Friday, March 18, 2005

Mark in Chiasms, Completed and Annotated.

I have completed the chiastic structure of each pericope for the entire gospel and updated all my previous work. This laying out of Mark has paid dividends in my understanding of the author's original intention, and highlighted interpolations, redactions, and other text-critical issues. It has also shown the reason for many odd Markan habits, such as his doublets and duplications, and other puzzling features of Mark. In many cases these features signal the beginning of brackets.

To see the entire gospel laid out chiastically, with my comments on the side, go here. The page contains two large .jpg files -- the only way I could make sure it loaded up properly in each type of browser -- with my comments.

For the rules used in constructing these chiasms, please see the previous post here. There's still quite a bit of tinkering left, and I'll make a note of final adjustments and further comments on this site.



Anonymous said...

I wonder if it's time to start thinking about all of this as evidence for layers of redaction...the bits that are not chiasmed would seem to be later additions, and it's interesting that there seems to be some correlation with those elements that are missing from Luke--I should look into this in more detail. Mr. Turton, have you discovered Ur-Markus? (Or deutero-Mark, as the case may be).

(Could we even put the prophetic quotations in v1-3 in this category of later additions? Perhaps it was a revision or addition to an earlier tradition of John-material at the beginning of the gospel.)

I might even go further, and suggest that some of the features of the chiasms seem to imply that the author was working with earlier material, struggling with its structure--the occasional ABC parallelism seems to suggest this, as do the brief 1-layer ABBA brackets interspersed throughout. My hunch is that the author was working to impose stylistic order on earlier material--and, I would argue further, was using chiasms to insert commentary into the previous text. So I would hypothesize three layers of redaction--one prior to the chiasms, and one following, but I realize this might just be my ideosyncratic opinion.

Anonymous said...

Here's an example of what can be done with your chiasms.

Let's look at the temple cleansing. In your Commentary, you cite Geoffrey Troughton in using Nehemiah as an OT basis for this episode.

Troughton says:

"According to Davies and Allison, the prohibition against carriage through the Temple is the likeliest source of allusion to Nehemiah."

Mk11:16 "and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple" is present only in Mark. It is not present in either Matthew, Luke, or John. It's especially telling that it isn't present in Matthew, since Matthew seems to have had the latest edition of Mark of the three other evangelists.

So, what happens to the chiasm without v16? It looks like it's reduced to an ABCBA structure, which isn't a chiasm at all according to your rules. Perhaps this was an older pericope that the author had difficulty rewriting. However, you'd probably view this conclusion as ad hoc, so let me suggest a different perspective.

The center has been reduced to:

And he taught, and said to them, "Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'? But you have made it a den of robbers."

You note that the center of Markan chiasms is often a chreia. Aren't we looking at one here?

And he taught, and said to them, "Is it not written, `My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations'?

***But you have made it a den of robbers."***

Making for a lovely chreia-chiasm (which previously you could either not see, or not use, because you had to fit v16 in.)

This example seems to tell us a few interesting things. For one, it suggests that the later editor was an OT-exegete. We are now left asking what exegesis is original, and what was added later.

Also, as noted above, I have just removed the best piece of evidence that the cleansing is just a midrash on Nehemiah 13:9. Furthermore, if you read Troughton's article in its entirety, you will find that I have made his interpretation of Jesus' cleansing much more irrelevant.

(In my mind, there is a scale, with one end representing historicized exegesis, and the other representing exegetic history. I am imagining a small weight from the former end being moved to the latter...)

Anonymous said...

Unless, of course, I misunderstand the way you are using the term "chreia"

Michael Turton said...

Great insight! I'll get back to you later today!

Anonymous said...

Finally, I'd like to add that although my solution breaks rule #4, you yourself break it in the bracketing of Gethsemane, in your F bracket there.