I’ve uploaded my paper presented at the Markan Literary Sources seminar, Working on a Building: Mark’s Correspondence to Daniel’s Structure, to academia.edu.
I’ve uploaded my paper presented at the Markan Literary Sources seminar, Working on a Building: Mark’s Correspondence to Daniel’s Structure, to academia.edu.
This has to be the most attended session I’ve seen at SBL. The rather large room is rather filled.
Paul Anderson opens up with the three year plan for this seminar. Turid Karsel Seim (Oslo) begins by discussing Mary, Martha, and Bethany in Luke and John. Notes her paper is “very open to discussion” and one marking a shift to a different area than she is usually invested into. Moving past literary sources? Focusing on the names now.
Speaking about D. Moody Smith and his seminal work, John Among the Gospel. Smith believed there were fewer connections between John and Luke than, say, John and Mark/Matthew. I think this is a rather strict view of borrowing, but… Smith seems to note this as well, seeing connections even in departures and “suppression of information.” She and Smith notes how difficult this is to tract.
And thus my area of focus on John and his use of Deuteronomy. It is this “ambience of tradition” that fascinates me and is the germ of my interpretative strategies. We simply cannot allow anything not to be considered a shared connection.
Seim speaks about pre-canonical versions of stories. Watson, in his latest, suggests that for John, the Egerton “Gospel” precedes him. Seim is along the same lines, believing sources cannot be limited to “intra-canonical” sources. Her focus on the names is going to be detailing because of the myriad Marys in the Gospels.
Seim’s opinion sees Luke as unaware to the traditions supplanting John at various points, such as the anointing of Jesus among the various Gospels. I would imagine she believes in a Q theory or multiple sources for the Gospels. She notes the switch of Lazarus’s role between Luke and John. Sees any connection between the shared name as “far-fetched.” Sees that in both stories: the identify of Lazarus is non-important. Rather, it is what happens to the character.
I dunno… she mentions the so-called Secret Gospel of Mark. I don’t she buys it. She believes the 2 sisters constitute a narrative material prior to the Gospel of John. But, does Luke know the tradition? In the end, she believes that an actual tradition existed of two sisters and a bother underlies the pericope in Luke and John. She must consider Luke and John as rather late, even into the early 2nd century.
She mentions textual criticism and how this plays into textual dependence investigations. Which text do we use? And that is a huge issue to over come.
Why couldn’t John just have developed the Lukan material using mimesis or other forms of creative literary preservation?
Mark A. Matson (Milligan College) is up. He provided his paper as a hand out so, I have no need to summarize it. I think he sees a tradition underlying the stories, creating independence, in the Gospels.
Next up is John T. Carroll. I have to get his paper. I lot of minutia. But good stuff.
Michael Kruger states,
In fact, it is worth noting that Mark presents Jesus as God from the very opening few verses in his gospel, in a manner that is often missed on a quick reading of that passage.
His entire post can be found here: Does the Gospel of Mark Present Jesus as God? | Canon Fodder.
James McGrath has since responded.
My answer is nuanced. By opening his Gospel as Mark does, he is presenting Jesus as representing God, but this does not (as we know from the OT) mean the representative is the represented. But, Jesus is in God’s place.
Why? Because Jesus is slowly taking the place of God. Jesus is not God in Mark, but because God is absent, Jesus replaces God by doing what God does not. Jesus forces God to act by becoming the obedient Israel and absorbing the violence of his world into his body.
This is tiring, I know — but we see the same theology in Lucan’s Pharsalia. Cato the Younger acts in the place of God to become the God(divine)-Man. His death is the sacrifice for Rome and to the gods because the gods are absent.
Is Jesus God and a party of the Trinity in Mark’s Gospel? I don’t think so, but Jesus does become God.
Others have noticed Mark’s adoptionistic language. I’m okay with that.
Theologically, this is why we have four Gospels.
James Tabor writes -
In the references below I have put these interpolative elements bold italicized brackets. This exercise strongly suggests that these are later additions to an original Jewish text inserted to “Christianize” a book that in its origins had nothing to do with Jesus. This is a rather astounding phenomenon and once one sees it it seems clear that the underlying original text remains intact and makes complete sense without these references:
His exercise is remarkably mundane and based on the same subjective movements employed in the Q camp. We simply have no hard evidence of a ‘pre-Christian’ apocalypse in Revelation.
Tabor’s argument has merit and I would have no disagreement with those who can see such things. My only real disagreement is drawing too fine a line between Judaism and Christianity at the stage when this was written and implying early Jewish believers in Jesus ‘Christianized’ pre-existing documents. Like the Didache, Revelation would be leftovers. Well, a basic core of it anyway.
Sidenote – several scholars see in the Didache a pre-existing document likely used by later believers in their worship. Not to draw too close to anachronistic imagery here, but Wesley used the 39 Articles of Religion from the Anglican Church to draw up his 25 Articles of Religion for Methodists groups. Wesley was not yet independent, but remained Anglican. He simply used what he had and what was familiar.
