The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Michael BG
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Michael BG » Wed May 03, 2017 3:59 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Michael BG wrote:I thought that the Greek does not have punctuation and so there is no comma in the Greek. I also read that the word order in Greek is not as important in Greek as in English. Therefore it could be translated as ‘he said to Peter Simon, “are you asleep?”’ and it means the same as ‘he said to Simon Peter, “are you asleep?”’
Your reading is impossible. The Greek is:

καὶ ἔρχεται καὶ εὑρίσκει αὐτοὺς καθεύδοντας, καὶ λέγει τῷ Πέτρῳ· Σίμων, καθεύδεις; οὐκ ἴσχυσας μίαν ὥραν γρηγορῆσαι;

And I thought the Greek was
“ΚΑὶἔΡΧΕΤΑΙΚΑὶΕὑΡΊΣΚΕΙΑὐΤΟὺΣΚΑΘΕΎΔΟΝΤΑΣΚΑὶΛΈΓΕΙΤῷΠΈΤΡῳΣΊΜΩΝΚΑΘΕΎΔΕΙΣΟὐΚἴΣΧΥΣΑΣΜΊΑΝὥΡΑΝΓΡΗΓΟΡῆΣΑΙ”

Are you really saying that the Greek has comas in it? :)
Ben C. Smith wrote:Punctuation has nothing to do with it. In Greek, case is what counts, and Peter and Simon are not even in the same case (Simon is in the vocative; the identical nominative would not make sense here; Peter is in the dative). Something is being said to Peter (therefore outside the quotation), and that something addresses Simon (therefore inside the quotation).
Are you talking about different word endings in Greek to show cases?
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Michael BG wrote:I think you might have misunderstood me. I accept that the traditions have more disciples than twelve. I accept that Mark has more disciples than twelve. I accept that Mark passes on a tradition where the twelve are appointed as special in some way. However I don’t think Mark does much with it. Luke I think does do something with it because he differentiates between the many disciples and the twelve apostles
What was your observation, then, based on this understanding? How does this relate to the ending of Mark?
It appears I have not been clear. What I am saying is that if Mark doesn’t care about the specialness of the twelve, then he would not have used “Simon Peter” in his resurrection appearance to link back to the appointment of Simon surnamed Peter as one of the twelve. If he did care about the twelve then it would have made sense to have “the twelve” rather than just the disciples in 16:7.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed May 03, 2017 4:24 pm

Michael BG wrote:Are you talking about different word endings in Greek to show cases?
Yes.
Michael BG wrote:What I am saying is that if Mark doesn’t care about the specialness of the twelve, then he would not have used “Simon Peter” in his resurrection appearance to link back to the appointment of Simon surnamed Peter as one of the twelve. If he did care about the twelve then it would have made sense to have “the twelve” rather than just the disciples in 16:7.
I think that Mark does care about the specialness of the twelve. Mark 3.7-12 proves that, as does Mark 6.7-13, not to mention various times when Jesus calls the twelve aside for special instructions.

But Mark also cares about disciples in general. The two propositions are not mutually exclusive. Mark has concentric circles, and the most important thing is that the center of those circles is Jesus.
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Michael BG
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Michael BG » Thu May 04, 2017 2:37 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Michael BG wrote:What I am saying is that if Mark doesn’t care about the specialness of the twelve, then he would not have used “Simon Peter” in his resurrection appearance to link back to the appointment of Simon surnamed Peter as one of the twelve. If he did care about the twelve then it would have made sense to have “the twelve” rather than just the disciples in 16:7.
I think that Mark does care about the specialness of the twelve. Mark 3.7-12 proves that, as does Mark 6.7-13, not to mention various times when Jesus calls the twelve aside for special instructions.
I thought you would come back with Mk 6:7. I should have put money on it. :)

It is a shame we don’t have the Q version which I think doesn’t have “the twelve” (which I think was in Mark’s tradition). It is likely it had “disciples” and not Luke’s “seventy others” (10:1).
Ben C. Smith wrote:But Mark also cares about disciples in general. The two propositions are not mutually exclusive. Mark has concentric circles, and the most important thing is that the center of those circles is Jesus.
I think I might have heard something similar in churches. I am not sure Mark has “twelve disciples” I think his tradition only has “the twelve”. Mark doesn’t even have “the twelve” very often:
4:10 Jesus explains parables to the others “together with the twelve”;
9:35 he “calls the twelve” but they are not alone because Jesus finds a child from amongst those he is with;
10:32 in front of others he tells the twelve about his future in Jerusalem;
11:11 indeed Jesus goes off with the twelve and the others have been left behind;
14:17 earlier you argued that Jesus was not alone with the twelve during the “last supper”.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu May 04, 2017 3:05 pm

