Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:40 am

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 7:56 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 5:07 am
I apologize for being dense — I can see that you are trying to distinguish your interpretation of the women from mine and others', but I am not "getting it" yet.
No problem.

So what Ken and you (?) want to say....
I will speak for myself alone.
...is that Mark wrote it ("they said nothing to no one"), but that he did not really mean what he wrote.
No, the author meant what he wrote. He wrote that they said nothing, and he meant that they said nothing. He did not mean that they gossiped about it with all the neighbors. They said nothing. And I think the author intended his readers to believe that the women were there and then said nothing; he was not writing deliberate fiction which he meant his readership to treat no more seriously than Bugs Bunny cartoons.
He wrote it only because he wanted to solve the alleged "problem" with Paul's creed.
The connection with the creed is Ken's work, and I find it very suggestive. I am still considering it; not sure yet. But yes, the author wanted to solve problems (probably more than just one). And no, solving problems was likely not the only reason he wrote it.

The problems at issue are those which will, in the presence of certain kinds of people, naturally arise if somebody claims that a dead person has risen from the dead. If you were to claim that Otto von Bismarck has risen from the dead, at some point (were I to pay the claim any attention at all) I would be asking you about tombs and such. Some religious people are content to leave well enough alone and just believe, but others are of a nature which compels them to make history line up with that belief. So it is hardly surprising that the claim that Jesus rose from the dead would lead to discussions about tombs and such, and it is hardly surprising that the gaps would be filled in, whether in good faith or bad, by stories of this kind.
He wanted to solve the "problem" because Mark favored always the proof by historical witnesses against the proof according to the scriptures.
No, the author wanted to solve the problems because they were problems, and wanting to solve them is a very natural reaction.
Actually, it ("they said nothing to no one") has nothing to do with the women, the disciples and Mark's story.
No, "they said nothing to no one" does have to do with the women because the women are the "they" who said nothing; it also has to do with the disciples because they are implicitly included among the people ("no one") to whom the women said nothing; and it definitely has to do with Mark's story because it is a part of Mark's story.

(This part of your post really, really confused me.)
Because of this nobody needs to be worried about Mark 16:8.
If I take the word "worried" more seriously, then no, nobody needs to be "worried" about Mark 16.8, because nothing is at stake (to my knowledge) in our understanding of Mark 16.8. Nobody is going to live or die because I happened to get Mark 16.8 right or wrong.

If I take the word "worried" more casually, then yes, we ought to be "worried" about Mark 16.8 because it is a weird way to end a book, and because it is part of Mark's gospel, and because part of what we are doing here is trying to understand Mark's gospel.

(This part of your post also really, really confused me.)
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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin » Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:30 pm

Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
Two remarks: The "folks and the Romans" are not witnesses in the actual sense, as they remain unknown, which makes the women the only witnesses from the circle of Jesus.
Again, I do not understand for what a witness should be needed when a thing happened publicy. Furthermore, in Mark's story Pilate himself carried out an investigation about the death of Jesus. It is officially confirmed that he died. This is as good as it gets. Where is the need of further witnesses, especially for the women „looking from afar“?
15:44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.10 And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
Also, regarding point 3, the women as witnesses to the empty tomb on the morning of the third day are already important enough. I don't think it's important to Mark's story as we have it that they don't see the risen Christ at this point. We don't know what followed if there was anything else that is followed, and thus the empty tomb and the message from that young man is as close as we get to a risen Christ.
But this is exactly what Ken assumed that Mark wanted to create witnesses to
(3), that he was raised
and not to „as good as close“. Furthermore, I would say that Matthew (with the guards, the real angel and the great earthquake) is „as good as close“, but Mark is far away from that. Every Jew can claim that some disciples have stolen the dead body und told some women fairy tales (and probably exactly that happened among the Rabbis).
Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
I'm not sure, but does anybody who reads this, regardless whether that's all that Mark wrote or not, think that there was nothing else to tell, which remained, for whatever reason, untold? I think this still remains true even if we try to forget for a moment that other gospels existed.
In some sense I completely agree with you. But I think that an author who wants to say more can not write Mark 16:8 because nothing can really follow what's going on in the story. The men have already fled and now the women are fleeing. What should follow? A happy end that makes the told stories undone? I think that an author who wrote Mark 16:8 has decided that it's in fact the end.

