It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Ulan
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Ulan » Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:47 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 am
Ulan wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:00 am
I think at this point you are leaving your own criteria behind. Sure, it "is reasonable that Mark was the main source for the other three canonical gospels". It's a judgment call. We don't have any solid evidence for this claim. This is even more true for the claim that "[w]e don't know of any gospels prior to Mark". Maybe. Maybe not. I say this by the way even though I generally agree with this point of view.
No, the claim is based squarely on observable data. Yes, it is a judgement call, but it is based squarely on the evidence before our eyes. It is based on hard, observable, readable data.

The idea that Mark was not the first gospel is not based directly on any observable evidence. It is entirely hypothetical.
This is exactly what I meant. You mix up your "hard, observable, readable data" with your interpretation of these data points, which is exactly the same thing you accuse others of doing. Those people who have a different model of the sequence of gospels don't use any different "hard, observable, readable data". They just interpret them differently.

You don't need to explain to me why most of NT scholarship thinks gMark is first. As I said, it's a reasonable interpretation, and it's the interpretation I also follow. Yet, it's just that, an interpretation with a specific likelihood. It may actually be completely wrong. There are quite a few NT scholars around who will tell you that this interpretation is wrong. I don't think all of them are bonkers.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:36 am
We do know that the canonical gospels, especially the synoptics, are related because we have observable evidence to tell us so, and it is a judgment call based on analysis of that observable data that leads us to conclude Mark came first.

Contrast the basis of the hypothesis that other gospels were extant before Mark.
You forget a few things here. A whole lot of assumptions are put into the interpretation to come to this conclusion. One of these assumptions, which you incidentally spent a lot of time defending on your blog, is that ancient authors tended rather to extend texts than to shorten them. This is just one of these assumptions. And no, you don't need to defend this position. I just want to point out that you mix up data with interpretation.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 am
I don't follow your analogy. I am talking about historical methods that base judgments on hard data, material evidence. Apologists don't do that.
While Berger for example is an apologist, he is a good analyst nevertheless. I was simply pointing out that both of these apologists are completely right with pointing out that modern mainstream NT scholarship isn't that data-driven as they claim, either. Most work with completely unquantifiable judgment calls. This may be better than just working on the basis of belief, but we should not be too sure about our assumptions. The whole dating (of NT texts) circus is particularly dubious.
neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 am
What is nihilistic about my approach? It is surely not nihilistic to tailor one's questions and inquiries to fit the extent and nature of the evidence we have in hand and to avoid methods based on circular arguments. Mainstream historical inquiries are far from nihilistic.
I was just picking up the word you used to describe your own position as it may be seen by others. I probably should have used quotes to remind you of this.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:54 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 8:31 am
I am not stalking you. I appreciate how you write and what you write. I'm not Posting much these days but you focus on a lot on areas I find interesting.
No worries there, and thanks. :)
There are several areas that give external evidence for Markan Priority:

A. The Mishmarot Priesthood and the associated Settlements given to the the Houses of Eleazar and Ithamar in Galilee. This is an important area of the Political Landscape and it is (purposely) hidden. The Hasmoneans figure in on this and the Settlements of Jabnit and Meiron can be seen as the Background for the Stories of Mark.

B. John answers Mark. Jay Raskin shows that there appears to be a background Document that both Mark and John used, literally a Cut and Paste relation for the 2 Gospel accounts. John further shows direct relations with Tacitus, Book 4 of Histories. Both use Suetonius, 12 Caesars. In stating that "John answers Mark", however, a temporal relation may not be necessarially be implied. I'm OK with such a relation but it is possible to see, without contradiction, that Mark and John were *almost* simultaneous. How?

3. The Roman Question and John. The "Holy Spirit" controls all of the Gospels and the HS is a cipher for Domitian. This impinges on Mark and John. John has information that Mark ignores, especially at the Crucifixion. John follows Suetonius who describes the deaths of Galba, Otho and Vitellius. These are mapped more in John than Mark and leads to the conclusion that John answers Mark. This, however, may be the incorrect inference. The "Sponge on a hyssop stick soaked in vinegar" is a shallow rewrite of Vitellius and Asiaticus from Suetonius. The four garments, including a "Cuirass", show that the "Jesus" character is invented. John 11 - 12 gives the outline of the Roman Invention and Transvaluation.

