Author Topic: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered  (Read 25527 times)

Mike Bennett

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #195 on: August 02, 2007, 10:55:58 PM »
If I believe the reality of the resurrection but can't rely on the Scriptural resurrection accounts, what do I rely on? 
The faithfulness of God to unfaithful, sinful, believers.

Where do I learn of such an astonishing thing as the faithfulness of God to unfaithful, sinful believers?  The craziest optimist couldn't make it up, and I can't rely on the witness of Scripture?
 
 :(  Mike Bennett
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #196 on: August 02, 2007, 11:21:19 PM »
Steven agrees with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  And the Epistles, the Creeds...
But I'm just looking at the Gospel of Mark. For many years, that was the only gospel that Mark's community had. That was the source of their faith and knowledge about Jesus. It would take another 10-20 years before the other gospels were written; and who knows when they were put together into a collection.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #197 on: August 02, 2007, 11:23:25 PM »
Where do I learn of such an astonishing thing as the faithfulness of God to unfaithful, sinful believers?  The craziest optimist couldn't make it up, and I can't rely on the witness of Scripture?
Read the gospel of Mark. Assumption one about reading scriptures: the people were expected to read through the entire book; not just pick and choose parts of it. Assumption two about reading scriptures: the people were expected to read it from start to finish, not jump around. So, read through the gospel and note especially how the disciples are characterized in this gospel.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Mel Harris

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #198 on: August 02, 2007, 11:25:58 PM »

Steven agrees with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.  And the Epistles, the Creeds...


Then, I agree with Steven.     :P

Mel Harris

scott3

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #199 on: August 03, 2007, 12:33:33 AM »
Brian,

You are misreading the aorist as conveying a gnomic or durative / habitual / intensive idea.  It does not.  No time frame is specified or can be derived from the use of the aorist in the case of Mark 16:8.  The tense simply does not indicate whether or not the action referred to occurred for 5 seconds or for 100 years or is an eternal truth.  It is in the nature of the aorist to be vague on this, and this vagueness of a historical "snapshot" is typical for the aorist and by far its most common use.

The context of the hearers, especially given that Mark's audience did know, in fact, that the women broke their silence would also indicate that you are misreading the statement in this case (if the women never told anyone, how would the early Christians have known?). 

Tense, too, indicates this. Translating or understanding the use of the aorist in a habitual, durative or intensive fashion is inappropriate to the tense in general.  It would be more appropriate to the imperfect or, more likely, the perfect.  The aorist only rarely has a gnomic sense in the NT, and there is no indication that it would have such here.  Rather, it's simply describing a completed action without implying any time period.

The context of Mark indicates this as well.  Mark wrote to people who had heard of Jesus' resurrection and believed in him, and who could only have heard of this through the message of the women.  So it is a dramatic, poignant ending to the book of Mark to leave the question hanging with the hearers -- did the women tell?  Did they go to Galilee?  Was Jesus faithful and meet them there?  All the while knowing that the answer to each of these questions is "yes".  Such an ending brings home Mark's point in a powerful fashion precisely by leaving the question hanging -- but if he did write in such a fashion to indicate that he was saying that the women never told anyone anything, the question wouldn't be hanging at all.  Rather, it would have been answered in a non-sensical fashion where someone else had to find out about Jesus' resurrection rather than the women, and no story that we have indicates that such is the case.  So your interpretation solves a question that Mark intends to leave hanging in his text, all the while knowing that the proclamation of Christ has already reached his hearers / readers and so they would have the requisite context with which to properly interpret what he was doing.

So to insist that when Mark writes "oudeni ouden eipan" means that he is here saying that they never, ever told anyone anything is to go beyond what the both the context of the hearers, the syntax and the context of Mark permit.  You are saying more than the text says.

You are reading into it your presupposition that Mark contradicts Matthew and Luke on this point, when all Mark does is leave the story at the point of the women leaving the tomb.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 12:52:19 AM by Scott._.Yaki mow »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #200 on: August 03, 2007, 02:09:52 AM »
You are misreading the aorist as conveying a gnomic or durative / habitual / intensive idea.  It does not.  No time frame is specified or can be derived from the use of the aorist in the case of Mark 16:8.  The tense simply does not indicate whether or not the action referred to occurred for 5 seconds or for 100 years or is an eternal truth.  It is in the nature of the aorist to be vague on this, and this vagueness of a historical "snapshot" is typical for the aorist and by far its most common use.
Do you see any indication in the Gospel of Mark that the women said anything to anyone?