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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by gmx » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:24 pm

In some sense I completely agree with you. But I think that an author who wants to say more can not write Mark 16:8 because nothing can really follow what's going on in the story. The men have already fled and now the women are fleeing. What should follow? A happy end that makes the told stories undone? I think that an author who wrote Mark 16:8 has decided that it's in fact the end.
I attempted to find a thread about what the women were a afraid of, but didn't locate it. I'm sure it's been asked before. If they never understood that Jesus foretold his resurrection, and find the stone rolled away and a young man saying he is risen, go tell Pete and the homies to hightail it up to Galilee, why were they so afraid, and secondly, why would being so afraid be a reason not to tell the inner circle?
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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:35 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:30 pm
But I think that an author who wants to say more can not write Mark 16:8 because nothing can really follow what's going on in the story. The men have already fled and now the women are fleeing. What should follow? A happy end that makes the told stories undone? I think that an author who wrote Mark 16:8 has decided that it's in fact the end.
What should follow? You already know my response:

Mark
Peter
14.50 And they all left Him and fled. .... 16.8 [The women] went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had gripped them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. ???? 13.57 Then the women fled frightened. 14.58 Now it was the final day of the Unleavened Bread; and many went out returning to their home since the feast was over. 59 But we twelve disciples of the Lord were weeping and sorrowful; and each one, sorrowful because of what had come to pass, departed to his home. 60 But I, Simon Peter, and my brother Andrew, having taken our nets, went off to the sea. And there was with us Levi of Alphaeus whom the Lord....

But how can both the men and the women fleeing be an indicator that flight is the end of the story when the gospel of Peter, at least, has more to follow after both the men and the women flee? Peter is literally an author who, in your words, "wants to say more" but also writes something equivalent to Mark 16.8.
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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Ulan » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:41 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:30 pm
Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
Two remarks: The "folks and the Romans" are not witnesses in the actual sense, as they remain unknown, which makes the women the only witnesses from the circle of Jesus.
Again, I do not understand for what a witness should be needed when a thing happened publicy. Furthermore, in Mark's story Pilate himself carried out an investigation about the death of Jesus. It is officially confirmed that he died. This is as good as it gets. Where is the need of further witnesses, especially for the women „looking from afar“?
15:44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.10 And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