4. So, is it about John or Mark? Mark shows a smoothness that is lacking in John but sections (for example, The Empty Tomb, a story dismembered and grafted onto all 4 Gospel accounts) show that the author of Mark was highly artistic in his compositional abilities but was following orders nonetheless. His Construction was still not enough and we find evidence of additions to Mark that were "crudely" put in by people who either did not care about the artistic value or did not see the Structure. Mark's smoothness is beguiling but may lead to errors compared to John.

5. Existence is not a Predicate. From the fact that the "Jesus stories" were written from Source, it does not follow that the Source Stories were about "Jesus". There are many external areas of study that will show that Mark was a Construction for a different purpose than is normally seen. What was veridical? If we see a "Jesus" where none existed, no progress can be made and this ties directly to the question.
You do realize that a lot (I think almost all) of what you wrote here is internal evidence, right?
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Charles Wilson
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:22 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:54 am
You do realize that a lot (I think almost all) of what you wrote here is internal evidence, right?
Then, I ask you to clarify what is "Internal".

My point was that SURROUNDING the Gospels are many Historical and Archaeological findings that, absent the Gospels, would have been seen as standard, worldly Historical, Archaeological events to be written, catalogued and remarked in various Histories of the Galapagos Islands types of books on various bookshelves and in various libraries and museums around the world. To me, these External features do in fact provide a Framework for understanding what resulted in the NT. However, it all is still "External" History. Josephus is "External". If the Gospels provide an "Internal" view of the 4 BCE Passover Slaughter, the Process of examing that interplay is still "External" to the considertions of what supposed statement of "Jesus" implied. "Internal" or "External" doesn't appear to serve a useful purpose, considering "History" vs. "Son of God". To what end is this helpful?

The History of the Caesars, including Frugi Piso, is EXTERNAL to the Gospels. It is still external, even if Frugi is mentioned quite elliptically in Acts 6. The List in Acts 6 may or may not be a List of the Caesars but, assuming so does NOT mean that anytime I write about "Galba's chosen successor" I am writing "Internally" about the NT.

If I quote from the NT what I find to be Historical, am I thereby linking solely Internal Ideas to the NT? Then, tell me what Criteria you find fulfilling that would NOT be "Internal".

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:28 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:22 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 9:54 am
You do realize that a lot (I think almost all) of what you wrote here is internal evidence, right?
Then, I ask you to clarify what is "Internal".

My point was that SURROUNDING the Gospels are many Historical and Archaeological findings that, absent the Gospels, would have been seen as standard, worldly Historical, Archaeological events to be written, catalogued and remarked in various Histories of the Galapagos Islands types of books on various bookshelves and in various libraries and museums around the world. To me, these External features do in fact provide a Framework for understanding what resulted in the NT. However, it all is still "External" History. Josephus is "External". If the Gospels provide an "Internal" view of the 4 BCE Passover Slaughter, the Process of examing that interplay is still "External" to the considertions of what supposed statement of "Jesus" implied. "Internal" or "External" doesn't appear to serve a useful purpose, considering "History" vs. "Son of God". To what end is this helpful?

The History of the Caesars, including Frugi Piso, is EXTERNAL to the Gospels. It is still external, even if Frugi is mentioned quite elliptically in Acts 6. The List in Acts 6 may or may not be a List of the Caesars but, assuming so, does NOT mean that anytime I write about "Galba's chosen successor" I am writing "Internally" about the NT.

