The Skeptical Critical Commentary - Gospel of Mark

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JoeWallack
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The Skeptical Critical Commentary - Gospel of Mark

Post by JoeWallack » Tue Feb 26, 2019 8:08 am

JW:
Starting with Textual Criticism:

NRSV
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
In Skeptical Textual Criticism Internal Evidence and The Difficult Reading Principle are exponentially weightier
evidence than External Evidence so Internal Evidence will be analyzed first. The main components of Internal
evidence in order of importance are:
  • Theme

    Style

    Language
Weighting of difference between Themes of verses being analyzed and GMark as a whole =
  • 0 = little or no difference

    1 = Light difference

    2 = Medium difference

    3 = Heavy difference


Theme:

1:1-3 GMark in General Commentary Weight
All about Jesus All about reaction to Jesus Not much difference here. "son of God" is likely an addition here since there is no Greek support until the 4th century (not an interesting textual criticism issue for Skeptical Textual Criticism). 1
Simple Complicated The verses here are straight-forward which is the opposite of GMark in general. GMark is full of irony and difficult to understand meanings which lead to misunderstanding on the part of the characters. 3
Editorial comment gives conclusion Reader makes conclusions based on narrative GMark is long on narrative and short on editorial comment so the reader makes conclusions based on the narrative. 3
Edit The Jewish Bible to fit conclusion Edit The Jewish Bible to fit conclusion A match and the best reason to think the offending verses are either original or merely edited. 0

Note that all differences (Focus on Jesus, simplicity, editorial comments) move GMark towards orthodox Christianity (surprise). The heavy differences, simple verses complicated, and editorial verses narrative, suggest the possibility that the changes go beyond editing to wholesale addition.

Next up is Style.


Joseph

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1:1-3 Style

Post by JoeWallack » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:50 am

JW:
Textual Criticism:

NRSV
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
Style:

1:1-3 GMark in General Commentary Weight
All editorial Pericopes GMark is dominated by pericopes which usually contain only narrative. 3
No extremes Extremes GMark often has extreme language such as "all", "immediately", "and", repetition, double negatives and good/bad descriptions. 3
No chiasm Chiasms You can make chiasms out of most of GMark pericopes. There is a clear chiasm with John the Baptist in the following pericope. 3
Well defined quote Combination of Jewish Bible source and quote not well defined GMark is full of parallels and references to the Jewish Bible but this is the only place where all identification is direct and explicit. 3
Greek Tragedy style prologue in form but not substance Overall genre parallels best with Greek Tragedy The prologue of Greek Tragedy often gives background information in narrative form regarding the primary subject and often adds a future tragic/ironic prophecy. The form here is narrative and background but the primary subject and purpose is to introduce John the Baptist and the prologue is blissfully unaware of the tragic failure of Jesus in the rest of GMark. 2

The differences in Theme raised doubts as to 1:1-3 and the significant differences in Style here raise omission to a serious candidate.

Next up = Language.


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1:1-3 Language

Post by JoeWallack » Thu Feb 28, 2019 6:54 pm

JW:
Textual Criticism:

NRSV
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "

4 John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the country of Judaea, and all they of Jerusalem; And they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 And John was clothed with camel`s hair, and [had] a leathern girdle about his loins, and did eat locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, There cometh after me he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8 I baptized you in water; But he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
Language:

1:1-3 GMark in General/1:4-8 Commentary Weight
"Jesus Christ" These two words never combined in the rest of GMark - 3
The Gospel refers to Jesus Elsewhere in GMark the Gospel refers to God - 3
The Gospel here refers to Jesus' story (actions and teachings). Elsewhere in GMark the Gospel refers to teachings - 3
"Gospel" lacks the definite article 1:14, which is the next use of "Gospel" has the definite article which would be expected of the first use. - 3
The Greek for "beginning" here is used in a sequential context. Elsewhere in GMark it is used as a time Marker. - 3
1:1 has no verb Every other verse has at least one verb - 3
No "kai" as the basic conjunction. "Kai" is the basc conjunction in 1:5,6,7. - 3
No verb followed by subject. Verb followed by subject in 1:4,5,6,7. - 3
Asyndeton 4 times Asyndeton in 1:4,7,8 - 0




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1:1-3 The Difficult Reading Principle

Post by JoeWallack » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:32 pm

JW:
Textual Criticism:

NRSV
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "

4 John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins.
5 And there went out unto him all the country of Judaea, and all they of Jerusalem; And they were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
6 And John was clothed with camel`s hair, and [had] a leathern girdle about his loins, and did eat locusts and wild honey.
7 And he preached, saying, There cometh after me he that is mightier than I, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
8 I baptized you in water; But he shall baptize you in the Holy Spirit.
The Difficult Reading Principle:

