Sunday, May 22, 2005

Was Detering Right about the Date of Mark?

Was Detering Right about the Date of Mark?

The following verse, Mark 13:14 is one of the most famous verses in the Gospel:

14: "But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains; (RSV)

This is the famous "Abomination of Desolation" that the writer derived from Daniel 9:27. The majority of scholars hold that it refers to the occupation of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 by Roman troops, who "worshipped" their standards there, according to Josephus. The reference to "false Christs" in 13:21-22 may well be a reference to messianic pretenders like Simon Bar Giora, a key Jewish leader of that war, which would also put the Gospel of Mark after 70. The "Legion" of the demoniac of Mark 5:1-20 that was sent into pigs may be a reference to Legio X Fretensis, which occupied the Temple after 70 and among whose legionnary standards was a boar.

However, a handful of exegetes, among them the brilliant German scholar Hermann Detering, see Mark 13 as referring not to the revolt of 70 but to the later revolt of 135, in which the Jewish nation was not only defeated but eliminated. The Jews were evicted from Palestine, the Temple area occupied by a Roman Temple, and Jerusalem renamed. Even the name "Judea" disappeared as Hadrian renamed the area "Syria Palestina" to deliberately blot it out.

The later revolt also fits the descriptions in Mark, in some ways slightly better. The catalyst for the Jewish Revolt of 135 was Hadrian's erection of not merely a statue of himself, but a statue of Jupiter and a Roman Temple on the site of the Jerusalem Temple. Construction began during the Emperor's visit to the area. When he left in 132 the rebellion began to swell as Jews fortified villages and occupied strongholds all over Palestine. A savage war ensued whose devastation far exceeded the affray of 70. No less than twelve Roman legions were brought in, some from as far away as Britain. The enormous number of Jews participating in the revolt forced the Roman leader, Julius Severus, to follow a policy of scorched earth and starvation rather than open confrontation. These events may also be seen in Mark 13, particularly since Hadrian persecuted both Christians and Jews, and animosity between the two groups grew throughout the second century. Since Legio X Fretensis remained in Palestine and occupied Jerusalem in the second century, the possible reference to it in Mark 5 is also supported, perhaps even enhanced (Ken Humphreys outlines some of the late-date information here).

There is an additional piece of data that favors a later date for the Gospel of Mark than usually given. TE Schmidt (1995) argued that the scene depicted in Mark 15:16 to 15:22 is essentially meant to depict a mock Roman triumphal procession. Such mock processions are known from history. For example, Sejanus received one before his execution.

Schmidt was among a small number of exegetes who have observed that Golgotha may also be translated as head as well as skull. That would make Golgotha the Place of the Head. A Roman legend records that in Rome when a temple was being built on a hill, a human head was found with its features still intact. According to the legend, the soothsayers then said this meant the hill would be the head of all Italy. The hill was thus named Capitoline Hill. The significance of this should not be missed: the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on Capitoline Hill, the Capitolium, the placed named after the Death's Head, was the terminus of every Roman triumph.

This may well be a pointer to another Capitoline Hill, the Temple Mount. In two important ways. If we take, in the writer's allegorical geography, the reference to Rome to understand where the writer wants us to think Jesus was crucified, we need only to know that Jerusalem was also a city with a key hill surmounted by a Temple, the Temple Mount itself. Mark may well be implying that Jesus was crucified on the Temple Mount.

The dating datum here is that the Temple Mount did have a Capitoline Temple on its mount, the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, erected by Hadrian on the ruins of the Temple. In which case the Place of the Skull would be a very direct reference to the Temple Mount indeed.

This now takes us back to Mark 13:14, where we can at last understand Mark's dual implication of the Abomination in the Desolation. Tate (1995) laid out the parallels between Mark 13:9-13, where Jesus makes a prophecy of future persecution:

Disciples before Councils
Jesus before Sanhedrin

Disciples beaten in Synagogues
Jesus beaten after Sanhedrin Trial

Disciples before Governors
Jesus before Pilate

Disciples brought to trial and "handed over"
Jesus on trial and "handed over"

Brother betrays brother
Judas betrays Jesus

Disciples hated in Jesus' name
Reaction to Jesus' claim to be the Blessed One.
This takes us through Mark 13:13. The very next verse, Mark 13:14, refers to the Abomination. This gives us the crowning parallel:
Abomination Stands in the Desolation
Jesus' Cross Stands on the Temple Mount
Now we have come full circle.

References
Schmidt, T.E. 1995. Mark 15:16-32: the Crucifixion Narrative and the Roman Triumphal Procession. New Test. Stud. vol 41, 1995. pp1-18.

Tate, W. Randolph. 1995. Reading Mark from the Outside: Eco and Iser Leave Their Marks. San Francisco: International Scholars Publications.

15 comments:

Michael Turton said...

Rod GReen at JesusMysteries noted:

Michael,
The "abomination of desolation" quote is found in 1 Macabbees as well as Daniel. In each case, it appears to be directly related to the acts of a political entity, not an individual. Also, it seems doubtful that
Mark's intentions relate to Jesus's cross on the Temple Mount, since it is also coupled with the "flee to the mountains" motif, which was not necessary and did not happen in Mark's gospel.
Best
Rod Green

Michael Turton said...

Jake Jones added:

How does this relate to the dating of Mark? The prophecy of the destruction of the temple (Mark
13:2)is after the fact, and could only have been written after 70 CE. This is the terminus post quem for the Little Apocalypse (Mark 13).

Mark 14:58 indicates an expectation that the temple would be rebuilt. This became possible only after 118
CE when Hadrian became emperor and allowed the Jews to return to Israel. He granted permission to rebuild the temple.

But Hadrian broke his word, and this initiated the Bar Kochba revolt. With God and the Christ (Bar Kochba) on their side, they would just kick the Romans out and rebuild the temple themselves. This almost miraculous event was anticipated so strongly that coins were struck.
http://www.amuseum.org/book/page19.html

This is the situation we find pertaining in GMark, and is the most likely time for the composition, at least of these sections. After this utter defeat in 135 CE, the possibility of rebuilding the temple ended, and is the terminus ante
quem for Mark.

Detering is right.

Anonymous said...

Rod Green and I continue our conversation:


ROD G: Mark does not reflect any expectation that the Temple will be rebuilt by men. It was to be a messianic miracle, as so stated. When Mark wrote, possibly as early as 70 CE, he would not even have known what the Romans planned to do after their conquest.

MICHAEL T: (we got lots of Michael-s going here!) Yes, but when Hadrian shows up in ~130 it was clear what was going to happen, right? When Jesus is accused of saying that he would destroy a man-made Temple, *which one is he referring to?* The one built by Herod, or the one built by Hadrian? Double meanings!

Mark's underlying scriptural references are strongly-temple focused. For example, in Mark 3:1-6, where Jesus heals the withered hand, the underlying scripture (1 Kings 13:4-6) references a Son of David (Josiah) who will sacrifice the priests at their own altars. In Mk 11 the "den of robbers" refers to a passage where Jeremiah discusses the destruction of the Temple at Shiloh. In other words, in Mark's day, the destruction of the Temple in 70 has become history interpreted theologically, and viewed with a certain nostalgia. That bespeaks a later period. Had Mark been writing in the 70s, he would still be working out the theological implications in his text. But there is no working out of this, instead, Mark understands the destruction of the Temple in a developed way.

IMHO Mark's concentration on the Pharisees is the sign of a later Gospel that is not consistent with a date as early as 70. The Sadduccees ran the Sanhedrin and supplied the High Priests. If Mark wanted to condemn Jewish leadership, why does he target Pharisees and not Sadduccees? They led the Temple in period immediate prior to the 70s! Yet they appear once by name, and then disappear. Mark does not even name the High Priest, so indifferent is he to the Sadduccees. Mark's wrath is targeted at the Jewish leadership of *an entirely later era*, when the Sadduccees were non-existent/unimportant, and the problem was the Pharisees. Mark cannot have been written in the 70s, as Pharisaic leadership did not emerge so early.

