It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

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neilgodfrey
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:10 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 9:45 pm

I think that Mark's poor grammar and syntax have been exaggerated in some circles. . . . .

The specific kind of awkwardness I am pinpointing here, which amounts to a syntactic tension between direct speech and narration (including indirect speech, which is a species of narration), or at least the locating of direct speech in between the verb of saying and the reason given for saying it, is not all that common in the gospels, and I am prepared to suggest that, when it does occur, it very frequently points to the use of a source or sources. . . . .


What reason could there be for a single author to line up these themes in two different chapters with the same sort of weird interchange between direct dialogue and narration? Is it just a coincidence? I think, rather, that the same hand inserted this material in basically the same way in both pericopes.
For better or worse, I tend to rely upon The Complete Gospels (Robert Miller, editor) translation for assessing stylistic characteristics of the gospels and have in mind the "slap-dash" or "rough and ready" features that are evident in Mark there.

I see you have opened up a new topic to address some of your points in more detail. I have bookmarked them to return to when I have more opportunities up ahead, hopefully.

As for your final point, I have to confess that I routinely hear alarm bells when I see rhetorical questions functioning as arguments. The questions we ask and the interpretations we elicit are guided by the models that frame our approach to the gospels and their origins. I'd like to find some sort of "control text" by which to compare the different explanations of specific features in the Gospel of Mark. Also, I'm waiting for Tuccinardi's results from applying [url-https://academic.oup.com/dsh/article-ab ... 35/2669642]authorship authenticity programs[/url] to sections of Mark -- but it's a slow business adapting the program to Greek, I understand.
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:42 pm

I think that this discussion about the poor Greek of Mark is dependent on context. Since scholars assume that Mark is more or less a history or a story about a historical man, no there it needn't be assumed that Mark's Greek is inappropriate. Yet if the gospel is assumed to be written by God or the Holy Spirit there is a difficulty. As Nietzsche noted es ist Feinheit, dass Gott Griechisch lernte, als er Schriftsteller werden wollte, und dass er es nicht besser lernte.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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neilgodfrey
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by neilgodfrey » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:49 pm

spin wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:28 am
Mark is deceptive. It shows signs of structural intent. The sequences starting with the feedings (another pair of texts with a common source that have drifted apart) . . . .
On the one hand our author is said to combine different sources (oral or written) into single narratives leaving tell-tale signs of less than fluent syntax, yet, on the other hand, he is said to maintain two different sources texts (as with the mass feedings) and to repeat them one after the other. How can we be sure our analyses are not simply ad hoc?
spin wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:28 am
Back to our parallel synagogue stories: the have strong similarities but they certainly are not the same brief story in the telling. If the Marcan writer provided both synagogue stories, why not just copy one from the other? When did the sandwich get inserted, when the stories were collected or later when they were in situ? The differences in the two stories are most easily explained as having had separate "lives". If that is true then it is also more likely that "hometown" and "Capernaum" belong to the separation.
I simply don't have time to address every point so forgive me if I isolate just a few points I consider salient. If I fail to address material that you think supplies the answer to my question then I am sure you will point that out to me and I will have another look at the original.

Later you mention Occam. Would not Occam on the side of suggesting that the similarities and differences in the two stories are more simply explained by an author playing with a theme than suggesting that other authors or tradents produced texts that our Marcan author has struggled to incorporate?

(I don't mean to ask that dogmatically. As I have said, I "am a man without conviction" when it comes to any interpretation of this particular gospel, especially. I continue to explore various models.)
spin wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:28 am
I don't know why you'd see that the hometown reference was caused by the attachment of the "proverb". . . .
Because the entire pericope (6:1-6) appears to be constructed in order to illustrate the proverb about a prophet not being accepted in his hometown. Further, the same passage contains similar types of wordplay.
spin wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:28 am
neilgodfrey wrote:
Fri Nov 17, 2017 4:29 pm
True, that is one possible explanation of the similarities and differences in the two narratives. It naturally follows from the assumption that the author is pulling together different pre-existing stories.
It is not so much an assumption as a conclusion drawn from the options and their probabilities regarding story production as evinced in the synoptic gospels, the parallels between them and the differences.
I was not suggesting your point was an assumption, but that your conclusion "naturally follows from (the) assumption" that the Gospel of Mark was composed by means of stitching together pre-existing (oral?) traditions. I know there are features in the gospel(s) that lend themselves to that view of composition, but I wonder how much of that conclusion or interpretation of that evidence has come about because we found what we were expecting to find -- continued in response to the next bit....
spin wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:28 am
Narrative traditions have the odd habit of reflecting things across hundred and even thousands of years. The rule of three so frequently found in the Marcan passion narrative is found in many other narrative traditions, probably unrelated by dependence. The process of stories being encrusted with add-on content via a sequence of tradents can be seen over and over again from Mesopotamia to Medaieval France.
Yes, the rule of three is very common in oral storytelling, and therefore it is natural to see it as evidence that Mark was using oral tradition sources. The problem as I see it, however, is that the rule of three is also a very common feature of in written works clearly composed from the get-go by a single author. That point tends to become completely lost after we find our evidence for oral-tradition sources.
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Stuart
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Stuart » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:07 pm