Michael BG wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote:But Mark also cares about disciples in general. The two propositions are not mutually exclusive. Mark has concentric circles, and the most important thing is that the center of those circles is Jesus.
I think I might have heard something similar in churches.
I have definitely heard Peter, James, and John called Jesus' "inner circle" in churches. And it was a book by a pastor from the Church of the Brethren that first put me on to the observation that there are more disciples than just the twelve in Mark.

As an aside, I think it is a mistake to set aside ecclesiastical interpretations simply because they are ecclesiastical. (Not saying you are doing this; just musing out loud.) Naturally, being of the mindset that historical research is a better guide to the past than faith, I will treat such interpretations critically (but, then again, I try to treat all interpretations critically); and ecclesiastical exegetes will often handicap themselves in seeking not to undermine the foundations of their faith (but, then again, skeptics will sometimes handicap themselves in deliberately taking interpretive steps to undermine those same foundations). But sometimes it can be useful to take notice of how people of faith interpret texts which were written by other people of faith. Sometimes religious people just seem to "get it" when it comes to what other religious people intend to say. A favorite example of mine is N. T. Wright. He is hopelessly uncritical so far as the history behind the Bible is concerned, but I think he is rather good at interpreting the theology of many ancient Jewish and Christian texts.
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 04, 2017 3:21 pm

... there are more disciples than just the twelve in Mark.
But doesn't all this imply or assume that Mark's composition is being dictated by historical concerns? I mean you aren't saying it so much as falling back to it unconsciously. I cited the example from Irenaeus because it is clear that the heretics were suggesting or assuming that the number 12 was an artificial contrivance to connect the passion to the twelfth month (a situation I have never quite figured out as Passover can only fall in the first month). But clearly at least the heretics seemed to say that the narrative was being artificially developed in order to reinforce 'ahistorical' realities.

If the heretical gospel was first and if that gospel had 12 because of the Passion occurring in the 12th month then the appearance of 'other disciples' was a later innovation to water down the artificiality of the original text.
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Secret Alias » Thu May 04, 2017 3:29 pm

And the point would be further that people just assume the ur-gospel was like our gospel (i.e. based on a historical event) and that the kooky heretics just 'read into' the numbers and letters in ways that were never intended by the evangelist(s). But it is odd that the Pentateuch clearly intended to convey meaning through numbers and letters. This is where Irenaeus's argument breaks down (and it is interesting that Irenaeus never denies that the Pentateuch was meant to be taken 'symbolically' or kabbalistically in part because things like the 318 men in the Abraham narrative were so important to early Christians like Barnabas.

So again whether or not you see the ur-gospel limiting or not limiting the number of disciples to 12 is necessarily (and perhaps unconsciously) influenced by whether or not you see the text as being principally devoted to reporting history or conveying symbolic meaning.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri May 26, 2017 3:51 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:I assume you know that your question is not the major problem of Mark 16:7-8 that is usually discussed. This is the question of how the message about the resurrection of Jesus was preached because the women said nothing to no one, especially nothing to the disciples.
Correct. I do not remember a time when I fully understood that problem, since the solution seems so obvious to me: Jesus would appear to the disciples anyway, whether the women told them or not.
I assume further you know that there is still a problem. Even if we could call it a “sabotaged ending” and I agree in some sense, the “saboteur” would be Mark (whatever his reasons were).
I am not sure I understand you here, since in my scenario the saboteur is happenstance, not Mark. I think that Mark lost its ending accidentally. (There is much to be thought about, however, regarding Joe's suggestion that the ending contained something scandalous; in that case it could either have been removed deliberately or lost accidentally, with no one bothering to put it back because the contents were so controversial.)
In one regard I would friendly, but completely disagree with you. ;) It is what you expect as the content of the lost ending.

