Weeden on motifs common to Jesus ben Ananias & gMark & gJohn

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Weeden on motifs common to Jesus ben Ananias & gMark & gJohn

Post by MrMacSon »

I came across a 2003 internet post on XTalk by Ted Weeden that goes beyond his thesis "Two Jesuses: Provocative Parallels, Imaginative Imitation" (which he had "presented at the 2003 fall meeting of the Jesus Seminar (see _Westar Institute: Fall 2003 Seminar Papers_, 1-122)").

It is noticeable that, in this Feb 2005 dissertation, Weeden says
  • "While in my presentation before the Jesus Seminar I did not think that Mark was dependent directly on Josephus. I now think that he was."
... What follows is an extremely long essay, necessitated by the case I am making. First of all, I place the Markan community in the village region of
Caesarea, but that is a subject for another thread. ...[re] the story of Jesus son of Ananias, I am not sure whether such a person ever existed. I reproduce here the story with a translation provided by Robert Funk. The text marked by *astericks* will be examined in the Johannine portion of my presentation [below] here. Here now the Josephus story of Jesus son of Ananias in _War_, VI. 300-301.

  • "§300 Four years before the war, when the city was at peace and enjoying prosperity, someone named Jesus son of Ananias, an illiterate peasant, came to the feast at which it is customary for everyone to erect a temporary shelter to God [*the Feast of Booths*], and suddenly began to cry out in the Temple: "A voice from the east, §301 a voice from the west, a voice from the four winds, a voice against Jerusalem and the Temple, a voice against the grooms and the brides, a voice against all the people." Day and night, through all the narrow streets of the city, he went about shouting this refrain. §302 Some of the elders became so enraged over the oracle forecasting doom that they arrested the fellow and assaulted him with blows. But he, without a word in his own defense or under his breath for those striking him, just kept crying out as he had done previously.

    "§303 Thereupon, the leaders of the Sanhedrin, convinced that he was under the control of some supernatural power, as was the case, brought him before the Roman governor. §304 Although *flayed to the bone with scourages*, he did not plead for mercy nor did he shed any tears, rather, varying his voice in the most lamenting tone, he cried out with each lash, "Woe to Jerusalem!"

    "§305 When *Albinus began interrogating him* --- Albinus, you will recall, was governor --- *about who he was*, and *where he was from*, and why he kept crying out, *he did not reply at all to these questions*, nor did he stop repeating his dirge over the city. He kept this up until *Albinus* declared him a maniac and *released him*.

    §306 And up until the time the war began, he never approached any of the citizens nor was he observed speaking to any of them, but day after day, as though it were a prayer he had carefully composed, he evoked his lament, 'Woe to Jerusalem!' §307 He neither cursed those who beat him every day, nor did he bless those who offered him food. To everyone he gave the same reply --- the melancholy omen in his lamentation. §308 *His cries were most vociferous during the feast days*. So he continued wailing for seven years and five months until he saw his prediction fulfilled in the siege of the city. Then he found peace. You see, as he was making his rounds and shouting in a piercing voice from the wall [of the city], §309 "Woe again to the city, and to the people and to the Temple," to which he added a final word, "and woe to me too," a stone hurled by a catapult struck and killed him instantly. And so, with those ominous predictions still on his lips, he died."
I think parts of that story are clearly not historical. For example, who would have been concerned enough about the Jewish and Roman hearings of Jesus-Ananias (as I call him) to report the proceedings afterwards? I think the content of those hearings is fictive. Moreover, whoever fashioned the story of Jesus-Ananias as we have it in Josephus used Jeremiah as a model for the type-casting of Jesus-Ananias in the story. I can provide evidentary support for Jesus-Ananias being depicted in the story as a latter-day Jeremiah. Josephus could have even made up the story, but I am doubtful about that. I think it was a story developed after the Roman-Jewish War (66-70 CE), and was produced, along with the other ominous signs of God's warning of judgment which Josephus provides prior to the story, to saw God's judgment against the Jewish rebellion against the Romans. What better OT prophet than Jeremiah to portray such a judgment in the form of Jesus-Ananias.

