Mark 9.49 in #Logos 6 (@Logos) (Lexham Textual Notes + Ancient Lit. Database)

You’ll just have to deal with me for a minute. I am not a sales rep nor do I participate in the Logos Affiliate program. More power to those bloggers who do. I would rather not, so that at least in appearance, I can presume to give you unbiased advice. I say this because I am biased to serious bible study and I believe you can actually get serious through Logos.

For instance, there is a textual variant in Mark 9.49 that I like to play around with from time to time. I believe it points to a time of rehabilitation after….well, I’ll leave it there for the moment.

First, I start with the Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible. This is a commentary on the entire bible and the textual variants found therein. Rick Brannon, one of my favorite people and one of the editors/authors of this volume, writes,

The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible (LTNB) cover both the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) and New Testament with over 2,000 notes. These notes are situated somewhere between what is found in footnotes in modern English Bibles and the sort of material covered by Bruce Metzger’s Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament. But the discussion in LTNB is geared toward readers with little to no text-critical knowledge. The goal is to provide English translations of several important variation units and some brief non-technical but relevant information about the unit.

In the LTNB, I go to Mark 9.49:

Mark 9.49 LTNB

The Hebrew is the text used for the OT, although briefing scanning the document I see references to the LXX. The LXX is used to help in examining Hebrew readings.

As you can see, there is a difference, although some may argue against it being that much of a difference. I mean, unless you want to argue for purgatory or something…

After this, because I’m not satisfied, I go to the Ancient Literature Database. When this first started, the references were something like 60,000 but now, it racing past 180,000 entries. So, what do I come up with?

Mark 9.49 Ancient Lit Database

The Testament of Levi reads,

And of all thy first-fruits and of wine offer the first, as a sacrifice to the Lord God; and every sacrifice thou shalt salt with salt.

If I wanted to go further, I could commentaries, but these two things helps to make a reasonably informed decision.

How can I get it?

The Lexham Textual Notes on the Bible is included in Logos 6 Base Packages at Gold and higher, and Extended Crossgrade.

Book Notes: @IVPAcademic’s “Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13″

Robert H. Stein has written a very specific book on a very particular chapter in the Gospel According to Saint Mark. Taking only chapter 13 (although he does provide a lead-in by exploring its place in the book itself), Stein goes virtually line-by-line through the chapter, offering the ‘why’ of his interpretation. He does so by relying on conservative scholarship as well as canonical support. His reliance upon these things, including Q and other unidentified oral sayings, is mixed with his acceptance and use of critical scholarship as well. Indeed, given his locus, his conclusions are that much more outstanding. All of this — locus, avenues of investigation — would normally give me pause when considering his conclusions; however, I find little fault in them. While I do not agree with his conclusion regarding the arrival of the Son of Man, his treatment of the first half of Mark 13 and his conclusion thereof is spot on. The book is divided into 8 chapters. The first lays out his thesis statement and his actual goal. The second chapter tackles various issues in reading this chapter, such as placement in Mark. Chapters 3-7 each discuss a specific, and successive, pericope wherein the chapter itself is given a critical and theological account. The final chapter includes the author’s own translation, making use of cues inside the text. Again, he uses intracanonical support as well as (a hope of) oral tradition. Unfortunately, this is the lowpoint (although admittedly, his lowpoint is still well above the highpoints of many) of Stein’s work. In the end, he allows that the first part of Mark speaks to the destruction of the Temple while the second half alerts the readers to an unknown date of the arrival of the Son of Man. He bases this on the inclusio he sees in 13.5 and 13.23. Rather than an inclusio, I believe Mark is using a chiastic structure. But, this is my view point, not my book. In all, while Stein uses avenues I would not, he arrives at a solution I believe is tenable. Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man is an important book, especially in these times of heightened expectation. It is at once academic and theological, allowing the reader to place Mark 13 within the context of the entire Gospel as well as seeing how it works without a canonical context.

English: The destruction of the Temple foretol...

