gMark is intended to be history writing

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JoeWallack
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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by JoeWallack » Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:59 am

It ain't no Mystries,
whether it's politics, religion or histries.
The thing you gotta know iz,
Everything is show biz.

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:25 am
I think the crucial evidence that the author of gMark presents his story, his narrative, as history writing comes right off the bat, when he inserts his story into the frame of prophecy: "As it is written in the prophet Isaiah" (Mark 1:2). His story may be one very special form of history writing, but nevertheless history writing indeed, i.e. a story relating real events.

To my knowledge there is no evidence that the prophetic predictions of Scripture were generally considered as anything other than predictions of actual, real events to come. That is, reality. And that is what history is thought to be: reality. As such, prophecy is a kind of proleptic history writing, because the real author of the prophecies was considered to be somebody who knows what is going to happen in the course of history, and that is God. Therefore, when Mark presents his story as fulfilment of prophecy he presents it as real events of the (recent) past, and that is the most basic definition of history writing.

And so everytime Jesus does something in the story where he fulfils prophecy or speaks about the fulfilment of prophecy this is evidence that we're dealing with history writing, because prophecy is history, not fiction. It makes no sense at all to write a 'fictional' or symbolic story of somebody who fulfils prophecy. Prophecy is history.
JW:
A righteous observation by itself but how does Mark 1:1-3 compare to the rest of GMark? My forthcoming and desperately needed The Skeptical Critical Commentary of "Mark" will conclude that Mark 1:1-3 is likely not original. The current article championing this view is J.K. Elliott "Mark 1:1 - 3 – A later addition to the Gospel?" NTS 46 (2000) 584 - 8 where he observes that from an Internal evidence standpoint 1:1-3 has relatively more inconsistentcies compared to the rest of GMark than the well known addition 16:9-20.

Considering all the parallels GMark" has to The Jewish Bible GMark has relatively few explicit claims of prophecy fulfillment and the few others all seem to be very ironic. The supposed prophecy fulfillment of 1:2-3 is in contrast to the rest of GMark as it looks explicit, straight-forward and not ironic. This can be a clue for addition. Addition of one contradictory thematic claim, best placed at the start or end.

In general we have evidence that all the Canonical gospels have added beginnings:
  • 1) GMatthew = The Ebionites lacked chapters 1 and 2.

    2) GLuke = Marcion lacked chapters 1 and 2.

    3) GJohn = The original looks Gnostic.
As far as the External evidence this could explain why we have no extant GMark from the first few centuries = it lacked the orthodox beginning and ending.


Joseph

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:21 am

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:37 am
There is also some quote by some ancient historian, which is relevant, but I can't remember where it's from. If I remember correctly, this historian writes openly something to the effect that he personally constructs the speeches in his history work in order to convey the historical person's intentions and personality etc. I think I came across this in connection with research of Acts, with all its speeches, which were intended, then, to be understood in this way, i.e. historical in the manner of conveying the 'sense' of the historical person and event, not the actual precise event and speech.
GakuseiDon wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:40 am
Yes, I've come across that as well, though I don't remember from where off-hand.
Is it this?

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 1.22.1-4 (translation modified slightly from Richard Crawley): 1 With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said. 2 And, with reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions, but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most severe and detailed tests possible. 3 My conclusions have cost me some labor from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eyewitnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. 4 The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but, if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things it must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as an everlasting possession.

Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:24 am

JoeWallack wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 6:59 am
It ain't no Mystries,
whether it's politics, religion or histries.
The thing you gotta know iz,
Everything is show biz.

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:25 am
I think the crucial evidence that the author of gMark presents his story, his narrative, as history writing comes right off the bat, when he inserts his story into the frame of prophecy: "As it is written in the prophet Isaiah" (Mark 1:2). His story may be one very special form of history writing, but nevertheless history writing indeed, i.e. a story relating real events.