Now, with respect to the possibility that Josephus derived the material for his story from Mark, let me address that issue by reproducing here a section from the a full-length manuscript of my thesis, "Two Jesuses: Provocative Parallels, Imaginative Imitation," which I presented at the 2003 fall meeting of the Jesus Seminar (see _Westar Institute: Fall 2003 Seminar Papers_, 1-122). On pages 42-43, I dealt with the issue of dependency under the following heading, and I quote myself -

  • "IX. The Intertextuality of Two Passion Narratives: Questions of Vector and Medium"

    "I have been arguing in this essay for Mark having appropriated the story of Jesus son of Ananias as a hypo-text he drew upon to help create his passion narrative hypertext. Thus, I have taken the position with respect to intertextuality that Mark was directly dependent upon the story of Jesus-Ananias. In taking that position I have not, however, dealt with three important questions: (1) From where or whom did Mark gain access to the Jesus-Ananias story?, (2) Did Mark access the story in written or oral form?, (3) Is it possible that the vector of intertextuality is the reverse of that which I have proposed?, i.e., Is it possible that Josephus was dependent upon Mark for his story of Jesus son of Ananias? I address the latter question first."

    "A. Was Josephus Dependent upon Mark?"

    "Could Josephus have been dependent upon Mark for the story of Jesus son of Ananias? Since Josephus pays so little attention to Jesus of Nazareth and the Christian movement (only mentioned twice and briefly in _Ant._, XVIII. 63-64 [with latter Christian emendations] and _Ant._, XX. 200), it is very doubtful that Josephus is dependent upon the Gospel of Mark for the inspiration to create his story of Jesus son of Ananias. I think that it is highly improbable that Josephus would have composed such a story by combing through Mark for good material to make an interesting story about someone who harangued about the doom of the Temple, Jerusalem and the people seven years and five months before the siege by the Roman army actualized that doom prediction."

    "Furthermore, there is the issue of *Tendenz*. What tendencies does a writer such as Josephus reveal with respect to how he creates material to serve his literary purpose? As I noted earlier, accomplished Greco-Roman writers, such as Josephus, often practiced MIMESIS in the course of developing a narrative or some other literary piece. And if they were mature writers, with refined literary skill in crafting compositions, they avoided practicing MIMESIS as a slavish imitation of motifs, details, vocabulary, grammatical and poetic constructions from the hypotext they chose to serve as the basis for their hypertext. Mature writers with refined rhetorical skills most often sought to conceal their imitation (a practice called "occulting"), lest their imitation be considered boorishly pedantic and they be accused of plagiarism (see [Dennis] MacDonald, [The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark], 5). With respect to Josephus, there does not seem to be any evidence that he was pedantic in his imitation, if he indeed did imitate other authors, as some scholars suggest. MacDonald states, for example:
    • "The writings of Josephus display several possible imitations of the epics, and in some cases one suspects that he expected his readers to detect and appreciate his free adaptations" (5 [and 206. n.21]). But, in my judgment, it is quite unlikely that Josephus would stoop to imitating an author, such as Mark, whose rhetoric, as scholars have often noted, is hardly in the class of those ancient authors most often imitated. For these reasons I find it implausible that Josephus was literarily dependent upon Mark."
While in my presentation before the Jesus Seminar I did not think that Mark was dependent directly on Josephus. I now think that he was. And since Book VI of the _Wars_ was published about 79 CE, I now do not think that the Gospel of Mark is any earlier than the early 80's CE.

Additional support for the likelihood that Mark got the story from Josephus, and not the reverse, is John's dependency on the story of Jesus-Ananias which he appropriated from Josephus for his own unique depiction of Jesus' Roman trial. If, as I argue, both Mark and John drew upon the Josephus story directly, then it is hardly likely that Josephus was dependent upon Mark and John for elements of the Jesus-Ananias' story peculiar to their own depiction of Jesus' trials. I cannot imagine Josephus sorting through Mark and John looking for good material to create his own story of this character who harangued against Jerusalem, its people, and the Temple from 62-70 CE. I present my case for John's dependency upon Josephus story of Jesus-Ananias from my public address on my thesis presented at the opening of the Jesus Seminar in October 2003. In the manuscript distributed to the Seminar attendees before the meeting, I give a fuller treatment of what I now quote from the public address:

  • "John's Dependence on the Story of Jesus of Jerusalem"

    "I turn now to what I propose is John's use of the story of Jesus of Jerusalem. To make my case for that it is important for me first to draw attention to the differences between the Johannine Roman trial of Jesus of Nazareth and the Markan and Matthean Roman trials of Jesus of Nazareth. And the differences are both striking and strange.