If I quote from the NT what I find to be Historical, am I thereby linking solely Internal Ideas to the NT? Then, tell me what Criteria you find fulfilling that would NOT be "Internal".
Yes, the history of the Caesars is external. But I am referring to things like this:
John answers Mark. Jay Raskin shows that there appears to be a background Document that both Mark and John used, literally a Cut and Paste relation for the 2 Gospel accounts. .... In stating that "John answers Mark", however, a temporal relation may not be necessarially be implied. I'm OK with such a relation but it is possible to see, without contradiction, that Mark and John were *almost* simultaneous. .... These are mapped more in John than Mark and leads to the conclusion that John answers Mark.
This is all a matter of interpreting internal evidence, comparing Mark to John. So is this:
So, is it about John or Mark? Mark shows a smoothness that is lacking in John but sections (for example, The Empty Tomb, a story dismembered and grafted onto all 4 Gospel accounts) show that the author of Mark was highly artistic in his compositional abilities but was following orders nonetheless. His Construction was still not enough and we find evidence of additions to Mark that were "crudely" put in by people who either did not care about the artistic value or did not see the Structure. Mark's smoothness is beguiling but may lead to errors compared to John.
"Almost all" was probably too much. I should have said "most".
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Charles Wilson
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:36 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:28 am
"Almost all" was probably too much. I should have said "most".
I'll admit to "some" but not one bit more!!!

I guess that all I can offer here is the idea that if we separate "Existence" (as in, "Jesus Existed") from Historical Data ("Did Pilate play golf with Eisenhower in 1957?"), we may find Plausible Consistent Narratives for the creation of the Gospels. Comparing John to Mark may have "External Explanations" that explain both documents ("Domitian ordered the creation of Mark and John from Documents first conceived by Titus and his Court"). Even "John was written in answer to Mark" can be seen as "External".

The question for me is, can a statement such as "The Crucifixion in John tells the Story of the "Year of the Four Caesars" be seen as External"? I think it can but it would require more than most are willing to chance.

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JoeWallack
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There's Always Something

Post by JoeWallack » Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:34 pm

Benjamin, you ask a lot of questions here for someone from New Jewsy:
  • 1) Is Neil Godfree biased?

    2) Is there evidence of oral Jesus' narrative before GMark?

    3) Is there evidence of written Jesus' narrative before GMark?

    4) Did "Mark" (author) use existing written Jesus' narrative?
I'm mainly interested in 4) and note that this is a separate question from 3). There may have been written Jesus' narrative before GMark that "Mark" was either unaware of or chose not to use. My guess is the latter which I think adds another possibility to your line of inquiry. I do think Q was written by Jesus promoters, included limited Jesus narrative (this is what Papias referred to I think) and existed before GMark. GMark, like the only significant Christian author before him, had an anti-historical witness attitude. Therefore, he did not want historical narrative and deliberately did not include it. This explains the narrative agreement between "Matthew"/"Luke", who very much wanted historical narrative, and against GMark. They took what "Mark" passed over.

Now as to evidence for 4), as (the) spinster has said, usually/normally stories do have sources of stories. As was said Ad Nazorean in the God-awful Highlander movies, "There can be only one" original author and lots and lots of editors/users. So statistically, there is pretty good general evidence for a yes answer to 4). Godfree's related [strike]whine[/strike] er, complaint however is that there does not appear to be any related specific evidence. Additionally, Godfree has not articulated here nearly as well as he does when criticizing Israel, that GMark is not at all usual/normal:
  • 1) GMark and Paul, both discredit supposed historical witness.

    2) GMark and Paul both have an anti-historical witness attitude.

    3) GMark and Paul both have significant amounts of non-historical sources.

    4) GMark and Paul consist mainly of the Impossible/Improbable.

    5) "Mark" was foreign to the setting written about.

    6) "Mark" wrote in a different language/culture than his setting (we don't even know what Jesus' given name was).

    7) Everyone agrees that the early Christian writings containing Jesus narrative and identified supposed witness author are forged.

    8) Related early Christian assertians regarding authorship of Gospels are generally thought to be wrong.
[rhetorical]So if we are talking about what is usual/normal, what does this type of disconnect compare to?[/rhetorical]. This isn't just unusual/not normal, this is unique. [cough]Godfree is certainly right[/cough] that when one looks at the standard supposed critical commentaries of GMark, it's just assumed that "Mark" had lots of sources, oral and written, and every other verse is postulated as redacted (without any specific evidence).

