on Mark's extensive use of irony, and in fact has written a whole book on it.

Camery-Hoggat, Jerry. 1992. Irony in Mark's Gospel: Text and Subtext. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

For use of irony in a specific situation, see Vernon Robbin's wonderful study of Psalm 22 and Kingship,

Robbins, Vernon K. 1992. The Reversed Contextualization of Psalm 22 in the Markan Crucifixion: A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis. In Segbroeck, F., Tuckett, C., Van Belle, G., Verheyden, J. eds. The Four Gospels: A Ferstschrift in Honor of Frans Neirynck. Leuven: University Press

which is online here

http://www.religion.emory.edu/
faculty/robbins/Pdfs/ReversedPs22Mark15.pdf

JD Hester's study of Irony in Mark's ending is online as well:

Hester, J. D. 1995. Dramatic Inconclusion: Irony and the Narrative Rhetoric of the Ending of Mark. Journal for the Study of the New Testament 57 (1995), 61-86.

For a general introduction to the literary features of the Gospel of Mark, see

Rhoads, D, Dewey, J. and Michie, D. 1999. Mark as Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel. 2nd Ed. Augsburg: Fortress Press

On page 60, they note:

"Irony is a prominent feature of Mark's story."

and further down:

In a general way, dramatic irony is integral to the overall design of the Gospel...."

Knowledge of Mark's skilled use of irony is basic to understand the Gospel of Mark, Bernard. How is it that you are not aware of it?

Michael

Michael Turton said...

MULLER: Maybe someday, you'll come to realise it is easy to throw some doubt on anything (even 'Galilee'!).

See if you can track down a copy of this (I can't get it here in Taiwan where I live):

Neotestamentica: Journal of the New Testament Society of South Africa

Taylor, Nicholas 2003. Q and Galilee? Neotestamentica 37(2), 283-311.

ABSTRACT
It is widely accepted in scholarship that the hypothetical sayings collection Q originated in the Jesus movement which persisted in Galilee after the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. This study accepts the hypothesis of a source, common to
Matthew and Luke, not merely written in Greek but also reflecting a tradition of oral delivery in Greek. It accepts also that many of the traditions preserved therein originate in the historical ministry of Jesus, without identifying these
with any earlier layer identified by previous scholarship. The Galilean
provenance of Q is questioned, in the light of eight factors, which are considered in turn: (1) the nature and definition of Q, and its relationship to other Jesus traditions; (2) the language of Q; (3) scribal skills in rural Galilee; (4) the purpose in committing Q to writing; (5) geographical allusions
in the reconstructed document; (6) the nature of itinerancy in the mission charge; (7) Israelite traditions and institutions; and (8) Q and primitive Christian kerygma. It is argued that Q was transcribed to facilitate wider and more efficient dissemination of the tradition of Jesus' teaching in the Greek language, and that the impetus and occasion for this would not have occurred in Galilee. The provenance of Q is therefore to be sought elsewhere.

Michael Turton said...

I'll get to your remarks on Mark 2:1-12 a bit later today.

Michael Turton said...

MULLER: Pure imagination! Jesus as a Maccabee? Jesus is not described as the High Priest in GMark.

TURTON: Bernard, see the work of Crispin Fletcher-Louis on this.

His lectures online at The Jewish Roots of Eastern Christian Mysticism here:

http://www.marquette.edu/maqom/

which has some really great articles.

Michael

Michael Turton said...

MULLER: Really! The mother-in-law is not dead, she is said to have fever by Peter. The word for raise/rise is 'egeiro'. It is used for the paralytic (who is not dead)(2:9.11-12), the man with withered hand (who is already standing up) (3:3), etc. The same word is used in other contexts which have nothing to do with Jesus raising someone, or risen dead, like 4:27, 10:49, 13:8, 13:22, 14:42. So maybe you should check the claims of your scholars. I do. Because they say something you like does not mean they are thorough & right.

