Stefan Kristensen wrote: ↑
Wed Jun 06, 2018 3:18 am
Well, I'd say your wording is unfortunate here, so I can't really answer this question. Because we don't know in advance whether it's traditional or Mark's creation.
In advance of what? In advance of studying the passage to any real extent? Well, of course: we have to study the passage before coming to any conclusions. Or do you mean in advance of using certain choice literary techniques on the passage?
Now, I agree that if Mark was the one to create the parable, then we might reasonably expect everything to fit. But! If Mark got it from tradition, then in my view and not in your view, we should also automatically expect everything to fit (crucially: at the sublevel). As the starting point, of course, with the possibility ever open that it doesn't fit after all (it is an "approach").
You have not expressed my own view quite
correctly. I would say that, if Mark himself is responsible for the creation of material, we ought to reasonably expect things to fit; the possibility of it not fitting ought to be pretty low. However, if he received said material from the tradition, then the possibility of something not fitting increases rather much. How much
the possibility increases depends upon how careful we think Mark is overall. A very careful writer will rewrite traditional materials so thoroughly as to blend them into his own creative work seamlessly. A very careless writer will leave seams all over the place. My own sense of Mark is that he is usually
careful enough to avoid seams, but he does not always
avoid them; he leaves enough that we can be pretty sure he is retelling a story, not creating it from scratch.
This means that there are going to be lots of Marcan pericopes for which I am simply not sure either way. There are plenty of passages which could, using my current battery of methods (the number of which I am ever striving to increase by testing new ones or variants of old ones), come either from the tradition or from Mark himself. Those fewer passages where I think I can discern traditional material emerge precisely because of the seams. And by "seams" I do not merely mean discrepancies in general; authors can write clumsily, too, even of their own accord. Rather, I mean specific discrepancies of the kinds that I have been able to notice in Matthew's use of Mark, in the Chronicler's use of Samuel and Kings, in Josephus' use of the Hebrew scriptures as a whole, and in other situations where I am pretty sure of the direction of development. I move from the "known" (Matthew used Mark) to the "unknown" (did Mark use something before him?).
I have a tendency to view apparent discrepancies as a problem that can be solved with a method of theological-literary analysis, whereas you have a tendency to view discrepancies more as a natural phenomenon inherent in a text composed partly by traditional material.
Only/mainly those kinds of discrepancies which in other cases can be shown to have arisen from editorial work count for me here. My tendency is not an inborn one; it arises from what I can determine from my "known" test cases.
But please do understand this, that this method that I prefer in no way excludes the existence of traditional material. It's just that I'm a little reluctant to use the proposed/possible presence of traditional material as explanations for apparent discrepancies.
My starting point years ago for this kind of issue was very simple, involving a thought experiment. Imagine that the gospel of Mark had been lost to history rather than preserved in the canon of scripture. Studying Matthew, or even studying Matthew in conjunction with Luke, would we be able to tell that there was once another text (like Mark) behind Matthew? Or would we assume that whatever we found in Matthew (which was not also found in Luke, at least, though even then we might think that Luke copied from Matthew and not the other way around) was original Matthean material?
At the time I was asking that question, my answer had to be, without doubt, that I would not in any way be able to guess that something like Mark lay behind any of Matthew. But that has been gradually changing over the years, as my repertoire of methods (tested, as described, against "known" directions of development) has grown.
This thought experiment also helps keep things in perspective. While I would certainly now posit, in the absence of Mark, that something besides Luke lay behind Matthew, I am also
certain that I would not be able to reconstruct
Mark in any real sense; it would exist as a hypothetical entity only so far as those seams I had used to identify its presence in the first place allowed. Wherever Matthew wrote very carefully, leaving no seams, I would not be able to tell that Mark lay behind that passage.
E.g. Mark forgets to tell when the scene in Mark 4:21-32 shifts back to the crowd, which could be hint at sloppy editing.
I noticed that, but I am not (yet) sure whether this discrepancy is of the kind that implies traditional materials behind it.
After my years of studying gMark I have come to my present specific view of the text, which is what makes me insist on this approach, to stubbornly assume that all fits, somehow, we just need to keep looking. You don't want to be so stubborn in this regard, I suppose, because the basic view of the text you have at this point in time after your years of study, is slightly different from mine, but enough that our basic approaches are quite different.
Yes, they are different. I am trying to eschew assumptions completely, to let every decision be guided by previous testing of the methods. Even so, of course, there is no way to be sure
. It is all a matter of probabilities.
But I should of course have added to my analogy that the second option is impossible without the first option (especially with a car!) And it also applies the other way around, of course, investigating the parts of the car also involves knowledge of how the car works as a whole to begin with.
Not to be picky or pedantic, but this is not exactly true for all car parts, is it? The battery is part of a car, and one can figure out how a battery works even in a world in which cars have never been invented. Batteries are self-contained devices with their own logic and function completely apart from how they are used in cars. I imagine there are quite a few parts that make little sense apart from automobile engineering, but rather many (wheels, gears, light bulbs, windows, wires, and so on) are their own thing, as it were.
I disagree, but this whole thing is another discussion involving a delving deep into the theological universe of Romans.
You are wise to note that this would be a completely different discussion. We can safely set it aside, disagreements notwithstanding.