Many will come in my name.

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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Many will come in my name.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:52 pm

Why is the following motif doubled in Mark 13?

Mark 13.5-6 (before anything else in the discourse): 5 And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will mislead many."

Mark 13.21-22 (after the abomination of desolation): 21 "And then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'Behold, He is there,' do not believe him; 22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect."

Any ideas?

Ben.

ETA: Here are the Matthean and Lucan parallels:

Matthew 24.4-5 (before anything else in the discourse): And Jesus answered and said to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many."

Luke 21.8 (before anything else in the discourse): 8 And He said, "See to it that you are not misled; for many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and, 'The time is near.' Do not go after them."

Matthew 24.23-25 (after the abomination of desolation): 23 "Then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'There He is,' do not believe him. 24 For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect. 25 Behold, I have told you in advance."

Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Sun Feb 18, 2018 8:11 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by neilgodfrey » Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:20 pm

As Haenchen points out, there is a "subtle"(?) difference between the two passages. The first one points to memories (from the perspective of the author and readers post 70) of false messianic claimants; the second to "prophets" who told people where to find the messiah.

(Later Jewish records point to a belief that the messiah was on earth but hidden, waiting his right time to appear.)

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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by toejam » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:03 am

Signs of sloppy splicing together of sources.
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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by FransJVermeiren » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:21 pm

IMO this is not a case of a double motif, but of two closely related motifs.

GMark 13 is a coherent apocalyptic account of the war against the Romans in two parts. The first part is a general description of the different aspects of the conflict. The second part, starting with verse 14, is more specific as it depicts the siege and fall of Jerusalem, and the subsequent arrival of the Christ.

In the first part many Christ pretenders are opposed to Jesus, the genuine Jewish Christ. As the Jewish Christ is the anti-emperor (or the other way around the Roman emperor is the anti-Christ), these many opponents of the Christ are the successive Roman emperors. The three emperors of 69-70 CE (preceding Vespasian) included, they really were many of them.

The second part is specifically related to the events of the spring and summer of 70 CE. Here also a plural is used (false Christs and false prophets) and that may be confusing, but it is the omission of ‘many’ that makes the difference. If we look at the Roman opponents of the Jews at that stage of the war, we see commander-in-chief Titus backed up by his father Vespasian. That they are mentioned in one breath is not surprising, as Titus was his father’s co-emperor during Vespasian’s term of office.

The difference between the two parts is the many emperors of part one against two co-emperors in part two.

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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:26 pm

As is often the case, one can find a root idea in the epistles of Paul which then enjoys development in Mark.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15

12 And what I do I will continue to do, in order to end this pretext of those who seek a pretext for being regarded as we are in the mission of which they boast.
13 For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, who masquerade as apostles of Christ.
14 And no wonder, for even Satan masquerades as an angel of light.
15 So it is not strange that his ministers also masquerade as ministers of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds.

That covers "many will come in my name" (13:6) directly, as well as the idea that those who come will mislead people. What somebody ought to make of what those who come will be saying, "ego eimi (I am)," is unclear.

In 13:21-22, we see not only false emissaries, but also false Christs. Some fathers were convinced that there was a contemporary of Jesus who was a false Christ, Simon of Samaria. Some counterapologists were taken with Apollonius of Tyana, said to have lived ~15CE - ~100CE, and thought to be a similar figure to Christ. Both Simon and Apollonius are also said to have had schools of followers.

We are only told that Mark's false Christs are plural, not "many" or anything more specific, and we know of two religious-philosophical-wonder-worker candidates who are reputed to have been active in the mid-to-late First Century. The author of a "late" Mark, (Kirby's high end is 80 CE) might have known of Vespasian's and Titus' (d. 81) pretensions in this regard, as publicized in Josephus' Wars beginning during the mid-70's.

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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:39 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:52 pm
Why is the following motif doubled in Mark 13?
Any ideas?

Mark 13:4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.

Mark 13:21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

So far I know Mark is the only early Christian author who was very critical about the idea of „signs and wonders“. On the contrary, John, Luke and the author of the LE were big fans of „signs (and wonders)“. Therefore I think that both passages are genuinely Markan.