    "Unlike the Markan and Matthean one-stage Roman trial of Jesus, consisting of three episodes --namely,
    • (1) Pilate's interrogation of Jesus (Mk. 15:2-4; Mt. 27:11-14),
      (2) the crowd's request for the release of Barabbas and its demand for Jesus' crucifixion (Mk. 5:6-11; Mt. 27:15-21), and
      (3) Pilate's release of Barabbas, his scourging of Jesus, and deliverance of Jesus to be crucified (15:12-15; Mt. 27:22-26)--
    " -- John creates two stages in the Johannine Jesus' trial before Pilate (18:28-19:16): two stages, each with an episode in which Pilate moves from outside and disputative exchanges with the Jewish authorities who are insistent that Jesus be crucified, to inside the praetorium where in privacy Pilate interrogates Jesus. That is strikingly different from the Synoptic versions of the Roman trial of Jesus.

    "And the strange thing about the Johannine Roman trial of Jesus is that John has, as C. K. Barrett declares (_John_, 443), incomprehensibly and "oddly inserted" Pilate's scourging of Jesus and the soldiers' mockery between Pilate's two private interrogatory sessions, rather than having Pilate scourge him and the soldiers mock him at the end of the trial when Pilate had acquiesced to the demands of the Jews and delivered Jesus over to be crucified."

    "The 'incomprehensible' fact that John has 'oddly inserted' the scourging and mockery of the Johannine Jesus in the middle of the Roman trial, as well as John's structure of a two-stage trial, can be explained in part by John's appropriation of elements of the Roman trial of Jesus son of Ananias and his incorporation of those elements in the creation of his Roman trial. How can I support such a position?"

    "It is clear that, for John, the two most important episodes in his Roman trial of Jesus are the two private sessions of the interrogation of Jesus by Pilate. It is there in those sessions that John frames certain questions for Pilate to ask the Johannine Jesus that allows Jesus then to expound theologically and christologically on two issues John wants addressed to his own readers. Those issues are, as I see them,
    • (1) the issue concerning the nature of Jesus' kingship, and
      (2) the issue regarding the origin and source of ultimate power.
    "The two questions that John places upon Pilate's lips to prompt Jesus' discourse on kingship and power are two of the same questions posed by the Roman governor Albinus to Jesus-Ananias. In the Jesus-Ananias story Albinus wanted to know from Jesus-Ananias (1) who he was and (2) where he was from. I stated earlier that what Albinus was interested in, when he queried Ananias' son about who he was, was the socio-political identity that Jesus-Ananias claimed for himself. I also presented a case for Mark picking up on Albinus' socio-political-identity question and reformulating it as a socio-political identity question with a messianic/christological role-specific orientation and placing it upon the lips of the high priest as a question posed to Jesus."

    "John, I propose, observing what Mark has done followed Mark's suit and used Mark's framing of the question placed upon the lips of Pilate, namely, his question to Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews." By scripting that socio-political identity question for Pilate to pose to Jesus in the first session of his interrogation of Jesus, John enabled his persona Jesus to address John's kingship issue in response to Pilate's question and thus have Jesus emphatically underscore that his kingdom was not from or of the world. In this manner, the identity question made it possible for John to deal with the nature of Jesus' kingship in the first session of Pilate's questioning of Jesus."

    "In the second session, the issue which John wants Jesus to address for the benefit of his readers is the issue of the source and origin of ultimate power, i.e., the power manifested in Jesus, the power in John's cosmology which is from above, the only power that controls Jesus' destiny. To introduce that issue John appropriated the second question Albinus demanded that Jesus-Ananias answer the question concerning 'where he was from.' Thus, John formulates that question borrowed from Albinus the Roman governor in direct discourse and with it placed on Pilate's lips has Pilate ask Jesus then, "Where are you from?" But John did not stop there in his borrowing from the Roman trial of Jesus-Ananias. He followed up Pilate's question with the same response that Jesus-Ananias had to Albinus' question. The Jesus-Ananias story depicts Jesus-Ananias as not replying to Albinus' questions. So likewise, John depicts Jesus as not replying to Pilate's question."