To my knowledge there is no evidence that the prophetic predictions of Scripture were generally considered as anything other than predictions of actual, real events to come. That is, reality. And that is what history is thought to be: reality. As such, prophecy is a kind of proleptic history writing, because the real author of the prophecies was considered to be somebody who knows what is going to happen in the course of history, and that is God. Therefore, when Mark presents his story as fulfilment of prophecy he presents it as real events of the (recent) past, and that is the most basic definition of history writing.

And so everytime Jesus does something in the story where he fulfils prophecy or speaks about the fulfilment of prophecy this is evidence that we're dealing with history writing, because prophecy is history, not fiction. It makes no sense at all to write a 'fictional' or symbolic story of somebody who fulfils prophecy. Prophecy is history.
JW:
A righteous observation by itself but how does Mark 1:1-3 compare to the rest of GMark? My forthcoming and desperately needed The Skeptical Critical Commentary of "Mark" will conclude that Mark 1:1-3 is likely not original. The current article championing this view is J.K. Elliott "Mark 1:1 - 3 – A later addition to the Gospel?" NTS 46 (2000) 584 - 8 where he observes that from an Internal evidence standpoint 1:1-3 has relatively more inconsistentcies compared to the rest of GMark than the well known addition 16:9-20.

Considering all the parallels GMark" has to The Jewish Bible GMark has relatively few explicit claims of prophecy fulfillment and the few others all seem to be very ironic. The supposed prophecy fulfillment of 1:2-3 is in contrast to the rest of GMark as it looks explicit, straight-forward and not ironic. This can be a clue for addition. Addition of one contradictory thematic claim, best placed at the start or end.

In general we have evidence that all the Canonical gospels have added beginnings:
  • 1) GMatthew = The Ebionites lacked chapters 1 and 2.

    2) GLuke = Marcion lacked chapters 1 and 2.

    3) GJohn = The original looks Gnostic.
As far as the External evidence this could explain why we have no extant GMark from the first few centuries = it lacked the orthodox beginning and ending.


Joseph

Skeptical Textual Criticism
I'm definately awaiting your project with interest, Joe. I'm not familiar with detailed arguments that Mark 1:1-3 can be an addition, but on the face of it, I think it makes sense. This may be one of the arguments already, but I think the explicit citing of prophecy Mark 2-3 stands out when we do a narrative-critical analysis of the superficial appearance of the story's so-called narrator. Because I think that if we disregard 1:1-3 and then tried to construct an artificial and hypothetical person from this analysis of the narrator, what we get are very consistent traits to make up a clear personality:
1. who is reporting events without ever personally commenting upon them
2. who is completely disinterested in the actual meaning of the events he narrates
3. who is so silent and apparantly disinterested in theological matters, that he probably is not familiar with the existence of Scripture
4. who is in fact the same person as the stubby-fingered "Mark" of Church tradition! The happy fool, without any theological knowledge of his own, merely reporting the stories of the wise Peter.

Once we realize that the so-called 'real author' is extremely different from this 'narrator', we can see that it is a very conscious and consistent strategy of narration that he makes his narrator completely silent concerning any explicit theological expression. This is where 1:2-3 stands out strongly. Apparantly the 'narrator' has heard of Scripture! But then why is it only here in the beginning that he expresses it?

I think there can be different answers. My answer is that this is an introduction passage, and that's why it has a different character from all the rest of the narrative. But it is different, very different!

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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:30 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:21 am
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:37 am
There is also some quote by some ancient historian, which is relevant, but I can't remember where it's from. If I remember correctly, this historian writes openly something to the effect that he personally constructs the speeches in his history work in order to convey the historical person's intentions and personality etc. I think I came across this in connection with research of Acts, with all its speeches, which were intended, then, to be understood in this way, i.e. historical in the manner of conveying the 'sense' of the historical person and event, not the actual precise event and speech.
GakuseiDon wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:40 am
Yes, I've come across that as well, though I don't remember from where off-hand.
Is it this?