Further, Mark understands Christians as those who "come in My name." Yet Christians were not known as such until the late first century, early second. Prior to 70 they were the the Elect, the Saints, the Church of God. Yet another indication of a late date.

ROD G: Even if Mark 14:58 referenced a human reconstruction of the Temple (which it clearly doesn't), the author of Mark could not have known in 70 CE what the Romans were going to allow or
disallow in Judea. The Romans often destroyed whole cities within their Empire and then paid to have them rebuilt, almost exactly as they had been! IMHO, I believe we are stretching our
interpretations here to the breaking point.

MICHAEL T: Well, scholars are split on how that is to be interpreted. Does Jesus mean the Church, himself, or what? If it references the Church, that again is a signal of a later date, when Christianity was being envisioned by orthodoxy as a single unified entity. Yet another indication of a late date. But this one is very ambiguous. If only Mark had been written by a clod like Matthew who liked everything nice and clear *sigh*.

Michael

Anonymous said...

More comments from Jake:

Simon bar Kochba (Son of the Star) was a messianic
claimant who was expected to rebuild the Jewish
temple. Coins from that period show the Temple with
the Messianic star on the roof. Bar Kochba considerd
himself the moshiach, the Christ, and was so
proclaimed by Rabbi Akiba.

Since Christians already had their own claimant, Bar
Kochba persecuted the Christians. "Barchochebas, the
leader of the revolt of the Jews, gave orders that
Christians alone should be lead away to cruel
punishments, unless they should deny Jesus as the
Christ and blaspheme." Justin, _First Apology_ 31.6.
These historical persecutions of Christians by Jews
were cast back into Jesus' mouth as prophecy. Mark
13:11-13, Luke 21:12.

By the time of Bar Kochba, the rebuilding of the
temple had become a sign of the messianic age. The
intentions of the false messiah were cast back as
prophecy to the mythical mouth of Jesus.

Michael Turton said...

Our discussion has grown three cornered. Here are neil Godfrey's comments and my replies at Infidels:

[QUOTE=neilgodfrey]Does Detering date the whole of Mark after 135 or just this 'little apocalypse' chapter? I thought he suggested that Mark 13 is a redaction of Matthew's chap 24 counterpart. (But I only sort of read his article some time back through a machine translation.)[/quote]

I think you are right in that he puts Mark 13 there. But I am not one of those people who believe that Mark had a source for that; it's from his hand.

[quote]I like the idea of Golgotha/Place of the Skull being a cryptic reference to the Temple Mount but have my doubts that it can stand. The triumphal procession of Jesus' execution is actually the second triumphal procession in Mark -- the first one was his entry from outside the city though the adulatory crowds and on to the temple (I don't have the reference for this at hand but you probably know it anyway -- can check it later if wanted). The fact that he didn't enter the temple till the day after his entry is also consistent with triumphal processions often having to be completed the next day. Once in the temple Jesus engages in settling religious issues with the authorities -- just as the triumphator would settle (usually religious) business with Senators in the Capitol on his arrival. [/quote]

Yes, the Temple entrance is a convention of the King's entrance into the city, which began as epiphany story, of course, of the God's entrance into the city.

[quote]The point is, that this first triumphal procession of Jesus is being "balanced" by his second mock triumph to his execution. A triumphal procession began outside the city and this mock one is, with typically Markan reversal, going the opposite direction. This is further suggested by the accosting of Simon "passing by" as he was "coming out of the country" -- a portrayal hard to picture anywhere but just outside the city. [/quote]

I agree with that last comment. It is a problem. Kind of you to give us the answer, though.

[quote]Incidentally, this "coming out of the fields/country" reference is, I think, further support for Schmidt's suggestion that this is a mock execution. As I recall Schmidt, he compares this Simon carrying the cross with the executioner carrying the double headed axe and leading the sacrificial victim. There is a reference in Heliodorus's "An Ethiopian Story" (bk 3, ch1) that specifically says these executioners in such processions not only led the sacrificial victims and carryied their instrument of execution, but were "from the country/farms", wearing "country/bucolic clothing". [/quote]

Thanks for that! Schmidt DOES say that, I noted that in my discussion of the passage on my commentary. But Heliodorus is just the thing I need. This suggests that Mark is packing a number of different tropes in there, and they don't all fit together in a nice neat package. Coming from the country is a reference to his ironic role as executioner, not to the site of the Crucifixion, which is not clearly specified in Mark.

BTW Ethopian Story is a great tale, especially the opening, which reminds me of a Conan story. But Heliodorus might be a little late for our purposes here.

[quote]But back to the abomination of desolation reference, the allusions in Mark 13 to subsequent events in Mark are not sequential, nor are they restricted to subsequent events. Mark 13 refers to disciples (including women) fleeing and leaving garments behind "after" the abom of des -- which of course is an allusion to what happened "before" the trial of Jesus.[/quote]

Good point.

[quote] Mark 13 is just as thick in its allusions to prior events, too -- e.g. the fig tree, preaching to all peoples from far and wide, transfiguration, and Jesus standing at doors. So the "randomness" of Mark 13 allusions minimizes the likelihood that abomination of desolation refers to the crucifixion on the Temple mount in part "because" it is mentioned after the warnings of being handed over for trials. [/quote]

This I don't agree with. Hang on...

[quote]Further, would Mark really have referred to Jesus' crucifixion as an abomination? Doesn't he see it as a triumphal entry into the glory of the kingdom? [/quote]

Markan irony hard at work, of course.

[quote]As for the aside to tell the reader to understand, I suspect this has more to do with telling his readers not to be like the incomprehending and failing disciples in his gospel. The Daniel passage of the abom of des includes two references to "those who understand" -- these are the ones who are strong and pass the spiritual tests. Mark is telling his readers to be among those who "understand" and not be like the disciples and women followers in Mark's gospel.[/quote]

Good observation...

[quote] His readers are in the world marked by this abom of des, not the disciples. This of course also supports, I think, a date from the time of Hadrian.[/quote]

Yes. The 70s is just too soon for the persecution motif, which is a Markan subtheme, occurring in Mark 4 and elsewhere.

[quote]Despite my doubts about the Golgotha/Temple Mount indentification, I see Detering's date of Mark 13 as having more going for it than the post 70 date -- but I find it harder to see Mark 13 as anything but integral to the rest of the gospel. If Mark 13 is post 135 so is the whole of Mark.[/QUOTE]

That's pretty much my view.

Rod Green pointed out that the abomination of the desolation also occurs in 1 Macc.

1 Macc 1:54: Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred and forty-fifth year, they erected a desolating sacrilege upon the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding cities of Judah,(RSV)

and 6 Macc:

7: that they had torn down the abomination which he had erected upon the altar in Jerusalem; and that they had surrounded the sanctuary with high walls as before, and also Beth-zur, his city. (RSV)

when the idol is destroyed. The Jesus Seminar noted that "fleeing to the hills" may also be drawn from Macc

1 Macc 2:28 says:

27: Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying: "Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!"
28:[b] And he and his sons fled to the hills[/b] and left all that they had in the city.(RSV)

When you reflect on the fact that Hadrian positioned himself as Antiochus Epiphanies...and that Antiochus IV Epiphanies pissed the Maccabees off by erecting what was probably Zeus statue on the altar in the Temple, and Hadrian pissed off Bar Kochba & Co by erecting a Jupiter statue on the Temple site, the parallelism is difficult to resist.

I think, to get back to your earlier point about being out of order, Mark is doing what he has done the entire gospel, echoing back to other parts of it, not necessarily in the same order. Mark 13 is a microcosm of Mark. Two parts of Mark 13 are in order, the Trial and persecution bit, and the parable of the watcher, which defines the time of the arrest and trials.

But everything is in and out of order. Mark has mixed up history and his gospel together. On one side he is pointing to the present situation of Christians (hated for my sake). On another reading, he points to his own future (hated for his own sake). Yet on the third reading he points back, as Weeden argued, to 8:34-41 and 10:23-31, which are structurally similar, in Weeden's view. That is why I am less inclined to think that the order means anything.

