Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
vocesanticae
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by vocesanticae » Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:09 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:46 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 4:29 am
vocesanticae wrote:
Tue Sep 15, 2020 10:49 pm
For example, if I gave you three statements, how would you order them sequentially as to when they first emerged in history and how they are related to each other?

1. "May the schwartz be with you."
2. "The schwartz, the force, same difference."
3. "May the force be with you.
In this case, because of my awareness of how puns work, I would probably stack them in the order 3, 1, 2 (original, pun, explanation of pun). But that is only because I know how puns (usually) work in English.

What about something like this?

1. Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy were great Presidents.
2. Presidents Lincoln, Kennedy, and Reagan were great Presidents.
3. Presidents Lincoln and Reagan were great Presidents.

In this case, I would have no idea, because preferences for which Presidents are great can vary from person to person. Maybe person 1 made an assertion, person 2 added a name to the list, and then person 3 agreed with the addition but disagreed with one of the original names. Maybe that exact same process happened in the order 3, 2, 1. Maybe person 2 started with a full list, but persons 1 and 3 each removed the paradigmatic member of the political party opposite that to which each belonged (Republican or Democrat). Maybe person 3 named two Presidents, person 1 proposed an alternative for the more modern of the two, and person 3 said, "No, they were all great." Maybe that same thing happened in the order 1, 3, 2. I cannot tell.
To use a more concrete example from your file, on page 85 you have Mark 2.23 broken out as an example of a verse having two layers (Mark 1, Mark 2):

Mark 2.23, version 1: καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.
Mark 2.23, version 2: καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.*

* Several Late Mark redactions appear in this episode, their clustering and conspicuous absence from other Gospel strata all tell-tale signs. They begin in Mark 2.23 with MkR2 adapting the LkR2 reference to Jesus “walking through the grainfields” by having him respect property boundaries “walking alongside the grainfields” / παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, while his disciples disrespectfully “start making a path” / ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν!

First, it looks like version 1 is ungrammatical; either the ἐγένετο needs a nominative subject or the accusative αὐτόν needs an infinitive (there may be other ways to resolve the issue, but those are the two that come to mind).

Second, your notes do present a plausible sequence of events. Mark 1 writes something simple; then Luke 2 adds διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων; and then Mark 2 both changes that line to παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων and adds ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν, making a distinction between Jesus respectfully skirting the edge of the field and the disciples disrespectfully forging their own road right through it.

My issue with this second point is twofold.

On the one hand, your reasoning seems to require the assumption that the later redactor would make Jesus more and not less respectful. As attractive as this assumption both is and has been for many researchers on the synoptic problem for more than a century now, it is still an assumption, and I feel pretty certain it is not the only assumption that you employ when making such decisions, since this particular one (treating Jesus more or less respectfully, or as more or less respectful a person) comes up only a certain limited number of times throughout the synoptic record; not every single decision is going to hang on this one in particular. So do you somewhere list those kinds of assumptions that your methodology requires? Do you somewhere defend them? (I have not exhausted the PDF file yet, I admit.)

On the other hand, for the phrase ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν, I can easily imagine it being original to Mark 1 as either a Semitism or a Latinism.

Semitism:

Judges 17.8: 8 Then the man departed from the city, from Bethlehem in Judah, to stay wherever he might find a place; and as he made his journey [לַעֲשׂוֹת דַּרְכּוֹ, “to make a way,” OG τοῦ ποιῆσαι ὁδὸν αὐτοῦ], he came to the hill country of Ephraim to the house of Micah.

The Old Greek shows us exactly what we find in Mark, the active voice of the infinitive of ποιέω used with the accusative ὁδὸν to express the idea of making one's way or taking a trip. (That Judges 17.8 has the aorist infinitive and Mark 2.23 has the present infinitive is a matter of simple aspect, and is of no consequence to the idiom itself.)

Latinism:

1 Samuel 28.22: 22 “So now also, please listen to the voice of your maidservant, and let me set a piece of bread before you that you may eat and have strength when you go on your way [תֵלֵ֖ךְ בַּדָּֽרֶךְ, Vulgate iter facere].”

The Latin expression iter facere, "to make a way," simply means to go on a journey. The infinitive facere is active. A simple, uncritical translation of iter facere into Greek would yield ὁδὸν ποιεῖν.

Mark has many of both (Semitisms and Latinisms) throughout the gospel, so to find one here would occasion exactly zero surprise. Then it becomes natural for Matthew and Luke to eliminate what in Greek comes off sounding weird or harsh. (Luke, especially, seems to tend to avoid words and phrases which come off as foreign; there are exceptions, of course, but not as many as Mark is riddled with.)

