Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10740
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Giuseppe »

Tim's post about a book having been recently translated in English has intrigued me, since the principal thesis of Schmidt remembers so much, in my view, the same approach of Stromholm about what "Mark" (author) did. I am assuming Markan priority here, even if I may say the same things assuming Mcn's priority.

Really, browsing rapidly all the chapters of the Schmidt's book before the last chapter on the Passion narrative, it is not an exaggeration to say that Stromholm could have written the same pages, less precisely the last chapter.

So Stromholm:

The opinion seems to be widely held that all hypotheses which exhibit the generally adopted Gospel chronology as not representing the real order of events fall to the ground in presence of historical evidence available from somewhat early Christian times. That may hold good of hypotheses which involve an intentional creation or remodelling of the story in the West at some relatively late time. But our own hypothesis is not of this kind. The remodelling as we conceive it took place with the appearance of the earliest of the Gospels. We assume that in the original Judean sources, and prior to the composition of the Gospels, Jesus' life was represented as historical, but with no importance attached to the exact period in time at which it had occurred, and that the party in the Church most concerned in the Mission to the West, with Paul as its chief representative, preached an abstract doctrine of Jesus in which the historic element was vague and little prominent. Following upon these conditions, and probably before the end of the first century, came the earlier Gospels, in which, for the first time, precise chronological indications made their appearance — the reign of Tiberius, the procuratorship of Pilate, etc. This chronological scheme, once so presented, would soon be generally accepted, and even in Judea would quickly supersede the vague undated traditions which had prevailed hitherto.

(The Riddle of the New Testament, cursive original)


And so Schmidt:

The stories of Jesus all lie, for the most part, on the same level. Only here and there will we be able, on the basis of the internal characteristics of a story, to determine somewhat precisely its time and place. On the whole, however, there is no life of Jesus in the sense of an unfolding life story, nor is there any chronological outline for the story of Jesus. There are only individual stories and pericopes that have been set into a framework.

(The Framework of the Story of Jesus)


So, in both the scholars, we have:
  • the recognition that the first evangelist had before himself only oral sources about an undated Jesus;
  • the recognition that the chronological framework was introduced artificially by the first evangelist about a such undated Jesus;
  • the recognition that the Passion Narrative betrayes a particular insistence in giving precise chronological references.
So Schmidt:

The Passion Narrative, by contrast, calls for a very different literary perspective. It is the only section of the Gospels that offers information about places and times, indeed, about days and hours. Clearly we have here a continuous narrative. As soon as we read the first words, we know that the story is going to end in disaster, as one event leads to another with pressing logic and necessity.

(ibid.)


Until here the similarities shared by both Stromholm and Schmidt.

In a next post I will talk about the sound differences.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10740
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Giuseppe »

While Stromholm finds strong motives to doubt about the dating under Pilate being historical:

It is not difficult to define the class of historician to which Mark belonged. Historical training has long rendered the type extinct; but it was common enough in antiquity. Perhaps Livy was his historical pattern. He was certainly no Polybius, refusing to write history except on the basis of personal or first-hand knowledge and on the authority of unequivocal documents. His literary kindred are to be found among the historicians of the Old Testament and of heroic periods in literature and among such writers as Snorre Sturlesson and Saxo Grammaticus. Fragments and obscure stories are the material of such writers; these they go search of and, when found, assign without chronological investigation to the period they are writing about, building them up and rounding them off into such tales as their contemporaries, whose notions of history are no more scientific than their own, are likely to approve. These authors do not record history; they create it.

The manuscript before Mark contained many deceptive passages, mostly apparition stories, in which Jesus and the apostles were brought together. The real meaning of these he had no means of knowing. The first perusal of them would certainly give him the impression that Jesus and the apostles were contemporaries. Nor was there anything to disabuse him of that idea when once he had formed it. We have to remember that he knew little of nothing about the earthly life of Jesus beyond what the manuscript revealed; the Stephanist missionaries from whom he received the faith hardly spoke of it. A vague notion that it had all occurred at some period not very remote; a vague notion that the dimly known apostles were, somehow, good sources of information about Jesus, probably represent the extent of what he knew, independently, about the matter.