We had discussed a while back about how the Healing of the Paralytic echoes Jesus own death and burial -- four men accompany the paralytic (who can't move but isn't dead) just as four main disciples accompany Jesus across Galilee. They remove the roof and stick him in a house, just as the stone is rolled back and Jesus is stuck in the Tomb. And Jairus and the dead girl echo Joseph of A and the dead Jesus. And (further) in the synagoge Jesus heals a withered arm and the Bad'uns plot to kill him for no good reason (just as the Sanhedrin in the Temple tries Jesus and kills him for no good reason). Mark's gospel is constantly echoing itself out of order, in little bits and pieces. So I don't see a reason why Mark 13 should be tied down by parallels in order.

My reading: Mark is pulling a Daniel here, living in the present (revolt of 135) and attempting to predict the near future (both Mark and Daniel failed miserably). Note the implicit link between both, each deals with an Antiochus Epiphanies, in a way. When Mark warns us to look for the fig tree getting its leaves back, [i]he is referring to the revival of Israel[/i]. Hence Mark must be living through that moment or very close to it -- early in the struggle when the end is uncertain. There is no way he is writing this in the early 70s as there was no clue that Israel would rise again. I think Jake's suggestion that the False Christ is Bar Kochba may have merit.

Vorkosigan

Anonymous said...

Rod Green Responds to Jake:

Jake,
You're misundertsanding me (or I am not being clear). Jesus was NOT
historical. Yet that point is irrelevent to the duscussion of the text
itself. The author Mark has his non-historical Jesus (in the context of
this pericope) talking about a real temple standing before him. This
pericope is placed in the time of Pilate. Thus the characters in Mark's
story are tallking about the Temple of Solomon, built by Herod. They are
not and cannot be talking about a future temple to be built by Bar
Kochba. The scene has them standing in front of the darn Herodian Temple! I
included the exact dialogue for clarity. Let's deconstruct it. "I will
destroy this man-made temple..."
"I' refers to Jesus, the speaker. "Will" means it is an event that will
happen in the future. "Destroy" means the temple will be disassembled.
"This" again refers to the temple directly in front of the speaker, the
Herodian Temple. "Man-made" states the obvious, the temple in front of
the sepaker was made by the hands of men. "In three days" insinuates
that the action that follows will occur three days following the
destructive event just described. "Will build another" means that the speaker
(Mark's Jesus character) will subsequent to the before mentioned
destruction, construct a new temple. "Not made by man" means the new temple
will be constructed supernaturally, without masons or other construction
workers.
Please explain which part of this deconstruction is naive.

You say Jesus didn't have the power to do anything? That's your
perspective (and mine). But we're talking about Mark's perspective here. Did
Mark think, or did he want his readers to think, that Jesus DID have
such power? The answer is obvious.
Turning to Mark 13:11-13, this pericope does not compel us in any way
to associate it with the Bar Kochba era. "Arrested and brought to
trial?" That had already been happening by 60 CE as reflected in the Pauline
epistles. "Brother against brother, child against father?" These were
all described by Josephus in his Jewish War. "Men will hate you because
of me?" See Tacitus, Seutonius, Paul, etc. Why are you jumping 60 years
into the future? By 70 CE all these events had already been happening.
No one in Judea even hinted at a rebuilding of the temple after 70 CE
until Hadrian himself suggested it as a possibility. Had Hadrian not
opened a can of worms, we probably would not have had a Bar Kochba
Rebellion. Bar Kochba was claimed as a messiah just like a dozen others
before and after him. A noted rabbi endorsed his claim but other equally
important rabbis disputed same. Keep in mind that Bar Kochba's own
correspondence states that he desires that Yahweh just stay out of the fight.
I doubt many really took Bar Kochba as the messiah, and certainly he
didn't act like one. The best we can say is that he accepted the title
because in some circles it gave him cachet. Bar Kochba was a military
leader, not a theologcial one.
Finally, against my naivete, you must be proposing that Mark wrote his
gosepl after the Bar Kochba rebellion began in ernest, but before it
became clear they were going to lose (else Mark would not suggest the
possibility of a new temple). Most historians place this time space at
about twelve to eighteen months, so your window is narrow. Now your Mark
places his story way back in the time of Pilate (for unknown or unclear
reasons), has his Jesus say he will destroy the temple at the time of
Pilate ( it was destroyed, but not by Jesus, and forty years later,
which everyone in 135 CE would have already known). Even though Mark's
Jesus, living in 30 CE, says he will rebuild the temple after 3 days, he
has now inexplicably waited 105 years, to do what Mark had him say he
would do in 3 days, not to mention he now has to rely on Bar Kochba and
his followers to build the darn thing the old fashioned way, when Mark's
Jesus had predicted a miracle construction.
Call me naive, but I can't buy it. ;>)
There is absolutely nothing in Mark that requires us to look to 135 CE
as a time marker.
Best
Rod Green

Anonymous said...

I think focusing on the standards as the abomination is wrong--the abomination was probably the Tenth Legion itself (with the unclean Boar as their insignia).

Also this surely can't be cast solely as a debate between a 70's Mark and a 130's Mark.

Having said that, there is of course nothing against a revitalization of Mark during the Bar Kochba revolt. The middle section, between the Galilean ministry and the Passion Narrative seems to bear evidence of more than one addition to an original text (multiple "endings", for example.)

the_cave

Anonymous said...

Forgot to add--surely the notion that the rebuilding of the temple was unthinkable until Hadrian is wrong--I mean, I can just see the Judeans smaking their heads "Of course! Why didn't we think of that?" Also, Hadrian seems to have changed his mind, eh? Probably it was a popular idea throught the period between the two revolts.

Michael Turton said...

Storing all this stuff here.


JAKE: For what it is worth, Jerome identifies the Abomination of Desolation as the statue of Hadrian. Jerome, Extracts from the Commentary on the Bible On Matthew 24.15 [So when you see the standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation.]: or to the statue of the mounted Hadrian, which stands to this very day on the site of the Holy of Holies.

**********
NEIL: If Mark is post 135 and our Luke is even much later it might explain a slight variation in his version of the little apocalypse. There is no mention of pestilence in Mark (13:8) or the major manuscripts of (earliest?) Matthew (24:7). Pestilence is not introduced until Luke's gospel.

Luke 21: 11 And great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences . . .

For those daring to put our gospel of Luke post 165 this might be a small but interesting detail. It was from 165 c.e. that the first of a series of new and more virulent plagues devastated the Roman empire. By the time it subsided around 190 c.e. it had wiped out (conservatively) 3.5 to 5 million in its first three years and 10 million (8% of Europe's population).

(Stats from Daniel T. Reff's "Plagues, Priests, and Demons: Sacred Narratives and the Rise of Christianity in the Old World and the New"
– 2005.)
Neil Godfrey
**********

ROD: Are we leaving Mark's audience out of the equation? Mark was writing for an audience living outside Judea (he constantly helps his readers with helpful hints such as, the Jordan is a river). He was writing for an audience that is thoroughly Gentile and unfamiliar with things Jewish ( why else does he need to explain things such as Jewish purity practices?).

In this "audience context", we can then analyze your statement,"I don't think there would have been any mystery at all re the meaning of the term "abomination of desolation" to anyone whose theological world was familiar with Daniel, Maccabees, and who lived in the time of Hadrian who identified himself with Antiochus Epiphanes."

So you are pretty sure that Mark's Gentile Christian audience living outside Judea, who do not even have a firm grasp of basic Jewish principles or homeland, still had a grasp of a theological world familiar with Daniel, Maccabees, and Antiochus Epiphanes?What are the reasons we should make this assumption of Mark's intended audience?
**********

ROD: Are we leaving Mark's audience out of the equation? Mark was writing for an audience living outside Judea (he constantly helps his readers with helpful hints such as, the Jordan is a river). He was writing for an audience that is thoroughly Gentile and unfamiliar with things Jewish ( why else does he need to explain things such as Jewish purity practices?).