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 1.22.1-4 (translation modified slightly from Richard Crawley): 1 With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said. 2 And, with reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions, but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most severe and detailed tests possible. 3 My conclusions have cost me some labor from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eyewitnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. 4 The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but, if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things it must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as an everlasting possession.

Yes! That's precisely it, thanks Ben.

Imagine a modern history school book having this in its introduction! History as story.

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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:03 am

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:30 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:21 am
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:37 am
There is also some quote by some ancient historian, which is relevant, but I can't remember where it's from. If I remember correctly, this historian writes openly something to the effect that he personally constructs the speeches in his history work in order to convey the historical person's intentions and personality etc. I think I came across this in connection with research of Acts, with all its speeches, which were intended, then, to be understood in this way, i.e. historical in the manner of conveying the 'sense' of the historical person and event, not the actual precise event and speech.
GakuseiDon wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:40 am
Yes, I've come across that as well, though I don't remember from where off-hand.
Is it this?

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 1.22.1-4 (translation modified slightly from Richard Crawley): 1 With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said. 2 And, with reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions, but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most severe and detailed tests possible. 3 My conclusions have cost me some labor from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eyewitnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. 4 The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but, if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things it must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as an everlasting possession.

Yes! That's precisely it, thanks Ben.

Imagine a modern history school book having this in its introduction! History as story.
Not sure about high school or earlier, but this Thucydidean preface and similar snippets were very much in the forefront during my ancient history classes in college.
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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Giuseppe » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:29 am

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:25 am
And so everytime Jesus does something in the story where he fulfils prophecy or speaks about the fulfilment of prophecy this is evidence that we're dealing with history writing, because prophecy is history, not fiction. It makes no sense at all to write a 'fictional' or symbolic story of somebody who fulfils prophecy. Prophecy is history.
I think that a particular attention has to be derived on the link of cause-effect.

Was Jesus fulfilling prophecies to sound as a "historical" Jesus (in the intention of "Mark")?

Or, was a story described as "history" to fulfill prophecies
(in the intention of "Mark")?


The distinction is important: basically, was the fulfilling of prophecies a mere means or the final goal?

I think that the latter case is what more probably happened. The DNA of the Gospel Jesus is the fulfilling of OT prophecies in anti-Gnostic function. The goal was to judaize their celestial Christ, something that is stricto sensu equivalent to fulfilling OT prophecies.
Nihil enim in speciem fallacius est quam prava religio. -Liv. xxxix. 16.

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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:35 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:03 am
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:30 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 7:21 am
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 3:37 am
There is also some quote by some ancient historian, which is relevant, but I can't remember where it's from. If I remember correctly, this historian writes openly something to the effect that he personally constructs the speeches in his history work in order to convey the historical person's intentions and personality etc. I think I came across this in connection with research of Acts, with all its speeches, which were intended, then, to be understood in this way, i.e. historical in the manner of conveying the 'sense' of the historical person and event, not the actual precise event and speech.
GakuseiDon wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 4:40 am
Yes, I've come across that as well, though I don't remember from where off-hand.
Is it this?

Thucydides, The Peloponnesian War 1.22.1-4 (translation modified slightly from Richard Crawley): 1 With reference to the speeches in this history, some were delivered before the war began, others while it was going on; some I heard myself, others I got from various quarters; it was in all cases difficult to carry them word for word in memory, so my habit has been to make the speakers say what was in my opinion demanded of them by the various occasions, of course adhering as closely as possible to the general sense of what they really said. 2 And, with reference to the narrative of events, far from permitting myself to derive it from the first source that came to hand, I did not even trust my own impressions, but it rests partly on what I saw myself, partly on what others saw for me, the accuracy of the report being always tried by the most severe and detailed tests possible. 3 My conclusions have cost me some labor from the want of coincidence between accounts of the same occurrences by different eyewitnesses, arising sometimes from imperfect memory, sometimes from undue partiality for one side or the other. 4 The absence of romance in my history will, I fear, detract somewhat from its interest; but, if it be judged useful by those inquirers who desire an exact knowledge of the past as an aid to the interpretation of the future, which in the course of human things it must resemble if it does not reflect it, I shall be content. In fine, I have written my work, not as an essay which is to win the applause of the moment, but as an everlasting possession.