(A literary examination of Mark)

...at contrary, Schmidt thinks that

We should not underestimate the desire of the community to get out front with a story about the suffering and death of their leader, a story that could be admired. Most of the martyr-acts were written down soon after the death of the witness, and for that reason they stand much closer to historical reality than legends that were written down only much later, and that introduce material of an historically questionable nature. The same applies to the Passion Narrative of Jesus in its relation to the larger report of his activity. In the latter we often find ourselves on shaky ground: a tradition with many layers, born out of various interests, splintered into a pile of little pieces that we have to try to put back together. The content and arrangement of the material fell out in various ways. It appears that the Passion Narrative was fixed rather early, which resulted in the considerable unanimity of the three Synoptics, and even into the fourth gospel, which was formed so much differently. The report on the suffering and death of Jesus was already fixed before the tradition had time to smooth things out. Even though Jesus at times carried on long disagreements with his opponents, in the Passion Narrative he is almost completely silent.

(ibid., my bold)

In addition, the silence of Jesus before Pilate would prove, according to Schmidt, "as a rule", that the Passion Narrative is historical, when compared to legends of martyrs where the martyrs talk too much before their accusers and killers.

Schmidt's argument to believe the historicity of the dating under Pilate would seem to be something as: since Pilate is mentioned so soon, then the dating under Pilate is probably historical and not an invention of the first evangelist.

So the Schmidt's assumption is that the Passion Narrative was "written down soon after the death of the witness" Jesus, therefore ipso facto it would "stand much closer to historical reality than legends" about an undated Jesus.

The problem is: how much soon? Schmidt has no evidence of an early mention of Pilate, unless he dates the first gospel immediately after the 70 CE.

So, more the first connection Jesus/Pilate is late, more its presumed historicity collapses.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10740
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Giuseppe »

Another error by Schmidt: he thinks that the Passion Narrative doesn't reflect a layered tradition, it would have been fixed very early just as we read it today.

At contrary, according to this analysis of Jean Magne, also the Passion Narrative reflects a layered tradition.
Strömholm would agree.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10740
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Giuseppe »

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)

Pace 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.

...or:

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) :scratch: :scratch: :scratch:
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 Christ.
Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1590
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin »

Giuseppe wrote: Wed May 11, 2022 11:57 pm 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.
imo that is not true. Also Mark 14-16 is composed in small chunks and not in a continuous narrative. The pericopes can be clearly separated from one another and are only more closely connected in terms of time and space. In structure and language these pericopes are similar to many others found in Mark 1-12.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10740
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Giuseppe »

Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 12:56 am and are only more closely connected in terms of time and space
and it seems little to you? In my opinion, that detail alone does a great difference.
Kunigunde Kreuzerin
Posts: 1590
Joined: Sat Nov 16, 2013 2:19 pm
Location: Leipzig, Germany
Contact:

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Kunigunde Kreuzerin »

Giuseppe wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 1:05 am
Kunigunde Kreuzerin wrote: Thu May 12, 2022 12:56 am and are only more closely connected in terms of time and space
and it seems little to you? In my opinion, that detail alone does a great difference.
Everyone can have their own opinion on that.

I just wanted to say that Mark's Passion stories are also - as Schmidt claimed for Mark 1-13 - "pearls on a string" even if the string is more visible - to stay with the metaphor.
User avatar
Giuseppe
Posts: 10740
Joined: Mon Apr 27, 2015 5:37 am
Location: Italy

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by Giuseppe »

I would like to elaborate on the reason for this great difference, signaled the first time by KL Schmidt, between the undated Jesus of Mark 1-13 and the dated Jesus of Mark 14-16.

I have found that Etienne Trocmé had built on Schmidt's findings, and he arrived to the conclusion that Mark 14-16 was a later addition in Mark 1-13.

