Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5408
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Peter Kirby » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:16 pm

Nice OP.

Could debate individual points, but taken together it is a good set of reasons for thinking "a" story here existed already.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
MrMacSon
Posts: 6216
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:47 pm

pavurcn wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 2:41 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:09 pm
To summarize, I think that the author of the gospel of Mark was writing for readers who already knew at least certain parts of the story.
Yes, plausibly. And possibly Mark was a very conservative redactor, putting down and maybe restructuring the pieces that he got, mostly as he got them, without so much thought of the readers and what they already knew as desire to be faithful* to his sources. --
Interesting and perhaps useful to think of Mark as a [possible or likely] redactor.

* And perhaps he [also] might have had a desire to be faithful to his allies ....

User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 8025
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:37 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:54 pm
Bernard, means ''Christ'' and is converted in ''Christ'' by the equivalent passage in Matthew
About what Pilate says, I was referring to gMark only.

Cordially, Bernard
It's typical of Bernard to do what Doherty called the ''tendence to atomization'' et similia apologist practices. I'm sorry, but it's too much evident that ''king of Jews'' = ''Christ'' in Mark (as per relative passage in Matthew).

Mark redacted a previous Gospel where Jesus was called ''Christ'' by all the people in Caesarea Philippi, and not only by Peter.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1376
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:52 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:09 pm
There are several junctures in the gospel of Mark at which the author/editor seems to presume previous knowledge, on the part of the reader, of significant parts of the overall storyline.

1. The imprisonment of John.

Mark 1.14-15: 14 Now after John had been delivered over [μετὰ δὲ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην], Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel."

While John himself has been introduced (in 1.2-6), nothing has been said which would imply that he was going to be imprisoned. Therefore, this notice seems to presume readers will already know about John's imprisonment, in much the same way that John seems to presume that his readers will know about it:

John 3.23-24: 23 John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized — 24 for John had not yet been thrown into prison.

Naturally, readers of John may well have known of this fact from previous gospels, but the notice in Mark 1.14-15 suggests that readers of Mark, as well, are expected to have known it. The notice itself is of the kind found frequently in the Hebrew scriptures whereby the narrative or oracle at hand is dated with reference to a well known event:
That may be in fact one possible explanation for Mark 1:14-15. Nevertheless I would suggest that there is another explanation. I think Mark 1:14-15 could also be viewed as the first step of an established theme in the Gospel of Mark according to which the preaching of the Gospel stands necessarily in the shadow of persecution.

Mark 1:14
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
Mark 6:7-30
Jesus sends out the twelve … the death of John ... the apostles returned
Mark 12:1-12
When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. ...
Mark 13:9-10
But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.
Mark 14:61-64
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.... ” You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.
Mark 14:51-16:6
And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him … the death of Jesus … And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen ...


User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 7873
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jan 18, 2018 1:08 pm

Peter Kirby wrote:
Wed Jan 17, 2018 10:16 pm
Nice OP.

Could debate individual points, but taken together it is a good set of reasons for thinking "a" story here existed already.
Thanks. :cheers:
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:52 pm
That may be in fact one possible explanation for Mark 1:14-15. Nevertheless I would suggest that there is another explanation. I think Mark 1:14-15 could also be viewed as the first step of an established theme in the Gospel of Mark according to which the preaching of the Gospel stands necessarily in the shadow of persecution.

Mark 1:14
Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God,
Mark 6:7-30
Jesus sends out the twelve … the death of John ... the apostles returned
Mark 12:1-12
When the season came, he sent a servant to the tenants to get from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. And they took him and beat him and sent him away empty-handed. ...
Mark 13:9-10
But be on your guard. For they will deliver you over to councils, and you will be beaten in synagogues, and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear witness before them. And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.
Mark 14:61-64
Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven....” You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.
Mark 14:51-16:6
And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body. And they seized him … the death of Jesus … And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. 6 And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen ...

I am not sure the two ideas are mutually exclusive. I get the impression that some of the Hebrew chronological notices I mentioned are carrying more freight than just a neutral chronology (Jeremiah 24.1, for example).
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΗΘΕΙΑ

pavurcn
Posts: 84
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:45 pm

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by pavurcn » Fri Jan 19, 2018 3:09 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jan 18, 2018 12:52 pm
I think Mark 1:14-15 could also be viewed as the first step of an established theme in the Gospel of Mark according to which the preaching of the Gospel stands necessarily in the shadow of persecution.
The theme seems rooted very early on, and of course it fits with the strong emphasis on the passion in the Markan narrative.

When Paul identifies what is essential, he writes:

1 Cor 15:3 For I handed on to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures; 4 that he was buried; that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures; 5 that he appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve.

So Paul got this, and he passes it along, as the core of what the movement was about. It is the core of his Gospel. It probably went back to the earliest days of the movement, even perhaps to Jesus's self-understanding that his mission would necessarily end in martyrdom, that his death would be theologically purposeful, and that it had been figured in the Scriptures. ("Moses wrote about me." / "The Son of Man goes the way it was written of him.")

BTW: Once you have someone dying for your sins, you have a very high Christology, necessarily. This was already in the tradition that was given to Paul. High Christology is not something that develops "late" by any means.

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12431
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:28 am

When I look at the list of things - to me at least - they sound like things that a layperson would have heard during the liturgy (i.e. names, stories, events). I wonder whether the canonical gospel of Mark is just a simplified text of an original mystery text. I don't say this to argue for Secret Mark but rather simply an inference which a forger like Morton Smith (assuming the conspiracy theorists are correct) could have consciously or unconsciously 'clued into.' The odd thing about our Mark is that there are very few clues that explicitly point to something 'bigger' beyond the text itself but the text itself betrays knowledge of something earlier. I don't know if that makes sense but it's like there is something before Mark but something which isn't acknowledged or necessary to know about (i.e. there isn't an invitation explicit or otherwise) to Mark's source.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12431
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:31 am

If you look at Tertullian he says "Subito Christus, subito et Ioannes" with respect to the suddenness (or more literally 'immediateness') of the manner in which characters are introduced in the Marcionite gospel. That's true also for this list from Mark. Another argument that Mark = the Marcionite gospel. And remember that the Philosophumena explicitly says that Marcion didn't cut from Luke but added from Mark. As such, canonical Mark is a truncated Marcionite gospel.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12431
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:41 am

Of course there is an apparent contradiction in the Marcionite link. On the one hand - like canonical Mark - Tertullian records that Jesus and John are introduced without much explanation but then the Philosophumena says that Marcion 'added' things to Mark, presumably making his thesis clearer (i.e. his literary purpose) or to provide more background information. I wonder if the explanation is that John isn't John the baptist. He's just 'John' known only from Christianity or the gospel in the same way that 'Jesus' or 'Christ' are just known from the gospel or Christianity. It would be interesting to crosscheck and see how many of the other points Ben has distilled find parallel in the anti-Marcionite literature.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

User avatar
Secret Alias
Posts: 12431
Joined: Sun Apr 19, 2015 8:47 am

Re: Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:43 am

Another presumption of reader knowledge in Mark is the concept of Christos/Chrestos. That's not explained in the gospel even though the religion is called Christ/Chrestianity. When George Lucas first screened Star Wars to his circle of director friends it was Brian DePalma who said 'hey you should explain WTF is going on because it's not going to make sense to everyone i.e. why all this shooting is going on.' Hence the angled lettering going across the screen at the very beginning set to John Williams music.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

Post Reply