Let the reader understand... Again

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:44 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:11 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 12:17 pm
DCHindley wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:19 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:26 am
DCHindley wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:36 am
I do not think we can treat this "little apocalypse" (Mark 13) as virgin words of Jesus.
I disagree with much of what you posted in the second column of your table, but with this opening statement I agree wholeheartedly.
The Simon bar Giora/Ger stuff?
No, mainly the stuff that equates, especially with the benefit of hindsight, the abomination of desolation with the destruction of Jerusalem.
Not sure why you think so. Most people, I'd think, would see this as an anachronism, or Prophecy ex eventu like what Daniel was written to "predict." The main difference is that Daniel "predicts" the re-establishment of an "independent" nation (a happy thing) while Mark 13 was explaining away a failed expectation.
That is not all that Daniel predicted, however. Halfway through his treatment of Antiochus in chapter 11, for example, the predictions stop lining up with history. Also, no resurrection of the dead came about (12.1-3). So part of Daniel consists of vaticinia ex eventu, while part of it does not.

I think we would agree that Mark 13.1-2 is a vaticinium ex eventu. I also think we would agree that Mark 13.24-27 is not a vaticinium ex eventu. The question is: which kind of prediction (before the fact or after the fact) is Mark 13.14-20? You say about the flight to the mountains in verse 14 that it is "clearly based on Titus' subjection of Jerusalem" and that the mountains represent Masada. But I say that this flight to the mountains is based on Mattathias' flight to the mountains in 1 Maccabees. Mattathias and his sons also leave everything behind, thus explaining verses 15-16, as well. (This also explains why it is those "in Judea" who are fleeing, rather than, as your own statement would have it, Jerusalem: Mattathias was in Modin, not in Jerusalem, when he fled to the mountains.) The motif of pregnant and nursing women suffering special hardships in verse 17-18 is a common one in apocalyptic lore (as well as being universally true in times of distress or warfare). The great tribulation of verses 19-20 comes directly from Daniel. This prediction, in other words, is literally nothing like Mark 13.1-2 or Luke 21.20-24; in fact, it is counterindicated as a prophecy after the fact by the simple virtue of what the abomination of desolation actually was in Daniel and 1 Maccabees: what was expected in this prediction was not the destruction of the temple but rather its defilement by an idolatrous addition of some kind. This explains the parallels in 2 Thessalonians 2, in which the temple is the site of the man of sin's blasphemies. It also explains the mismatch between the motif of signs leading up to the end like the leaves on a fig tree and that of the unknown hour: the latter was added in order to mitigate the obvious force of the former, since the former involved a prediction that did not come to pass. It explains a few other data which I am still assembling, as well, data based on arguments both by Theissen and by Detering (who oppose one another thoroughly on the dates involved) which help to demonstrate that both Matthew 24 and Mark 13 are working with an oracular source.

Is there any problem with a prediction like this? I mean, Antiochus defiled the temple with the original abomination of desolation, Pompey entered the holy of holies, and then Caligula came thiiiiis close to defiling the temple once again with his own likeness (thus explaining the masculine participle "standing" modifying the neuter noun "abomination" in Mark 13.14). Of course people would be worried that such a thing would happen again, especially as tensions with Rome continued to mount.

So my overall, hawk's eye view is that much of Mark 13 = Matthew 24 was a prediction, couched exclusively in terminology from apocalyptic lore and already extant Jewish history (before 70), that the temple was going to be defiled (as per Antiochus, Pompey, and Caligula). However, it was destroyed instead. The prediction was salvaged by making it point to the destruction (Mark 13.1-2) and by making the advent of the Lord a matter of divine knowledge alone (Mark 13.32-37). The "abomination of desolation" itself, originally intended to point to idolatry in the temple, was now winked and nudged into a covert prediction of the destruction of the temple (this is what he really meant... "let the reader understand!").
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by neilgodfrey » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:16 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 9:36 am
I do not think we can treat this "little apocalypse" (Mark 13) as virgin words of Jesus. There is all sorts of evidence that suggests that the accounts were developed from earlier sources that in turn also exhibit signs dating them to after Jesus' death. We are already a generation or more form Jesus' supposed time.

6 Many will come in my name, saying, 'I am he!' and they will lead many astray. "My name?" What is that supposed to mean? As a messiah or anointed ruler, perhaps, as this did occur in the war of 66-73 (e.g., Menahem, John of Gischala, and Simon bar Giora was probably a deliberate corruption for his real secret identity, Simon son of Ger = "a (hu)man being").

DCH
As Haenchen (Der Weg Jesu, per Ken Olson) points out, read literally the words would mean that Jesus is saying that other people would be claiming to be Jesus while the Jesus speaking these words was still around. Keep in mind that at this point the disciples are not seriously expecting Jesus to die. Watch out (he would be understand as meaning) others claiming to be me are really imposters. Keep your eyes on me and don't blink lest you end up following an imposter claiming to be me.

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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Bernard Muller » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:18 pm

to Ben,
Why bother inventing prophecies after the fact if they end up looking no better than the guesses of prophets before the fact?
Because if not looking like (unclear) predictions of prophets, they would be suspected to be done after the facts. But, of course, there are exceptions, where a so-called prophecy is after the facts and also precise.
In gMark, I take the parable of the tenants (12:1-9) as a disguised prophecy and predicting, after the facts, the fall of Jerusalem and the ensuing massacres.
As for Titus (and his army) as the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be, that could refer to Titus & his army arriving to outside Jerusalem, when people within the city could still escape.

