https://vridar.org/2019/07/08/the-myste ... l-of-mark/
https://vridar.org/2019/07/11/this-is-w ... rom-where/
I largely disagree, and wonder how others feel about Godfrey's analysis.
There is no defending Mark's choice to use repeatedly vague terms for timing and audience reactions (what often gets translated as "and immediately," "to amaze" and synonyms of awe-struckedness). More substantive is Godfrey's thesis that Jesus' power to amaze onlookers is somehow unnatural, and induces unrealistic plot advancement (Compared with Matthew? Lol).
Example: Jesus calls four men to follow him, and they do (1:14-20).
What would be unrealistic is for the four men to abandon their families, join his Twelve, go out on the road in pairs to preach, follow him to Jerusalem ... solely because Jesus asked them to follow him during a casual seaside stroll. No such commitment is on the page, however.
What's on the page is that Jesus walks along the shore, and then the other men do, too. Peter doesn't give up his house, or his business. There is no Twelve yet, and at least one person whom Jesus will "call" later on (Levi the tax collector) doesn't show up among the Twelve as listed. Jesus makes no specific commitment to the four on the shore, either. Their relationship will develop organically over the course of the performance. The relationship works out, of course, but that is not settled here in chapter 1. The stroll by the sea is the beginning of a long-term relationship, much of it dramatized with ups and downs, not the sealing of it.
Example: The subsequent preaching and exorcism in Capernaum (1:21-28)
This is the second time Jesus is depicted as preaching in Galilee (1:14-15), and this audience likes what it hears, compared with the preaching style of the "scribes" (some of whom, we will later learn, are unlike Jesus in oh so many ways). Then there is the unforeseen exorcism, and the audience likes that, too. They find a common quality in the two events, a poised teacher conducting himself with authority, whether preaching or commanding demons.
As near as I can make out, the nub of the Godfrey objection to the scene centers on verse 1:28, that the effects of these two incidents cause an unrealistically rapid dissemination of Jesus' fame. That claimed flaw seems to depend on translation as well as interpretation. The World English Bible is effusive:
https://ebible.org/web/MRK01.htmThe report of him went out immediately everywhere into all the region of Galilee and its surrounding area.
Wow, indeed. But that's not the only way to translate the line, nor is it especially descriptive of what happens next. A man and his companions go to his home after the service, encounter a sick relative there, and hatch the bright idea that Jesus might be of assistance. What is dramatized in the specific instance (Simon's return home to a sick mother-in-law) might have been typical of other attendees' experience that day, because after the sabbath was over, other people bring their sick and possessed to Jesus (1:32-34).
Hmm. Then the next morning, Jesus suggests to his new friends that they all go to other towns in Galilee to preach (1:35-39). Thus, Jesus deepens his and their commitment to the mission (see previous example), and continues a realistically graduated process of dissemination which began at the synagogue.
So, what of verse 1:28? If you must translate it effusively, then perform it as what is called a forward in the writing trade: announcing to the audience something about the action yet to come. Or, you can translate it as saying that Jesus' reputation was quickly and solidly established within the synagogue's service area. Or do both, since even that less effusive 1:28 would still introduce the step-by-step dissemination of Jesus' reputation within the borders of Galilee, and in time, throughout Galilee, starting with the neighboring towns.
Example (second post): Verse 1:38 is in some bad way mysterious; from whence Jesus came is unspecified.
Staying with WEB,
He said to them, “Let’s go elsewhere into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because I came out for this reason.”
Yup, that's unspecified all right. Just as it was unspecified when the Narrator said much the same thing back at 1:14
Narrator and character agree that some travel was involved, and that the purpose of the travel was to preach in Galilee. And before that? Jesus' last specified location was somewhere in the desert, and before that he was depicted at John's base, on and near the Jordan River.Now after John was taken into custody, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the Good News of God’s Kingdom,
I don't know where Jesus was immediately before coming to Galilee, but I am satisfied that Mark violates no canon of realism by depicting him as being outside of Galilee at the time of John's arrest. Jesus has other places to be. There is no mystery here. A human Jesus changed his location on Earth, for an articulated reason.
I appreciate that my enthusiasm for Mark's craftsmanship is disputed. and I don't begrudge Neil his opinion. I do think, however, that Mark exposes himself to enough criticism for the things he really does; there's no need to blast him for things he doesn't do.