TURTON: Bernard, if the writer of Mark uses the word for "rise" in a variety of different contexts, doesn't that tell you that he wants you to make a connection?Neil Godfrey (whom you know from your JM days) and I have been discussing these links. Basically, the raising of a paralytic functions as typology for Jesus' own raising (doesn't the digging out of the roof remind you of the Jesus' tomb, "hewn from rock" as per Isaiah, with its cover removed? The paralytic is attended by four men -- just as Jesus is attended by four major disciples, etc). Similarly, the raising of Jairus daughter presages Jesus own rising -- Jairus one of the synagogue leaders being an echo of Joseph of Arimathea one of the synhedrion members. Etc. After Neil and I have hashed this all out, I'll put up the discussion here or at JM.

These links travel all through the Gospel, which is linked by catchwords/hookwords and keywords, for example, like those that revolve around food, eating, and bread. Another one is the word "watch!" which is important in the second half of the Gospel especially. "Rise" is another example of that trend. As the comment on my website put it:

"v31: Joan Mitchell (2001, p62-3) observes that the writer of Mark presents Simon's mother-in-law as a called disciple, who is raised up (egeire-- the same verb used in the Resurrection account and several healings) and then serves Jesus."

This raises the larger issue, Bernard, of whether the writer's Gospel can really be disarticulated into source-based units. That is probably not a legitimate analytical stance, since it contains its conclusions in its premises (Mark was written using old traditions, therefore we can disarticulate the parts, and we then find -- what a suprise! -- Mark was written based on sources. The idea that pre-Markan traditional sources crop out in Mark is an assumption of the type of source criticism you are attempting to do.

Michael

Bernard Muller said...

Hi Michael,
TURTON: Bernard, you can't have it both ways. You can't claim that "the author doesn't cover Jesus' origin" except when, for your purposes, he does here in Mark 1:9.

Bernard: I meant chronologically and in details, like in GMatthew and GLuke. And then, when you mention someone YYY is from XXX, does that mean really dealing with the origin of YYY?
Are you rejecting Joseph, as being from Arimathea (15:43) on the basis "Mark" should have described the origin of the man before?

TURTON: Bernard, there's no "the author should have said more" argument in my case against Nazareth. All of the evidence is positive evidence.

Bernard: I was referring to that from your website on GMark:
"Another strike against the presence of "Nazareth" in this verse originally is that the writer of Mark never explains or apologizes for the identification of Nazareth as Jesus' hometown in his gospel."
As far as positive evidence, a lot of your stuff is subject to interpretation, of very oblique, remote and indirect. Hardly relevant. Barely enough to raise some doubts.

TURTON: Yes, Andrew Criddle pointed out that it is *not necessarily* the case because *some* Greek lexicons support that. Jesus was already introduced in Mark 1:1 ..

Bernard: Mark1:1 does not have "the" Jesus.

TURTON: ... Even if your claim that Mark 6:1-6 says Jesus' home country is not Capernaum is true, *that cannot establish that it is Nazareth.* At best, it only establishes that it is not Capernaum. But then, the writer of Mark never mentions in 6:1-6 just what Jesus homeland is, does he? So the whole point is moot.

Bernard: if "Mark" pointed out Jesus was from Nazareth in 1:9, there is no need to remind the readers of this unimportant place in 6:1-6.
Furthermore, "Mark" used 'patris' in 6:1, very likely so he could make a point in 6:4, using again 'patris' in a more general sense, not only Nazareth. Using Nazareth in 6:1 would have meant that the patris in 6:4 signify only Nazareth.

TURTON: Sure. And here, both of them drop this.

Bernard: why repeat it. For what purpose?

Turton: Yet elsewhere in their Gospels they support Mark's use of nazarhnos. And if Mark thought Jesus was from Nazareth, why does he consistently say he is "of Nazara?" Spin at Infidels pointed this out (I need to incorporate that in my website more clearly). Perhaps you can answer this question.

