This is a very delayed response to John2's post from March 19.
You seem quite committed to your reading of Mark 13.12 as referring to the murders committed by the Sicarii in Judea prior to the outbreak of the Jewish War, and I doubt trying to persuade you otherwise would be a productive use of my time. But perhaps others on the list may be interested in seeing how different proposed readings of a verse can be evaluated.
John2: I'm anything but a Greek expert so any feedback from you or others is welcome, but I've been taking a look at how "delivered up" (παραδώσει) is used in the NT and it doesn't seem to necessarily always imply being delivered up to trial. It looks like it depends on what the person or thing is that is being delivered up and which is typically explained. For examples, in 1 Cor. 11:23 Paul says that he "delivered" his teaching to his followers (which I reckon is a good thing) that Jesus had been "delivered up".
1 Cor 11.23: For I received from the Lord what I also delivered (παρέδωκα/paredoka), that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed (παρεδίδετο/paredideto) took bread ...
[further examples snipped]
While I'm a big fan of looking at the Greek in most cases, I think the point in dispute is fairly clear in the English translations and the Greek you introduce is a distraction from the issue at hand. Yes, of course, παραδώσει ,"delivered up", or "handed over," will have different effects according to who or what is being handed over and who or what to. And of course “it doesn't seem to necessarily always imply being delivered up to trial.
” The point is that it can mean that, and that it does mean that in Mk. 13.9 and 11 in the same pericope
. I do not think you have offered any credible justification for thinking Mark meant something else in v. 12, nor for thinking v. 12 is addressing something affecting Jews, and particularly the members of the Fourth Philosophy, in Judea whereas the verses immediately before and after it (13.9-11 and 13) are discussing the persecution of Christians.
John2: So to me it looks like the meaning of "delivered up" depends on what the person or thing is being delivered up to
, and in Mk. 13:9 (which also applies to 13:11) Jesus says that this is "the courts" and "the synagogues" (and which may or may not lead to death since he says "do not worry beforehand" and is supported by Paul's arrests and flogging in 2 Cor. 11:23):
2 Cor. 11:23: You will be handed over (παραδώσουσιν/paradosousin) to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues ...
[further examples snipped]
The result of being “delivered up” or “handed over” might vary according to who or what is handed over and who or what it/they are handed over to, but that doesn’t change the meaning of the word itself. I agree that being handed over to the court may or may not result in a death sentence. This means in some
cases it did result in death.
John2: Then Mk. 13:12 says brother will deliver brother to death, which to me implies murdering them rather than handing them over to trial, since Jesus says "do not worry beforehand" regarding being delivered up to trial in 13:11, and in 13:12 he goes on to say that children will "rise against" their parents, or epanastestonai, which appears to imply "to attack" them:
It seems to me that you are introducing an arbitrary and unjustified distinction here. You can cause someone’s death by legal means, which is why we have the term “judicial murder” in English. Since in some cases handing over to trial on a capital charge would bring about death, and we know that divisions within families is an issue for New Testament era Christians, brother handing brother over to death can most plausibly be understood as continuing the thoughts expressed in 13.9-11. You seem to be arguing that since denouncing someone on a capital charge does not lead to their deaths in all cases, it does not fit Mark 13.12. On the contrary, if such a denunciation results in execution in any
cases it fulfills Mark 13:14’s “betray/deliver/hand over … to death.”
You also seem to imply a second, supporting argument about Jesus’ instruction not to worry beforehand, but it’s not spelled out. I take it that you mean since Jesus says not to worry, it means the trial won’t result in death. Two problems here: the passage says not to worry beforehand specifically about what to say during the trial, not about the outcome of the trial. The second is that Mark is not worried about Christians being martyred during persecutions (he’s all for that); his fear is that they will apostatize (I argued this earlier in the thread with reference to Mark 8.34-38). Hence the instruction to speak what the holy spirit gives them.
Mark 13:12: And brother will deliver (παραδώσει/paradosei) brother over to death, and the father his child, and children will rise against (ἐπαναστήσονται/epanastestonai) parents and have them put to death.
John2: And this "rising against" appears to also be used in LXX Dt. 19:11 (where it is based on the Hebrew קוּם/qum, which doesn't appear to have anything to do with a trial) and appears to mean to attack or murder there:
Deut 19.11: But if anyone hates his neighbor and lies in wait for him and attacks him and strikes him fatally so that he dies, and he flees into one of these cities ...
