GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

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gryan
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GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by gryan » Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:24 am

Thesis 1: In GMark, the title, "James the Less" signals relative unimportance and distinguishes this "James" from one of the "Jameses" who was among the 12 and was called an "apostle."

The title "James the Less" appears only in GMark, and only once--GMark 15:40-41 presents this description of the women who witnessed the crucifixion:


"And there were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome, who had been following Him and had been ministering to Him when He was in Galilee, and many other ones having come up with Him to Jerusalem."

This "James the Less" fits the profile of the "James" mentioned earlier in GMark as one of four brothers of Jesus (Cf "James, the Lord's brother", Gal 1:19, and "the Lord's brothers", 1 Cor 9:5):

"1And He went out from there and came into His hometown; and His disciples follow Him. 2And the Sabbath having come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and many hearing were astonished, saying, “From where to this man are these things, and what is the wisdom having been given to Him, even the miracles such as are done by His hands? 3 Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not His sisters here with us?” And they took offense at Him.

4And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown, and among his relatives, and in his household.” 5And He was not able to do any work of power there, except having laid the hands on a few sick, He healed them. 6And He was amazed because of their unbelief."

The title "the Less" distinguishes this "James" from another "James" who is mentioned GMark 16, the scene of the empty tomb. Confusingly, this "James" also has a mother named "Mary":

"1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could go and anoint the body of Jesus. 2Very early on the first day of the week,a just after sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3They were asking one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?"

Since this other "James" is not called "the Less" and is not associated with "Joses," GMark was signaling that this "James" is one of the two Jameses who were among the 12 and who were called "apostles":

14And He appointed twelve ones, and He called them apostles, that they might be with Him, and that He might send them to preach, 15and to have authority to cast out demons. 16And He appointed the Twelve; and to Simon He added the name Peter; 17and James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James, and He added to them the name Boanerges, which is, Sons of Thunder; 18and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, 19and Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed Him" (Mark 3:14-19).

For GMark, the title, "the Less" also signals relative unimportance, because in the next mention of Mary and Joses, just seven verses later at Mark 15:46-47, his name is erased:

"46And having bought a linen cloth, having taken Him down, he wrapped Him in the linen cloth and laid Him in a tomb which was cut out of a rock. And he rolled a stone to the door of the tomb. 47And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching where He was laid."

Thesis 2:GLuke, knew GMark, and did not deny that Jesus had literal same-womb "brothers" (Luke 8:20, Cf Acts 1:14) but refused to name any of these same-womb brothers. However, GLuke does quote the Mark 16:1-2 mention of another James:

"1On the first day of the week,a very early in the morning, the women came to the tomb, bringing the spices they had prepared. 2They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4While they were puzzling over this, suddenly two men in radiant apparel stood beside them.

5As the women bowed their faces to the ground in terror, the two men asked them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6He is not here; He has risen! Remember how He told you while He was still in Galilee: 7‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.’”

8Then they remembered His words. 9And when they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. 11But their words seemed like nonsense to them, and they did not believe the women."

In the narrative of GLuke, this "James" can only refer to one of the two Jameses named as apostles.

Thesis 3: The author of GMatt, knew GLuke's erasure of "James the Less", and argued against it by quoting GMark, but altering it in two key ways which made James, the brother of Jesus more important:

1) The title "the Less" is erased in GMatt's quotation of Mark

55And many women were there, looking on from afar off, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to Him— 56among whom was Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (Matt 27:55-56)

2) In the GMatt 27:60-61 quotation from GMark's "Mary mother of Joses" is called "the other Mary."

And having rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb, he went away. 61And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.

3) Instead of a distinctive other "James" in the final "Mary mother of James" mention in GMark copied by GLuke, GMatt again uses the title, "the other Mary."

1And after the Sabbaths, it being dawn toward the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb. 2And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord, having descended out of heaven and having come, rolled away the stone and was sitting upon it.

GMatt makes James the brother of Jesus relatively more important by 1) erasing the title "the less" and 2) by erasing the subsequent mention of "Joses" which makes James the less seem unimportant, and 3) by erasing the mention of another "James" later.

In conclusion, my thesis is that GMark named "James" the brother of Jesus, but made him relatively "Less" important; GLuke erased "James" along with all the other names for the brothers of Jesus; GMatt named "James" the brother of Jesus, and removed signals of his unimportance. This may support a documentary hypothesis of Matthean Posteriority.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilke_hypothesis

Ken Olson
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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by Ken Olson » Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:36 am

gryan,

I think you have assumed Matthean Posteriority ( Mark=>Luke=>Matthew ) and given a coherent account of what the evangelists may have been doing on that theory. But do you think you can show that the data actually demonstrate your theory? Can you show that Matthew must have known Luke to redact Mark the way he did, or that Luke is unlikely to have redacted Mark the way he did if he knew Matthew?