TURTON: I see two angles on this. Mark is a recruiting document. The document is meant to be performed in conjunction with plants in the audience, or formally, someone alongside to explain the key allusions, taking advantage of the prestige of the Jewish scriptures.

Second, Mark is a piece of second century Greek fiction. And explaining exotic customs is a convention of such fiction. In that light, the fact that Mark's original wording of utensils was probably "couches" (Mark 7, things being immersed) sheds light on this...it is the kind of practice so exotic that it would automatically make the travelogues.

ROD: So you are pretty sure that Mark's Gentile Christian audience living outside Judea, who do not even have a firm grasp of basic Jewish principles or homeland, still had a grasp of a theological world familiar with Daniel, Maccabees, and Antiochus Epiphanes? What are the reasons we should make this assumption of Mark's intended audience?

TURTON: Because it would have been easy to have someone along to explain it. Just as today, when recruiters for Dispensationlist Christianity carefully explain their weird readings of the Bible text.
**********

I think focusing on the standards as the abomination is wrong--the abomination was probably the Tenth Legion itself (with the unclean Boar as their insignia).

Also this surely can't be cast solely as a debate between a 70's Mark and a 130's Mark.

Having said that, there is of course nothing against a revitalization of Mark during the Bar Kochba revolt. The middle section, between the Galilean ministry and the Passion Narrative seems to bear evidence of more than one addition to an original text (multiple "endings", for example.)

the_cave
**********
Rod Green Responds to Jake:

Jake,
You're misundertsanding me (or I am not being clear). Jesus was NOT historical. Yet that point is irrelevent to the duscussion of the text itself. The author Mark has his non-historical Jesus (in the context of this pericope) talking about a real temple standing before him. This pericope is placed in the time of Pilate. Thus the characters in Mark's story are tallking about the Temple of Solomon, built by Herod. They are not and cannot be talking about a future temple to be built by Bar Kochba. The scene has them standing in front of the darn Herodian Temple! I included the exact dialogue for clarity. Let's deconstruct it. "I will destroy this man-made temple..." "I' refers to Jesus, the speaker. "Will" means it is an event that will happen in the future. "Destroy" means the temple will be is assembled. "This" again refers to the temple directly in front of the speaker, the Herodian Temple. "Man-made" states the obvious, the temple in front of the sepaker was made by the hands of men. "In three days" insinuates that the action that follows will occur three days following the
destructive event just described. "Will build another" means that the speaker (Mark's Jesus character) will subsequent to the before mentioned destruction, construct a new temple. "Not made by man" means the new temple will be constructed supernaturally, without masons or other construction workers. Please explain which part of this deconstruction is naive.

You say Jesus didn't have the power to do anything? That's your perspective (and mine). But we're talking about Mark's perspective here. Did Mark think, or did he want his readers to think, that Jesus DID have such power? The answer is obvious. Turning to Mark 13:11-13, this pericope does not compel us in any way to associate it with the Bar Kochba era. "Arrested and brought to trial?" That had already been happening by 60 CE as reflected in the Pauline epistles. "Brother against brother, child against father?" These were all described by Josephus in his Jewish War. "Men will hate you because of me?" See Tacitus, Seutonius, Paul, etc. Why are you jumping 60 years into the future? By 70 CE all these events had already been happening. No one in Judea even hinted at a rebuilding of the temple after 70 CE until Hadrian himself suggested it as a possibility. Had Hadrian not opened a can of worms, we probably would not have had a Bar Kochba Rebellion. Bar Kochba was claimed as a messiah just like a dozen others before and after him. A noted rabbi endorsed his claim but other equally important rabbis disputed same. Keep in mind that Bar Kochba's own correspondence states that he desires that Yahweh just stay out of the fight.
I doubt many really took Bar Kochba as the messiah, and certainly he didn't act like one. The best we can say is that he accepted the title because in some circles it gave him cachet. Bar Kochba was a military leader, not a theologcial one.

Finally, against my naivete, you must be proposing that Mark wrote his gosepl after the Bar Kochba rebellion began in ernest, but before it became clear they were going to lose (else Mark would not suggest the possibility of a new temple). Most historians place this time space at about twelve to eighteen months, so your window is narrow. Now your Mark places his story way back in the time of Pilate (for unknown or unclear reasons), has his Jesus say he will destroy the temple at the time of Pilate ( it was destroyed, but not by Jesus, and forty years later, which everyone in 135 CE would have already known). Even though Mark's Jesus, living in 30 CE, says he will rebuild the temple after 3 days, he has now inexplicably waited 105 years, to do what Mark had him say he would do in 3 days, not to mention he now has to rely on Bar Kochba and his followers to build the darn thing the old fashioned way, when Mark's Jesus had predicted a miracle construction. Call me naive, but I can't buy it. ;>) There is absolutely nothing in Mark that requires us to look to 135 CE as a time marker. Best
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Prior to the triumphal procession a large number of the triumphator's army would gather in a military area to acknowledge his authority -- Mark says a whole cohort was called to mock a similar ceremony in the Praetorium hall. As I recall Schmidt or one of his sources this is unrealistic -- a cohort would not fit in such a hall, and to think the cohort could be called on so early complete with a ready-made crown of thorns (or did they run around and just happen to quickly find thorn branches in the city?) and royal robe and reed is equally far-fetched. Mark has spoken of a whole cohort for a reason. As for the removal of the robe before his crucifixion, clothes are highly symbolic throughout Mark and Jesus had to have a single robe that was parted by lots when he was on the cross. If he's presenting a mock triumph he's doing it as a statement for a broader theology -- not to incorporate every detail.

The specifics of the scene that Mark has created are the evidence for his intentions, not what is not said. Also part of the triumphal allusions are the mocking of the crowds (the triumphator was also
mocked), the placard "King of the Jews" (the triumphator was also preceded by similar identifying placards), the two robbers either side (Vespasian was flanked by his 2 sons in his triumph -- yeh, I
know, that's not a good one for a second C date :) , and the arrival at Capitol Hill (the place of the skull as Michael reminded us recently), and I'm sure I've forgotten others. One can look to see
points of the Roman triumph that were not mentioned by Mark but the points that he does include still have a right to be heard, otherwise logically nothing can ever be compared with anything else.

Neil Godfrey

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NEIL: Prior to the triumphal procession a large number of the triumphator's army would gather in a military area to acknowledge his authority -- Mark says a whole cohort was called to mock a
similar ceremony in the Praetorium hall. As I recall Schmidt or one of his sources this is unrealistic -- a cohort would not fit in such
a hall, and to think the cohort could be called on so early complete with a ready-made crown of thorns (or did they run around and just happen to quickly find thorn branches in the city?) and royal robe and reed is equally far-fetched. Mark has spoken of a whole cohort for a reason. As for the removal of the robe befor his crucifixion, clothes are highly symbolic throughout Mark and
Jesus had to have a single robe that was parted by lots when he was on the cross.

TURTON: Yes, garments are always being handled when there is a change of state, not merely when Jesus is killed, but think also of Bar-Timaeus, and of the women with the discharge, and those healing merely by touching him. Also, Mark needs a garment to balance the rending of the veil in the nice little chiasm he constructed in the Crucifixion.

On garments generally, Berlin (2001), discussing the attempt of Haman to usurp the Kingship in the Book of Esther, notes the importance of garments in the Bible:

"The Bible provides indirect proof in that a person's garment represents the person and/or the position he holds. The transfer of a garment may signal the transfer of the office from one person to another. Aaron's son Eleazar dons the priestly garments of his father as he inherits the priestly office (Num 20:25-28); when Elisha receives Elijah's cloak it means that he has replaced Elijah (2 Kgs 2:13-15). David's cutting off a corner of Saul's cloak (1 Sam 24:4) registers in both men's minds as the symbolic taking of the kingship."