Bernard: GLuke has Nazareth, Nazara and Nazarene (nazarhnos). GMatthew has Nazareth and Nazara but no Nazarene. GJohn has Nazareth but no Nazara & Nazarene. The simplest way to explain that mess is they copied Nazareth from GMark.
If 'Nazareth' was inserted later at 1:9, would the alleged interpolator (assuming he knew GLuke or GMatthew) not have written Nazara instead?
If Nazareth was not in GMark, then it would have appeared in GMatthew or GLuke or GJohn first. But if "Matthew" & "Luke" did not know the other one's gospel, how do you explain that both wrote Nazareth?
Maybe you can argue "Luke" knew about GMatthew and copied from it Nazara & Nazareth. But then, why did "Luke" adopted Nazareth from GMatthew when Nazara fits Nazarene (which "Luke" had to get from GMark) and, allegedly, was not in GMark?
Maybe you can argue the interpolator did not know about the two latter Synoptics, but only GJohn.
Or Maybe you should consider "Mark" got Nazar? verbally and wrote it as he thought he heard it. And "Mark" (not too great in Greek) assumed the "ene" ending (of which he used in a few places) would also apply for Nazareth.
Or maybe he heard Nazarene (as a group lead by men from Nazar?) and wrote it correctly. And then he was told also about Nazara but wrote it incorrectly, or he made a typo (rather hard to correct in these day). You cannot accuse him to have derived Nazareth from Nazarene, because that does not fit exactly (but Nazara does).
So much to consider.

Best regards, Bernard

Michael Turton said...

I'll get back to you soon, man.

Bernard Muller said...

Turton: Any interaction, Bernard, should be taken as a compliment on your effort. After all, you don't see me wasting my time with fundy whackjob websites....

Bernard: Sure I should be honored of your "interaction" and see as a compliment you treat me and my work as stupid. Who do you think you are? A hypocrite, at best, that's my assessment. And you write on the IIDB list the more you know my work, the more you agree with me. Where does that show when you pounce on the introduction, and without reading the rest of my work, not giving me the benefit to explain myself? Acknowledge you are a hypocrite.

Michael Turton said...

Bernard: Sure I should be honored of your "interaction" and see as a compliment you treat me and my work as stupid. Who do you think you are?

Michael: I never said you were stupid. I did say you don't understand Mark. As for who I am, I am Nobody.

Also, I put a web link to your work, as well as mentioned your site at Infidels. How is that treating your work as "stupid?"

Bernard: A hypocrite, at best, that's my assessment. And you write on the IIDB list the more you know my work, the more you agree with me.

Michael. Yup. I agree with most things, except your historical reconstruction, where your lack of interaction with scholarship really shows. But that's to be expected from the man who said this:

"I also want to say I am not a scholar and my knowledge of ancient languages is close to be not existent. But in view of their many different opinions & theories, scholars may not be the best qualified to work on the "(a)historical Jesus"!"Those poor unqualified scholars! Spent all those years poring over manuscripts, learning ancient languages, mastering bodies of methodology and previous literature, honing their arguments, only to find themselves "unqualified" because they disagree with each other! Lucky you showed up, eh?

Bernard: Where does that show when you pounce on the introduction, and without reading the rest of my work, not giving me the benefit to explain myself?

Michael: Actually, I was hoping to have it done before I called you in to look it over. But that must go the way of all good intentions....

Also you've confused me...isn't a "book-length" treatment explanation enough? Or did you leave out important stuff? Or what?

Bernard: Acknowledge you are a hypocrite.

Michael: Yes, I am a hypocrite. Although I don't see how it makes me a hypocrite to criticize your historical reconstruction while enjoying your dismantling of Ignatius (for example). I wrote a nasty review of Gundry's _Mark_, whose methodology is laughable but whose erudition is laudable. If I accept some portions of a body of work but reject others, does that make me a hypocrite? Am I a hypocrite for nailing Gundry for his agenda-driven work, while praising his erudition? If I don't like one aspect of a person's work, must I condemn it all? Does it make me a hypocrite for realizing that you have a perceptive and original mind, but that you went awry when you used agenda-driven, circular methodologies to assess a complex and very tricky piece of literature that you hadn't bothered to bone up on? If so, I am a hypocrite. I admit it. In the meantime, whenever things pop up where your insights are, in my judgment, useful and appropriate, I will continue to recommend you. I hope you can live with my hypocrisy.