So is ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν original to Mark or is it part of a later layer? Given that both directions make sense (to my eye, at least), how would we tell? What is the tiebreaker, as it were?
Wow. This is great feedback. Thank you so much! All excellent points.

My signals and strata analysis is only about half way done, but what I'm finding so far is that the Semitisms/Aramaicisms and Latinisms in Mark almost entirely belong to the later stratum. In Mk2 2.23, it's not just that the verb is a slight variation of what we find in Lk2 (and not in any earlier stratum), it's the cultural sensibilties and values of the editor that have shifted. It sounds like what we would expect expect of a land-owning aristocratic early-orthodox church official in Rome around the mid-2nd century.

No matter who tells the story of Jesus, it can't help but be a self-reflective telling. That doesn't mean that we can't speak meaningfully, even accurately of the past, but our ability to do so depends on coming to terms with the otherness and distinctiveness of the earliest stratum of the historical person or moment which we are trying to understand. We can never escape or completely transcend our historical-particularity, but we can learn to approach data strata reconstruction in an objective and scientific way.

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Giuseppe
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by Giuseppe » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:07 am

vocesanticae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:59 am
I date Qn to 65-69 CE, since it shows an awareness of the start of the Jewish War.
According to your view, Qn would have the parable of the tree known by fruit:

it is not possible for a rotten tree to produce lovely fruits
nor for a lovely tree to produce bad fruits

I interpret it as a Marcionite parable of the two rival gods: the Demiurge versus the alien Father. Both recognized by their fruits: respectively the OT and the NT (a distinction introduced the first time by Marcion).

Another point of disagreement:
You have the two evildoers as Herod Antipas and Pilate. I see them as the original two evildoers released by Pilate. The point is marcionite (compare with John 10:8):
  • 1) YHWH gave the Law and Prophets (==Moses and Elijah) to the Jews;
  • 2) Pilate released two evildoers to satisfy the Jews;
  • 3) therefore: Pilate is allegory of YHWH (the demiurge).

The anti-marcionites replaced the two evildoers with "Jesus Bar-Abbas" (==a parody of the Marcion's "Jesus Son of Father").
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:45 am

vocesanticae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:09 am
In Mk2 2.23, it's not just that the verb is a slight variation of what we find in Lk2 (and not in any earlier stratum), it's the cultural sensibilities and values of the editor that have shifted. It sounds like what we would expect of a land-owning aristocratic early-orthodox church official in Rome around the mid-2nd century.
Or maybe of any devout follower of Jewish praxis who was concerned to respect the boundaries of a person's field, regardless of social status?

Mishnah, Peah 2.1: 1 The following separate for a boundary [פֵּאָה, peah]: a stream, a canal, a private road, a public road, a public path or a private path in constant use in summer and winter, fallow land, freshly plowed land, and the use of different seed. “If one cut for fodder, it serves as a dividing line.” These are the words of Rabbi Meir. But the Sages say, “It does not serve as a separation for a boundary [peah] unless it is plowed.”

I am not sure it would take an aristocratic landowner (not to mention in Rome) to be concerned about respecting the boundary of a field. I mean, there is an entire Mishnaic tractate dedicated to the topic.

ETA: It may or may not be of interest to you, but a few years back I took it upon myself to lay out the canonical gospel of Luke and epistles of Paul, both in Greek and in English, and to mark up those parts attested as absent or present in the Marcionite gospel and epistles according to BeDuhn (for the epistles) and both Roth and BeDuhn (for the gospel). More importantly, each section includes the various sources (Tertullian, Epiphanius, and so on) relevant to each section of text. The results are on this forum: Marcionite gospel and Marcionite epistles.
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vocesanticae
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by vocesanticae » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:43 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:45 am
vocesanticae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:09 am
In Mk2 2.23, it's not just that the verb is a slight variation of what we find in Lk2 (and not in any earlier stratum), it's the cultural sensibilities and values of the editor that have shifted. It sounds like what we would expect of a land-owning aristocratic early-orthodox church official in Rome around the mid-2nd century.
Or maybe of any devout follower of Jewish praxis who was concerned to respect the boundaries of a person's field, regardless of social status?

Mishnah, Peah 2.1: 1 The following separate for a boundary [פֵּאָה, peah]: a stream, a canal, a private road, a public road, a public path or a private path in constant use in summer and winter, fallow land, freshly plowed land, and the use of different seed. “If one cut for fodder, it serves as a dividing line.” These are the words of Rabbi Meir. But the Sages say, “It does not serve as a separation for a boundary [peah] unless it is plowed.”

I am not sure it would take an aristocratic landowner (not to mention in Rome) to be concerned about respecting the boundary of a field. I mean, there is an entire Mishnaic tractate dedicated to the topic.