Fortunately, I see that the Trocmé's book,
La formation de l'Evangile selon Marc
is available on archive.org

https://archive.org/details/laformation ... 9/mode/2up

I read:

Le récit de la Passion, avec sa continuité chronologique si exceptionnelle dans la tradition évangélique (26), se trouve de cette façon allongé à son début de plusieurs chapitres, transformé en relation d'une semaine à Jérusalem et bien soudé au corps de Marc. L'auteut de l'évangile, si peu attaché à la chronologie, même lorsque la tradition lui fournissait certaines donnés à cet égard (27), a-t-il fait ici une entorse à ses habitudes? Ce n'est pas impossible, mais on peut se demander si cette petite opération littéraire n'est pas plutôt l'oeuvre du rédacteur qui a greffé les chapitres 14 à 16 à l'évangile primitif.

(p. 181, my bold)
User avatar
maryhelena
Posts: 2366
Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 11:22 pm
Location: England

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by maryhelena »

Giuseppe wrote: Fri May 13, 2022 11:36 pm I would like to elaborate on the reason for this great difference, signaled the first time by KL Schmidt, between the undated Jesus of Mark 1-13 and the dated Jesus of Mark 14-16.

I have found that Etienne Trocmé had built on Schmidt's findings, and he arrived to the conclusion that Mark 14-16 was a later addition in Mark 1-13.

Fortunately, I see that the Trocmé's book,
La formation de l'Evangile selon Marc
is available on archive.org

https://archive.org/details/laformation ... 9/mode/2up

I read:

Le récit de la Passion, avec sa continuité chronologique si exceptionnelle dans la tradition évangélique (26), se trouve de cette façon allongé à son début de plusieurs chapitres, transformé en relation d'une semaine à Jérusalem et bien soudé au corps de Marc. L'auteut de l'évangile, si peu attaché à la chronologie, même lorsque la tradition lui fournissait certaines donnés à cet égard (27), a-t-il fait ici une entorse à ses habitudes? Ce n'est pas impossible, mais on peut se demander si cette petite opération littéraire n'est pas plutôt l'oeuvre du rédacteur qui a greffé les chapitres 14 à 16 à l'évangile primitif.

(p. 181, my bold)
Even if the Passion narrative was a later edition to gMark, it's removal would not change the chronology indicated in gMark. i.e. Herod (Antipas) Herodias, Philip and John the Baptist. Herod (Antipas) left coins. Philip left coins. A coin of Philip gives him a 37 year rule. Josephus has him dying in the 20th year of Tiberius - 33/34 c.e. Thus, chronology indicated by gMark places this story in the time of Pilate. i.e. anywhere from 18/19 to 36/37 c.e. (Herod (Antipas) exile dated around 39 c.e date of death unknown.)

One could of course argue that the John the Baptist, Herodias, Philip and Herod (Antipas) story was a later addition to gMark - thus taking away a chronological element of gMark's story. So - no Passion narrative, no Herod (Antipas) Herodias, Philip and John the Baptist story - and what have we got ? A Jesus set free from a specific historical context. Bad luck for the Jesus historicists - using a first century search for their Jesus figure is futile.

Thus, back to arguments that the Jesus story is long in the tooth - that it's a story with many updates/additions. That the settled story runs with Pilate is just that - a grand finale not the origin story.
User avatar
John T
Posts: 1214
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:57 am

Re: Comparing K. L. Schmidt with D. Strömholm: analogies and differences

Post by John T »

maryhelena wrote: Sat May 14, 2022 1:45 am
One could of course argue that the John the Baptist, Herodias, Philip and Herod (Antipas) story was a later addition to gMark - thus taking away a chronological element of gMark's story. So - no Passion narrative, no Herod (Antipas) Herodias, Philip and John the Baptist story - and what have we got ? A Jesus set free from a specific historical context. Bad luck for the Jesus historicists - using a first century search for their Jesus figure is futile.

Thus, back to arguments that the Jesus story is long in the tooth - that it's a story with many updates/additions. That the settled story runs with Pilate is just that - a grand finale not the origin story.
Of course one could argue anything they want but what evidence do they have to support it?
Although Julius Caesar is said to have hunted unicorns, that doesn't mean he wasn't assassinated in 44 BCE.

Jesus was real and was crucified by Pontius Pilate.
Post Reply