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 4:09 pm
...

The same applies to Mark's „awkward“ style. I think in 98-99 percent of Mark's text is nothing incorrect. The first impression you get from Mark could be an „inelastic“ style with frequent repetitions of same words and phrases. Perhaps the second thing is that Mark has some „quirks“, for example Mark's doublings:

...
Mark 13:19 For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time
This is a very interesting conversation about the Gospel I have for the most part ignored (too much). So I find this fascinating.

But I have one tangential comment on repetitions in Mark, for verse 13:19, because here it actually has real theological poignancy. The assignment of the creation to God -meaning the father of Christ- is a direct refutation of Gnostic and Marcionite type understanding. This point on creation is repeated in verse 10:6, making it clear it was God who made man and woman (not some lesser being). Both are stated as coming from the mouth of Jesus, vouchsafing that he is referring to his God. Both verses use the same Greek phrase, 10:6 ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως, 13:19 ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως, so it's not an accident.

That doesn't change that it's a duplicate wording, but in this case the words "which God created" were added deliberately for purposes beyond his quirky writing style, though they satisfy that nicely.

Anyway, that is just a parenthetical comment, so carry on.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Ben C. Smith » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:11 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:10 pm
For better or worse, I tend to rely upon The Complete Gospels (Robert Miller, editor) translation for assessing stylistic characteristics of the gospels and have in mind the "slap-dash" or "rough and ready" features that are evident in Mark there.
Can you give an example of one or two of these features (using that translation)? I am not sure what kinds of things you are referring to.
As for your final point, I have to confess that I routinely hear alarm bells when I see rhetorical questions functioning as arguments. The questions we ask and the interpretations we elicit are guided by the models that frame our approach to the gospels and their origins.
My approach to the gospels, and I will focus on Mark here, is simply that I do not know in advance, beyond the scriptures (LXX), what sources (if any) Mark used. For any given passage, pericope, phrase, or particle, I am open to arguments that he drew upon other texts, that he turned oral tradition into text, that he made it up on the spot, that he was encoding esoteric information in an exoteric form, or that an interfering scribe has been at the text since he put down his plume. I am honestly not sure how else to approach a text like this in which the author never introduces himself, never discusses sources (or the lack thereof), only once even addresses the reader directly (and in a very enigmatic way at that), never openly ruminates on his authorial process, and so on.

You responded to spin at one point:
Later you mention Occam. Would not Occam be on the side of suggesting that the similarities and differences in the two stories are more simply explained by an author playing with a theme than suggesting that other authors or tradents produced texts that our Marcan author has struggled to incorporate?
Here you seem to default to one approach, in advance, unless I am misreading you. You seem to be privileging the idea that the two feeding stories in Mark are the result of a single author playing with a theme rather than that the author encountered (whether in a text or in a tradition) two versions of the same story and incorporated both. A single author seems to be the assumption that other arguments would have to topple in order to be accepted. But why is that the default? I would understand that as a default for a text by Plutarch or by Josephus or by Tacitus or by Philostratus, since those authors introduce themselves and lay out a plan of composition and openly evaluate their sources, at least a lot more than any of the evangelists do. But Mark? He does none of those things, so why ought we to treat his text in the same way that we treat, say, Suetonius' texts? Since the author does not (or the authors do not) give us any clues on how the gospel was composed, why should there be a default at all for Mark? Is it possible, a priori, that he composed his entire work simply from his own imagination and the LXX (and possibly Paul, though the argument has to be made here, and not just assumed)? Sure. Is it possible that he manipulated sources, just as (again, on Marcan priority) Matthew and Luke and John and Thomas and Peter and the Gnostic and Jewish-Christian gospels did? Sure. So why is a single creative author the default position? (Again, unless I am misunderstanding you.)
I'd like to find some sort of "control text" by which to compare the different explanations of specific features in the Gospel of Mark.
That is why I am searching for these sorts of things, and why I gave examples of Matthew and Luke using Mark (generally assuming Marcan priority) and coming up with similarly strained syntax. I also search from time to time through Josephus for how he used the Hebrew scriptures; unfortunately, he changed the wording of his source materials so very much most of the time (much, much more than the synoptic gospels) that it is hard to catch individual instances of syntactic strain that can be ascribed to the specific use of a source; the closer one follows a source, obviously, the easier it is for us to tell what comes from the manipulation of that source and what does not. (This observation alone, that authors like Josephus changed the wording of their source materials more than the gospels do, hints that we are looking at two different kinds or genres of literature, I think.)