Quote
The context of the hearers, especially given that Mark's audience did know, in fact, that the women broke their silence would also indicate that you are misreading the statement in this case (if the women never told anyone, how would the early Christians have known?). 

I've answered that question before. Whether or not the women told anyone, Jesus was going to appear to the disciples in Galilee. The fact that Mark's hearers knew that Jesus was raised would lead them to believe that Jesus kept his word.

There is also the irony in the Gospel of Mark that when Jesus told people to be quiet about miracles, they usually told everyone they could; but now when the women are told that they are to speak, they are silent.

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Tense, too, indicates this. Translating or understanding the use of the aorist in a habitual, durative or intensive fashion is inappropriate to the tense in general.  It would be more appropriate to the imperfect or, more likely, the perfect.  The aorist only rarely has a gnomic sense in the NT, and there is no indication that it would have such here.  Rather, it's simply describing a completed action without implying any time period.
The aorist in v. 8 corresponds with the aorist in v. 7. What the angel commanded them, they did not do.

Quote
The context of Mark indicates this as well.  Mark wrote to people who had heard of Jesus' resurrection and believed in him, and who could only have heard of this through the message of the women. 

No, that is not the only way the hearers would have known. As it is, when the women do speak in Luke, nobody believed them.

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So it is a dramatic, poignant ending to the book of Mark to leave the question hanging with the hearers -- did the women tell? 

The answer is, "No, they did not tell" (in the gospel of Mark). They are failures just as the male disciples failed to follow Jesus to the cross. Peter denied Jesus (and that point is hinted at in v. 7 when Peter is named).

Quote
So your interpretation solves a question that Mark intends to leave hanging in his text, all the while knowing that the proclamation of Christ has already reached his hearers / readers and so they would have the requisite context with which to properly interpret what he was doing.
Exactly, all the disciples in Mark are utter failures -- including the women at the end. Jesus is faithful.

Quote
So to insist that when Mark writes "oudeni ouden eipan" means that he is here saying that they never, ever told anyone anything is to go beyond what the both the context of the hearers, the syntax and the context of Mark permit.  You are saying more than the text says.
I think that it is even a greater stretch to conclude that they did tell someone. There is nothing in Mark to indicate that.

Quote
You are reading into it your presupposition that Mark contradicts Matthew and Luke on this point, when all Mark does is leave the story at the point of the women leaving the tomb.
I am reading Mark on Mark's terms and not imposing the stories of Matthew or Luke into Mark.The first readers of Mark would not have known Matthew or Luke. We need to pretend that we don't know them, too, when we are exegeting Mark.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #201 on: August 03, 2007, 02:38:08 AM »
(1)The first readers of Mark would not have known Matthew or Luke.
(2)We need to pretend that we don't know them, too, when we are exegeting Mark.

(1) Maybe, maybe not. That's nothing more than a hypothesis.

(2) No, we don't.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

scott3

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #202 on: August 03, 2007, 08:31:21 AM »
Brian,

You have been answered, whether you like it or not.  The context of the hearers, the context of Mark, and the tense of the verb argue against your interpretation that Mark is here claiming that they never, ever told anyone anything (maybe they never spoke again?).  Mark is deliberately ambiguous on this point.  You are reading into it what isn't there in order to make a point you dearly want to uphold.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 08:35:23 AM by Scott._.Yaki mow »

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #203 on: August 03, 2007, 08:48:34 AM »
(1)The first readers of Mark would not have known Matthew or Luke.
(2)We need to pretend that we don't know them, too, when we are exegeting Mark.

(1) Maybe, maybe not. That's nothing more than a hypothesis.

(2) No, we don't.

I agree with Richard. I also agree with Gadamer that you are on a fool's errand, probably sent there by Schleiermacher. Anyway, my question, Brian, is this. Is it essential to know what the original readers thought?

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #204 on: August 03, 2007, 08:53:34 AM »
Eric writes:
Is it essential to know what the original readers thought?

I respond:
I'm certain not Brian, but ... Wouldn't it help to have some idea about how the texts were read and interpreted? Think of our Constitution and laws. Think of how the Constitution was applied and understood. Yes, I'd say it is essential to be able to speculate intelligently on how a document was understood by the original readers - not to mention the original writers.

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #205 on: August 03, 2007, 08:58:06 AM »
Eric writes:
Is it essential to know what the original readers thought?

I respond:
I'm certain not Brian, but ... Wouldn't it help to have some idea about how the texts were read and interpreted? Think of our Constitution and laws. Think of how the Constitution was applied and understood. Yes, I'd say it is essential to be able to speculate intelligently on how a document was understood by the original readers - not to mention the original writers.