Schmidt says:

"Both the combination and the very presence of these symbols is striking. The wearing of purple was outlawed for anyone below equestrian rank. The only available robe of this kind would be that of Pilate, but it is inconceiveable that he would lend such a precious garment to be struck and spat upon by common soldiers. Along similarly practical lines, one wonders where in the courtyard of a palace thorns would be available to form a crown. Are we to imagine that the solders delayed their mockery while someone looked for a thorn bush nearby? The strangeness of these details, their likeness to the ceremonial garb of a triumphator, and their combination with other details of the narrative suggest a purpose rather than a coincidence."(p7)

Note also Paul in 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 writes;

14: But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumph, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 15: For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, 16: to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things? (RSV)

Schmidt (1995) observes that the reference to Christ as a leader in a triumph appears followed by the strange metaphor of fragrance. However, he points out that Suetonius records that as Nero entered the city of Rome after his accession, many were slain along the route, and perfume sprinkled over the area. Perhaps fragrance was part of the procession; indeed, some imagery suggests that incense was carried with the procession.

NEIL: If he's presenting a mock triumph he's doing it as a statement for a broader theology -- not to incorporate every detail.

TURTON: Yes, he's probably inspired by the Paul quote in 2 Cor. Also Vernon Robbins has pointed out that Jesus is recognized five times as a king in mark 15, and four are in mockery. This is the Jesus-as-King theme in Mark, finished in irony.

NEIL: The specifics of the scene that Mark has created are the evidence for his intentions, not what is not said. Also part of the triumphal allusions are the mocking of the crowds (the triumphator was also mocked), the placard "King of the Jews" (the triumphator was also preceded by similar identifying placards), the two robbers either side (Vespasian was flanked by his 2 sons in his triumph -- yeh, I know, that's not a good one for a second C date :) and the arrival at Capitol Hill (the place of the skull as Michael reminded us recently), and I'm sure I've forgotten others. One can look to see points of the Roman triumph that were not mentioned by Mark but the points that he does include still have a right to be heard, otherwise logically nothing can ever be compared with anything else.

TURTON: And for the inscription on the cross, T.E. Schmidt (1995) points out that it was common for those suffering a Roman judgment to be forced to wear a sign proclaiming his crime for all to see. In a Roman triumph, he notes, the lictors in the procession carried signs announcing the territories taken by the general. Schmidt also observes that the writer of Mark may have had in mind the moment at the end of the triumphant procession when an accolade is given to king or general.

Michael Turton

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ROD G: context of this pericope) talking about a real temple standing before him. This pericope is placed in the time of Pilate. Thus the characters in Mark's story are tallking about the Temple of Solomon, built by Herod. They are not and cannot be talking about a future temple to be built by Bar Kochba.

TURTON: Why not? When Jesus yells at the moneychangers, he cites an Isaiah passage that refers to the future and yokes to a Jeremiah passage that refers to a destroyed temple in the past, and sets it in the story present.

You're arguing that since the characters in the Crucible speak in the 17th century, they cannot represent ideas and events of Arthur Miller's own day. I don't think that's an acceptable reading.


ROD G: The scene has them standing in front of the darn Herodian Temple! ....Turning to Mark 13:11-13, this pericope does not compel us in any way to associate it with the Bar Kochba era. "Arrested and brought to trial?" That had already been happening by 60 CE as reflected in the Pauline epistles.

TURTON: Yes, but they weren't dragged before governors in the Paulines, were they?

ROD G: "Brother against brother, child against father?" These were all described by Josephus in his Jewish War. "Men will hate you because of me?" See Tacitus, Seutonius, Paul, etc. Why are you jumping 60 years into the future? By 70 CE all these events had already been happening.

TURTON: Rod, this is a clear reference to a later era. "Christians" is a second century term for believers in Jesus, in Paul's day the Church was known as the Elect or the Saints or the Church of God. So here is a prime example of Jesus speaking about the future in his own day. Since the line about "hating you in my name" is contained within the rest of this paragraph, it cannot refer to 70 AD temple destruction, as the term "Christian" had not been used by that point.

ROD G: No one in Judea even hinted at a rebuilding of the temple after 70 CE until Hadrian himself suggested it as a possibility.

TURTON: Right. A point in favor of a Hadrianic date.

ROD G: Bar Kochba was claimed as a messiah just like a dozen others before and after him. A noted rabbi endorsed his claim but other equally important rabbis disputed same.

TURTON: Admittedly, there is nothing that points to Kochba directly. However, he was the messiah of the day, the day when people are called "Christians."

ROD G: Most historians place this time space at about twelve to eighteen months, so your window is narrow. Now your Mark places his story way back in the time of Pilate (for unknown or unclear reasons),

TURTON: To play out the Danielic scheme. Jesus' death is 40 years from the destruction of the Temple in 70.

ROD G: Even though Mark's Jesus, living in 30 CE, says he will rebuild the temple after 3 days, he has now inexplicably waited 105 years, to do what Mark had him say he would do in 3 days,

TURTON: Jesus could well be referring to the destruction of the Temple on earth and its replacement by the perfect Temple in heaven, or else to the Church, or else to his own body. I don't think anyone reads that as saying that Jesus plans to re-erect the Temple. In the messianic age the Temple was supposed to be destroyed and replaced by one made by God.

ROD G: There is absolutely nothing in Mark that requires us to look to 135 CE as a time marker.

TURTON: No, but there is plenty that points to a date long after 70.

Michael Turton
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Michael Turton, :>)
I still think this is a stretch. Jesus isn't looking at and talking about a Hadrian Temple to Jupiter. Mark has placed Jesus in the time of Pilate. He can only mean the Temple of Solomon. There was no other Temple in the time of Pilate. Double meaning? That's awful squishy (that's a technical term from Texas).I have tried but I cannot find any nostalgia in Mark's narrative for the predicted destroyed temple. Mark relentlessly took his OT sources completely out of their context, and as far as I can see, had no other double meaning intended by them. Mark is not writing in Judea and his
Gentile Greek audience has never seen the Temple and probably could care less. The Temple had no theological connotations for pre-Markan Gentile Christianity. Mark invents one by correlating something that IS important to the Gentile Christians, the Parousia, with the destruction of the
Temple. With this message, Mark can once again energize the eschatological expectations that have diminished since the days of Paul.I admit that the use of the Pharisees is a potential anachronism, but one not as obvious or strained as assumed on these posts. The Pharisees
had been around for a long time. They vastly outnumbered the Sadduccees and had significantly more influence with the people than the Sadduccees, even in 30 CE. Josephus vouches for this fact also. It was the Pharisees who held the intellectual reins of Jerusalem, even then. The Sadduccess disappeared in 70 CE with the Temple. We know Mark wrote after that time. So who was he to use as a foil? Did Mark even know or understand the relative importance of Sadducces vs. Pharisees? Do we?Mark DOES tell us the Pharisees came out from Jerusalem. This implies he knew that they were not dispersed throughout Judea in 30 CE. By 100 CE they certainly were. So Mark got that part right. If he was writing after 135 CE, this would have been a logical area to find an anchronistic slip, but Mark doesn't make one. Prior to 70 CE we have abundant evidence of someone coming in Christ's name (which is not the same as using the later term Christianity). (1 Corinthians 1:2, 1:10, 1:13, 6:11, Eph. 5:20, 2 Thess. 3:6) Paul sure as heck used such terminology and Mark almost certainly knew Paul's Corinthian correspondence, so the term is quite consistent for Mark's pedigree, and is mutually exclusive of the later term Christianity.Of course, Jesus didn't mean "anything" when he talked about the temple, neither church nor building. Mark is the one making the comment through his fictional Jesus. So, did Mark mean the church? Why would he? He
is using the actual destruction of the temple as a predictor of the Parousia. Nothing could be clearer, regardless of when you place his writing. If he meant the church instead, then his entire argument for immediacy falls apart. It is a "requirement" of Mark's theology that the Temple destruction be associated with the end-times. No, Mark meant the temple (not the church) and he meant to convey that its destruction was to be followed closely by the second coming. Those who still argue that Jesus meant "the church" are almost always Christians who believe the words were uttered by a historical Jesus. Their "alternate" reading is required to explain the fact that the second coming did not happen soon after the destruction of the temple.We simply do not have anything here compelling enough to overturn the modern academic dating of Mark's gospel. I'm still open to any time after 70 CE but certainly not as late as 135 CE. The best fit seems to be between 70 CE and 80 CE, after which the temple destruction has faded from memory and can no longer excite eschatalogical fervor.

