Why Mark had to be called Mark

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
Post Reply
Giuseppe
Posts: 3887
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:09 pm

toejam wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:08 pm
The point in my last post was that your attempt to argue that Papias' "elder" was a myth invented by Papias because Papias isn't more specific about him is terribly weak. It's so weak that the reverse argument would be just as strong (i.e. that if Papias were too specific, then that too would be rounded up as a point in favor of Papias' invention of the elder).
taken as an isolated bit, surely the old age of the "elders" seems to be not a myth invented by Papias. But considered in the light of the fact that Ireneus said that Jesus died 50 years old (!), then the "elders" of Papias raise more than a suspicion of myth-making. Only ask yourself: why all this stress on the old age?
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5419
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:13 pm

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:09 pm
toejam wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:08 pm
The point in my last post was that your attempt to argue that Papias' "elder" was a myth invented by Papias because Papias isn't more specific about him is terribly weak. It's so weak that the reverse argument would be just as strong (i.e. that if Papias were too specific, then that too would be rounded up as a point in favor of Papias' invention of the elder).
taken as an isolated bit, surely the old age of the "elders" seems to be not a myth invented by Papias. But considered in the light of the fact that Ireneus said that Jesus died 50 years old (!), then the "elders" of Papias raise more than a suspicion of myth-making. Only ask yourself: why all this stress on the old age?
Where else would you get your traditions? Papias getting them from people older than he was is about as suspicious as a fisherman buying bait.

If Papias has made John and Aristion up, then we will need better evidence than that a person would seek out older people to learn about the past. That is just a silly objection.

ETA: Irenaeus making Jesus older than usual is suspicious, because sources from before Irenaeus make Jesus about 30 when he was crucified, so Irenaeus must have had some reason to make the change. But no contingency like that (at least not that you have presented) affects Papias getting his information from "elders."
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5419
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:34 pm

I have spent a lot of time on Papias, and have come to some fairly critical interim conclusions. For example: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3226.

But to level this kind of critique at Papias is better evidence of desperation than of historical fact.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5419
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:54 pm

Also, there is what may be another attempt to bridge the gap between figures of century II and Jesus preserved in pseudo-Hilary, in which John is the child who sat upon Jesus' lap. Making John this young during Jesus' ministry may have been necessary to make the math work out so that he could be an eyewitness.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

Giuseppe
Posts: 3887
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:33 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:13 pm
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:09 pm
toejam wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:08 pm
The point in my last post was that your attempt to argue that Papias' "elder" was a myth invented by Papias because Papias isn't more specific about him is terribly weak. It's so weak that the reverse argument would be just as strong (i.e. that if Papias were too specific, then that too would be rounded up as a point in favor of Papias' invention of the elder).
taken as an isolated bit, surely the old age of the "elders" seems to be not a myth invented by Papias. But considered in the light of the fact that Ireneus said that Jesus died 50 years old (!), then the "elders" of Papias raise more than a suspicion of myth-making. Only ask yourself: why all this stress on the old age?
Where else would you get your traditions? Papias getting them from people older than he was is about as suspicious as a fisherman buying bait.

If Papias has made John and Aristion up, then we will need better evidence than that a person would seek out older people to learn about the past. That is just a silly objection.

ETA: Irenaeus making Jesus older than usual is suspicious, because sources from before Irenaeus make Jesus about 30 when he was crucified, so Irenaeus must have had some reason to make the change. But no contingency like that (at least not that you have presented) affects Papias getting his information from "elders."
I would disagree. Papias's claim that he received traditions from ''elders'' may be comparable, mutatis mutandis, to Paul's claim that Jesus was ''born by woman''.

Any man is born by woman, so where is the precise point of Paul?

Who gives a tradition is, by definition, of age more great then who received the tradition in question, so where is the point of Papias?


Just as we should have suspicions about the ''born by woman'' bit as anti-marcionite point (docet a guy called Bart Ehrman), so we should have suspicions about the strange bit of remembering as ''elders'' who is giving the tradition to Papias.

The reality is that all this stress on the ''elders'' sounds anti-marcionite.
Papias' not mentioning Paul, who is to Marcion the authority and the sole Apostle, his insistence upon a distance between the Lord and any author of written accounts, and his avoidance of using Marcion's newly created catchwords (Gospel, Old and New Testament), all contribute to an anti-Marcionite profile.
(Markus Vinzent, Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels, Peteers, 2014, p. 13, my bold)
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Giuseppe
Posts: 3887
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Giuseppe » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:43 pm

@Ben
ETA: Irenaeus making Jesus older than usual is suspicious, because sources from before Irenaeus make Jesus about 30 when he was crucified, so Irenaeus must have had some reason to make the change. But no contingency like that (at least not that you have presented) affects Papias getting his information from "elders."
the 50 years bit is suspicious not because other sources say that Jesus was 30, but because the previous myth (1 Cor 2:6-8 for example, or the Ascension of Isaiah) - independently here from the historicity of Jesus - describe generally Jesus'mission as a kind of Toccata and Fugue mission on earth: the earthly drama of the Son on the earth had to be very short. So, from this POV, to say that Jesus died old is equivalent to insist that he was born by woman.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5419
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:56 am

Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:33 pm
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:13 pm
Giuseppe wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 8:09 pm
toejam wrote:
Thu Jul 05, 2018 1:08 pm
The point in my last post was that your attempt to argue that Papias' "elder" was a myth invented by Papias because Papias isn't more specific about him is terribly weak. It's so weak that the reverse argument would be just as strong (i.e. that if Papias were too specific, then that too would be rounded up as a point in favor of Papias' invention of the elder).
taken as an isolated bit, surely the old age of the "elders" seems to be not a myth invented by Papias. But considered in the light of the fact that Ireneus said that Jesus died 50 years old (!), then the "elders" of Papias raise more than a suspicion of myth-making. Only ask yourself: why all this stress on the old age?
Where else would you get your traditions? Papias getting them from people older than he was is about as suspicious as a fisherman buying bait.