To return to the point, yes, I am all in favor of using control texts. It is a slow process, and one not often done, lamentably. For a completely different purpose (to wit, discerning how ancient authors might have tended to manipulate blocks of source material, rather than finding syntactic clues), a while ago I started laying out Josephus with his source texts in the Jewish Texts & History forum: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=2244. This exercise has already led me to a couple of insights which I have yet to fully explore and test. Using control texts is a matter of moving from the known (that Josephus used the Hebrew scriptures as sources) to the unknown (who used whom, and how, among the synoptic gospels?). Hopefully the same sort of thing can be done for these syntactic breaks, as well.
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spin
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by spin » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:22 am

If you accept that the Marcan writer represents Jesus as having his home in Capernaum as per 2:1 and having an unnamed hometown (6:1) there are two distinct origins given for Jesus (and, though I don't, in you include Nazareth in 1:9 there are three). If the writer knew what Jesus hometown was, it would be alien to the culture to obfuscate it, when gentilics were so important. The writer does not know Jesus' hometown, he has merely collected disparate information. This is consistent with the parallels—that have developed from a single source—within Mark.

Arguing that the proverb in 6:4 was the basis for constructing the whole pericope, it is not true. 6:1-6 is not—incidentally—a sandwiched structure. It is two stories:

1) the teaching in the synagogue, which ends with verse 3, and
2) the rejection, which is tacked on at the end of the synagogue story.

The only linguistic link between them is the phrase "his hometown", which should help us understand the construction process. The synagogue story as we see from 1:21ff is a unit in itself. All that connects the two stories is that phrase, which does not point to a single construction effort, but a mental association made between the synagogue story's "his hometown" and the proverb's, thus providing a context for the development of the rejection story.

I don't know if Mark got 6:1-6 already constructed or if it was the work of the redactor, but it should be clear to you that here again (like 1:21ff) we have at least two steps in the creation process, but it is a different process from the earlier passage.

A significant question needs to be asked: if the earlier part of Mark appears to be made up of many small fragments, where did they come from? Were they individually created by those responsible for constructing the text? Are they the same people who constructed the longer stuff later on? The multiplicity of narrative elements in itself suggests a multiplicity of sources. Having narrative doublets is easy to understand in such a context. The use of the same story in two different settings is much less so.

There seems to be an aversion to oral sources behind the gospels. I gather the reason for this is the unfalsifiable claim that oral stories indicate some historical truth to the material. It's nonsense, just as is the notion that the gospels were basically written by a single author or a group collaborating in what seems to be the one creative moment. The accretive production can be seen for example in the fact that beside Mark we have texts based on it, texts that themselves evince the accretive process. Why is Luke's genealogy not at the beginning of the text where it would normally belong? Why is the only place that Nazareth appears in Luke is in the birth narrative? Why does Luke 3:1 provide what appears to be a start of the narrative? Not only is Luke an accreted Mark, but it has had the birth narrative tacked on at a later period. The evidence for textual accretion is very strong. It is also observable in Matthew, so we have a culture approach to textual development evinced in Matthew and Luke, so we should assume that it is also the case in Mark and there is evidence to suggest it. The smaller units in earlier Mark suggest a collection of materials which are reworked and/or sandwiched together. Among the collected small fragments are traces of oral tradition, the doublet passages that have become dissimilated. I don't find the idea that a writer would simply use the same story in different contexts convincing or reflective of what we see in the gospels. Did the author(s) simply choose very few passages to duplicate? If duplication of stories were an editorial mechanism, like sandwiching, why so few times? The doublets for me are a good indication of dissimilated oral tradition.