BTW, here's a comment from you:

"....relies on rhetoric, agenda-driven dating, arguments from silence, assumptions and convoluted & largely unsubstantiated theories (with hypotheses stacked on each other!). Through such a horrific "methodology", the chances of him being right are insignificant."

It seems from reading your replies here that you can dish it out, Bernard, but you can't really take it.

Michael

Bernard Muller said...

Turton wrote:
"MULLER: According to your bit on the plucking out of the fishermen, I can see where you stand: if in any pericope, there is something or things which appear(s) drawn from the OT, or embellished beyond reality, or genuinely unhistorical, the whole is rejected.

TURTON: I only "reject" the whole where I can show that the whole is based on the OT."

Bernard: the parallels with Ki19:19-21, despite the efforts of Brodie, looks rather tedious. Looking back at it, there is little resemblance with Mk1:16-20 and many differences. It is even far from certain "Mark" was inspired by the "narration" of the meeting of Elijah and Elisha. And then you assume "Mark" created fishers for Jesus just to employ the fisher's saying from Jeremiah. That's just an assumption. How can you say "The problem is that the passage in question, Mark 1:16-20, is taken entirely from the OT". It is not true.
For the record, I mentioned Mk1:16-20 only to document from where some disciples are identified as fishermen. It was not my intention to support the "plucking" nor the authenticity of the alleged Jesus' saying about "fishers". I never did.

Turton: "And further, my formal position is not "it's fiction." That is only my belief.

Bernard: at least you admit it. It is a matter of your belief.

Turton: My formal position is that historicity cannot be demonstrated because the evidence will not support it.

Bernard: Your evidence is oblique and indirect and weak. You assume a lot the way which fits you. You are not considering the other side of the coin. But you make a lot from your so-called evidence, to some rather final conclusion.

TURTON: Bernard, creating a "coherent explanation of how Christianity started" is the kind of agenda-driven criterion I have entirely rejected.

Bernard: what's wrong with that? Why would it be agenda driven? Christianity started, isn't it? What's wrong with a coherent picture?
The problem with your ultra skeptical approach is you are destroying the simplest way to explain its beginning. By destroying the bits of historicity from one of the earliest Christian text, as you worked on, will force you to look for more complicated explanations, more reliance on assumptions, remote "parallels", weird theories, ill-substantiated hypotheses, sometimes stacked on each other, a lot of "creative" bits, etc.
I do not have to do that, and I can substantiate everything, rather very directly. Not only that, I do not have to reject all the content of GMark or Acts. Actually I can use them in order to demonstrate the creation of Christianity has nothing to do with God or even a significant earthly Jesus. Rather it followed a natural (and human!) process of progressive development. There is no asking for some leap of faith or some stretching of the imagination.
What's wrong about accepting some fisherman were to be found around or in Capernaum?
Even if you oppose (as I do) the way they were "called". And what was preventing "Mark" to use the fact those disciples were fishers in order to put words in the mouth of Jesus, which may have been inspired from Jeremiah?

Turton: "I eliminated everything whose historicity cannot be supported."

Bernard: it looks to me you eliminated everything whose historicity can be contested for whatever reasons. Of course, there is always a way, or somebody, or something which would allow you to find pretexts to do so. Gee, I can find many reasons in order to discard the roundness of the earth. Does that make me right?

Turton: "That can ONLY be deduced from reading the text. It cannot be brought to the text as an a priori they way you are."

Bernard: So what about Nazareth in 1:9? I do not bring Nazareth to the text, but you do a lot of biased "deducing" in order to take it out, which involve a lot more than just reading the text.

TURTON: I am not the least bit interested, Bernard, in "being constructive" in the sense you mean.

Bernard: You'll have to, eventually, if you want to describe how Christianity started (and explain with accuracy all the content of the earliest Christian texts). Like I say, being destructive is easy. Being constructive is a lot more difficult.

Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

"MULLER: Maybe someday, you'll come to realise it is easy to throw some doubt on anything (even 'Galilee'!).