“Rising against” (the preposition EPI “against” with the verb ANISTHMI “rise”) means to initiate action against someone. It often has the sense of attack, yes (though not necessarily a physical attack); but it does not imply murder and I don’t think you’ll find that meaning in any Greek lexicon. Deuteronomy 19.11 specifies not only “rising against” but adds “AND strikes him fatally so that he dies” because just “rising against” by itself would not necessarily mean a fatal attack. Similarly, Mark 13.12 specifies: “children will rise against parents AND have them put to death” because “rising against” would not carry that connotation by itself. The verb used there, QANATOW, does mean kill, but usually in the sense of “have put to death” rather than murder directly with one’s own hands. The verb is used in this usual sense in its only other occurrence in Mark (14:55): “the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put to him to death.”
Your argument from LXX Deuteronomy is based on an illegitimate use of the concept of context. You can’t just find a context where the word you’re looking at is accompanied by a second word which bears a certain meaning and then substitute the meaning of the second word for the first on the grounds that the first word appears in a context where that meaning also occurs.
Additionally, I think it would be useful to look at the way our earliest known interpreters of Mark understood v. 13.12 in its context:
Luke 21.12-18: “But before all this occurs, they will arrest you and persecute you; they will hand you over to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors because of my name. 13 This will give you an opportunity to testify. 14 So make up your minds not to prepare your defense in advance; 15 for I will give you words[c] and a wisdom that none of your opponents will be able to withstand or contradict. 16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, by relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 You will be hated by all because of my name. 18 But not a hair of your head will perish. 19 By your endurance you will gain your souls.
Would you agree that Luke 13.16 is the Lukan version of Mark 13.12, and that Luke has understood the handing over by brothers, parents, relatives and friends as something that occurs in the context of the persecution and trials of Christians (note his use of the second person plural “you”)? Do you want to argue Luke is somehow referring to the murders committed by the Sicarii in Palestine, or that he has misunderstood Mark or changed his meaning? As a second point, would you agree that since v. 16 says they will “put some of you to death” but then vv 18-19 say that “not a hair on your head will perish” and “by your endurance you will gain you souls,” that Luke is saying that even those who lose their temporal lives in these trials will gain eternal lives? I think this is a very plausible reading of Mark and Luke has got him right.
Matthew is a more complex case. Because he largely repeats the language of Mark 13.9-13 at the key points in Matt 10.17-22 (esp. v. 21) rather than paraphrasing it as Luke does, it’s less obvious how Matthew interprets Mark 13.12. Nevertheless, since Matthew places 10.21 within Missionary Discourse in Matt 10 and not the Eschatological Discourse in Matt 24 (where Jesus foretells the destruction of the temple), we may reasonably infer that Matt saw 10.21 as something that happened to Christians in the course of their missions and not as something that happened among non-Christian Jews prior to outbreak of the Jewish War and the destruction of the temple.
John2: So I'm still inclined to see Mk. 13:12 as referring to the murders that took place before the Temple was destroyed, which Josephus says "sometimes fell on those of their own people" in Ant. 18.1.1.
You haven't produced any good reason for holding your theory in the first place. The question isn’t whether you can find reasons to dismiss the reading that disagrees with yours as possibly wrong, because all readings are possibly wrong. It’s whether you can show that your reading fits the evidence better. I will for the moment assume that when you say things like “it seems to me” or “it sounds to me like” you don’t mean to suggest that this a purely personal reaction, but rather you mean that you think you have given evidence that would persuade others of your reading. And it seems to me (based on the arguments I’ve given) you have not done so. In particular, you haven’t pointed out any striking parallels between Mark 13.12 and Josephus’ description of the murders committed by Sicarii, you’ve just quoted both passages and said you think Mark was referring to the murders committed by the followers of the Fourth Philosophy. That the murders committed by the followers of the Fourth Philosophy “sometimes fell on those of their own people,” presumably other factions within the Fourth Philosophy (“by the madness of these men towards one another, while their desire was that none of the adverse party might be left”), hardly equates to Mark’s language of “delivering up” within nuclear families.
Modern scholars can possibly be wrong in their readings of texts. They sometimes are. And an evangelist could possibly switch from one sense of a word to another within the same pericope, and could possibly switch from one topic in one verse to another in the following verse and then back to the first topic in the verse after that. And the earliest interpreters could possibly have misunderstood or deliberately changed the meaning of a text. But the burden of proof would be on you to show that all these things happened. Instead, you are dismissing a reading that is supported by evidence in favor of one that is not. It seems like you are guided by something other than evidence found in the texts.