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ROD G: I still think this is a stretch. Jesus isn't looking at and talking about a Hadrian Temple to Jupiter. Mark has placed Jesus in the time of Pilate. He can only mean the Temple of Solomon. There was no other Temple in the time of Pilate.

TURTON: Jesus is sitting on the Mt of Olives facing the Temple and announcing its destruction. *He is already referring to an event that has come to pass in Mark's day.* What we're really disagreeing about is which future event Jesus is referring to (and there is no reason that Mark could not mean both).

Obviously the surface of Mark 13 points to the destruction in 70. But the surface is precisely where we SHOULDN'T be looking if we want to see what Mark is referring to.

ROD G: I have tried but I cannot find any nostalgia in Mark's narrative for the predicted destroyed temple.

TURTON: Bad word, my fault. I was trying to express that in Mark's day the Temple's destruction had become something that was now incorporated into a theology.

ROD G: Mark relentlessly took his OT sources completely out of their context, and as far as I can see, had no other double meaning intended by them.

TURTON: Here I cannot agree. Mark's OT sources may be out of context, but when you go back to the context, you see the Temple.

For example the reference to Mal 3:1 in Mk 1:2 says:

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"See, I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me. Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to his temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come," says the LORD Almighty. (NIV)
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The Messenger of the Covenant will come to the Temple. Reading the rest of Mal 3, the LORD expresses his displeasure at being robbed of his proper tithes and food, and promises retribution and violence. Mal promises that the Lord will refine the sons of Levi.

In Mk 3:5 we get the healing of the man with the withered hand. That fella recalls 1 King 13. In 1 Kings 13 a man comes to Altar at Bethel, crying out against it that a son of david will burn the priests there.

Isaiah 6 is cited in Mk 4:11-12, and there a voice prophesies in the Temple that the land will be destroyed. When will the people understand, it asks? The speaker replies:

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11: Then I said, "How long, O Lord?" And he said: "Until cities lie waste without inhabitant, and houses without men, and the land is utterly desolate,
12: and the LORD removes men far away, and the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
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Yet another reference that conjoins violence and the Temple. Meanwhile Mark 11:13, the fig reference, may refer to Hosea 9, where they bad'uns will be driven out of the Lord's house.

In Mark 12:33 Mark references 1 Sam 15. Reading further down, the story is about how Sam tells the King that he didn't obey the lord, and thus...

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28: ..."The LORD has torn the kingdom of Israel from you this day, and has given it to a neighbor of yours, who is better than you.
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Mark 13:8, one of the verses under discussion here, refers back to Isa 19:2 (or 2 Chron 15). Reading the whole passage, we see a prophecy that there will be an altar in Egypt where the Assyrians and Egyptians will worship the God of Israel together. It also contains the words redolent with Markan themes, such as fisherman, palm branches and reeds, and cornerstone, as well as the messianic phrase "on that day."

14:20 may derive from either Psalm 41 (null) or Psalm 55, which offers us:

9: Destroy their plans, O Lord, confuse their tongues; for I see violence and strife in the city.
10: Day and night they go around it on its walls; and mischief and trouble are within it,
11: ruin is in its midst; oppression and fraud do not depart from its market place.
12: It is not an enemy who taunts me -- then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me -- then I could hide from him.
13: But it is you, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend.
14: We used to hold sweet converse together; within God's house we walked in fellowship.

I'm stopping. But you get the picture. Every time you look up a Markan reference to a Temple, it is conjoined with violence and death, ruin...I'd say that Mark is sending us a message about his own day, by using the OT.

ROD G: Mark is not writing in Judea and his Gentile Greek audience has never seen the Temple and probably could care less. The Temple had no theological connotations for pre-Markan Gentile Christianity.

ROD G: Mark invents one by correlating something that IS important to the Gentile Christians, the Parousia, with the destruction of the Temple. With this message, Mark can once again energize the eschatological expectations that have diminished since the days of Paul.

TURTON: That's an interesting interpretation. But why would Mark think that a few years after 70? The Temple has been destroyed and God didn't show up to wind up the show. Instead, things went on. Then a new war begins in the 130s. That holds the promise of being the final conflict.

For Mark 13 does not speak merely of destruction, it also gives a warning about renewal. There was no other time when one could think it plausible that the Temple would be renewed under a reborn Judaism. Only in 135.

ROD G: The Pharisees had been around for a long time. They vastly outnumbered the Sadduccees and had significantly more influence with the people than the Sadduccees, even in 30 CE.

TURTON: I think this is hotly disputed. There are scholars who argue that the Pharisees did not even exist in the 30s, and certainly not in Galilee. Whether they had influence with the people is debatable.

I don't push this too far. But the use of the Pharisees, and the disappearance of the Sadducees, is a small indicator of a later date.

ROD G: Mark DOES tell us the Pharisees came out from Jerusalem. This implies he knew that they were not dispersed throughout Judea in 30 CE. By 100 CE they certainly were. So Mark got that part right. If he was writing after 135 CE, this would have been a logical area to find an anchronistic slip, but Mark doesn't make one.

TURTON: Aside: Are you referring to Mark 7:1? I suspect because of that comment, that Mark 7:1-23 was originally the pericope that was in Mark 10. It makes sense near Jericho to have the Pharisees come out from Jerusalem. But in Mark 7 they are all in Galilee, and that makes no sense whatsoever.

ROD G: Prior to 70 CE we have abundant evidence of someone coming in Christ's name (which is not the same as using the later term Christianity). (1 Corinthians 1:2, 1:10, 1:13, 6:11, Eph. 5:20, 2 Thess. 3:6) Paul sure as heck used such terminology and Mark almost certainly knew Paul's Corinthian correspondence, so the term is quite consistent for Mark's pedigree, and is mutually exclusive of the later term Christianity.

TURTON: That's a good point and one I will certainly save. But be aware I suspect the authentic Pauline letters all date from after 70 but before Mark. I totally agree that Mark knows Paul, and knows him well.

ROD G:Of course, Jesus didn't mean "anything" when he talked about the temple, neither church nor building. Mark is the one making the comment through his fictional Jesus. So, did Mark mean the church? Why would he? He is using the actual destruction of the temple as a predictor of the Parousia. Nothing could be clearer, regardless of when you place his writing. If he meant the church instead, then his entire argument for immediacy falls apart. It is a "requirement" of Mark's theology that the Temple destruction be associated with the end-times.

TURTON: Agreed. And as I said earlier, that is why the destruction of the Temple that triggers the Parousia CANNOT be the one in 70. Because if Mark is writing in the 70s, that has receded into the distance and the Lord has NOT come. Therefore, it must be some period of Temple destruction, with an Abomination, when Israel was renewing itself. There is only one period prior to 150 that allows that. The revolt of 135.


ROD G: Mark meant the temple (not the church) and he meant to convey that its destruction was to be followed closely by the second coming.

TURTON: Exactly. But if he is writing in the 70s, he knows perfectly well that it WASN'T followed by the second coming. So he has to be referring to another potential period.

ROD G: We simply do not have anything here compelling enough to overturn the modern academic dating of Mark's gospel. I'm still open to any time after 70 CE but certainly not as late as 135 CE. The best fit seems to be between 70 CE and 80 CE, after which the temple destruction has faded from memory and can no longer excite eschatalogical fervor.

TURTON: You seem to be contradicting your earlier point here that the Temple excites fervor for the Parousia....and now that the Temple destruction has faded, what could have stirred it up again? Hadrian.

Michael Turton

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ROD: You have identified a parallelism between Mark and Greek novelistic literature. Assuming you are
correct, we would still need some genetic markers to substantiate the parallel. How strong do you
consider the parallel?