To me the two passages seems to build a frame to mark off this part of the speech from the rest of it.

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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by JoeWallack » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:08 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:52 pm
Why is the following motif doubled in Mark 13?

Mark 13.5-6 (before anything else in the discourse): 5 And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will mislead many."

Mark 13.21-22 (after the abomination of desolation): 21 "And then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'Behold, He is there,' do not believe him; 22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect."

Any ideas?

Ben.
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You have never heard anyone say "Oh God, oh God."?

I think it's because Gilad Atzmon's The Wondering Who? is antisemitic.


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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:23 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Fri Feb 16, 2018 12:39 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:52 pm
Why is the following motif doubled in Mark 13?
Any ideas?

Mark 13:4 “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign when all these things are about to be accomplished?” 5 And Jesus began to say to them, “See that no one leads you astray. 6 Many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he!’ and they will lead many astray.

Mark 13:21 And then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘Look, there he is!’ do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform signs and wonders, to lead astray, if possible, the elect.

So far I know Mark is the only early Christian author who was very critical about the idea of „signs and wonders“. On the contrary, John, Luke and the author of the LE were big fans of „signs (and wonders)“. Therefore I think that both passages are genuinely Markan.

To me the two passages seems to build a frame to mark off this part of the speech from the rest of it.
Thanks. You definitely have strict considerations of vocabulary on your side (σημεῖον in verse 4, σημεῖα in verse 22).

What I wonder is whether the same meaning of "sign" is meant in both cases. The signs (plural) in verse 22 are of the miraculous kind ("signs and wonders"), whereas might not the sign (singular) in verse 4 be more along the lines of the kind of sign that simply marks something? In Luke 2.12, for example, finding a baby in a manger is a sign; there is nothing particularly miraculous about a baby in a manger, except insofar as seeing it and understanding it helps one to discern God's will.

In Mark 13, it has long seemed to me that verses 28-31 are the response to the request for a sign:

Mark 13.28-31: 28 Now learn the parable from the fig tree: when its branch has already become tender, and puts forth its leaves, you know that summer is near. 29 Even so, you too, when you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. 30 Truly I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.

Whatever Mark may think of signs in general, or even in particular, these verses are an appeal to watch for signs (markers, indications) that the coming is near, are they not? Might not this be exactly the sort of thing the disciples are asking for in verse 4?
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lsayre
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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by lsayre » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:32 pm

Perhaps Jesus was trying to express that he is not the Christ?

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MrMacSon
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Re: Many will come in my name.

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Feb 16, 2018 1:47 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:52 pm
Why is the following motif doubled in Mark 13?

Mark 13.5-6 (before anything else in the discourse): 5 And Jesus began to say to them, "See to it that no one misleads you. 6 Many will come in My name, saying, 'I am He,' and will mislead many."

Mark 13.21-22 (after the abomination of desolation): 21 "And then if anyone says to you, 'Behold, here is the Christ,' or, 'Behold, He is there,' do not believe him; 22 for false Christs and false prophets will arise, and will show signs and wonders, in order to lead astray, if possible, the elect."

Any ideas?
I see the highlighted portion as a reasonably significant difference b/w the two passages.

Reference to 'the elect' would seem to be interesting as it is said to refer to a particular person or group of people chosen to or for a particular task or relationship, especially eternal life. There is other commentary on 'election' in Christianity, but much of it may be post-reformation Protestant commentary (especially reference to 'unconditional election', also known as unconditional grace), which would seem to be less relevant here. Others may be able to elaborate.

eta, fwiw -

The Old Testament applies the term "elect" to the Israelites in as far as they are called to be the chosen people, or people of God, or are faithful to their divine call. The idea of such an election is common in Deuteronomy and in Isaiah 40-66.


The New Testament transfers the meaning of the term from its connection with the people of Israel to the members of the body of Christ (Christian church), either militant on earth or triumphant in heaven.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Election_(Christianity)

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