For a general comparison note that for the most difficult readings of GMark, usually only 1 or 2 of the weightiest manuscripts support the
difficult reading. Here there is no direct evidence of External support for omission of 1:1-3 but -0- manuscripts is not far from 1 or 2. So how difficult is the omission?:

GMark starts with 1:4 Difficulty Commentary
There's no good news about Jesus Christ. Without this editorial positive summary statement at the start GMark is even clearer that Jesus' mission was a failure. Jesus' specific mission was to preach the Gospel although GMark is unclear what that "gospel" is. Without the initial positive spin GMark is simply Jesus trying to convince his Disciples to promote his suffering, execution and resurrection but his failure is epic. Their lack of faith Trumps his ability to generate/teach faith.
The name/title "Jesus Christ" is not used. The rest of GMark is clearly Separationist. "Jesus" and "Christ" are two different thingies. "Son of God" is clearly an addition.
No explicit direct connection to The Jewish Bible The rest of GMark has lots of allusions/references to The Jewish Bible but they are usually, subtle, indirect and ironic. 1:2-3 is a clear editorial comment that Jesus is predicted by the Jewish Bible.
If you start with John the baptist and his baptizing of repentance for the remission of sins... ...and Jesus' story starting with his baptism by John there is nothing to counter the conclusion that Jesus repented for the remission of his sins. The rest of GMark is consistent that even after baptism Jesus was not perfect.
Literally nothing is preached about Jesus before his baptism starts his mission. The implication is there was nothing reMarkable about Jesus before his baptism. Agrees with Paul who vowed to preach of nothing else concerning Jesus.
Nothing before Jesus was baptized. Nothing after Jesus was resurrected. Suggests that rather than exorcising Jesus' origin and commission there was nothing for the author to exorcise.




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1:1-3 External Evidence

Post by JoeWallack » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:36 pm

JW:
Textual Criticism:

NRSV
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
External Evidence:
There is no direct External Evidence supporting omission of 1:1-3. But what are the qualifications for supporting
inclusion?:

1) Large time gap between authorship and extant manuscript support -
  • GMark authorship c. 100 and earliest extant Manuscript/Papyrus is Vaticanus c. 350, about 250 years later.
2) The early GMark papyrus all lack 1:1-3:

List of all registered New Testament papyri
  • P45, c. 250, most of GMark but none of the most difficult readings.

    P88, c. 350, 2:1-26

    P137, c. 200, 1:7-9, 16-18
3) GMark in general lacks the early Papyrus evidence the other Gospels have.

4) GMark was the original Gospel so all other things being equal it should have the earliest Papyrus support.
  • 2), 3) and 4) are evidence that Christianity deliberately did not preserve original GMark. Maybe no
    1:1-3 was partly responsible. Sure, if Morton Smith was the one who discovered a papyrus with
    1:1-3 he would have published it. But what if Stephen Carlson found it?
5) Other examples of the beginning or ending of a Gospel being added:
  • The Ending of GMark is generally thought to have been added.

    The orthodox confess that The Ebionites, early on, lacked the beginning of GMatthew.

    The orthodox confess that the Marcionites, early on, lacked the beginning of GLuke.
So added beginnings or endings seem to have been the norm with the Synoptics. Apologists
can claim that it was not the orthodox that did so but as The Hound famously said when
questioned about his willingness to die for a chicken, "Someone did".

6) 1:4
John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins.
  • sure looks like the start of the main part of the narrative in GMatthew:
3:1-2
And in those days cometh John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, saying, Repent ye; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
  • and GLuke:
3:1-3
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene,
in the highpriesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.
And he came into all the region round about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins;


Joseph

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robert j
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Re: The Skeptical Critical Commentary - Gospel of Mark

Post by robert j » Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:59 pm

JoeWallack wrote:
Sun Mar 03, 2019 7:36 pm

... as The Hound famously said when questioned about his willingness to die for a chicken, "Someone did".
Question: “You’re gonna die for some chickens?”

The Hound: “Someone is.”

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Re: The Skeptical Critical Commentary - Gospel of Mark

Post by MrMacSon » Mon Mar 04, 2019 12:32 pm

1:1, 'The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God,' is the incipit, reflecting Gen 1:1 and Rom 1:1.