You see, and I don't understand how any of this qualifies as witness. An anonymous mob that has no relation to the dying is as good as nonexistent. They will forget about this unimportant - to them - episode. A witness is someone who you can ask. As Mark was probably written during or after the Jewish War, those anonymous people were most probably dead, either through natural reasons or killed in the war. Of course, we have Simon of Cyrene, although we don't get told whether he stayed and actually witnessed anything past the carrying of the cross. We have priests etc., all anonymous and dead men walking. We have an anonymous centurion who witnessed the death, but he only serves as a foil. Pilate plays a big role in the story, but how would he be a witness? He is informed by the same anonymous centurion. Explicitly mentioned as witnesses of the death itself are only that anonymous centurion and three named women. In addition, Joseph of Arimathaea handled the dead body, and it's anyone's guess where this guy came from, what he actually saw, and where he went to. Mark does not tell us. What Mark does tell us in very specific words is that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were the witnesses of this. Pointing out that these two women are the witnesses is exactly how chapter 15 ends. It is kind of funny that Joseph of Arimathea is not a witness, even if he did all the work. There seemed to have been no communication between Joseph and the women.
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:30 pm
Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
Also, regarding point 3, the women as witnesses to the empty tomb on the morning of the third day are already important enough. I don't think it's important to Mark's story as we have it that they don't see the risen Christ at this point. We don't know what followed if there was anything else that is followed, and thus the empty tomb and the message from that young man is as close as we get to a risen Christ.
But this is exactly what Ken assumed that Mark wanted to create witnesses to
(3), that he was raised
and not to „as good as close“. Furthermore, I would say that Matthew (with the guards, the real angel and the great earthquake) is „as good as close“, but Mark is far away from that. Every Jew can claim that some disciples have stolen the dead body und told some women fairy tales (and probably exactly that happened among the Rabbis).
Of course. But what is the difference regarding the contents of the story? You can always invent and add more details, and that's what happened in the following gospels. I get that this was not a good enough story to be really convincing to unbelievers, but in the end, we will always get to the "doubting Thomas" situation: why would anyone believe any of this anyway without "solid" evidence?
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:30 pm
Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
I'm not sure, but does anybody who reads this, regardless whether that's all that Mark wrote or not, think that there was nothing else to tell, which remained, for whatever reason, untold? I think this still remains true even if we try to forget for a moment that other gospels existed.
In some sense I completely agree with you. But I think that an author who wants to say more can not write Mark 16:8 because nothing can really follow what's going on in the story. The men have already fled and now the women are fleeing. What should follow? A happy end that makes the told stories undone? I think that an author who wrote Mark 16:8 has decided that it's in fact the end.
I don't see that. As has been said, if those disciples really think that was it, they will go home to Galilee. Where Jesus, according to Mark's words, already is. This means that the story necessarily has an untold part, if those mentions of Galilee are original.

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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by JoeWallack » Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:42 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 2:30 pm
Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
Two remarks: The "folks and the Romans" are not witnesses in the actual sense, as they remain unknown, which makes the women the only witnesses from the circle of Jesus.
Again, I do not understand for what a witness should be needed when a thing happened publicy. Furthermore, in Mark's story Pilate himself carried out an investigation about the death of Jesus. It is officially confirmed that he died. This is as good as it gets. Where is the need of further witnesses, especially for the women „looking from afar“?
15:44 Pilate was surprised to hear that he should have already died.10 And summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead. 45 And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the corpse to Joseph.

Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
Also, regarding point 3, the women as witnesses to the empty tomb on the morning of the third day are already important enough. I don't think it's important to Mark's story as we have it that they don't see the risen Christ at this point. We don't know what followed if there was anything else that is followed, and thus the empty tomb and the message from that young man is as close as we get to a risen Christ.
But this is exactly what Ken assumed that Mark wanted to create witnesses to
(3), that he was raised
and not to „as good as close“. Furthermore, I would say that Matthew (with the guards, the real angel and the great earthquake) is „as good as close“, but Mark is far away from that. Every Jew can claim that some disciples have stolen the dead body und told some women fairy tales (and probably exactly that happened among the Rabbis).
Ulan wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 8:35 am
I'm not sure, but does anybody who reads this, regardless whether that's all that Mark wrote or not, think that there was nothing else to tell, which remained, for whatever reason, untold? I think this still remains true even if we try to forget for a moment that other gospels existed.
In some sense I completely agree with you. But I think that an author who wants to say more can not write Mark 16:8 because nothing can really follow what's going on in the story. The men have already fled and now the women are fleeing. What should follow? A happy end that makes the told undone? I think that an author who wrote Mark 16:8 has decided that it's in fact the end.

JW:
Our friend Ben, like CBS (Christian Bible Scholarship), has not yet come to grips with the observation that the two most important things to "Mark" (author) are Irony and Jesus. "The Jesus Question" is what GMark primarily is:

1) Literature (Greek Tragedy) with a subject of Paul's Jesus.

or

2) Paul's Jesus in the genre of Greek Tragedy.

I'm undecided. How this relates to "Mark's" ending though is either way the style is irony with the primary theme of physical fulfillment but not spiritual fulfillment. While I speculate that Galilee is not original I have faith that with it Jesus' prediction that he will go to Galilee first and later the disciples will go there is just this type of irony. The disciples will physically follow Jesus to Galilee but not spiritually. They do not go because they believed in Jesus and when in Galilee they still will not believe.