As I have previously stated, my position on Revelation is that it is built on Psalm 2. I further believe ancient liturgical practices are incorporated inside of Revelation. Fitting, I believe, since Psalm 2 and liturgy would most likely go together. Jewish believers in Jesus, like they do with other works, would see a natural enough structure to give them something to use to build their new community. After all, they aren’t really separated from Judaism of the time. It is possible the Jewish author, one who believed in Jesus, took a pre-existing liturgical document and made use of it for his community. It was familiar, safe, and served his theological purpose. The pre-existing document, a pre-midrash of Psalm 2, fitted nicely with Jesus becoming enthroned as the Lamb. And remember, any such pre-existing document would not necessarily not belong to the new group, especially if they saw themselves in continuity with Moses and the Prophets.
It wasn’t ‘Christanized;’ it was reworked to include the new order of things.
In other words, we shouldn’t really call works ‘Christian’ until we get to certain times in the 2nd century nor should we assume there was an agenda to ‘Christianize’ Jewish documents. This is anachronistic.
So, while we may have a pre-existing core, we cannot really say it is Jewish and the added material is Christian. Such a dichotomy likely did not exist at the time. Rather, we have a pre-existing liturgical framework Jewish believers in Jesus used to plug in their theological statements. I do not, however, believe we can easily remove the core, if there is really a core, from the overlaying layers.
As far as the author, I am not as convinced as some the name ‘John’ is not the author’s real name. I mean, Mark is but a surname.
It was in Antioch that the disciples first got the name of Christians. (REB)
This is Luke’s very benign statement.
It doesn’t tell us, or how, only that the Antiochenes called the followers of Jesus ‘Christians’ first.
It is a parenthetical, a footnote — not a linear event. Nor does it tell us when the sect adopted the name of Christians for themselves.
You cannot convert to something that is not separate.
Again, sorry for the brevity, just wanted to put this out there. By now, you know I am working on my 3rd book, one that is taking a different look at Revelation. As I write the book, it slowly changes. I don’t think it will morph anymore, mind you, but what started off as X has now become Y. Or something like that. Anyway,
Read Revelation 10.1-11. Note especially Revelation 10.4-5 and seven thunders speaking unknown things. We find this in the Qumran collection called the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice (4Q400-7). There are nine fragments. One reads,
the third of the chief princes. He will exalt the God of the exalted [an]gels seven times, with seven words of wonderful exaltations.1
seven mysteries of knowledge in the wonderful mystery of the seven regions of the hol[y of holies … The tongue of the first will be strengthened seven times with the tongue of the second to him. The tongue of the second to him will be strengthened]
seven times with (that) of the third to [him. The tong]ue of the thi[rd will] be strengthened seve[n times with (that) of the fourth to him. The tongue of the fourth will be strengthened seven times with the tongue of the fifth to him. The tongue of the fifth will be strengthened seven times with the tongue of]2
There is more in the fragments, but this should give you a taste. What are this fragments thought to represent? Why… an ancient liturgy.
So, I don’t want to really get into this at the moment, but if you look at Revelation 9, you will see something very similar to the DSS fragment below. See this brief paper by Torleif Elgvin, especially the part where he mentions Flusser’s arguments on 1Q27 and how it influenced the Rosh Hashanah liturgy.
My goal is not to suggest John used 1Q27, but to show the use of ‘smoke’ in both, as (as it appears to me) something similar… like an ancient liturgy.
Frag. 1 col. I (= 4Q299 1; 4Q300 3)
1 […] all […]
2 […] mysteries of sin
3 [… all] their wisd[om]. And they do not know the mystery of existence, nor understand ancient matters. And they do not
4 know what is going to happen to them; and they will not save their souls from the mystery of existence.
5 And this will be for you the sign /that this is going to happen./ When those born of sin are locked up, evil will disappear before justice as [da]rkness disappears before
6 light. As smoke vanishes, and n[o] longer exists, so will evil vanish for ever. And justice will be revealed like the sun which regulates
7 the world. And all those who curb the wonderful mysteries will no longer exist. And knowledge will pervade the world, and there will ne[ver] be folly there.
8 This word will undoubtedly happen, the prediction is truthful. And by this he will show you that it is irrevocable: Do not all
9 nations loathe sin? And yet, it is about by the hands of all of them. Does not praise of truth come from the mouth of all nations?
10 And yet, is there perhaps one lip or one tongue which persists with it? What people would wish to be oppressed by another more powerful than itself? Who
11 would wish to be sinfully looted of its wealth? And yet, which is the people not to oppress its neighbour? Where is the people which has not
12 looted [another] of its wea[lth? …] … and the exits […]1
Michael Kruger asks
But answers, in my opinion, wrongly. As a snippet, he relies too heavily on Richard Bauckham.