ETA: It may or may not be of interest to you, but a few years back I took it upon myself to lay out the canonical gospel of Luke and epistles of Paul, both in Greek and in English, and to mark up those parts attested as absent or present in the Marcionite gospel and epistles according to BeDuhn (for the epistles) and both Roth and BeDuhn (for the gospel). More importantly, each section includes the various sources (Tertullian, Epiphanius, and so on) relevant to each section of text. The results are on this forum: Marcionite gospel and Marcionite epistles.
Thank you, Ben, for the thread with your Greek texts for GMarc. Very helpful. Good point about the Mishnaic tractate on boundaries. Definitely something to consider.

vocesanticae
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by vocesanticae » Wed Sep 16, 2020 1:57 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:07 am
vocesanticae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:59 am
I date Qn to 65-69 CE, since it shows an awareness of the start of the Jewish War.
According to your view, Qn would have the parable of the tree known by fruit:

it is not possible for a rotten tree to produce lovely fruits
nor for a lovely tree to produce bad fruits

I interpret it as a Marcionite parable of the two rival gods: the Demiurge versus the alien Father. Both recognized by their fruits: respectively the OT and the NT (a distinction introduced the first time by Marcion).

Another point of disagreement:
You have the two evildoers as Herod Antipas and Pilate. I see them as the original two evildoers released by Pilate. The point is marcionite (compare with John 10:8):
  • 1) YHWH gave the Law and Prophets (==Moses and Elijah) to the Jews;
  • 2) Pilate released two evildoers to satisfy the Jews;
  • 3) therefore: Pilate is allegory of YHWH (the demiurge).

The anti-marcionites replaced the two evildoers with "Jesus Bar-Abbas" (==a parody of the Marcion's "Jesus Son of Father").
The tree/fruit parable is generally accepted as Q. I'm not proposing anything new there.

About the bandits on the cross, that was the entire focus of my UVA dissertation. It's published in the series Cahiers de Biblia Patristica with Strasbourg/Brepols. Feel free to consult its relevant, detailed sections on GMarc. I found there no compelling evidence for the bandit story being in GMarc. However GMarc may later be interpreted and allegorized by Marcion or others, it is not a text that originated with Marcion. Based on scientific signals synthesis and triangulation tracing, it is a significantly earlier text (Early Luke, 80s), one here relies on its primary, earlier source (Qn, 65-69). Qn (GMarc minus Mk1 source material) reads quite simply and elegantly as a pre-70 CE Jewish slave revolt text. It's not Christian at all. In its simple passion narrative, it is giving the middle-finger to the two political authorities (Pilate and Herod, both explicitly named) that killed their leader. Early Mark (75-80) introduced the two bandits as fictional zealot foils to play down the violent revolution that had failed, scapegoating these persons as insurrectionists to make it seem like Jesus was falsely accused and executed because of guilt by association, not because he himself was the leader of a revolt or revolution.

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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by maryhelena » Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:18 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:45 am

ETA: It may or may not be of interest to you, but a few years back I took it upon myself to lay out the canonical gospel of Luke and epistles of Paul, both in Greek and in English, and to mark up those parts attested as absent or present in the Marcionite gospel and epistles according to BeDuhn (for the epistles) and both Roth and BeDuhn (for the gospel). More importantly, each section includes the various sources (Tertullian, Epiphanius, and so on) relevant to each section of text. The results are on this forum: Marcionite gospel and Marcionite epistles.
Ben, that's a mountain of work there..

Did you arrive at any conclusions from all this work. Conclusions regarding the material now in the NT. What picture have you drawn?

Any chance you could do a one paragraph summary of your work? :)
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by maryhelena » Wed Sep 16, 2020 11:13 pm

vocesanticae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:55 am
Irish1975 wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:02 am
vocesanticae wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 7:16 am
Movie production today is obviously far more involved and complicated an undertaking than the production of ancient texts.
Is it? Movies are made in a matter of months. From conventional Paul to the First Edition (circa 160 according to David Trobisch), the New Testament gestated for a hundred years. Also, there is a movie industry, a set way of doing things, a professional role for all participants. But our authors, although they wrote literature in the generic sense, had only the Hebrew Bible as a precedent, which they sought to “fulfill” with an artistic subtlety we can only partly comprehend.
Socratic question. What's one of your favorite songs that has been covered by another band?
The Ataris’ version of Boys of Summer is fun. They swap out Don’s reference to the Grateful Dead and instead sing “I saw a Black Flag sticker on a cadillac.”

In folk music, the rules are all different, because it’s not about a studio version. You can strip the song for parts, turn it upside down, rip its heart out, like in the early days of hip hop. Or like what John did to Mark.
I'm in completely agreement with Trobisch about the 100 year process, particularly for the Gospels. That is a compilation (like the Pentatech). There were about 10 significant productions/albums released from the start of the process in the late 60s to the conclusion in the 140s or 150s.