English: The destruction of the Temple foretold. Caspar Luyken. In the Bowyer Bible in Bolton Museum, England. Print 3904. From “An Illustrated Commentary on the Gospel of Mark” by Phillip Medhurst. Section R. predictions and warnings. Mark 13:1-37. http://pdfcast.org/pdf/an-illustrated-commentary-by-phillip-medhurst-on-the-gospel-of-mark-section-q-to-r (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Two new books on the Gospel of Mark (@fortresspress and @ivpacademic)

both look interesting…

Scholars of the Gospel of Mark usually discuss the merits of patristic references to the Gospel’s origin and Mark’s identity as the “interpreter” of Peter. But while the question of the Gospel’s historical origins draws attention, no one has asked why, despite virtually unanimous patristic association of the Gospel with Peter, one of the most prestigious apostolic founding figures in Christian memory, Mark’s Gospel was mostly neglected by those same writers. Not only is the text of Mark the least represented of the canonical Gospels in patristic citations, commentaries, and manuscripts, but the explicit comments about the Evangelist reveal ambivalence about Mark’s literary or theological value. Michael J. Kok surveys the second-century reception of Mark, from Papias of Hierapolis to Clement of Alexandria, and finds that the patristic writers were hesitant to embrace Mark because they perceived it to be too easily adapted to rival Christian factions. Kok describes the story of Mark’s Petrine origins as a second-century move to assert ownership of the Gospel on the part of the emerging Orthodox Church.

The Gospels contain many hard sayings of Jesus, but perhaps none have puzzled and intrigued readers as much as Jesus’ discourse on the coming of the Son of Man in Mark 13. Is Jesus speaking entirely of an event in the near future, a coming destruction of the temple? Or is he referring to a distant, end-of-the-world event? Or might he even be speaking of both near and distant events? But in that case, which words apply to which event, and how can we be sure?

Seasoned Gospels scholar Robert Stein follows up his major commentary on Mark with this even closer reading of Mark 13. In this macro-lens commentary he walks us step by step through the text and its questions, leading us to a compelling interpretive solution.

Jesus’s (building) entries into Jerusalem (Mark 11.11–27)

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey

English: Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is really for discussion… In Mark 11, Jesus enters into Jerusalem 3 times, each one more grander than the last.

Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα. – Mark 11:11.

Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα. καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ τοὺς ἀγοράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστερὰς κατέστρεψεν – Mark 11:15.

Καὶ ἔρχονται πάλιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα. καὶ ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ περιπατοῦντος αὐτοῦ ἔρχονται πρὸς αὐτὸν οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ πρεσβύτεροι – Mark 11:27.

The first time, Jesus silently (ignore the Hosanna shouts) enters into city, goes to the Temple, looks around, and leaves. In Mark 11.15, Jesus enters the city and goes to the Temple to cleanse it. In Mark 11.27, Jesus goes to the Temple where he begins to preach. This happens quickly, within the space of 3 days.

Each entry is marked by an increasing sense of importance for Jesus. I may side with some who suggest the crowd was already present when Jesus entered the city, celebrating the Passover. In other words, Jesus slipped by and stood in the crown while it shouted the usual triumphant shout. The second time, however, Jesus comes in and makes himself known as a person of priestly suspicions (basically, he wanted the Temple pure). The next time, Jesus comes in and starts to preach.1

Could the thrice entry point us to some of Mark’s literary sources? I am inclined to believe Mark 11.15–17 points us to Titus’s siege in 70, wherein the bandits were holed up inside the Temple. What about the first one, then? I may argue in a future paper the first one points us to the attempted coup by the Egyptian. The third one? Well, Jesus did have to go Jerusalem… In all, however, the stories are told in such a way as to answer previous entries by would-be-tyrants and siege victors — they show that Jesus did not come to conquer.

  1. Maybe these two entries, with their two goals, point to the Two Messiah Motif.

Working on my #SBLAAR (2014) paper, “There and Back Again, A Jesus Tale: The Poetics of Apologetic Reversal”

The romanticized woodcut engraving of Flavius ...