Best,

Ken

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Baley
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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by Baley » Mon Mar 29, 2021 7:52 am

gryan wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:24 am
The title "the Less" distinguishes this "James" from another "James" who is mentioned GMark 16, the scene of the empty tomb. Confusingly, this "James" also has a mother named "Mary":

"1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could go and anoint the body of Jesus. 2Very early on the first day of the week,a just after sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3They were asking one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?"

Since this other "James" is not called "the Less" and is not associated with "Joses," GMark was signaling that this "James" is one of the two Jameses who were among the 12 and who were called "apostles":
Isn't this an assumption, though? Doesn't the textual proximity of "Mary the mother of James" and "Salome" (sister of Jesus) indicate that this James is none other than the brother of Jesus (and therefore NOT one of the apostles), even if his title "the Less" is not mentioned?

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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:20 am

gryan wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 3:24 am
Since this other "James" is not called "the Less" and is not associated with "Joses," GMark was signaling that this "James" is one of the two Jameses who were among the 12 and who were called "apostles"....
Here are the three verses for convenience:

Mark 15.40: 40 Now there were also some women watching from a distance, among whom were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses, and Salome.

Mark 15.47: 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching to see where He was laid.

Mark 16.1: 1 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might come and anoint Him.

So we have:
  1. Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses.
  2. Mary the mother of Joses.
  3. Mary the mother of James.
You have listed two reasons for considering the first Mary to be a different woman than the third Mary. The first reason is "the Less." I will not be addressing this reason here and now. The second reason, which I have highlighted in yellow in my quotation of you, is that the son of the third Mary is not associated with Joses like the son of the first Mary is.

How far do you press this second reason? If James not being associated with Joses gives us cause, however great or small, to consider him to be a different fellow, then by the same logic Joses, the son of the second Mary, not being associated with James the Less gives us cause to consider him to be a different fellow than the Joses whom the first Mary bore. In other words, if our author intended lack of association to be a clue to there being two different men under consideration, then there is no escaping that Joses (the son of the second Mary) lacks association with James the Less in exactly the same way that James (the son of the third Mary) lacks association with Joses (the son of the first Mary). Thus, by this logic, we have three different mothers named Mary. Is that your position?

If not, and it takes the combination of both reasons you gave in order for us to distinguish between the two men, then evidently lack of association is not a sufficient reason unto itself. That, however, would imply that the author did not intend it to be; and, if the author did not intend lack of association to signal two different men, then lack of association ceases to be a reason in the case of James and James the Less, as well, and we are reduced to the first reason alone, "the Less."

gryan
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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by gryan » Mon Mar 29, 2021 10:23 am

Ken Olson wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 6:36 am
I think you have assumed Matthean Posteriority ( Mark=>Luke=>Matthew ) and given a coherent account of what the evangelists may have been doing on that theory. But do you think you can show that the data actually demonstrate your theory? Can you show that Matthew must have known Luke to redact Mark the way he did, or that Luke is unlikely to have redacted Mark the way he did if he knew Matthew?
Hi Ken,

Thanks for your word of encouragement. As to your question: No, I know of no such data. I'll let others argue over that:
https://academic.logos.com/the-story-be ... teriority/
vs
http://markgoodacre.org/maze/

I'm leaning toward existing arguments for Matt Posteriority because my observations seem to fit best within that model:
https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ma ... frontcover

But by thesis comes mainly out of an interpretation of reception history. I think GLuke is proto-Marcion (I think GLuke edited "James" and the other named brothers of Jesus out of GMark, and Marcion, following GLuke's lead seems to have edited "James the Lord's brother" out of NT Galatians.)

GMatt (with its removal of GMark's markers of the inferiority of "James the Less" to the other, relatively greater "James," an apostle ranked among the 12) seems to be proto-Hegesippus--making room via Matt-Acts (as opposed to Luke-Acts) for imagining that the "James the brother of the Lord" of Gal 1 became "James" the "esteemed pillar" of Gal 2. Hegesippus wrote: "James, the Lord's brother, succeeds to the government of the Church, in conjunction with the apostles."
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... ippus.html

I consider this a misreading of NT Galaitians. In my rereading of NT Gal as a literary unit, "James the Lord's brother" of Gal 1 was GMark's "James the Less" (not one of the 12 apostles). And, "James" the "esteemed pillar" of Gal 2 was the "James" of Acts 15--namely James son of Alphaeus, an apostle from the from the previously named 12 (but, not to be confused with James the brother of John who had been beheaded, according to Acts 12:2).