If Papias has made John and Aristion up, then we will need better evidence than that a person would seek out older people to learn about the past. That is just a silly objection.

ETA: Irenaeus making Jesus older than usual is suspicious, because sources from before Irenaeus make Jesus about 30 when he was crucified, so Irenaeus must have had some reason to make the change. But no contingency like that (at least not that you have presented) affects Papias getting his information from "elders."
I would disagree. Papias's claim that he received traditions from ''elders'' may be comparable, mutatis mutandis, to Paul's claim that Jesus was ''born by woman''.

Any man is born by woman, so where is the precise point of Paul?
Nonsense. Irenaeus claims traditions from "the elders," too, and in his case we can be sure that they existed; Papias is one of them! You have to call those people something, and "elders" is an obvious and common thing to call them. Paul did not in any way have to specify that Jesus was "born of a woman," except to combat some heresy.

Also, Papias' main use of the term "elders" is for the disciples themselves. (The easiest way to read the grammar is to take the series of accusative interrogative pronouns (τί) as standing in apposition with "words," or λόγους, also an accusative.) But the disciples are already contemporary with Jesus, by definition, so to call them "elders" cannot serve your preferred purpose.

ETA: In fact, Giuseppe, think about what it would mean, on your own terms, that Papias called the disciples "elders." His words imply that they are already dead (since he talks about "what they said," past tense). If they all died young, then Papias can be writing shortly after their passing, thus decreasing the chronological distance between himself and Jesus. But, if they died old, as emphasized by "elders" on your reading, then that actually increases the chronological distance between himself and Jesus, since more years have to pass in order for them all to die.
Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

User avatar
Jax
Posts: 562
Joined: Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:10 am

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Jax » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:13 am

If you have Papias in the late 1st century to early 2dn century, and Paul in the mid to late 1st century BCE, Papias would have elders galore.

User avatar
Ben C. Smith
Posts: 5419
Joined: Wed Apr 08, 2015 2:18 pm
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:30 am

Jax wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 5:13 am
If you have Papias in the late 1st century to early 2dn century, and Paul in the mid to late 1st century BCE, Papias would have elders galore.
I am not sure exactly where to put Papias chronologically. Dating him to the reign of Hadrian depends upon Philip Sidetes having quoted him accurately about those whom Jesus had raised from the dead, but it is possible that he confused Papias with Quadratus. Dating him earlier is usually a way of making it possible that he consulted actual disciples of Jesus (Aristion and the elder John), whereas I have agreed elsewhere (with an older generation of scholars) that the second "disciples of the Lord" phrase in Eusebius' quotation of Papias may well be an interpolation. All that remains, I think, is that Eusebius treated his writings during the reign of Trajan, alongside those of Ignatius, but in this case Eusebius does not tell us why (as he often does elsewhere) he dates him to that period; so perhaps it is just a hopeful guess. Thus is Papias loosed from his chronological moorings, and I really do not know how to situate him. Any ideas?
ΤΙ ΕΣΤΙΝ ΑΛΕΘΕΙΑ

Giuseppe
Posts: 3887
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Vicenza (Italy)

Re: Why Mark had to be called Mark

Post by Giuseppe » Fri Jul 06, 2018 6:23 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Jul 06, 2018 4:56 am

Nonsense. Irenaeus claims traditions from "the elders," too, and in his case we can be sure that they existed; Papias is one of them! You have to call those people something, and "elders" is an obvious and common thing to call them. Paul did not in any way have to specify that Jesus was "born of a woman," except to combat some heresy.
I am saying that ''elders'' is an obvious and common thing to call them if Papias wanted to give them a some kind of authority. If Papias was ''innocent'' and less ideological in the his words, then he would have used another term. For example, Eusebius doesn't show about Papias the same high respect that Papias shows about these presumed ''elders'': really, Eusebius wrote that Papias was a fool. Eusebius didn't call Papias as ''the elder'', so here is a valid counter-example that confutes your (Ben's) view of ''elders'' as an innocent term (''innocent'' = without ideological double ends).


In my view, Papias introduced these fictional ''elders'' as ideal necessary ring in the chain of (an equally fictious) tradition he is inventing (against Marcion obviously).

In a particular sense, he was coherent with the his words of the incipit, since he found a presumed ''elder'' in the ''Mark'' of 1 Peter 1:1, and invented an entire ''Mark''s legend about him.

But the disciples are already contemporary with Jesus, by definition, so to call them "elders" cannot serve your preferred purpose.
Isn't Papias meaning something as: apostles > elders > Papias. I have thought so.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

Post Reply