The romanticized woodcut engraving of Flavius Josephus appearing in William Whiston’s translation of his works. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I will propose Mark is borrowing two well-known and horrible entries into Jerusalem. First up, Mark 11.1-17:

Καὶ ὅτε ἐγγίζουσιν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς Βηθφαγὴ καὶ Βηθανίαν πρὸς τὸ Ὄρος τῶν Ἐλαιῶν, ἀποστέλλει δύο τῶν μαθητῶν αὐτοῦ 2 καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς· Ὑπάγετε εἰς τὴν κώμην τὴν κατέναντι ὑμῶν, καὶ εὐθὺς εἰσπορευόμενοι εἰς αὐτὴν εὑρήσετε πῶλον δεδεμένον ἐφʼ ὃν οὐδεὶς οὔπω ἀνθρώπων ἐκάθισεν· λύσατε αὐτὸν καὶ φέρετε. 3 καὶ ἐάν τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ· Τί ποιεῖτε τοῦτο; εἴπατε ὅτι Ὁ κύριος αὐτοῦ χρείαν ἔχει· καὶ εὐθὺς αὐτὸν ἀποστέλλει πάλιν ὧδε. 4 καὶ ἀπῆλθον καὶ εὗρον πῶλον δεδεμένον πρὸς θύραν ἔξω ἐπὶ τοῦ ἀμφόδου, καὶ λύουσιν αὐτόν. 5 καί τινες τῶν ἐκεῖ ἑστηκότων ἔλεγον αὐτοῖς· Τί ποιεῖτε λύοντες τὸν πῶλον; 6 οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτοῖς καθὼς εἶπεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς· καὶ ἀφῆκαν αὐτούς. 7 καὶ φέρουσιν τὸν πῶλον πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν, καὶ ἐπιβάλλουσιν αὐτῷ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν, καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐπʼ αὐτόν. 8 καὶ πολλοὶ τὰ ἱμάτια αὐτῶν ἔστρωσαν εἰς τὴν ὁδόν, ἄλλοι δὲ στιβάδας κόψαντες ἐκ τῶν ἀγρῶν. 9 καὶ οἱ προάγοντες καὶ οἱ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἔκραζον· Ὡσαννά· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου· 10 Εὐλογημένη ἡ ἐρχομένη βασιλεία τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Δαυίδ· Ὡσαννὰ ἐν τοῖς ὑψίστοις.

11 Καὶ εἰσῆλθεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα εἰς τὸ ἱερόν· καὶ περιβλεψάμενος πάντα ὀψὲ ἤδη οὔσης τῆς ὥρας ἐξῆλθεν εἰς Βηθανίαν μετὰ τῶν δώδεκα.

12 Καὶ τῇ ἐπαύριον ἐξελθόντων αὐτῶν ἀπὸ Βηθανίας ἐπείνασεν. 13 καὶ ἰδὼν συκῆν ἀπὸ μακρόθεν ἔχουσαν φύλλα ἦλθεν εἰ ἄρα τι εὑρήσει ἐν αὐτῇ, καὶ ἐλθὼν ἐπʼ αὐτὴν οὐδὲν εὗρεν εἰ μὴ φύλλα, ὁ γὰρ καιρὸς οὐκ ἦν σύκων. 14 καὶ ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν αὐτῇ· Μηκέτι εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα ἐκ σοῦ μηδεὶς καρπὸν φάγοι. καὶ ἤκουον οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ.

15 Καὶ ἔρχονται εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα. καὶ εἰσελθὼν εἰς τὸ ἱερὸν ἤρξατο ἐκβάλλειν τοὺς πωλοῦντας καὶ τοὺς ἀγοράζοντας ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, καὶ τὰς τραπέζας τῶν κολλυβιστῶν καὶ τὰς καθέδρας τῶν πωλούντων τὰς περιστερὰς κατέστρεψεν 16 καὶ οὐκ ἤφιεν ἵνα τις διενέγκῃ σκεῦος διὰ τοῦ ἱεροῦ, 17 καὶ ἐδίδασκεν καὶ ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς· Οὐ γέγραπται ὅτι Ὁ οἶκός μου οἶκος προσευχῆς κληθήσεται πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν; ὑμεῖς δὲ πεποιήκατε αὐτὸν σπήλαιον λῃστῶν.