Mk 1:2-4 is a Prologue -

A 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, [Isa 40:3]

. BA “Look, I send my messenger ahead of you, [Malachi 3:1; adopting Mal 3:22–24, Mal 4:5, & Exodus 23:20]

. BB who will prepare your way.” [Isa 40:3]

. BA’ 1:3 A voice proclaiming in the wilderness, [Isa 43:19]

. BB’ “Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his way straight.” [Isa 40:3; Psalms 5:8 and 107:7; Prov. 3:6]

A 1:4 Appeared John the Baptizer in the wilderness proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. [Isa 43:19]

based on Smith, David Oliver (2016) Unlocking the Puzzle: The Keys to the Christology and Structure of the Original Gospel of Mark (p. ~203). Resource Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers.

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Re: The Skeptical Critical Commentary - Gospel of Mark

Post by robert j » Mon Mar 04, 2019 2:22 pm

The author of GMark used several books of the LXX to help construct his tale. But, in addition to Paul, I think Isaiah provided the overall conceptual framework, and I think the incipit is this ---

“Beginning of the good news (τοῦ εὐαγγελίου) of Jesus Christ, as it has been written in Isaiah the prophet." (Mark 1:1-2a)

And here is the good news in Isaiah to which the author of GMark was referring ---

"Go up on a high mountain, O one announcing good news (ευαγγελιζόμενος) of Zion. Lift up your voice with strength, O one announcing good news (ευαγγελιζόμενος) of Jerusalem. … See, the Lord comes with strength … He will tend his flock like a shepherd and gather the lambs with his arm and comfort those that are with young." (Isaiah 40:9-11).

"Therefore my people shall know my name in that day, because I myself am the one speaking, I am at hand, like season upon the mountains, like the feet of one announcing good news (ευαγγελιζόμενου) of a report of peace, like one announcing good news (ευαγγελιζομένου) of good things. Because I will make your salvation heard … And the Lord shall reveal his holy arm before all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation that comes from our God." (Isaiah 52:6-7 and 52:10).

"The spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to announce good news (ευαγγελίσασθαι) to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind … “ (Isaiah 61:1).

And along with the good news, a suffering savior is also found in Isaiah ---

"… And to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? … This one bears our sins and suffers pain for us … But he was wounded because of our acts of lawlessness and has been weakened because of our sins … by his bruise we were healed. All we like sheep have gone astray … and the Lord gave him over to our sins. And he, because he has been ill-treated, does not open his mouth; like a sheep he was led to the slaughter, and as a lamb is silent before the one shearing it, so he does not open his mouth … and he bore the sins of many, and because of their sins he was given over." (Isaiah, chapter 53).

These were likely popular and well known passages. Mark painted a picture worth a thousand words --- just with his opening line.

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Re: The Skeptical Critical Commentary - Gospel of Mark

Post by Bertie » Tue Mar 05, 2019 11:54 am

Apologies if you have addressed this in one of your many other posts in this series, but does your methodology here account in someway for the fact that "first sentences" in many ancient works are stylistically different from the rest of the text?

For example, it would seem to me that if you performed the same analysis here on the first few verses of Luke (an extremely fine dedicatory periodic sentence dissimilar to the remainder of the book), it would count those verses as spurious in all sorts of ways. To be sure, that is sometimes argued. Nonetheless, Luke is hardly alone in the literature in beginning with a dedication in high-literary style, and any methodology that would flag all such dedications as interpolations couldn't be right.

Mark's intro is obviously not as dissimilar to the remainder to his text as Luke's, but still something to consider, no?

(All that said, I think many of your points are reasonable, although I'm not seeing the lack of article on "gospel".)

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1:1-3 Summary of Textual Criticism Evidence

Post by JoeWallack » Wed Mar 06, 2019 7:44 am

JW:
Textual Criticism:

NRSV
1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah, "See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way;
3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,' "
Summary of Textual Criticism evidence regarding Addition/Original =

Internal Evidence
  • Theme - Medium difference with the rest of GMark

    Style - Heavy difference with the rest of GMark

    Language - Heavy difference with the rest of GMark
The Difficult Reading Principle
  • Heavy support for Addition
External Evidence
  • Heavy support for Original
Summary = Internal Evidence & Difficult Reading Principle are heavy support for Addition while
External Evidence is heavy support for Original. In Skeptical Textual Criticism
Internal Evidence and Difficult Reading Principle outweighs External Evidence.

Verdict = 1:1-3 is Addition. Original GMark started with 1:4:

1:4
John came, who baptized in the wilderness and preached the baptism of repentance unto remission of sins.
So it begins.

Nota Ben = Regarding the conclusion above I don't think it magnifier word in front of certain, certain, magnifier word in front of probable, probable or magnifier word in front of likely, that 1:1-3 is Addition. I merely think it more likely to be Addition than Original.



Joseph

Skeptical Textual Criticism

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