Getting back to 1) and 2) above, my question for you is if "Mark's" Jesus was aware of the irony above. I don't think he was and this would support 1). Clearly "Mark's" jesus is subservient in GMark to Irony as is everything else. Your (KK) opinion?

Note Bene = Irony is completely consistent with Paul's philosophy of Revelation as irony requires the reader to discover it.


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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:16 pm

gmx wrote:
Thu Jun 07, 2018 3:24 pm
In some sense I completely agree with you. But I think that an author who wants to say more can not write Mark 16:8 because nothing can really follow what's going on in the story. The men have already fled and now the women are fleeing. What should follow? A happy end that makes the told stories undone? I think that an author who wrote Mark 16:8 has decided that it's in fact the end.
I attempted to find a thread about what the women were a afraid of, but didn't locate it. I'm sure it's been asked before. If they never understood that Jesus foretold his resurrection, and find the stone rolled away and a young man saying he is risen, go tell Pete and the homies to hightail it up to Galilee, why were they so afraid, and secondly, why would being so afraid be a reason not to tell the inner circle?
Fear as a reaction to angelic presence is a normal motif in Scripture. It's almost the defining mark of an angel-appearance story, if I'm not mistaken. But there's more going on, I'm sure.

Something to keep in mind: Fear is a theme in gMark. So we should do well to attempt a contextual reading with the other passages in the narrative that deal with fear, to see if something presents itself.

I regard the theme of fear in gMark as part of the theme of preaching. For one thing, I think Mark really liked the Book of Jonah and that he found in there a story about a person being afraid to preach the word of God to some gentiles, as commissioned. He flees from God, but after three days in the realm of the dead, where he prays (cf. Mark 1:35; 6:46) he arises (Mark 1:35; 4:39) and now fearlessly preaches God's word (Mark 1:38; 4:39-40; 6:49-50 with the wind ceasing). Especially the episode with the Stilling of the Storm, Mark 4:35-41, with Jesus like Jonah in the boat on his way to the gentiles (the land of the Gerasenes). Matthew gets the idea to use the image of Jonah for Jesus in connection with the people of Ninevh to whom Jonah preached.

Two of the passages I've put in parantheses, the passage 1:35-39 and 6:45-52 are also the passages which I suggest gives us the 'lost' ending of gMark, i.e. the resurrected Jesus. The Stilling of the Storm also seems to contain symbols that might point to Jesus' death and resurrection, i.e. the whole Jonah imagery together with Jesus sleeping and being "raised" (διεγερθεις) from his sleep. Another way fear is connected thematically with preaching is preaching in the face of persecution (Mark 13), and in so far as confessing the faith is a form of preaching in this context, then in the same way fear of persectution as well as social dishonoring is an enemy of the Word (8:34-9:1). A great enemy of the Word is fear.

This silence of the women, for me, definately is also somehow part of the whole central theme of preaching the Word. In this case, I suppose, 'Jesus Christ rose from the dead on the third day'. The core of the gospel message. "But they said nothing to anyone because they feared". So I think Mark somehow wants to expand this theme here, which always happens in gMark at the sublevel, imo, but that's the main reason he has the women afraid. Then he just needs to fit it into the surface level of the narrative also.
Last edited by Stefan Kristensen on Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:38 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Thu Jun 07, 2018 4:34 pm

Of course, Jesus is not afraid to preach the Word before his death and resurrection, as opposed to Jonah. That is, except if we regard his baptism as his death and resurrection. This is not as far fetched as it sounds, I contend, and it has been argued that the baptism of Jesus has undertones which are meant to point to Jonah. Here are some free thoughts. The dipping in the water and the resurfacing is followed immediately by Jesus receiving the spirit, which is exactly what makes him preach. (Also 13:11.) Luke is especially hot on the idea that the spirit, which provides the Word, is what comes with praying, so it makes sense he has Jesus pray at his baptism. But maybe that's even a reference to the prayer of Jonah inside of 'Sheol'. And what Luke has done could be to move the prayer of Jesus which we find in Mark 1:35 back to the baptism. Perhaps the dove image at the baptism has to do with Jonah, his name meaning "dove". Anyway, I regard Jesus' baptism and his subsequent ministry as a deliberate model of the Christian baptism, and with regard to the apostles who are going to preach, their missionary activity. The idea could be that the fear of the apostles, "the fishers of men", is defeated in conversion, which is their own individual inward death and resurrection.