Yes! That's precisely it, thanks Ben.

Imagine a modern history school book having this in its introduction! History as story.
Not sure about high school or earlier, but this Thucydidean preface and similar snippets were very much in the forefront during my ancient history classes in college.
I was thinking that the author of the school book himself had written such a thing in his introduction!

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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by nightshadetwine » Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:55 am

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:25 am
I think the crucial evidence that the author of gMark presents his story, his narrative, as history writing comes right off the bat, when he inserts his story into the frame of prophecy: "As it is written in the prophet Isaiah" (Mark 1:2). His story may be one very special form of history writing, but nevertheless history writing indeed, i.e. a story relating real events.
I think the author of gMark presents his story as historical but it's actually allegorical. So he's setting his allegorical story in an historical setting and even using some historical people. By that time there were people that took mythological stories literally and people like the Platonists who took them allegorically. The gospel writers take the concept of the messiah and suffering servant and combine it with the Greco-Roman-Egyptian concept of the dying and resurrecting savior/hero. The Jewish concept of the messiah is most likely influenced by enthronement and coronation hymns which go back to ancient Egypt and Babylon. So the gospels are telling a story using allegory, metaphor, and symbolism and an amalgamation of ANE motifs and setting it in history.

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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:20 am

nightshadetwine wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:55 am
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2018 12:25 am
I think the crucial evidence that the author of gMark presents his story, his narrative, as history writing comes right off the bat, when he inserts his story into the frame of prophecy: "As it is written in the prophet Isaiah" (Mark 1:2). His story may be one very special form of history writing, but nevertheless history writing indeed, i.e. a story relating real events.
I think the author of gMark presents his story as historical but it's actually allegorical. ...
But do you think he meant his intended audience to understand it as history? Or just allogory? Or both at the same time (which is really what I’m arguing)?

It is interesting that Philo, as he reads the narratives of Scripture as allegories, exactly understands them as historical simultaniously.

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Re: gMark is intended to be history writing

Post by Paul the Uncertain » Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:28 am

Greetings, @Stefan Kristensen

I don't think it's that simple to reverse engineer the never stated intention of Mark, beyond the self-evident, to attract and hold an audience for his work. Had he not succeeded in that, we wouldn't be discussing his work, and Luke would have copied from somebody else.
To my knowledge there is no evidence that the prophetic predictions of Scripture were generally considered as anything other than predictions of actual, real events to come.
Often, the purpose of speaking about the future is to influence behavior in the present and future. Whether or not the prophecy "comes true" is secondary, as is whether its fulfillment is plain, ironic or not at all.

For example, God insists that Jonah proclaim a calamity to come, which doesn't come after all. Why? Because the divine purpose was achieved by the prophecy itself: behavior changed in the present. Jonah is put out about it, too.

Forecasts are predictions of actual, real events to come. Prophecy isn't necessarily forecasting, although it can take that form, but needn't achieve any forecasting objectives to succeed.
It makes no sense at all to write a 'fictional' or symbolic story of somebody who fulfils prophecy. Prophecy is history.
Harry Potter fulfills prophecy. Sells pretty well, so it must make some sense to somebody. Come to think of it, Mark sells well, too.
Apparantly the 'narrator' has heard of Scripture! But then why is it only here in the beginning that he expresses it?
Of course I agree that the narrator is a character within the work, and not necessarily the voice of the author.

There's quite a bit of Jewish Bible quoting and allusion throughout Mark. It seems the the main character is a full-time Jewish preacher, as are several of his antagonists - and among the amateur ranks, even drunken Herod manages a bit of Esther.

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