Let’s assume there is a lost ending and we can’t reconstruct it, not even a bit. Your job is to write a happy ending in the spirit of Mark. You can write a modern version, but with his themes, intentions and positions. What would you write? :mrgreen:

I would tend to a resurrection party in the house of Levi (if it is big enough) with all the sinners and tax collectors. On top of the guest list would be the guys who removed the roof of the house in Capernaum, the woman who had had a discharge of blood, the crazy people of Gennesaret who ran about the whole region to bring the sick people on their beds to Jesus, the alien exorcist and the unnamed woman of Bethany with the alabaster jar. Then all the children, especially Jairus’s daughter with her parents and the children that Jesus putted in the midst of the disciples, then the 7000 of the feedings, all the Gentiles, the sick, the poors and the little ones. The disciples would be also there, but they never would get the best seats or the places of honor, but must serve the children and the poor widows with hot chocolate, fruit and sweets. And all sing hymns and psalms, read Isaiah and praise God. :cheers:
See, I wish you had written Mark. This would be great; I would watch this movie; I really want to see Jairus' daughter sipping chocolate next to the four dudes who lowered the pallet for their buddy.

Unfortunately, I think that, for Mark, it is all about Jesus. With only one or two possible exceptions, I think that these people are mainly foils for his divine power.
But seriously, I would not think that Mark’s ending could be a private meeting of Jesus with an elitist club of Church apostles, whatever the other Evangelists wrote.
I know your proposed ending was not completely serious. But here... well, again, I wish I could follow you on this. But I do not think Mark was thinking so much in terms of the elite apostles as he was in terms of Jesus' character. I do not think Mark portrayed the disciples as abandoning Jesus in order to develop their character in any way; I think he did so in order to show how merciful Jesus is, and how in charge of the church's mission he is.

I am quite open to the appearance being to more than just those 11 remaining disciples (those 500 in 1 Corinthians 15.6 strike me as a possibility; perhaps even the Pentecost event in Acts 2.1-41 is a development of something from the lost ending of Mark). But I think it has to be to at least those 11 disciples, in order for Jesus to show compassion, as well as to justify the talk of martyrdom and suffering for the faith earlier in the gospel.

Maybe I am wrong. I would love to be proven wrong by a hippie Jesus. :cheers:
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Aleph One
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Aleph One » Fri May 26, 2017 6:14 pm

Not much to add here, unfortunately, but I found a lot of interesting points in this post.
Ben C. Smith wrote:There is much to be thought about, however, regarding Joe's suggestion that the ending contained something scandalous; in that case it could either have been removed deliberately or lost accidentally, with no one bothering to put it back because the contents were so controversial.)
I'd never really considered this before, but it really is enticing to imagine what could be. Especially considering that Mark is often regarded as the first gospel written and so it doesn't sound unreasonable that certain parts of it could have still been 'reaching maturity.' And on top of that, even if you consider gMark to be a ~100% historical, journalistic, accounting of the events of a Jesus ministry, the part concerning the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus would pretty much by definition be open to a huge spectrum of possibilities. To me at least, the idea that the 'first-draft' version of risen-from-the-dead Jesus's stories proved controversial or inconvenient to later evangelists or christians in general comes across as kind of seductive. The only (and sadly large) problem with the idea is that as far as I know we have no hints about this much less extant text, so I'm not sure there's much more to do with it than let it roll around in your brain for a little while. :cheers:
Ben C. Smith wrote:Unfortunately, I think that, for Mark, it is all about Jesus. With only one or two possible exceptions, I think that these people are mainly foils for his divine power.---<SNIP>---- But I do not think Mark was thinking so much in terms of the elite apostles as he was in terms of Jesus' character. I do not think Mark portrayed the disciples as abandoning Jesus in order to develop their character in any way; I think he did so in order to show how merciful Jesus is, and how in charge of the church's mission he is.
I feel like I knew this at one point but forgot the importance of it until being reminded right now. I've thought a lot, it seems, lately about why you would write a gospel with portrayals of the disciples like we find in Mark. Especially considering it under various theories where Mark is in some way creating a gospel from Paulan ideas. (Basically why make the church elders (i.e. disciples) look so bad, or why use them at all if you think Paul was the true #1 apostle, etc.) But the above point reminds me how the gospels likes to paint Jesus as totally betrayed and abused and abandoned (and yet still willing to accept the cross and the cup for the sake of this world, if you will), which does explain why his closest compatriots would turn against him, at least in the short-term.