Turton: See if you can track down a copy of this (I can't get it here in Taiwan where I live):

Neotestamentica: Journal of the New Testament Society of South Africa

Taylor, Nicholas 2003. Q and Galilee? Neotestamentica 37(2), 283-311.

ABSTRACT
It is widely accepted in scholarship that the hypothetical sayings collection Q originated in the Jesus movement which persisted in Galilee after the ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. This study accepts the hypothesis of a source, common to
Matthew and Luke, not merely written in Greek but also reflecting a tradition of oral delivery in Greek. It accepts also that many of the traditions preserved therein originate in the historical ministry of Jesus, without identifying these
with any earlier layer identified by previous scholarship. The Galilean
provenance of Q is questioned, in the light of eight factors, which are considered in turn: (1) the nature and definition of Q, and its relationship to other Jesus traditions; (2) the language of Q; (3) scribal skills in rural Galilee; (4) the purpose in committing Q to writing; (5) geographical allusions
in the reconstructed document; (6) the nature of itinerancy in the mission charge; (7) Israelite traditions and institutions; and (8) Q and primitive Christian kerygma. It is argued that Q was transcribed to facilitate wider and more efficient dissemination of the tradition of Jesus' teaching in the Greek language, and that the impetus and occasion for this would not have occurred in Galilee. The provenance of Q is therefore to be sought elsewhere.

Bernard: Actually, as I explained on my page on Q, I think most of Q does not come from Galilee and was compiled somewhere else. I also think most of Q was generated in a Christian community after GMark was known. But I do not see why you bring that about. That has little impact about Jesus not operating in or being from Galilee.

From Turton:
"MULLER: Pure imagination! Jesus as a Maccabee? Jesus is not described as the High Priest in GMark.

TURTON: Bernard, see the work of Crispin Fletcher-Louis on this."

Do you agree with it? Do you endorse his work? Did you check him (and his work) out?
Or is that something you bring about blindly because it favors your agenda?

Turton:
MULLER: Really! The mother-in-law is not dead, she is said to have fever by Peter. The word for raise/rise is 'egeiro'. It is used for the paralytic (who is not dead)(2:9.11-12), the man with withered hand (who is already standing up) (3:3), etc. The same word is used in other contexts which have nothing to do with Jesus raising someone, or risen dead, like 4:27, 10:49, 13:8, 13:22, 14:42. So maybe you should check the claims of your scholars. I do. Because they say something you like does not mean they are thorough & right.

TURTON: Bernard, if the writer of Mark uses the word for "rise" in a variety of different contexts, doesn't that tell you that he wants you to make a connection?

Bernard: You are assuming again. Seeing a lot more in the text than what is into it. The point I tried to make in the terminlogy here is not specific to resurrection.

Turton: to Neil Godfrey (whom you know from your JM days) and I have been discussing these links. Basically, the raising of a paralytic functions as typology for Jesus' own raising (doesn't the digging out of the roof remind you of the Jesus' tomb, "hewn from rock" as per Isaiah, with its cover removed?

Bernard: totally out on a limb here. So much "deducing" on assumptions.

Turton: The paralytic is attended by four men -- just as Jesus is attended by four major disciples, etc).

Bernard: to be carried for some distance, 4 men are better than 2. I would take out that kind of reasonning if I were you. You are grasping air now. Pure speculation.

Turton: Similarly, the raising of Jairus daughter presages Jesus own rising -- Jairus one of the synagogue leaders being an echo of Joseph of Arimathea one of the synhedrion members. Etc.

Bernard: It's pure hallucination. Just so much wild "deducing" in order to remove historicity.

Turton: After Neil and I have hashed this all out, I'll put up the discussion here or at JM.

Bernard: And I am sure you'll have takers for this kind of thing, no kidding. It's a strange world out there. Other positive evidence in the making! Cracking Da Mark's code!

Turton: These links travel all through the Gospel, which is linked by catchwords/hookwords and keywords, for example, like those that revolve around food, eating, and bread. Another one is the word "watch!" which is important in the second half of the Gospel especially. "Rise" is another example of that trend. As the comment on my website put it:

"v31: Joan Mitchell (2001, p62-3) observes that the writer of Mark presents Simon's mother-in-law as a called disciple, who is raised up (egeire-- the same verb used in the Resurrection account and several healings) and then serves Jesus."