For instance, he notes, “In the ancient world, good history was eyewitness history. For a historical account to be credible, a historian either needed to have witnessed the events himself…” Except you have Virgil, Livy, and others who wrote about the history they did not see but received an authoritative reception. Count in Strabo and Plutarch as well. A good history was not one told by eyewitnesses, but one that made sense — and usually, this meant not angering anyone at the top and preserving whatever historical myth was needed. That’s not to say all of the historians were liars, but the narrative they created proves Hayden White too right.
He cites the geography of John. I would contend John has had years to consider the mythical geography of Mark (which was somewhat corrected by Matthew because it did not fit his purpose). Because John was not writing with the same theological spin on geography as Mark, he could afford to do it “right.” Further, the geography of John does not mean it is the geography of Jesus, but of the Johannine community.
And I could tackle the length of discourses, but this is a rather odd argument to make. I mean, John could have developed the discourses from several sources. And it was noted in the ancient world how discourses were often developed, compact or otherwise, and present as historical.
I’m not sure I would I would go so far to say as Jim has that the entire bible is theology. I would allow for some history in John, but this is going to be reserved to a literary, canonical, and theological history.
I would love to have John as more historical, or even simply good, plain history, but it is not. John shows signs of using the Synoptics, and I would say Mark, to develop his Gospel. Watson believes John used what is now known as the Egerton fragment/gospel. If this is the case, then John is long removed from being an eyewitness.
And again, the only possible eyewitness to Jesus is Mark, but that didn’t stop him from (re)writing (his theological) history of Jesus.
So, I am trying not to go too far into the literary connections between Revelation and other parts of Scripture but if I do, I try to bring out the theological implications first.
Anyway, I am currently working through the 7 Churches of Asia and arriving at Philadelphia, I noticed language very similar to that of Paul’s.
Compare Revelation 3.7-13 and 1 Co 11.27-32. Go ahead. I’ll wait.
Notice that Christ is the setting the table/open door. Compare 1 Corinthians 11.26 and Revelation 3.11. Compare as well the promise of Christ in 3.10 with Paul’s hope for the Eucharist — 1 Corinthians 11.28–32.
There is also some language here drawn from Isaiah 22.22, perhaps by way of Scott Hahn’s interpretation of Matthew 16.18.
Anyway, rather than the open door of John’s vision in Revelation 4, this is (and maybe there isn’t much difference) the Eucharistic table where Christ is presiding.
My working – and this is super secret so don’t tell anyone because I haven’t done the research yet to back it all up – thesis, in part, is to suggest John wrote in such a way as to close the Torah of the Gospels.
I will maintain a distinctive Jewish quality to Mark and Matthew, and a different sort to L(eviticus)uke. But, then there is John… We all know John has some issues with us v. them, us v. Jews. This has been explained in a variety of ways. But, in the literary sense, there is little way to mark the transition. I mean, how did we go from Mark to John?
And this is where Watson comes in.
(for a fuller treatment of Watson’s chapter on John, see Rick Brannan’s post here.)
After discussing the movement from Egerton to John, Watson comments, ‘the Egerton evangelist is consciously seeking to counter the Johannine distancing of Jesus from Judaism, reincorporating him into the community’ of a more Judaism-centric /an/Christianity. He goes on, ‘This Jewish-Christian or Christian-Jewish feature of GEger is of a piece with its pre-occupation with the Moses/Jesus relationship… it is more likely to be pre-Johannine.”
That’s interesting… Might whatever Egerton represents be the literary transition between Luke and John?
Another note — Watson, after comparing Egerton and P. Köln 255r to Mark 1.40–5, suggests the Egerton-Köln story “may derive from a version independent of Mark (322). Unfortunately, I think Watson stresses too much the importance of direct literary parallels. See Adam Winn‘s notes on this in Elijah-Elisha Narrative (3–4, and no less a reason than he specifically compares a story from Matt/Luke to John). Watson does, however, allow for some similar language at this point between Egerton–Köln and John. Had Watson allowed for a dependence on Mark, we might have seen another hallmark of a transition from the rather rabbinical Jewishness of the Synoptics to whatever new creation John is trying to be.
If his thoughts on the closing paragraph on 324 was carried out, we could easily see John pulling from Egerton-Köln and the Synoptics as he built his Gospel.
This is supposed to be a tad bit ironic and/or humorous while allowing me to add something else to the category. It is something I want to keep a record of, and not necessarily something I’m going to expound upon right now. #holla
But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out. (John 19.34 NASB)
In John 6.50-8, Jesus plainly declares the wine his blood.
Notice that the other accounts do not include the spear.
Now, read 2 Maccabees
For, just as it is disagreeable to drink wine by itself or water by itself, whereas the mixing of the two produces a pleasant and delightful taste, so too variety of style in a literary work charms the ear of the reader. Let this, then, be my final word. (2 Maccabees 15.39 REB)
Maybe John really was a forerunner of Rudy Bultmann and tried to take the myth out of it. I dunno… maybe John really was a theological liberal and tried to mix a little water with communion’s wine.