    "That tandem of motifs, the 'Where you from?' question motif, and the Jesus non-reply motif, which John derived from the Jesus-Ananias story and scripted into his Roman trial at this point provides the segue for John to have Jesus speak to the issue of ultimate power, the issue of the moment that John wants addressed. Thus, when Pilate asks the question of Jesus, 'Where are you from?' and Jesus does not answer, John is able to advance the exchange to the issue of power he wants addressed by scripting the following dialogue between Pilate and Jesus at the dramatic moment when Jesus fails to reply to Pilate's 'Where are you from?' question. I quote the Johannine text:
    • 'Pilate therefore said to him, "Do you refuse to speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?" Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above".'
    Once again, it is in this manner, via two motifs drawn from the Jesus-Ananias story of the motif of a Roman governor asking a Jesus where he was from and the motif of a Jesus not replying to the governor's question, that John was able to introduce the issue of origin and source of ultimate power in the second session of Pilate's interrogation of Jesus." [See the text of the story set off by astericks].

    "Besides the motif of the identity question, 'Where are you from?' and the motif of Jesus' non-reply to that question, it is important to draw attention at this point to two other motifs in the Jesus-Ananias story that also appear in the Johannine Roman trial of Jesus. They are the 'Jesus scourging' motif and the 'Jesus release' motif. In both of the respective trials a Jesus is scourged and a Roman governor moves to release a Jesus. Of course only one of the two Jesuses does get released. Nevertheless, the release motif is present in both stories. To push the parallels in motifs further, what is interesting to me is that the four motifs, which have been in the immediate focus of attention, appear in exactly the same sequence in the narrative patterns of both stories. If you turn to [the text of the Jesus-Ananias story set off by astericks] in section 304-305 the following pattern in which the four motifs are introduced. Jesus-Ananias is brought to the Roman governor Albinus, he is scourged (the Jesus-scourging motif), following the scourging he is asked by Albinus, among other things, where he is from (the 'Where-you-from?' question motif), to which question Jesus-Ananias does not reply (the Jesus-non-reply motif, and after the interrogation, Albinus releases Jesus (the Jesus-relief motif). In the Johannine schema, as the trial progresses from the first stage to the second, the Johannine Jesus is scourged (the Jesus-scourging motif); then in his interrogation he is asked where he is from (the 'Where-you-from?' question motif), to which question he makes no reply (the Jesus non-reply motif). Then after his interrogation, Pilate is prepared to release him (the Jesus-release motif). Thus, there is a parallelism between the two narratives in the order of those four motifs."

    "What is striking about this parallelism in the narrative order of these Four motifs in the two stories is how radically different that pattern of narrative ordering is from some of the same motifs in the Synoptic trial narratives, in particular the Markan and Matthean versions, and the pattern of order in which they are arranged. Both the Markan and Matthean trial versions have a Jesus-scourging motif, a Jesus-non-reply motif and a Jesus-release motif. But they do not have the 'Where you from?' question motif.

    "Instead they have a 'charges-question' motif. That is, in their one-stage, Roman trial of Jesus, Pilate, upon hearing the charges the chief priests have levied against Jesus, asks him, 'Have you no answer to make? See how many charges they bring against you?' (Mk. 15:4; Mt. 27:13). It is in response to Pilate's 'charges question' that Mark and Matthew both tell us, that 'Jesus made no . . . answer' (Mk. 15:4). It is, then, to the 'charges question' that Jesus in the Markan and Matthean versions of the Roman trial makes no answer in contrast to the Johannine Jesus and Jesus-Ananias who make no answer to the 'Where are you from?' question. Consequently, the order of Mark and Matthew's four motifs is: a 'charges-question' motif, followed by a Jesus-non-reply motif, followed by a Jesus-release motif and then a Jesus-scourging motif, in contrast to the Johnnanine and Jesus-Ananias story order of a Jesus-scourging motif, a 'Where are you from?'-question motif, a Jesus-non-reply motif and a Jesus-release motif. It is clear from the comparisons of the Markan and Matthean pattern with John juxtaposed with the Jesus-Ananias narrative pattern of the motifs, that John constructed his narrative from the final episode of the first stage of his Roman trial through the end of the second stage, using as a narrative template the Roman trial of Jesus-Ananias and not the Markan and Matthean Roman trial accounts. Luke is another matter. He only narrates the Jesus release motif."