As a parenthesis, my working theory is that the itinerant preachers mentioned in the Didache, who lived off different christian communities (getting food and lodging for the traditions and inventions they imparted), were the means of the spread and diversification of early christian traditions. They shared their wares with other preachers along the way, increasing the tradition pool. Some communities chose to systematise the various materials they received and this was the start of gospel tradition evolution.
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Giuseppe
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Giuseppe » Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:36 am

Stuart wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:07 pm

But I have one tangential comment on repetitions in Mark, for verse 13:19, because here it actually has real theological poignancy. The assignment of the creation to God -meaning the father of Christ- is a direct refutation of Gnostic and Marcionite type understanding. This point on creation is repeated in verse 10:6, making it clear it was God who made man and woman (not some lesser being). Both are stated as coming from the mouth of Jesus, vouchsafing that he is referring to his God. Both verses use the same Greek phrase, 10:6 ἀπὸ δὲ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως, 13:19 ἀπ᾽ ἀρχῆς κτίσεως, so it's not an accident.
thanks. Do you see other clues in this sense in Mark? If yes, can you list them in another thread? Thanks again.
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Charles Wilson
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Charles Wilson » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:12 am

spin wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 6:22 am
A significant question needs to be asked: if the earlier part of Mark appears to be made up of many small fragments, where did they come from? Were they individually created by those responsible for constructing the text? Are they the same people who constructed the longer stuff later on? The multiplicity of narrative elements in itself suggests a multiplicity of sources...
1. Before I get to my usual stuff, note what you are stating, spin:

The Chiastic Structure seems to imply that a "Single Author" gave us the Book of Mark. Yet, as you wisely point out, there is great tension within the Text itself, a tension that does not easily resolve itself into "Single Author".

The finished Mark was not good enough and had to be augmented. Even with the addition of Mark's portion of The Empty Tomb, other changes needed to be made to align with the emerging Orthodoxy. This points to:

A. The emerging story was collated from Sources by more than one person. Although not rising to the level of Proof, a "Single Author" rewrote the material in Chiastic Form.

B. The Single Author was not fully aware of the Symbolisms of various parts of what he wrote. He may have been aware of the relation between the emergent "Jesus" character and John as coming from Stories of the Priesthood, but was not aware (enough) of the Lamb-of-God Symbolism. In a Thesis I am beginning to unpack, John "answers" Mark with his pieces of the Story not used by Mark (Which day was the Crucifixion?...). Did Mark care about who was on Duty for the various Passovers? Did he care?

C. It is not good enough. Mark has finished his Work but it is too late to include Birth Genealogy (Matthew's Genealogy from Nicholas of Damascus' Genealogy written for Herod's father Antipater to allow Herod to be King and High Priest, for example). The Story was about Settlements in Galilee and that must be hidden at all costs. "Where's this guy from? "Guard-Town? Natsar-ett? Yeah, good one. No? So, what do we put in? You guys deal with it. I'm outta here..."

D. Those who follow are not aware of the Symbolism that came before Mark and they don't care about the Structures Mark wrote. "Put in a Place Name, write a new ending. "The Little People don't care (and neither do I...)" You can rewrite something with a quick addition and think no one will notice but when there is no Commentary on this Very Important Theological Point for 200 years and then someone notices, it gives the game away.

2.
...if the earlier part of Mark appears to be made up of many small fragments, where did they come from?
I've tried...Oh, Yes, I've tried...

They came from a Story the contents of which we mostly have, that originated about 2 events that occurred years ago. The events surrounding a Group of Priests is rewritten. The Priests, especially one Priest, are Objectified and become seen as the events surrounding a PERSON. John answers Mark and we spend the next 2000 years arguing over how "Jesus" was crucified on the Day of Preparation or the First Day of Passover Week. Because of the Transvaluation, it cannot occur to anyone that both Stories could be True, in the same manner that the Death of Judas is not contradictory, if "Judas" is a cipher for "Cestius".

CW

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spin
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by spin » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:27 am

Charles Wilson wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:12 am
The Chiastic Structure seems to imply that a "Single Author" gave us the Book of Mark. Yet, as you wisely point out, there is great tension within the Text itself, a tension that does not easily resolve itself into "Single Author".
I've never made any claim about a single author.
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Re: It's all yours (Was about a non-Nazareth indicator)

Post by Charles Wilson » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:22 pm

spin wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:27 am
Charles Wilson wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:12 am
The Chiastic Structure seems to imply that a "Single Author" gave us the Book of Mark. Yet, as you wisely point out, there is great tension within the Text itself, a tension that does not easily resolve itself into "Single Author".
I've never made any claim about a single author.
Thank you, spin. Technically I was not implying that you had made that assertion. My apologies for the ill stated implication.

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