Great cover analogy, to show how the retelling transforms the original. Now, if you or another musically gifted singer covered it today and knew well both the original and the Ataris version, do you think traces of both performances might show up in the 3rd cover? Do you think you'd be able to tell if a more recent cover of Boys of Summer was influenced by the Ataris version? And if that more recent cover became popular, and another cover were made 10 years from now, do you think you'd be able to detect the sequence of the covers? Hint: it wouldn't just be the words or the notes, but the style and trends and cultural setting of the *precise time* in which any more recent cover was composed that would give away its later date. When Disturbed covered Simon and Garfunkel's Sound of Silence, they couldn't help but sound like Disturbed and to sound like other music of the 2010s.

All of us are syntheses of the signals we have received in the past. Traces of our past and our present are always there to see in our communications, if we have the eyes and ears to see and hear them.

In the immortal words of George Clooney, "Consider the lillies of the field, G-damn it!"
Love the music analogy - even though I can't hold a tune (afraid that's one Irish trait I don't hold...sadly..)

Ah, but maybe I can lay claim to another Irish trait.....a radical mind and a fighting spirit.... :eek:

Thomas Brodie has that Irish radical mind (though, sadly, it seems his fighting spirit has taken a knock...)

Brodie turned his ear not to music but to words from the past:


Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus

Terms such as 'echo' and 'allusion' do not do justice to the complexity of how the New Testament uses the Old Testament. 'Echo' is appropriate insofar as it pictures the transfer of sound or words from one place to another. But in echo, the energy for the transfer comes from the source, whereas, in the various forms of rewriting, the energy that forms the echo comes especially from the destination, from the writer who takes the older text and gives it new meaning and often a new shape. So 'echo' tends to underplay the active role of the later writer...

.......................

So to summarize. Three of the main methods of using existing tests are: quotation, allusion and transformation. Among these three, biblical research has gone far in articulating one and two - quotation, and (narrative) allusion. The third method, in so far as it involves major transformation, is still largely unexplained.

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:01 am

maryhelena wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:18 pm
Ben, that's a mountain of work there..

Did you arrive at any conclusions from all this work. Conclusions regarding the material now in the NT. What picture have you drawn?

Any chance you could do a one paragraph summary of your work? :)
One of my conclusions, ever tentative, is that neither Luke directly edited Marcion nor Marcion Luke; rather, they both edited the same proto-gospel, which in form and extent resembled Marcion far more than Luke. But that conclusion rests upon slender evidence, as all conclusions do in this area.
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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by davidmartin » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:03 am

Ben, how does a reconstructed proto-Luke differ from the gospel of Mark?
If there isn't much difference then what Luke adds to Mark...
If all Luke adds is the virgin birth and a few hell references in line with Matthew plus the Lukan affinity for the poor
That's about it. There is nothing really surprising or controversial in Luke at all in a milieu where Mark is accepted except a predisposition to favoring Matthew as well which may have been more controversial

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Re: Bilby: a mix of fine exegesis and naive historicism

Post by maryhelena » Thu Sep 17, 2020 5:18 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Sep 17, 2020 4:01 am
maryhelena wrote:
Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:18 pm
Ben, that's a mountain of work there..

Did you arrive at any conclusions from all this work. Conclusions regarding the material now in the NT. What picture have you drawn?

Any chance you could do a one paragraph summary of your work? :)
One of my conclusions, ever tentative, is that neither Luke directly edited Marcion nor Marcion Luke; rather, they both edited the same proto-gospel, which in form and extent resembled Marcion far more than Luke. But that conclusion rests upon slender evidence, as all conclusions do in this area.
Thanks, Ben, :thumbup:

Sounds good!

The master copy of the Jesus story remains elusive......

Some years back Joseph Hoffmann had an article on the problem...

ARE THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS COPY EXERCISES? JESUS AND ANACREON

Joseph Hoffmann

The never-ending story in New Testament studies is first, how the gospels came to be written down (and where, and when) and how they “relate” to each other.

------------------

Students studying for divinity and graduate degrees across Europe and North America have learned for more than a century that the matter of who-wrote-what-first is endlessly fascinating. The average opinion in the most prestigious and hyperactive research institutions in North America and Europe is that orthodoxy and canonicity are at best provisional ways of looking at the gospels, and, worse, misleading from the standpoint of solving the puzzle of Christian origins.

------------

For all we know one such copyist may have been named Mark and another Luke. But if that is so, it is only accidentally so and they were men of no significant personal distinction. They were men who took it upon themselves to imitate, “restore” or amend the lost (or nearly lost) prototype, the master-copy of the Jesus story.


https://rjosephhoffmann.wordpress.com ... anacreon/

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

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