TURTON: Not so much a parallel, just an extensive overlap of conventions. But the earliest Greek novels probably all date from the latter half of the first century, which is another signal that Mark is second century, given that the majority of the Greek novels date from that period.

Michael Turton
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Michael Turton said...

Not only is there a Temple on the Temple mount named Capitolinus, but the city of Jerusalem is now known as _Aelia_ Capitolinus, deriving its first name from Hadrian's own, and from Jupiter _Capitolinus_. Is The Place of the Skull is a double reference to Jerusalem? But then my proposed date of Mark during the campaign is wrong.

Michael Turton said...

More for Rod:


ROD G : What you are suggesting (I think) is that Mark midrashed his own document and projected it into the future! There is no similar other example within Mark and I know of no other in all of Jewish literature.

MICHAEL T: No, Rod, I am suggesting that Mark modeled himself after Daniel, who did exactly the same thing. Mark is writing from the middle of great events, just as Daniel was, and attempting to guess their end. And like Daniel, failing.

Consider Mark 13:18:

Pray that it may not happen in winter.(RSV)

This is a terribly odd sentence and the more you think about it the odder it gets. Titus laid siege to the city in April, during Passover. The Temple fell in August, and the city fell a month later. No events happened in winter. So what is that line doing there? It is a signal: Mark does not know the outcome of events, so he gives Jesus an ambiguous prophecy that looks like a warning, but could be disregarded if things didn’t work out.

Consider also the injunction in 13:14

"But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains;(RSV)

Remember that the story is always working on two levels, one for the characters and one for the readers. Reading Mark as a 70s document unites these two levels -- which is not the way that Mark works. Why would Mark be advising his readers to flee to the mountains in the wake of an event that has already occurred? Why would he advise them to worry whether it happens in the winter when it already had not happened in the winter?

Now you COULD argue that Mark is merely giving Jesus an example of a warning that went unheeded – “If only you bums had fled to the mountains, you wouldn’t have died by the thousand in Jerusalem.” Or that Mark is writing midrash off of Maccabees. But on the whole, both of those statements are strange.

ROD G: For me, literally nothing about Mark's first century story-line resonates for a 135 CE audience, and a Gentile one at that. The connection hangs by a thread from the temple motif, and even this has no real correspondence. We are correlating a temple that might be torn down with a temple that might be built (and then torn down again?

MICHAEL T: Yes, that’s essentially it. In Mark’s discourse all of the Temples are related all of the time, past, present, and future. That’s the significance of 11:17, which yokes a bright future from Isa where the Temple is the place where all nations worship, to Jer, which refers to the destruction of the first Temple.

Here in Mark 13 we see that trick again. Jesus is made to prophecy of events that will occur during “this generation.”

30: Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away before all these things take place.(RSV)

Mark here is up to his usual tactic of making the narrative function on two levels. On the story level, here refers to the lifetime of the apostles and the destruction of the Temple under Titus. But on the discourse level, he refers to the FUTURE lifetime of the hearer of the tale. But that cannot be the 70 AD destruction, because that event has already occurred. It cannot exist in the future for the reader/hearer, it is already in the past.

ROD G: : Well, if there is such evidence, we should have a fine list of anachronisms.

MICHAEL T: I thought I had given them…

ROD G: This argument that "I think it fits better in 135CE..." founders upon the "I think...".

MICHAEL T: I was just being polite and not using strong statements.

ROD G: This line of argument takes us nowhere. If one wants to overturn the predominant theory that Mark was written in the last three decades of the first century, it must be argued that the internal evidence does not and cannot fit into that

MICHAEL T: Well, I thought that’s what I was doing…:)

ROD G: Of course they had [been dragged before governors]. Mark will tell us about one example just a single chapter later! The fact that Mark made it up is irrelevent. To understand Mark's creation we must live in his literary world. I might add that Paul was brought before numerous authorities, and the last we hear, he might even have received an audience with the Emperor.

MICHAEL T: By all means let us live in Mark’s world, the putative world of 70 where there is not a single Roman governor recorded as having a Christian dragged before them. The only persecutor of Christians is Paul, allegedly sent by the JEWISH authorities to persecute Christians, not by the Romans. Acts is fanciful history. No serious record of Roman interest in Christians exists until Pliny and Trajan, and it is clear that Pliny is clueless about what Christians are (although according to Acts a Christian has been dragged all the way to Rome where they lived under house arrest and preached, and not a decade before Pliny’s letter Ignatius was dragged away in chains to Rome, stopping off in territories near Bithynia where Pliny governed in a showy parade across the Eastern Mediterranean, and although Tacitus has Nero burning Christians in Rome after interrogations. Something is very wrong with this picture). Mark also refers to Christians being dragged before kings but that had also not happened prior to 70. Mark’s world is a world where Christians are dragged before Kings to die as martyrs. That is not the world of the 70s.

ROD G: Then fact that we don't know what happened to Paul does not mean that Mark didn't. The fact that we have only a handful of texts and anecdotes about early persecution does not mean that Mark did not have them in abundance. Your argument here is from silence, and as just explained, that silence is a bit noisy.

MICHAEL T: Rod, this is plainly poor logic. We don’t know what happened to Paul, and no evidence suggests that Mark knew either. We have few texts about persecution from ~70. Going by the evidence we have, Mark could not have been writing in the 70s because there was no great torture-interrogation going on. The only period we know of where that occurred happened much later. Hence, going by the evidence we ACTUALLY HAVE, and not by the evidence we assume Mark MIGHT have had, Mark was not writing in the 70s.

ROD G: : The term Christian is never used in Mark's gospel and so this analogy has no relevence. I have already pointed out numerous examples where Paul writes "in Christ's name."

MICHAEL T: Your examples didn’t really strike to the heart of the issue. Mark was perfectly capable of distinguishing between “for my sake” and “for my name’s sake.” Clearly Mark was writing from a time when the NAME was key. Here is the entire sentence:

13: and you will be hated by all for my name's sake.(RSV)

Note the “by ALL.” Mark is writing at a time when Christians were known as a separate group and widely detested. Again this time cannot be the 70s, when Jews and Christians were basically indistinguishable. Persecution also crops out in Mark.

4:17: and they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.(RSV)

Of course, followers must take up Jesus’ cross, a clear sign that they could be expected to suffer.

And finally, Rod, Mark most definitely lives in a time when Christians were known as CHRIST-IANS, for he writes in Mark 9:

9:41: For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward. (RSV)

So, my conclusion here is that Mark lives in a time when persecutions were common, Christians exist in such great numbers that many could be expected to fall away, and Christians are known by Jesus’ name.

ROD G: Yep, you got me here. Many of Mark's quotations have the temple in them. If you'll check, you'll find that the Temple shows up about 700 times in the OT, and is alluded to another 400 times (and the in the entire first half of the OT, there isn't even a temple to reference!). Is this important? Should we be surprised that the temple shows up in
Mark's midrash? Are you making too much of this fact? You say it's always connected to violence, death, and ruin? Have you reviewed the OT recently? The entire book is about violence, death, and ruin!

MICHAEL T: That’s a good point, but then again, Mark knows his OT well, and need not reference anything that he does not want to. Go back to 11:17 again, a key verse for understanding Mark’s use of Temple midrash. The yoking of the future perfect Temple to the past destroyed Temple has to be deliberate, for Mark had to intentionally construct the verse that way. Mark’s use of the Jehu narrative climaxes with the destruction of the Ba’al Temple, which in the narrative occurs when Jesus cleanses the Temple. It can’t be coincidence. Mark’s midrashic focus is destroyed and plundered Temples.

ROD: Same argument works against the 130CE's. Why would a Mark living in 135 CE expect the Parousia? God hadn't shown up then either. Here's the difference. Mark associates the end times with the destruction of the temple. If writing near 70 CE, Mark COULD make the case that the Parousia was imminent. The temple's destruction (one of the signs) had now been completed. Mark does not know it's not going to happen! The scenario in 130's CE? Mark has still associated the end-times with the destruction of the temple. Yet it’s now been 60+ years. The imminent scenario is past. Yes, he could attempt to rekindle it, by redefining expectations, but keep in mind, it was Mark that set the expectations in the first place when he correlated the temple destruction with the end-times! This makes no sense!