Cordially, Bernard
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:12 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:18 pm
to Ben,
Why bother inventing prophecies after the fact if they end up looking no better than the guesses of prophets before the fact?
Because if not looking like (unclear) predictions of prophets, they would be suspected to be done after the facts. But, of course, there are exceptions, where a so-called prophecy is after the facts and also precise.
Yes, like Daniel 11 or Isaiah 45.1.

To my eye, Mark 13.14 is not (merely) vague; it is wrong.
In gMark, I take the parable of the tenants (12:1-9) as a disguised prophecy and predicting, after the facts, the fall of Jerusalem and the ensuing massacres.
I do too. But Mark 12.1-12 is not wrong. The "owner of the vineyard" did come and "destroy the vineyard," theologically speaking.
As for Titus (and his army) as the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not to be, that could refer to Titus & his army arriving to outside Jerusalem, when people within the city could still escape.
It could. Anything is possible in the mind of an author whom we do not know. But to choose that image, the abomination of desolation, suggests otherwise. It suggests a defilement of the temple.

In fact, one can compare and contrast the parable of the tenants with the synoptic apocalypse on this point. In the parable of the tenants the destruction of the vineyard is an act of God; it is divine justice. In the synoptic apocalypse the abomination of desolation is the sacrilegious act of a human ("he/him"). The two perspectives are completely different.
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Bernard Muller
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Bernard Muller » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:31 am

to Ben,
It could. Anything is possible in the mind of an author whom we do not know. But to choose that image, the abomination of desolation, suggests otherwise. It suggests a defilement of the temple.
By a statue of a Pagan god? That seems of little importance as compared with the temple having been fully destroyed before. And quite a bit late in order to signal to people of Judea to flee in the mountains.
In fact, one can compare and contrast the parable of the tenants with the synoptic apocalypse on this point. In the parable of the tenants the destruction of the vineyard is an act of God; it is divine justice. In the synoptic apocalypse the abomination of desolation is the sacrilegious act of a human ("he/him"). The two perspectives are completely different.
More & more, I think that the mini apocalypse, even written by the same "Mark", was a late insertion when that author was in a very different mood & outlook.

Cordially, Bernard
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:48 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:31 am
to Ben,
It could. Anything is possible in the mind of an author whom we do not know. But to choose that image, the abomination of desolation, suggests otherwise. It suggests a defilement of the temple.
By a statue of a Pagan god? That seems of little importance as compared with the temple having been fully destroyed before. And quite a bit late in order to signal to people of Judea to flee in the mountains.
That is my point. This part of Mark 13 sounds like it was written while the temple was still standing and before it was even imagined that it would be destroyed.
In fact, one can compare and contrast the parable of the tenants with the synoptic apocalypse on this point. In the parable of the tenants the destruction of the vineyard is an act of God; it is divine justice. In the synoptic apocalypse the abomination of desolation is the sacrilegious act of a human ("he/him"). The two perspectives are completely different.
More & more, I think that the mini apocalypse, even written by the same "Mark", was a late insertion when that author was in a very different mood & outlook.
Fair enough. But I would reverse the sequence: the parable of the tenants is later (after 70), while the abomination of desolation is early (before 70), which is why that image (one of desecration) was chosen instead of another image (one of destruction).
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Charles Wilson
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:26 pm

Ben --

Before it gets lost in the stacks (P. 2 of this Thread), I appreciate your compilation of "hacked up women and children". I may or may not comment on several but I do want to point out that there are several similar instances of this in the literature of early writings - as in very early writings. "Heaps of corpses" or "Piles of corpses" was an early Sumerian Phrase used by generals reporting back to the kings. See: Pettinato, Ebla.

We find an echo In Josephus, W..., 2, 2. 5 (If the translation holds up through 2000 years and several languages...):

"...and he said there was such a vast number of dead bodies heaped together in the temple, as even a foreign war, that should come upon them [suddenly], before it was denounced, could not have heaped together..."

The examples you give could be candidate substitutions. However, I see sequence and logic aligning all of this with Jannaeus. You don't.

So it goes.

CW

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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:36 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:26 pm
Ben --

Before it gets lost in the stacks (P. 2 of this Thread), I appreciate your compilation of "hacked up women and children".
Um... thanks? :|
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Charles Wilson
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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Charles Wilson » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:50 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:36 pm
Charles Wilson wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:26 pm
Ben --

Before it gets lost in the stacks (P. 2 of this Thread), I appreciate your compilation of "hacked up women and children".
Um... thanks? :|
The entire Thread is a bit macabre. Mark 13 is macabre. What should we say here when a point is made? "Good catch?" The Thread on 2 Thes. is the same. "Nice work tracking down the origins of the section on "Righteous Murder of (possibly) billions!"."

I'll try to write a little more...sympathetically. "I appreciate the work you did in putting together that list of women and children who didn't end up well."

That didn't sound so great either. "Thanx for the spreadsheet on...whatever it was that it was supposed to be on."

There. That's better.
Good point, Ben.

CW

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Re: Let the reader understand... Again

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:53 pm

Charles Wilson wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:50 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:36 pm
Charles Wilson wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 4:26 pm
Ben --

Before it gets lost in the stacks (P. 2 of this Thread), I appreciate your compilation of "hacked up women and children".
Um... thanks? :|
The entire Thread is a bit macabre. Mark 13 is macabre. What should we say here when a point is made? "Good catch?" The Thread on 2 Thes. is the same. "Nice work tracking down the origins of the section on "Righteous Murder of (possibly) billions!"."

I'll try to write a little more...sympathetically. "I appreciate the work you did in putting together that list of women and children who didn't end up well."

That didn't sound so great either. "Thanx for the spreadsheet on...whatever it was that it was supposed to be on."

There. That's better.
Good point, Ben.
Totally kidding, Charles. I know the macabre often comes up in historical research. :)
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