The curious thing is that Schmidt seems to me rather correct to recognize that the Passion Narrative is a lectio continua
, differently from the string of pearls represented by chapters 1-13 of Mark.
What I don't understand is why Schmidt thinks that, only in virtue of this difference
, Mark 14-15 is a "controlled tradition" while Mark 1-13 is 'informal uncontrolled oral tradition':
Schmidt believes in some form of controlled tradition so far as the passion narrative is concerned. He thinks that the form of the passion narrative was fixed very early. One of its striking features was the silence of Jesus. Later on, people would probably have liked to attribute to Jesus words of defence against Pilate and the Sanhedrin, but in Schmidt’s opinion this was not possible because ‘the account had already for some time had a fixed form and could no longer be altered without damage to the settled mind of the community'. However, Schmidt does not believe in the same degree of community control with regard to the rest of the tradition, which he describes as 'a tradition with various strata, brought to birth from a variety of interests and split into a mass of separate stories'. In other words, it is what Bailey would call 'informal uncontrolled oral tradition'.
( David R. Hall, The Gospel Framework: Fiction or Fact?
, p. 4-5)
Schmidt, "Controlled tradition" may have a sense eventually negative
: a tradition that was "controlled"/"guarded" against heretical innovators and/or precursors. Here I think about Ignatius's insistence that Jesus's killer was "truly" Pilate, or about the mention of Pilate in the Creed, against any possible embarrassment.
For example, so Ellegard:
The fact that Ignatius has given us the first clearly datable mentions about the roles of Mary, John the Baptist, Pilate etc. does not exclude the possibility that those names had begun to circulate in the churches of God. But it was certainly Ignatius' authority that provided them with credibility, among the faithful.
(Jesus — One Hundred Years Before Christ
, p. 209)
So I am surely indebted to Karl Ludwig Schmidt for making me recognize that a particularly strong tension is in action, between the undated Jesus of the so-called 'string of pearls' (Mark 1-13) and the dated Jesus of the Passion Narrative (Mark 14-15).
That tension is too much evident to be dispensed as mere need and reflection of an apologetic, as Schmidt does when he writes:
...Dibelius may be right that it [the Passion Narrative] served the goals of apologetics better than other narratives, for it was fixed rather early, and that would have given it a certain clarity.
In Christian groups far and wide, the Passion Narrative would have been read aloud in the worship as a lectio continua. Only when read in its entirety could the Passion Narrative answer a question that came up frequently in the early mission of the church: how could Jesus have been sent to the cross by the very people who had seen his signs and wonders? In these various ways the Passion Narrative played its special role.
I wonder if here Schmidt is falling victim of a circular argument:
- 1) the crucifixion under Pilate is a historical fact
- 2) the need of an apologetic
- 3) therefore, the Passion Narrative as a lectio continua would prove the point (1)
In addition, under the Stromholm's paradigm, the dramatic question that according to Schmidt had to find dramatically an answer via
Christian apologetics, i.e.
how could Jesus have been sent to the cross by the very people who had seen his signs and wonders?
...could find equally well its origin in the contradiction
provoked by the false belief that the historical
Jesus lived in the same time when the early Apostles saw the various mirabilia
of the Risen