Bernard: assumption, speculation, extrapolation, etc. Not evidence, for sure. If you consider that as a point in your favor, you would be drooping very low. But what's the heck, as long as it takes out the historicity of Jesus getting Peter's mother-in-law out of bed, why not accept it!

Bernard

Bernard Muller said...

Turton:
"MULLER: Now "Mark" is ironic; that's a new twist. That would explain it! I cannot wait to see your study on Mark's irony.

TURTON: You don't have to, Bernard. Camery-Hoggat is one of many scholars who comment on Mark's extensive use of irony, and in fact has written a whole book on it.

Camery-Hoggat, Jerry. 1992. Irony in Mark's Gospel: Text and Subtext. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press."

Bernard: Wonderful, one scholar made a book about Mark's irony, and that should be considered solid as stone. Did you review the book? Do you endorse it?

Turton:
For use of irony in a specific situation, see Vernon Robbin's wonderful study of Psalm 22 and Kingship,

Robbins, Vernon K. 1992. The Reversed Contextualization of Psalm 22 in the Markan Crucifixion: A Socio-Rhetorical Analysis. In Segbroeck, F., Tuckett, C., Van Belle, G., Verheyden, J. eds. The Four Gospels: A Ferstschrift in Honor of Frans Neirynck. Leuven: University Press

which is online here

http://www.religion.emory.edu/
faculty/robbins/Pdfs/ReversedPs22Mark15.pdf"

I could not get it.
Anyway, Jesus' last words according to GMark (but different of the ones in GLuke and GJohn) have been commented as "Mark" trying to attract the attention on the whole of psalm 22. Here, there are many midrashic elements that "Mark" put in his Passion, among other things which could apply to Jesus. Actually, few things are not relevant and those could be considered as imagery. The idea would be: See, Christ and his Passion (even life) were prophesied, even in some details. Nothing ironic about that approach, just that "Mark" thought he was clever, even if the trick could backfire.
'Hebrews' used part of the psalm also.
Of course, if you (or anyone else) want to see irony here (that is if it in your favor, of course!), so do it.
Personally in my site, I kept clear of these alleged last words.

Turton:
Knowledge of Mark's skilled use of irony is basic to understand the Gospel of Mark, Bernard. How is it that you are not aware of it?

Bernard: That's your appraisal, shared by a few scholars. Is it the law?Immediately you accept that, as usual, probably because it is in your favor. So now "Mark" would combine skilled irony, Jesus as a Maccabee & John & Elijah/Elisha, complex literary structures & chiasms, that mysterious messianic secret, maybe some code. Not bad for a gospel considered primitive relative to the others. Not bad for a hard-pressed anonymous hurrying to publish something in a time of deep crise to keep his flock.
I think scholars & yourself are just seing many things which are just not there. I replaced all of that by only one thing: Mark had to deal with testimonies from eyewitness(es) which were not confirming his huge enhancement of the earthly Jesus or/and were lacking on important theological/christological items. That would explain all the "mysteries". Occam's razor.
Bernard

Michael Turton said...

Good luck, Bernard.

Michael

Jacob Aliet said...

From Jacob Aliet
Hi Michael, that was a great critique of part 1 of Muller's work. Allow me to respond to Muller too. But first...

You know what, don't bother with the rest of Muller's work. I undertook the task of critiquing Muller's work and printed The early years (HJ-1a) and John the Baptist (HJ-1b) . 50 pages. I even bought locked myself in a quiet room...

It is 50 pages of very little scholarly effort from Muller's part. It is basically a collection of selected quotes, personal assumptions and impetuous conclusions.

Muller lays out "evidence" in the first 50 pages without synthesizing them and tying up the argument to what he is trying to prove. His website is largely a collection of quoted references. The range of data and sources is impressive but the reader is left wondering 'where is he going with this?' 'What has he proved so far?'