I think that GMatt provided Turtillian with his inspiration for opposing what he saw a Marcion's over-belief in GLuke's edit of a previously written gospel, GMark.
https://www.jstor.org/stable/23971061?seq=1

Your comment/question is much appreciated!

Greg

gryan
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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by gryan » Mon Mar 29, 2021 11:45 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 8:20 am
  1. Mary the mother of James the Less and Joses.
  2. Mary the mother of Joses.
  3. Mary the mother of James.

...if our author intended lack of association to be a clue to there being two different men under consideration, then there is no escaping that Joses (the son of the second Mary) lacks association with James the Less in exactly the same way that James (the son of the third Mary) lacks association with Joses (the son of the first Mary).
@Ben C. Smith, thanks for that clear statement of the problem noted by @ Baley. First, I observe that Joses (spelled Ἰωσῆς) is name unique to GMark in the NT, used only three times. So, Joses used twice in a row carries more weight than a form of "James" used twice in a row. By contrast, James is a named used for (at least) three people in GMark. James is ambiguous in a way that Joses in not, thus the need for close attention to markers of difference, which in this case, are multiple.

As I read GMark, the relative lack of esteem given to Jesus' brother named "James" was indicated by a combination of three markers: 1) the explicit name, "the Less" 2) his being edited out, which makes him less important than Joses in identifying their mother and 3) the subsequent naming of "James" whose name can stand alone, and who is this relatively "greater."

The removal of all of these markers of lack of esteem by GMatt supports this reading: 1) the name "the less" is erased, 2) the name of his apparently more important brother is erased in the next mention, where Mary is "the other Mary," and 3) the name of the greater James is erased too in yet another Mary called "the other Mary." On other words, GMatt was honoring James, the brother of Jesus, by removing all three markers of relative lack of esteem.

The implication of a second "James" in GMark's mention of "Mary, mother of James" is further supported by the edit of GMark by GLuke, where this and only this mention of a Mary of James is quoted. In GLuke, this Mary, mother of James is obviously a mother of one of the apostles named James, which is what my reading of GMark had already indicated.

So the whole fits the parts and the parts fit the whole. But, for me, the bottom line is a search for coherent reading NT Gal, which is what led me to seeing two Jameses in Gal. I think Paul wanted his Gentile readers to be unafraid of "those from James (the Lord's brother)." Paul called these intruders "pseudobrothers" and also, "the circumcision." In accord with Acts 15, Paul and the pillars, the apostles from the original 12, James, Cephas and John, had agreed not to burden Gentile converts with such a requirement of Jewish "law works" as circumcision.

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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by Bernard Muller » Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:41 pm

to Gryan,
"And there were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also were Mary Magdalene, and "And there were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome,"
If that Mary, mother of James the Less and of Joses, was also the mother of Jesus, the author would have written: Mary, the mother of Jesus.

(bolding mine)
"1When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so they could go and anoint the body of Jesus. 2Very early on the first day of the week,a just after sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3They were asking one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb?" [Mark 16]

Since this other "James" is not called "the Less" and is not associated with "Joses," GMark was signaling that this "James" is one of the two Jameses who were among the 12 and who were called "apostles":
Actually, this Mary the mother of James is most likely the same as the Mary, the mother of James and Joses:
Compare that with Mark 15:40-41: "... Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome ..."
The author just dropped "the Less" and "Joses".

Cordially, Bernard

gryan
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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by gryan » Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:54 am

Bernard Muller wrote:
Mon Mar 29, 2021 2:41 pm
to Gryan,
"And there were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also were Mary Magdalene, and "And there were also women looking on from afar off, among whom also were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses, and Salome,"
If that Mary, mother of James the Less and of Joses, was also the mother of Jesus, the author would have written: Mary, the mother of Jesus.
Re: "If that Mary, mother of James the Less and of Joses, was also the mother of Jesus, the author would have written: Mary, the mother of Jesus."

I doubt it.

I suspect that the logic of the narrative works best if there is no omniscient narrator telling the reader for sure that such and such is "the mother of Jesus" or one of "the brothers of Jesus." To do so might make the reader think that such and such person is simply by having been declared Jesus' "mother" or "brother" they must be doing "God's will."

In the words of Jesus according to Mark 3:35 (Cf Matt 12:50 and Luke 8:21), "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." The answer to the big question--"Who are My mother and My brothers?”--cannot be decided based on birth family.