Thanks to Rick from Logos and an experimental feature, I got a jumpstart. This is what the search for literary connections looks like:

Dataset Canonical Reference Relationship Noncanonical Reference
Josephus Mark 11:1 Phrase Wars 2.262
Josephus Mark 11:1 Remove Wars 2.261–263
Josephus Mark 11:1 Remove Ant 20.169–170
Josephus Mark 11:1 Topical Ant 20.169
Josephus Mark 11:1 Remove Life 269
Josephus Mark 11:2 Remove Wars 2.261–263
Nag Hammadi Codices Mark 11:8 Allusion NHC II 2, 39:29–NHC II 2, 40:2
Apostolic Fathers Mark 11:9 Topical Did 12.1
Apostolic Fathers Mark 11:9 Echo Did 10.6
Apostolic Fathers Mark 11:9 Remove Barn 6.4
Josephus Mark 11:9 Remove Wars 1.673
Josephus Mark 11:9 Remove Ant 7.40–41
Nag Hammadi Codices Mark 11:9 Allusion NHC II 2, 39:29–NHC II 2, 40:2
NT Apocrypha Mark 11:9 Remove APt 24
Dead Sea Scrolls Sectarian Material Mark 11:10 Topical 4Q174
NT Apocrypha Mark 11:10 Remove Acts Pil. 1
Josephus Mark 11:11 Topical Ant 18.90
Josephus Mark 11:11 Topical Ant 15.405

 

Mark came before some of the material here, so you have to mark that out…mark that out, I slay me… I am looking at Wars in particular.

So, we come up with at least one section, the entry into Jerusalem by the Egyptian. This is found in BJ 2.261-263:

τούτοις Φῆλιξ, ἐδόκει γὰρ ἀποστάσεως εἶναι καταβολή, πέμψας ἱππεῖς καὶ πεζοὺς ὁπλίτας πολὺ πλῆθος διέφθειρεν. Μείζονι δὲ τούτου πληγῇ Ἰουδαίους ἐκάκωσεν ὁ Αἰγύπτιος ψευδοπροφήτης· παραγενόμενος γὰρ εἰς τὴν χώραν ἄνθρωπος γόης καὶπροφήτου πίστιν ἐπιθεὶς ἑαυτῷ περὶ τρισμυρίους μὲν ἀθροίζει τῶν ἠπατημένων, περιαγαγὼν δὲ αὐτοὺς ἐκ τῆς ἐρημίας εἰς τὸ ἐλαιῶνκαλούμενον ὄρος ἐκεῖθεν οἷός τε ἦν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα παρελθεῖν βιάζεσθαι καὶ κρατήσας τῆς τε Ῥωμαϊκῆς φρουρᾶς καὶ τοῦ δήμου τυραννεῖνχρώμενος τοῖς συνεισπεσοῦσιν δορυφόροις. φθάνει δ’ αὐτοῦ τὴν ὁρμὴν Φῆλιξ ὑπαντήσας μετὰ τῶν Ῥωμαϊκῶν ὁπλιτῶν, καὶ πᾶς ὁ δῆμοςσυνεφήψατο τῆς ἀμύνης, ὥστε συμβολῆς γενομένης τὸν μὲν Αἰγύπτιον φυγεῖν μετ’ ὀλίγων, διαφθαρῆναι δὲ καὶ ζωγρηθῆναι πλείστους τῶνσὺν αὐτῷ, τὸ δὲ λοιπὸν πλῆθος σκεδασθὲν ἐπὶ τὴν ἑαυτῶν ἕκαστον διαλαθεῖν.

There are common points. Both start at the Mount of Olives. Both have friends with them. For Jesus, they are his disciples. For the Egyptian, guards. There is a multitude of people as well.

