First, I don’t claim to know for sure that Haenchen’s interpretation of Mark 13.14 is correct. I consider it to be the strongest explanation of the text of Mark that I’ve seen. If someone were to propose a better one that explained the abomination reference in terms of the other things I hold about Mark’s gospel (particularly his concern for the situation of Christians in the present) I would take it.Ken, if I may ask a broader question of you, what is your "hook," so to speak? What is the internal or external datum (or set of data) that makes you look at Mark 13.14 and say, "Ah, that abomination thing must be official Roman persecution of Christians, and 'those in Judea' must mean 'Christians across the Roman empire.'" My own "hook" is the reference to Daniel and 1 Maccabees; since the abomination of desolation in those texts has something to do with the temple, and since the disciples are asking specifically about the temple, I say to myself, "Ah, I bet the abomination of desolation has something to do with the temple here."
Just to be clear, I am not asking where to find Roman persecution of Christians in Mark 13. I can spot it easily as one of several elements in verses 9-13. But its presence there, on its own, no more means that verse 14 has to deal with Roman persecution than the presence of earthquakes in verse 8 means that the flight to the mountains in verse 14 will be accompanied by an earthquake. So what, beyond the mere presence of the theme in verses 9-13, "hooks" you into interpreting verse 14 as Roman persecution? What sparks the idea in the first place? (I know you are reading Haenchen, but he is not here to interrogate; you are. )
To answer your actual question, I think I have two “hooks”: generally, a methodological preference for explaining the text of Mark 13 in the light of Mark’s concerns in his present (sometime after 70 CE) as exhibited elsewhere in gospel, and specifically, I think Haenchen is correct in seeing 1 Maccabees 1.53 and 2.28 (alongside Daniel) as Mark’s referent and the context for understanding Mark 13.14.
To spell out this position in more detail (the first “hook” is #1 the second is #7):
(1) Mark is primarily concerned with the present situation of his Christian audience and not with giving historical or biographical information about Jesus. (This is not a categorical claim that Mark never says anything historically true about Jesus; it’s a claim that, if he does, that is incidental to his purpose of addressing present concerns of his Christian audience). Many of Jesus’ sayings in Mark appear to be addressing a future situation, not something going on in Jesus’ own lifetime (The Parables of the Sower and the Wicked Tenants, various sayings that arguably presuppose his audience’s knowledge of the destruction of the temple).
(2) The present situation of Mark’s audience is after the destruction of the temple in 70.
(3) While I’m confident that the evangelists did use sources, and some of the sources they used may be lost, I’m cautious about accepting the existence of lost sources hypothesized to resolve tensions in a text. The theory involving the hypothetical source frequently fails to resolve the tensions within the text any better than the theory that doesn’t involve them. Such theories often hypothesize an author or editor who combined sources without caring about the tensions this would cause.
(4) So far as I can recall, Mark does not take over blocks of material from sources that don’t fit the present context of his gospel unless he first alters them to fit his gospel. I can’t think of any “foreign bodies” in Mark that don’t fit the message he intends to convey in addressing the current situation of his audience.
(5) If “those in Judea” is taken to mean those around Jerusalem at its fall, then Mark 13.14-20 seems unusually sympathetic to the plight of non-Christian Judeans. Given what Mark has to say elsewhere (e.g., Mark 12.9, 11.17) it would seem Mark would think the suffering of the Judeans at the time of the destruction of the temple were well deserved. The situation is only slightly ameliorated by the presence of the elect among the Judeans in v. 20. Why does Mark introduce the beginning of the birth pangs in v. 8 and promise that those Christians who endure to the end will be saved in v. 13, but shifts from telling them about their current troubles to describing the tribulations of Judean refuges as the worst tribulations ever in vv 14-20, though now, on your reading, over. Why is Mark’s audience supposed to care about the tribulations of Judean refugees in 70 CE when they have their own problems in the present? And if v. 14 was the sign of the immanent end, but the tribulations following it are now over, how does this help explain why the Son of Man has not yet appeared?
I would prefer to read the sufferings of vv 14-20 as continuous with those of the preceding section, with no shift of the group who are experiencing the misfortunes, and reflecting their current situation. When the current tribulation is over, the Son of Man will arrive (Mark. 13.24-26).
(6) Many interpreters have suggested, for various reasons, that the “abomination of desolation” in Mark 13.14 might be an image of Caesar. There are, of course, well known difficulties with supposing that Mark 13.14 is about placing an image of Caesar in the temple. If it refers to Caligula’s plan to put his image in the temple, then we have to wonder why Mark still cares about this four decades or so after it failed to occur. Others have suggested that it refers to imperial emblems carried by the troops who destroyed the temple, but then we have to wonder why those in Judea should flee this – it seems to be already too late.
Revelation provides us with examples of how a Christian might refer to images of Caesar. Most interpreters have taken the references to worshipping the beast and its image in Revelation to refer to emperor worship (Rev. 13.4, 15; 14.9; 16.2; 19.20, 20.4). But Revelation does not explicitly identify the beast as Caesar, but gives it in code, saying:
Rev 13.18 This calls for wisdom: let anyone with understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a person.
(7) Haenchen rightly points out that Mark takes the flight to the hills from 1 Macc 2.28, which is not about fleeing the temple in Jerusalem, but about fleeing compulsory worship of pagan idols in the town of Modein. The situation in Modein is a particular instance of a broader situation present in the towns of Judea.