There is a similar ambiguity in Gal where Paul speaks of "James, the Lord's brother" but then goes on to talk about the problem of "false brothers" (i.e., as I read it, "men from James," "the circumcision") who infiltrated the meeting with the "esteemed pillars." The big question has to do with what it means to be called a "brother" and this question is taken up in Gal 5:13, as I have re-read the grammar:

"You are reckoned as "brothers" on condition of freedom. But do not use your freedom as an opportunity in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love." (For more on the relevant grammar, see the article, The brother body: addressing and describing the Galatians and the agitators as αδελφοί, by Troy W Martin, Biblical Research, 2002)

The meaning of using such freedom as an "opportunity of in the flesh" is clarified in the closing of the letter, Gal 6:12-13:

"Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. They only do this to avoid persecution for the cross of Christ. For the circumcised do not even keep the law themselves, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast in your flesh."

I doubt that in Gal Paul wants to say outright that "James, the Lord's brother" was himself a "false brother" but since there were "false brothers" who Paul says, "had come in under false pretenses to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us," and since Paul's implies that these "pseudo-brothers" had come "from James," such a judgment is strongly implied (as I understand the critical text and the discourse unit, that had happened in Jerusalem prior to when Peter came to Antioch). Nevertheless, I to not think Paul is rendering any final judgment on the ultimate "brother" status of "James the Lord's brother." That would remain an open question, depending on how he used his freedom.

Your comment is appreciated.

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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by Bernard Muller » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:09 am

to gryan,
I suspect that the logic of the narrative works best if there is no omniscient narrator telling the reader for sure that such and such is "the mother of Jesus" or one of "the brothers of Jesus." To do so might make the reader think that such and such person is simply by having been declared Jesus' "mother" or "brother" they must be doing "God's will."
I think your suspected logic and assumption of what the reader might think is a bit far-fetched. If, in early Christianity, a reader saw (or a listener heard) "the mother of James the Less and Joses", there is no way he would think this is the mother of Jesus.
In the words of Jesus according to Mark 3:35 (Cf Matt 12:50 and Luke 8:21), "Whoever does God's will is my brother and sister and mother." The answer to the big question--"Who are My mother and My brothers?”--cannot be decided based on birth family.
The author did not have Jesus saying about those outside mother & brothers (3:32) are NOT his mother and his brothers. Just that he prefers the ones who believe in him, contrary to his blood family (as per Mk3:21). And the author implied that Jesus thinks those outside are not among Jesus' followers (those are inside). So what would they be, if not Jesus' blood family?
There is a similar ambiguity in Gal where Paul speaks of "James, the Lord's brother" but then goes on to talk about the problem of "false brothers" (i.e., as I read it, "men from James," "the circumcision") who infiltrated the meeting with the "esteemed pillars."

The fact the two passages are close to each other (but ten verses apart) does not mean that James, the Lord's brother"or his men were false brothers.
Furthermore, according to Gal 2:4 "But because of false brethren secretly brought in, who slipped in to spy out our freedom which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage--"
most likely refers to Paul, his helpers and Paul's converts where Paul was preaching before he felt he had to go to Jerusalem to get his gospel to the Gentiles approved by the pillars.
The big question has to do with what it means to be called a "brother" and this question is taken up in Gal 5:13, as I have re-read the grammar:
Your re-read of the grammar is just your interpretation (as also the one of Troy W Martin, I guess).
"You are reckoned as "brothers" on condition of freedom. But do not use your freedom as an opportunity in the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love."
is not the same as:
Gal 5:13: For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another.

And I have serious doubt that the reader (or listener) of Mark 15:40 would tackle Galatians to find out about the mother of James the Less and Joses.

Cordially, Bernard

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Re: GMark's "James the Less" and Matthean Posteriority

Post by perseusomega9 » Tue Mar 30, 2021 10:21 am

gryan wrote:
Tue Mar 30, 2021 1:54 am
"Those who want to make a good impression in the flesh are trying to compel you to be circumcised. They only do this to avoid persecution for the cross of Christ. For the circumcised do not even keep the law themselves, yet they want you to be circumcised that they may boast in your flesh."

I doubt that in Gal Paul wants to say outright that "James, the Lord's brother" was himself a "false brother" but since there were "false brothers" who Paul says, "had come in under false pretenses to spy on our freedom in Christ Jesus, in order to enslave us," and since Paul's implies that these "pseudo-brothers" had come "from James," such a judgment is strongly implied (as I understand the critical text and the discourse unit, that had happened in Jerusalem prior to when Peter came to Antioch). Nevertheless, I to not think Paul is rendering any final judgment on the ultimate "brother" status of "James the Lord's brother." That would remain an open question, depending on how he used his freedom.

Your comment is appreciated.
IIUC, you're saying the men from James who spied out Paul's Christians freedom happened in Jerusalem? If so can you point me to sources that propose this.

If so, this explains the complaint that Paul took Gentiles into the Temple, even though those events have been separated in Acts

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