Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Giuseppe
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Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

Post by Giuseppe »


Second, examining Luke’s plot, I observed how Isaiah has an important role in Luke’s Promise-Fulfillment framework. Luke highlights how Jesus’s life and ministry fulfills Isaiah’s exodus motif (often known as Isaiah’s new exodus). If Luke had access to Matthew, it is surprising how Luke reduces the space that Isaiah gains in Matthew’s Gospel. Luke only incorporates a small number of direct citations from Isaiah (fewer than Matthew). Even more surprising is the omissions of some direct mentions of Isaiah’s name; Matthew mentions Isaiah’s name in: 3:3, 4:14, 8:17, 12:17, 13:14: 15:7. It makes more sense to suppose that Matthew’s adaptation of Isaiah was influenced by Luke, rather than the other way around.

https://www.alangarrow.com/blog/chakrit ... OpQcqo7Drk
(my bold)

The explicit mention of Isaiah is fully justified by an anti-marcionite reaction.

From the other hand, how can the implicit mention of Isaiah be evidence of anti-demiurgism?

Marcion marks probably the passage from an innocent use of the midrash (by writers preceding Marcion) to an interested use of the midrash (by anti-marcionite writers, in primis Matthew).
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Giuseppe
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Re: Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

Post by Giuseppe »

I would go further in this emphasis on the "innocence" of the midrash preceding the Marcionite invasion, so I wonder:

Isn't the innocence a basic feature of something that is made by following an unconscious impulse?

There is a contrast between Burton Mack and Karel Hanhart on the use of the term "innocence". As it is known, Mack used the term even in a title for a book, while for Hanhardt there are no doubts: there is not innocence at all in a book designed to allegorize an ideal revenge on the defeat of 70 CE. The risk is that the notion of a single, miraculous point of origin, that for historicists is the "historical Jesus", becomes for mythicists the writing of the earliest gospel: the emphasis on this single, miraculous point of origin continues to be really a mere article of faith derived from Christian mythology.

This is not denying that the earliest gospel was what the mythicists say it is: the first germ of a historicist virus that contaminated previous sects adoring only a celestial Jesus.
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Giuseppe
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Re: Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

Post by Giuseppe »

So Hanhardt:

I have emphasized the subversive features of Daniel's vision. A nation suffering under a foreign, dictatorial power instinctively develops coded expressions and nicknames, a secret language used by the oppressed, subjugated population to evade detection by the oppressors; Daniel 7 was meant for insiders alone. Also, Mark's tales have the sting of subversion; they are not harmless myths "of innocence", [26]

(The Open Tomb, p. 513, my bold)

Note 26 reads:
Contra Mack, Innocence: the "Markan myth is no longer good news" (p. 372). See note 91 below. The Christian Gospel has retained this subversive power to undermine an established order that sanctions immorality and injustice (including an order sanctioned by the Church).

The note 91 reads:

Mark's Haggadah, with its prophetic message defying the Roman empire, is not a "myth of innocence". Contrast Mack's final comment: "There are no human messiahs. It may be time to give up the notion. The church canonized a remarkably pitiful moment of early Christian condemnation of the world". Mack, Innocence, 376.

The note 91 occurs in this passage of p. 531:

Through the literary stratagem of creating suspense - ending the Gospel with the conjunction "for ..." (16:8) - Mark sought to relate his finale (the Gospel's promise within Israel's new exile) to the beginning of the messianic movement (the prophecies of John and Jesus). The days of crisis and exile were placed under the rainbow of God's Covenant both with God's people and with the world. [91]

I fear that Hanhardt is doing a subtle apologetics here: he would like to think that Mark's subversive tones have made it possible a spirit of subversion against even modern dictatorial regimes, so, as the argument goes, we should be grateful to Mark for his cryptical seeds of critical thinking et similia.

In addition, note how the Hanhardt's argument is corrupted ab initio by the false belief that the baptism in Mark's incipit is original and not anti-marcionite.

In short, I think that, pace Hanhardt, Burton Mack's emphasis on Mark (or any other first gospel you put in the place of Mark) as a "myth of innocence" has to be strongly re-valued .
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Re: Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

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What does Mack mean by "myth of innocence", that has deserved him the criticism by Hanhardt?

The idea that, according to Mack,

The plot itself is quite familiar to the historian of religion. The collective decision of the Jews to rid their land and kingdom of an alien intrusion and impurity follows the pattern of the apotropaic sacrifice, better known as the expulsion of a scapegoat. Normally, those who rid their land from the plague in this way think to reap the benefits, a return to peaceful order. It is the logic that lies behind excommunication and the execution of criminals even in the kingdoms of righteousness. But in this case, the Jews do not reap the benefits of their sacrifices. Christians do, though they have not performed the deed. Their righteousness is attested by innocence while the blame for the violence is laid to the account of the enemy of God. The sacrificial reading of the gospel offers Christians their redemption at the expense of the damnation of the Jews. It is a strikingly voyeuristic mode of vicarious experience.

(A Myth of Innocence, p. 375, my bold)

Resuming:
  • both Mack and Hanardth agree that the essential plot is one where the Jews kill Jesus, therefore God kills the Jews.
  • The difference is that Hanhardt's pious desire is that Mark would give a comfort to the same Jews insofar Mark is a theodicy for the Jews themselves, not (or not only) for the Christians.
  • For Mack, there is no redemption at all for the Jews: they are condemned. Period. For Hanhardt, insofar Jesus is the new Israel, then there is still room for the old Israel in Mark.

In Burton Mack's view, the division between Jews and Christians is a realized fact, in Mark. The original reader would have known who are the good people and who are the bad people. Not so, for Hanhardt, insofar the good people are one and the same of the bad people.
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Re: Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

Post by Giuseppe »

In conclusion (by now):
  • Burton Mack's view of a clear division between evil Jews and innocent Christians would make more sense if Mark is dated under Hadrian. Remember that according to prof Vinzent, that division was started and officialized first by Marcion.
  • Hanhardt's view of a promiscuity of evil and innocence, equally distributed to both Jews and Christians, would make more sense if Mark is dated under the Flavians and if (an enourmous "if") the parting of the two ways is not still a realized fact.
I tend to be wary of Hanhardt's exegesis insofar his hidden agenda is clearly supporting modern ecumenism: the rabbinical Jews would have approved Mark (implicit corollary: and they would approve it today), if only they had realized that Mark is a theodicy pro-Jews. Too much optimistic to be real, in my judgement.
schillingklaus
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Re: Why more the midrash is early, more it is implicit

Post by schillingklaus »

This proves once more, against the abstruse propaganda of Kreuzerin and their ilk, the absolute falsity of Markan priority and of Judaic origins of Christianity.
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