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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by DCHindley » Thu Jun 07, 2018 6:14 pm

Why do I feel we are judging the women in a way analogous to what we expect every time we see a film featuring a woman who is running, she trips. This has to be such an unbreakable rule among film directors that I think it has happened in every single movie I have ever seen in which a woman runs. The movie can be about a marathon runner, but she'll trip.

So, the woman who are told of Jesus' resurrection but say nothing are scared or weak. Just like the running woman in a film is always scared and weak.

Since we all know from real life that women are not always scared and weak, but strong people who have a mission that they will not let be compromised by telling the encounter to a bunch of bumbling disciples/apostles so they can bumble their own explanations for what they (tought) they saw.

No, they kept it to themselves to secretly formulate the "real" explanation/rationalization and passed it around to their womenfolk friends while winnowing, spinning or baking bread, who in turn told their husbands while in the sack with their husbands, and they said "Yeah, That makes sense!" Unfortunately, the men did manage to garble it a good bit. At least men are consistently strong and unafraid to mess up a good story.

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Re: Mark 16 and the silence of the women: The disciples redeemed?

Post by Charles Wilson » Thu Jun 07, 2018 10:06 pm

I really was not going to Post on this Topic but there is good reason.

1. "The Women". Symbolism is an acquired taste and various Scenes may play out differently in each person's consciousness. I'm certain that "The Woman with the 12 Year Issue of Blood" and "Jairus' Daughter" are VERY CERTAINLY Symbolic Stories written around 8/9 CE, looking back at the Passover of 4 BCE where 3000+ died. Not too many others on this Site wanna go there. So it goes.

2. Nonetheless, look at:

Mark 15: 45 - 46 (RSV):

[45] And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead, he granted the body to Joseph.
[46] And he bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud, and laid him in a tomb which had been hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a stone against the door of the tomb.

Compare with:

Mark 12: 50 - 52 (RSV):

[50] And they all forsook him, and fled.
[51] And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him,
[52] but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

John is not antagonistic towards Mark so much as adding to or correcting Mark:

[1] Now on the first day of the week Mary Mag'dalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb.
[2] So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him."
[3] Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb.
[4] They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first;
[5] and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in.
[6] Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying,
[7] and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself
.

The first part of this is telling the Story of the failed Coup against Herod. Thackeray, War..., "The promoters of the mourning of the doctors stood in a body of the temple, procuring recruits for their faction".

Externally, the Coup as described by Josephus. Internally, echoing Mark, as the Priests are recruiting, Archelaus unleashes the soldiers.

One may see that the women are Symbols for Nations/States/Groups. At the time, especially in Galilee, they know of the failed Coup and the deaths of the thousands in the Temple area.

Here is Type, Repeat Type, given as a New Religion. In the Hasmonean Story, the failed Coup marks the end of Hasmonean hopes. The linen garment of the youth represents the Recruitment. It ends in death.

In Mark, the sentiment is not on the linen garments but on where the savior/god was:

"He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him".

For those who live in areas surrounding Judea, especially Syria, the Temple Slaughter was known. As the Romans rewrite the Story, grafting the Empty Tomb Section throughout the Gospels, the scene is replayed. This time, however, the death is celestial and the bodies are not scattered everywhere around the Temple. Indeed, the Temple has been moved, physically to Rome, Spiritually to an Eternal Realm.

The women need not tell. They are now the new believers. If they had to merely touch the tassels of the savior/god's robe to be healed earlier, now they do not even need that. The Replacement Values - The Transvaluation - is complete.

CW

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