    "Furthermore, it needs to be noted that the 'Where are you from?'-question motif plays a prominent role in John's Gospel prior to the Roman trial. Earlier, in the Gospel at various points in the Johannine Jesus' disputes with his Jewish adversaries the 'Where are you from?'-question motif is often used to address the issue of Jesus' spiritual origin and his messianic/christological status. Thus, for example, in 7:27-28, people who encounter Jesus in Jerusalem state with respect to Jesus:

    'Can it be that the authorities really know that this is the Messiah? Yet we know where this man is from; but when the Messiah comes, no one will know where he is from.' Then Jesus cried out as he was teaching in the temple, 'You know me, and you know where I am from? But I have not come of my own accord; he who sent me is true, and him you do not know. I know him, for I come from him'."

    "It is quite striking, in my view, that none of the synoptic accounts of the Roman trial of Jesus has the 'Where are you from?'-question motif, nor is the 'Where are you from?' question-motif utilized with respect to Jesus anywhere in the Synoptics. Consequently, I posit that John appropriated this motif from the story of Jesus-Ananias and used it not only in the Roman trial of Jesus but also elsewhere in his Gospel to address theological and christological issues central to John's interest."

    "Finally, with respect to the 'incomprehensible fact that John has 'oddly inserted' the scourging and mockery of the Johannine Jesus in the middle of the Roman trial, I am convinced that the thesis I have been articulating makes the incomprehensive quite comprehensible. How do I see that? John, in working with his two sources, Mark and the story of Jesus son of Ananias, to create his own unique Roman trial of Jesus, saw that the best way to connect the material he derived from the template of his two sources --- material which he transformed, transvalued and reconsituted --- was to connect the two respective templates by attaching the beginning of his transformed and transvalued Jesus-Ananias Roman trial account to the end of his revision of his Markan source Roman trial account. Since in John's Markan source Jesus' scourging took place after his trial before Pilate and, in his Jesus-Ananias source, the scourging of Ananias' son took place before his interrogation by Albinus, John saw, I reason, that the natural place to suture his two newly created two stages of the Johannine Roman trial together was at the point where the original source texts depicted the scourging incident.

    "Thus, narratively, the scourging of the Johannine Jesus, by necessity of John's compositional procedure, occurs in the middle between two stages of the Roman trial, rather than at the end of the Roman trial, as is the case in the Markan and Matthean accounts of Jesus' Roman trial. This narrative splicing of his two sources, also, explains John's decision to ignore the Greek term for scourging which Mark used in his account and choose instead a cognate of the Greek term he found for scourging in the story of Jesus-Ananias."

    "Feasts in Jerusalem, An Intertextual Connection"

    "There remains yet the need to draw attention to one more motif, which supports my thesis that John was dependent the story of Jesus of Jerusalem for his portrayal of Jesus of Nazareth. In the story of Ananias' son we are told that not only did Jesus-Ananias first proclaim his oracle against Jerusalem, its people, and the Temple, in the Temple itself, but also he chose to do so on the occasion of the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles in 62 CE.

    "We are told in addition that, after his release by Albinus, Jesus-Ananias continued to proclaim his lamentation of doom daily and most vociferous during the feast days. It seems that feasts in Jerusalem were particularly important occasions for Jesus-Ananias to besiege observant Jews with his dirge of doom. [See the text set off by astericks in the story] What is striking to me in this regard is that John also has a fascination with Feasts in Jerusalem. He places Jesus there during six feasts (three Passover feasts [2:13; 6:4; 11: 55], the Feast of Booths [7:2], the Feast of Dedication [10:22] and one other unidentified feast [5:1]). In fact, the Johannine Jesus shows up in Jerusalem only at feasts. And it is only at feasts that Jesus directly encounters his adversaries 'the Jews'."
John's apparent independent use of the Josephus story of Jesus-Ananias, a use inspired by John's awareness that Mark had used the same story for his trial scenes before him, convinces me that Mark and John were dependent upon Josephus for the story of Jesus son of Ananias --- and I could show the same for Luke--- rather than Josephus being dependent upon Mark or John (or Luke for that matter) for material to create his story of Jesus-Ananias.

Ted Weeden
-- https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/cro ... pics/18075
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