If we go further, we find a connection between Mark 11.15–17 and the siege of the Temple, with the entry by my favorite baddie, Simon bar Giora (4.570-584).

I am attracted to the Egyptian story as a literary source because of Acts 21.38–39. I think there is something in Luke, perhaps calling attention to Mark’s usage.

So, why is Mark using two literary sources, but reversed, to present the story of Jesus’s entry? Because it is apologetic. Mark does not want Jesus seen as the conquering tyrant. He wants to show how peaceful Jesus was, so he mimics (borrows) the language of Josephus so that his audience can get a sense his intent.

Jesus does not come to conquer Jerusalem. /a/Christians are not traitors or treasonous.

on John’s use of Mark – the thrice prediction

Jesus

Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I found this old post of James McGrath about the prediction of Jesus’s death. I guess I found it like Columbus discovered America. Amma right?

Anyway, we know that in Mark, Jesus predicts his death 3 times:

  • Mark 8.31-33
  • Mark 9.30-32
  • Mark 10.32-34

The most obvious prediction in John is at John 12.20-36.

But, I think we are missing the connection between Mark and John at this point. John has three predictions, like Mark, of Jesus’s death.

  • John 7.34
  • John 8.22
  • John 13.33

I have previously covered where the 7 signs came from.

Anyway, just a thought.

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{Insert Catchy Title} Adam Winn, Vespasian, and @garetrobinson

The Two Source hypothesis solution to the Syno...

Has no bearing on this article, but it must be said. Again. And again.

Adam Winn has made a decisive turn from the search for the literary sources of the Gospel of Mark to discovering the Roman ideology, or rather the counter to Roman ideology, buried in it. His new article in JSNT can be found here:

Tyrant or Servant? Roman Political Ideology and Mark 10.42-45 – Journal for the Study of the New Testament, first published on April 11, 2014 (Here).

Long time readers know that it was Winn’s 2008 volume, The Purpose of Mark’s Gospel, that got me going on Markan literary sources and in many ways, Roman imperial ideology. While others may not see what is plainly there, I believe Mark is written to do several things, but it is written because of Vespasian and the changes he wrought in the κόσμος. (<—yes, that is on purpose.)

Before we go further, let me call attention to my friend Garet’s post, wherein he states he disagrees with such enterprises. He is honest about his paper, that it is a “critical inquiry for apologetic purposes.” But, I do not think we can dismiss those who see anti- imperial ideology in the New Testament as somehow anti-apologetic. To understand what I mean, read pp23–24 in Winn’s article.

Winn examines Mark 10.42–45 as if it were read by a Roman audience. To introduce his readers to this worldview, Winn first lays out the groundwork necessary for “Mark as a ‘Roman Gospel,'” giving clear reasons for such a statement. He focuses largely on his work and one by Brian Incigneri, although he doesn’t fail to bring in other sources (even sources considered somewhat conservative – Evans). The reader must pay attention at this point, because the object rightly raised to any Roman understanding of Mark 10.42–45 is that it contains no directly related imperial language. Later, Winn can draw his readers back to this point to show them that Mark does not have speak the language consistently in order for his audience to understand him — after all, the sum of the Gospel is subversion of the imperial order.

Following this, Winn gives his reader a crash-course on the political ideology of Roman rulers and the recusatio. Without this section (and you may need to read it first before the article and then once more within the article), Winn’s arguments would falter. We are simply given what it meant to be a Roman prince.

Finally, the author exegetes Mark 10.42–45 section by section, drawing together his arguments thus far. Unlike previous volumes by Winn, he has little to no trouble offering a solid interpretation of his work and what it might mean, theologically. It is here that the genius of the thesis comes into play — one can actually hear how this section is read in the forum magnum next to Tacitus and Suetonius.

My concerns are tangential. I would like to have seen more developed in the narrative/Christological interpretation section. What sort of ruler, besides the self-sacrificing kind, is Jesus? Divine, or otherwise.[1 I am presenting a paper at AAR-EIS in a few weeks that I believe points to something of a high Christology in Mark, although different than John. It is higher than adoptionism, but not binitarianism.] Of course, this may be a theological bridge too far for such an article. Further, I feel 10.45 could be developed to show the “ransom” language is somewhat imperial (especially if you connect it to the Triumph – something Winn has already connected (in the article and elsewhere) to the Passion). Beyond that, his arguments are sound, if not near airtight.