I would explain Mark’s use of 1 Macc in terms of Richard Hays’ concept of metalepsis. Perhaps the classic case of metalepsis in Mark is the quotation of Psalms 22.1 Jesus’s cry on the cross in Mark 15.34. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” If the quotation is read by itself, the verse seems like a cry of despair. But many scholars have argued that by quoting the first verse of Psalm 22, Mark (or Jesus) means to evoke the entirety of Psalm 22, which concludes with:
The idea that Mark wants to evoke the entirety of Psalm 22 is supported by the fact that he also alludes to it at Mark 15.24/Ps. 22.18 and (likely) Mark 15.29/Ps. 22.8.30 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord, 31 and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, saying that he has done it.
As a further example (and one that deserves more attention than it’s gotten so far), Hays has argued that Jesus’ partial quotation of Jeremiah 7.11 in Mark 11.17, in which he calls the temple a “den of robbers” should be read metaleptically. Mark’s Jesus did not just borrow a colorful phrase from Jeremiah, but means to evoke the larger context in which the phrase is employed, where God foretells that he will destroy the temple in Jerusalem as he did the one in Shiloh and he would do to Judea (in 587 BCE) what he’d done to Israel (in 722 BCE):
So Mark’s Jesus is, in effect, foretelling the destruction of the temple in Mark 11.17. The New Testament authors were not just using the Old Testament (or, rather, the Scriptures of Israel) as a grab bag for individual phrases, but as taking over stories they can use to think about issues pertinent to them.11 Has this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your sight? You know, I too am watching, says the LORD. 12 Go now to my place that was in Shiloh, where I made my name dwell at first, and see what I did to it for the wickedness of my people Israel. 13 And now, because you have done all these things, says the LORD, and when I spoke to you persistently, you did not listen, and when I called you, you did not answer, 14 therefore I will do to the house that is called by my name, in which you trust, and to the place that I gave to you and to your ancestors, just what I did to Shiloh. 15 And I will cast you out of my sight as, just as I cast out all your kinsfolk, all the offspring of Ephraim.
To apply this concept of metaleptic reading to Mark’s use of 1 Macc.we have to look at the broader context in which the abomination of desolation and fleeing to the hills appear. What’s going on in the larger context in which those phrases occur? The titles and pericope divisions of the NRSV are, of course, provided by the modern English translators of the text. Nonetheless, it ought to tell us something that in 1 Macc the term “abomination of desolation occurs: (1 Macc 1.54) is found in a pericope which the NRSV titles “Installation of Gentile Cults” (1 Macc 1.41-1.64), while fleeing to the hills is found in “Pagan Worship Refused” (1 Macc 2.15-2.41).
According to 1 Macc, many forsook the law and participated in pagan worship. The text then describes the subsequent suffering of those who did not, who are called Israel in the text :50 He added,[e] “And whoever does not obey the command of the king shall die.” 51 In such words he wrote to his whole kingdom. He appointed inspectors over all the people and commanded the towns of Judah to offer sacrifice, town by town. 52 Many of the people, everyone who forsook the law, joined them, and they did evil in the land; 53 they drove Israel into hiding in every place of refuge they had. 54 Now on the fifteenth day of Chislev, in the one hundred forty-fifth year,[f] they erected a desolating sacrilege on the altar of burnt offering. They also built altars in the surrounding towns of Judah,
Mark, of of course, would not care about observation of the laws on circumcision or diet, but nevertheless sees a parallel between the suffering of Israel for refusing tp participate in pagan worship and the suffering of his own contemporaries for the same reason.58 They kept using violence against Israel, against those who were found month after month in the towns. 59 On the twenty-fifth day of the month they offered sacrifice on the altar that was on top of the altar of burnt offering. 60 According to the decree, they put to death the women who had their children circumcised, 61 and their families and those who circumcised them; and they hung the infants from their mothers’ necks. 62 But many in Israel stood firm and were resolved in their hearts not to eat unclean food. 63 They chose to die rather than to be defiled by food or to profane the holy covenant; and they did die. 64 Very great wrath came upon Israel.
The flight to the hills in Mark 13.14 is taken from 1 Macc 2.28. Unlike the previous pericope (1 Macc 1.41-164), in which the possibilities seem to be apostasy or death, this pericope (1 Macc 2.15-2.41) suggests a third possibility. The opening verse sets out the situation:
And also contains the verse from which Mark is taking the flight to the hills motif in 13.14:15 The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice.
So the situation is that that they are fleeing, not from Jerusalem, but from the town of Modein, which is one of the towns of Judah in which pagan altars were set up and pagan worship was being required.28 Then he and his sons fled to the hills and left all that they had in the town.
You have objected that in both Daniel and 1 Macc “abomination of desolation” is used to designate something that is going on in the temple. Our disagreement is about the scope of Mark’s intended allusion. You are taking individual terms or phrases taken from the Scriptures as meaning the same thing as they do in those Scriptures, while I am reading them as meant to evoke the larger story in which those terms or phrases appear. I take Mark to be drawing a comparison between the situation of Israel under Antiochus Epiphanes and that of the Christians under Caesar (probably, but not necessarily Domitian) with regard to compulsory pagan worship. The situations are not precisely parallel, of course. 1 Macc is looking back on an historical event and glorifying armed rebellion as the proper response to the situation, while for Mark it is the current situation which will end when the Son of Man comes.