Muller appears to 'argue' through the subtitles he uses but doesn't do the work of stating "x shows us y and therefore this proves that p."

He does not explain what he has established and what he is establishing - he leaves it up to the reader to figure that out. His usage of the gospels to buttress his subtitles, as if they are independent sources, also speaks about the quality of his work. Readers may ask themselves, hasn't this man ever heard of independent attestation? Aren't the gospels the texts on trial?

I respond below to a few passages that are his, where he seems to come within the references and say something related to the reconstruction of a HJ.

He also has the habit of providing negative evidence (e.g. disprove that Jesus was born in Bethlehem) then after discrediting a theory, making a positive claim about the contrary position (Jesus was therefore born in Galilee [Nazareth]) and then following it with unexplained references that supposedly support the position he favours.

Just like in his intro, where he disproves the idea that the evangelists were fabricating the son of a perfect, omniscient, glorious God and therefore Jesus must have been a HJ, so does he make several other arguments one of which is below.

Here is the example I reference above.
1.1.6 Conclusion:

Considering the aforementioned absence of similarities and the apparent contradictions between the two stories, the obvious theological motives, "Mark" denying Jesus as "Son of David", "John" avoiding the issue, and also the incongruities of the two nativity "scenarios", there are many reasons to think that Jesus was not born in Bethlehem.

Consequently , Jesus was likely born in Galilee, probably Nazareth, simply because his parents lived there.


The word 'consequently' above is an empty claim based on an unstated false dichotomy. Note that after the assertion above, he makes arguments about the existence of Nazareth but offers no evidence that proves that Jesus was born in Nazareth.

Muller writes:
Paul in 1Co9:5 "Do we have no right to take along a believing wife, as do also the other apostles, the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas [Aramaic for Peter]?"
Paul in Gal1:18-19 "Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles-- only James, the Lord's brother.


These are passages that are in dispute and I think Muller knows this is and probably addreses the disputes elsewhere. Muller even quotes Josephus on James being the brother of Jesus and yet he knows the usage of the word brother does not necessarily mean 'blood brother'. Early Christianity was like a brotherhood of sorts.

As I quoted spin earlier at IIDB, When we find Pauline usage of the absolute "the Lord", not "my lord" or "the lord (someone)", he is referring to Yahweh. But when the term "o kurios" is used without any qualifications, ie in the absolute, a reader understands that it refers to God. "kurios" is used in the LXX. Look at Ps 110:1 with its "the Lord said to my lord" (Gk: eipen o kurios tw kuriw mou, Heb: N'M YHWH L-'DNY). Reading this might be confusing if you didn't realise that o kurios, "the lord" refers to God, o kurios mou, "my lord", does not.

I think Muller also fails when he presents evidence supporting a certain position without revealing to the readers that the argument he is making, or the passages he references and their interpretations are in dispute and without indicating whether he addresses those disputes elsewhere.

Given that Muller leaves to the reader the burden of assiduously analyzing the evidence, sythesizing the information to create knowledge, I will stop here in analyzing Muller's reconstruction. If its a work in progress, he can update us when he is done so that it reads like an integration of evidence with whatever theory he is propounding.

I find very little to credit Muller for in his alleged reconstruction. He doesn't do adequate research but merely arrogates himself the status of a top-notch scholar, brushes the scholars aside and proceeds to do the work.

The gaping holes in his work and sources, his unscholarly methodology, his groundless assumptions and lack of adequate scholarly input make his efforts not worthy of serious consideration. IMO, he lacks or ignores the background required to undertake the task that he took.

Michael Turton said...

The gaping holes in his work and sources, his unscholarly methodology, his groundless assumptions and lack of adequate scholarly input make his efforts not worthy of serious consideration. IMO, he lacks or ignores the background required to undertake the task that he took.


Yeah, that was my conclusion after I saw him pooh-pooh the idea that Mark uses irony, as Fowler, Booth, Camery-Hoggat, Rhoads, Dewey, and many others had never existed or written on the topic. *sigh*. It's a shame that all that effort went to waste because he never got into the text the way he should have....