I think this actually also ties into the idea of gMark being a Paulan gospel in another, grander way too. The notion of an unbelieving and undeserving people is a major theme in the OT and jewish literature, so that the gospel disciples can be described the same way should not surprise us. And just as the 'home-team' (=the jewish people) takes on this seemingly negative role in the OT, so it is for the 'christians' in the NT versions. The funny part with respect to gMark having a Paulan genesis, to me at least, is that like the jews being repeatedly in the wrong in the OT scenarios, so also is Paul proposing the jewish-christian apostles have erred in regards to christ and this new covenant concerning god and his people. (Sorry btw if that's unclear or dumb but my brain = :wtf: right now.
Ben C. Smith wrote:I am quite open to the appearance being to more than just those 11 remaining disciples (those 500 in 1 Corinthians 15.6 strike me as a possibility; perhaps even the Pentecost event in Acts 2.1-41
I can remember Carrier mentioning a possibility of the 500 in Corinthians being a textual corruption from something to do with Christ's appearance at the pentecost, because the words are somewhat similar and IIRC they show up at similar places in the order of resurrection appearances. Just wondering if you (Ben) have heard of this, and if so if it stands up at all.

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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri May 26, 2017 6:45 pm

Aleph One wrote:Not much to add here, unfortunately, but I found a lot of interesting points in this post.
Ben C. Smith wrote:There is much to be thought about, however, regarding Joe's suggestion that the ending contained something scandalous; in that case it could either have been removed deliberately or lost accidentally, with no one bothering to put it back because the contents were so controversial.)
I'd never really considered this before, but it really is enticing to imagine what could be. Especially considering that Mark is often regarded as the first gospel written and so it doesn't sound unreasonable that certain parts of it could have still been 'reaching maturity.' And on top of that, even if you consider gMark to be a ~100% historical, journalistic, accounting of the events of a Jesus ministry, the part concerning the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus would pretty much by definition be open to a huge spectrum of possibilities. To me at least, the idea that the 'first-draft' version of risen-from-the-dead Jesus's stories proved controversial or inconvenient to later evangelists or christians in general comes across as kind of seductive. The only (and sadly large) problem with the idea is that as far as I know we have no hints about this much less extant text, so I'm not sure there's much more to do with it than let it roll around in your brain for a little while.
True. But I have started kind of scanning some of the groups often considered heretical (by Irenaeus, Epiphanius, and the rest of the usual suspects) to see if perhaps they present a view of Jesus' resurrection (or his resurrection appearances) which might have been deemed scandalous in more Catholic circles. Maybe something will eventually leap out and stick.
Ben C. Smith wrote:I am quite open to the appearance being to more than just those 11 remaining disciples (those 500 in 1 Corinthians 15.6 strike me as a possibility; perhaps even the Pentecost event in Acts 2.1-41
I can remember Carrier mentioning a possibility of the 500 in Corinthians being a textual corruption from something to do with Christ's appearance at the pentecost, because the words are somewhat similar and IIRC they show up at similar places in the order of resurrection appearances. Just wondering if you (Ben) have heard of this, and if so if it stands up at all.
I have heard ideas about the 500 and Pentecost being related (basically, the Pentecost being a development from a resurrection appearance to a crowd), but not from Carrier that I can recall. The speculation has been around for a while, and I do not remember whence I first picked it up. What I do not recall specifically hearing is that it may have something to do with the lost ending of Mark, though it is quite possible that I have simply forgotten. I do remember seeing it related to the appearance in Matthew on a mountain, however, for better or for worse; and that may be what sparked the idea in the first place.
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andrewcriddle
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Re: The ending of Mark (for Kunigunde).

Post by andrewcriddle » Sat May 27, 2017 1:04 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
I can remember Carrier mentioning a possibility of the 500 in Corinthians being a textual corruption from something to do with Christ's appearance at the pentecost, because the words are somewhat similar and IIRC they show up at similar places in the order of resurrection appearances. Just wondering if you (Ben) have heard of this, and if so if it stands up at all.
I have heard ideas about the 500 and Pentecost being related (basically, the Pentecost being a development from a resurrection appearance to a crowd), but not from Carrier that I can recall. The speculation has been around for a while, and I do not remember whence I first picked it up. What I do not recall specifically hearing is that it may have something to do with the lost ending of Mark, though it is quite possible that I have simply forgotten. I do remember seeing it related to the appearance in Matthew on a mountain, however, for better or for worse; and that may be what sparked the idea in the first place.
Formally it is possible that the experience of the disciples at Pentecost was originally understood as a resurrection appearance of Jesus.
Since Luke has already had Jesus ascend into Heaven, forty days after the resurrection, he would have had to rewrite the experience at Pentecost as something other than a resurrection appearance.

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