My question to you younger brother, is what is now your one best example of evidence that "Mark" used a written Jesus narrative? I ask for something better than just claiming that exorcism of a section improves the pericope in some way. This would only be kind of minor, secondary, Internal evidence. Primary internal evidence would be consistent/important language differences between the rest of GMark and the offending excerpt. A related problem to answering the question for GMark is it has been edited the most and conformed at times to "Matthew"/"Luke", so even if you find an anoMaly, you can't be sure in which direction it's evidence for.

So, my fair laddie, I'm a waiting, I'm a willing, I'm a wanting. To see good evidence that "Mark" used an existing Jesus narrative.


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Ben C. Smith
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Re: There's Always Something

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Nov 26, 2017 2:52 pm

JoeWallack wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 1:34 pm
My question to you younger brother, is what is now your one best example of evidence that "Mark" used a written Jesus narrative? I ask for something better than just claiming that exorcism of a section improves the pericope in some way. This would only be kind of minor, secondary, Internal evidence. Primary internal evidence would be consistent/important language differences between the rest of GMark and the offending excerpt. A related problem to answering the question for GMark is it has been edited the most and conformed at times to "Matthew"/"Luke", so even if you find an anoMaly, you can't be sure in which direction it's evidence for.

So, my fair laddie, I'm a waiting, I'm a willing, I'm a wanting. To see good evidence that "Mark" used an existing Jesus narrative.
I am not sure I have what you are looking for. I am not sure I even "believe" what you are looking for, depending on exactly what you mean. Holding open the option is not the same thing as thinking it must be true.

What I do think is that Mark has layers. I am not sure what those layers mean yet. Are they the result of the editing of different sources into one (like Matthew and/or Luke must have done)? Are they the result of scribal activity after the original gospel of Mark was published (like Mark 16.9-20 must be)? Are they the result of a single text undergoing accretion over time in various recensions (like various other Christian texts must be, based on their manuscript evidence)? Are any two or even all three of these processes at work in different ways throughout Mark? Still working on that.

marksources.png
marksources.png (38.3 KiB) Viewed 1061 times

As for the individual arguments for layering in Mark, I know you have seen them from me on this forum: the spirit/blasphemy/forgiveness material, the passion narrative presuming a Passover crucifixion, the Bethsaida section, and a few others. And there are some I am still working on which I may post about at some point.
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pavurcn
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by pavurcn » Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:43 pm


Steven Avery
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Steven Avery » Sun Nov 26, 2017 10:39 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 5:33 am
Ulan wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 4:00 am
I think at this point you are leaving your own criteria behind. Sure, it "is reasonable that Mark was the main source for the other three canonical gospels". It's a judgment call. We don't have any solid evidence for this claim. This is even more true for the claim that "[w]e don't know of any gospels prior to Mark". Maybe. Maybe not. I say this by the way even though I generally agree with this point of view.
No, the claim is based squarely on observable data. Yes, it is a judgement call, but it is based squarely on the evidence before our eyes. It is based on hard, observable, readable data. The idea that Mark was not the first gospel is not based directly on any observable evidence. It is entirely hypothetical.
Nonsense. It is observable dara that Theophilus was the “most excellent” high priest in 41 AD, which is fully consisrent with Luke’s Gospel, and a fine fit for historical, archaeological and internal observations.

It is unlikely that Mark was published before that year.

Steven

Ulan
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Ulan » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:57 pm

pavurcn wrote:
Sun Nov 26, 2017 3:43 pm
Here's one lead on the pre-Markan passion narrative.
Note that your link calls Gerd Theissen a historian. He is a theologian though. Gerd Theissen has very strong opinions on many issues of textual history, which he presents with apodictic certainty. When he says that Mark wrote his gospel in Syria, he is sure of this. While I think that Theissen is one of the better NT scholars and rather thorough in his thoughts, he is in a way an illustration of the problem of being too certain on a rather flimsy basis. That's the theologian speaking.

He puts gMark in the second wave of Christian writings, but that's more or less the common assumption nowadays. He states that finding the intention of gMark is more difficult because we don't have its "sources and traditions", but of course he writes about its sources anyway in a different chapter. He calls it an "anti-gospel", written against the gospels of the Flavians (in German, the word for "gospel" is "Evangelium", so don't get any ideas from this).

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