MICHAEL T: I agree that Mark could make a case based on the 70s destruction of the Temple, but then if that is the case, why would Mark write about the “fig tree” growing new leaves? In the 70s there was no revival of Jewish national hopes, that occurred only in the short period in the 130s. In ~75 no intelligent writer could imagine that “the time was near.” That could only be a safe prophecy when indeed “the time was near!”

A further problem for your scheme is that in this period of 70 there are no cases known of Christians being dragged before GOVERNORS. That is purely a development of the second century. Mark lives in a period when persecution is so widespread that he has to comfort his people by both Jesus’ words and Jesus’ example. That cannot be the period around 75, for no such trend existed.

The “imminent scenario” is carefully defined in Mark. And it doesn’t apply to the 70s at all.

ROD G: Hotly disputed [existence of the Pharisees] by whom? Josephus offers Pharisees during the time of Jonathan, successor of Judas Maccabbeus!

MICHAEL T: You’re right, I was writing without thinking. The issue is the connection between pre- and post- 70s Phariseeism. The majority view holding that post70 Phariseeism emerged from pre-70, and a minority holding that the two were not related. My bad. Never mind this non-point, just wanted to clarify the total extent of my error.

ROD G: I'm not following you here, Michael. If Mark is writing in 70 CE, the destruction of the temple has NOT receded into the past. It just happened. The Lord hasn't come, but he's about to.

MICHAEL T: The problem is again that Mark lays out clear signals for the Coming of Jesus, only one of which is the destruction of the Temple.

The period of Mark must be the time when:

*the Temple is destroyed
*the abomination was installed in the Temple (it’s standing there)
*Israel is renewing itself
*Christians are persecuted and this activity is widespread and normal.
*people have fled to the hills
*the Pharisees are the major Jewish elite
*Christianity is a Gentile movement
*the Gospel has been preached “to all nations.”
*Jews and Christians are generally distinguished
*Christians are known as CHRIST-ians.
*there is enmity between Christians and Jews.

Additional late date indicators:
*the Crucifixion scene of one man surviving and two dying being rescued by a “Joseph” is paralled in Josephus’ _Vita_, published after 110.
*the Pauline letters have a unique status
*the Greek novelistic literature, which Mark strongly resembles, is prominent
*Mark does not know the name of the high priest under Pilate, nor does he know that the chief priests are Sadducees. Even though the Sadducees appear in Mark he never makes the connection.
*Mark 10:51 refers to Jesus as Rabbi meaning “teacher”– Donahue and Harrington point out that this usage postdates 70 at least.

And of course, the final nail, via the article of TE Schmidt:

*there is a Capitoline Temple on the Temple Mount, which “GOLGOTHA” slyly refers to.

Michael Turton

Anonymous said...

I should add that this signal of Mark's can be read two ways: either Mark is writing during the war, about the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on the Temple Mount, or the reference to "Capit" is a reference to Jerusalem itself, known as Aelia Capitolinus after the war. Mark is writing either during the war, or in its immediate aftermath.

Michael Turton said...

Rod caught me in an error here in the followup:

ROD G: Young’s Literal reads “in my name, because ye are Christ’s,”

MICHAEL: Yes, that accords with the very literal translation in Donahue and Harrington and Gundry as well. The RSV is wrong. My bad.

ROD G: Mark 9:41 thus includes a literary connector that was not originally a part of the proverb.

MICHAEL T: Yes, it functions as a literary connector.....

ROD G: So is Mark’s literary connector referring to the community name “Christian” here? The first observation is that he doesn’t say so, and he could have used the term “Christian” if he knew it. He doesn’t. The term “Christian” only exists here within your interpretation. The text does not command it.

MICHAEL T: Yes, I believe you are correct. This cannot support my conclusions.

ROD G: I do this to concur that these passages, the only two long discourses within Mark, are both about the themes of persecution and defection. It is central to Mark’s message. The question is, are these themes anachronistic in 70 CE?

MICHAEL T: Yes, I agree that it is central to Mark's message. In fact, I was going to say that earlier, but I decided not to get in a scrap about that.

ROD G: The themes are trials, persecutions, families turning against families, and mixed results or even defections with potential converts. I would argue that most if not all of these themes have already been introduced in the Pauline corpus twenty years earlier.

MICHAEL T: Yes, I know. But the Pauline corpus does not have tales of Kings and Governors. Why should that detail find its way in there? Was Paul beaten in synagogues in his letters? Was Paul "tried?" He seems to refer to being in prison, but he does not seem to refer to being tried or "delivered up" whatever that means in Mark's context. For all we know Paul's prison experiences had nothing to do with his religious beliefs, but rather stemmed from his service to the Gospel as an itinerant who must have had unpaid debts and vagrancy problems as a matter of course. Mark's whole experience of persecution is different than Paul's. In Mark's day it is the community that is persecuted. In Mark's day believers have to be prepared to face trials.

ROD G: This is a highly prejudiced reading. There is no intimation that persecutions were “common” or “so wide spread”, only that they occurred.

MICHAEL T: Begging your pardon, but Mark clearly states that ALL will hate Jesus' followers in his name.

13: and you will be hated by all for my name's sake.

Mark is no doubt exaggerating, but the core is there; lots of people detested Christians. Does that really describe the 70s, when Christians weren't even clearly differentiated from Jews?

This "ALL" compels interest because of the widespread silence on Christians from the writers of this period. For example, if being detested as a Christian was already widespread in the 70s, why didn't Juvenal and Martial, writing within a few decades, lampoon Christianity? There are few, if any clear references to Christianity in this period.

ROD G: Although some were clearly described as being before authorities (such as Paul’s own experience), other persecutions could have simply been from Jews or locals who did not trust this new superstition. The faithful did not have to exist “in such great numbers” to have defectors. Paul worried about this twenty years earlier and his congregations were quite small. I do not see Mark “comforting” his followers as much as providing instructions.

MICHAEL T: Bad language choice. I agree that Mark is providing instructions.....but Jesus' matter of fact tone refers to "persecutions" in Mark 4,ALL in Mark 13. Again the plural in Mark 13 is "beaten in synagogues..." Mark writes as if this were not abnormal activity, as if it is plausible in his day. Mark has to give instructions precisely because in his day this was a commonly-encountered event. I mean, why would he write all this if it were not something that many believers would face?

ROD G:In summation, there is nothing here that precludes a 70 CE date (or 80 CE).

MICHAEL T: I've tried not to make the claim a 70 date is precluded, but rather, I've been attempting to argue that the 130s provide a better background for what Mark is describing Mark 13 and elsewhere. It explains more of the details. As well as the apparent hint that Mark knows of a Temple on the Temple Mount that is called Capit-something, or else, that Capit-something is associated with Jerusalem.

ROD G: to require dual corroboration for every item of interest. There IS extant evidence within the Pauline corpus supporting Mark’s allusions to pre-70 CE Christ Cult persecutions, instability/defections, and people speaking “in the name of Christ.” It is reasonable to infer that these were not the only examples, and that we have not been the miraculously fortunate beneficiaries of all the evidence that once existed. Even if we don’t make such an inference, there is more corroboration here than is
usually available to the historian of antiquity.

MICHAEL T: I guess we'll have to disagree on what the silence about persecutions means (for that matter I do not think the Paulines are pre-70, but that is an argument for another day). I don't think it is proper to argue that the history must exist -- we just don't have it -- in order to fit Mark into the 70s time frame. This especially true because the kind of situation Mark describes is not present in any of the satirists after 70, nor in other major non-Christian writers.

Anonymous said...

Jerome, Commentary on the Bible
On Matthew 24.15 [So when you see the standing in the holy place the abomination that causes desolation.]: or to the statue of the mounted Hadrian, which stands to this very day on the site of the Holy of Holies.

Jake Jones

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