Note, this is an article — not a book. I recognize that.

Winn does a masterful job of filling the void of reading this section of Mark as might have been read against the backdrop of political ideology. I rather appreciate the fact that the pericope’s interpretation is not because of language directly in the pericope, but taken as a whole from the Gospel. He also doesn’t date the Gospel of Mark, so we can take the article as a broad reaction against Roman imperial ideology. Further, he gives due attention to the author and the audience, rather than focusing on literary sources. Because of this new focus, Winn brings out the message as heard by the audience rather than any latent construction used by the author. He is careful to note Mark’s turning (he labels it “radicalizing”) of certain words and phrases and is equally anxious to let his readers know that what he is proposing is not emulation, but subversion. (Note, Garet misses this difference, as do many). In other words, even with his firm stance, he allows his audience some room in applying certain aspects of his thesis to their own stances.

A fantastic piece!

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The Only 2 Marks that matter on GMark

Dr. Goodacre has provided us this. I personally thank the good Lord for all of the snow that has lead to the creation of so many of these recent additions:

NT Pod: NT Pod 71: Was the ending of Mark’s Gospel lost?.

I’ve listened to it already. It is pretty dead on.

my SBL paper at Academia.edu: Working on a Building: Mark’s Correspondence to Daniel’s Structure

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.

 

Is Jesus God in the Gospel of Mark?

Mark and the girls 1958 Perth

Mark and the girls (Mary, Mary, Mary, and Martha (1900-)1958 Perth (Photo credit: MR MARK BEK)

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.

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Hypothesis – Historical Present (Mark, John, Revelation)

I wanted to write this for first to start my thought process and second, perhaps, for discussion:

Matthew        94/78
Mark               150/151
Luke               13
John               163
Acts                14
Revelation     54

Mark is the first, and as I explained in my book, uses this for a particular reason. I think it is a rhetorical ploy. This explains Matthew’s continued use with it (keeping in mind the textual tradition you use and hoping we have a fairly accurate representation of the original text). In Luke-Acts, it is almost done away with and thus becomes just another verb choice.

However, in Revelation, we see another uptick.

Wait. Go here and read this paper by Steve Runge first.

Anyway, here is my current hypothesis:

Mark begins the Gospel genre. His use is rhetorical. Matthew sees this and uses it, expanding Mark’s story with his own. Luke‘s rhetoric goes into a different direction and thus doesn’t need word choice, or rather, doesn’t need this particular grammar choice. Or, he may not get the entire theme as displayed in Mark and Matthew and thus attempts to correct the “poor” grammar. Acts doesn’t really count here, except to show the author(s) of Luke-Acts as a single-minded writer who likes tidiness.

John reworks the Markan narrative including other narratives along the way and his own material but unlike Matthew and Luke, retains more of Mark’s rhetorical flair.

Oh, yes. Thomas (the Greek fragments such as P. Oxy 654) uses the historical present in relation to Jesus. The Coptic has it as past tense, indicating a translation from the Greek, I’d argue. Wonder if this means Thomas knew the Synoptics? —->

What does this mean for Revelation? First, I would argue Revelation is written by the same author(ial community) as The Gospel of Mark. Second, I believe there are direct literary connections between Revelation and Mark, such as the borrowing of certain phrases. Not words. Phrases.

I think the use of the historical present as we move from Mark to Revelation indicates an awareness — perhaps a theological intent — of the original literary use in the first written Gospel. I think it also indicates reliance (especially for Matthew, Luke, and John) on Mark.

What about Thomas? I don’t know, really, but it would be interesting to do a vivisection of the use of historical presents and where each of them end up. Numbering the usage starts us on a path, but the path should lead us to examining the exact use — where are the HP’s used in relation to one another.

Anyway, just wanted to jot this down.