Well, since it is impossible for us to know what each other has written (that is not what I asked) we are in bad straits are we not? For example, I said "essential" which implies exactness and you use the term "speculate" which implies conjecture.

The exact point of my post I will wait for Brian to answer.

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #206 on: August 03, 2007, 09:14:20 AM »
"Essential"? No. Helpful. Yes. "Essential" to understand the political and social context of the original texts? Yes.

Richard Johnson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #207 on: August 03, 2007, 10:27:40 AM »
"Essential"? No. Helpful. Yes. "Essential" to understand the political and social context of the original texts? Yes.

Not to quibble over words, but if I took you literally here, we'd have to say that exegetes like, oh, Augustine and Luther to take two, were unable to say anything intelligent about these words since they don't seem to have understood the political and social context of the original texts--certainly not in the sense that such a phrase is used today.
The Rev. Richard O. Johnson, STS

Charles_Austin

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #208 on: August 03, 2007, 10:52:58 AM »
Richard Johnson (formerly known as Esteemed Moderator) writes:
Not to quibble over words, but if I took you literally here, we'd have to say that exegetes like, oh, Augustine and Luther to take two, were unable to say anything intelligent about these words since they don't seem to have understood the political and social context

I comment:
Those nobles had quite a lot of very intelligent, useful and Spirit-led things to say; and I sometimes ponder how much more wondrous things they might have said had they 1) lived longer, 2) known some of the the things we know, or 3) had cats for pets.

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #209 on: August 03, 2007, 11:57:38 AM »
I agree with Richard. I also agree with Gadamer that you are on a fool's errand, probably sent there by Schleiermacher. Anyway, my question, Brian, is this. Is it essential to know what the original readers thought?
There are two basic ways of studying scriptures, according to Mark Allen Powell:

The field of biblical studies presently seems to be divided into two general camps: author-oriented scholars who use historical criticism and reader-oriented scholars who use literary criticism. There is something of a cold war between these -- not much outright hostility but not much interchange either. I remember a session of the Matthew Group at the Society of Biblical Literature where two our country's top scholars were scheduled to engage in dialogue on a common theme. Dan Via presented a literary-critical study of an important text; Robert Gundry responded with his own redaction-critical analysis of the same passage. It was interesting to hear both papers but at their conclusion neither scholar had much to say to the other. To quote Gundry: "I don't really understand what he was doing." And to quote Via: "I just can't look at a text like that."

Are they from two different worlds? And if they are, is there any problem with that?

One significant difference between these two approaches is the way they address diversity in interpretation. Both acknowledge this existential fact: people can and do interpret texts in different ways. But how should we account for this? Is it because some people understand the text rightly while others misunderstand it? Or is it simply that different people understand in different ways? The former answer tends to be favored by historical critics; the latter by literary critics. In an extreme rendering -- which is usually a caricature -- historical critics may be depicted as claiming that a text has only one correct interpretation: the meaning that was intended by the author. Or, again, in an extreme rendering -- also a caricature -- literary critics may be depicted as recognizing an infinite diversity of interpretations, none of which can be ruled out by any objective standard. Removing exaggeration, it is safe to say that scholars who favor authors maintain that some interpretations are right and others are clearly wrong, while scholars who favor readers think it is abusive to impose understandings that limit people's creativity or imagination.
(Chasing the Eastern Star, pp. 1-2)

At least as I use the methods for exegesis, I don't see such a great difference between the historical-critical and the literary-critical methods. One seeks to understand what the author meant (or what the original readers understood) within the historical setting of the writing. The other seeks to understand what the author meant (or what readers understand) within the literary setting of the writing.

If one is just reading scriptures, e.g., for devotional purposes; or dealing just with reader-response criticism, where about the only question that matters is, "What does this mean to you?" then trying to get into the minds of the author and readers doesn't matter; but that is not exegesis, at least in the traditional sense of the word. Such a method, while a valid one, is very subjective. It does lead to multiple interpretations -- all being right because that's what each individual things it means. However, even with this method, if a second question is asked, "Why do you think it means that?" then one starts dealing with the critical methods.

Now, after thinking about your question with my fingers on the keys, the basic answers to why it is essential to try and understand what the first readers thought is, if we don't, we are likely to impose our own understandings onto the text. Then Bible study becomes a study of the interpreters rather than a study of the scriptures. The answers to the question, "What does this mean to you?" indicate more about the responder than what is in scriptures. Thus, at least in my mind, it becomes more of a self-study than a Bible study.
"The church … had made us like ill-taught piano students; we play our songs, but we never really hear them, because our main concern is not to make music, but but to avoid some flub that will get us in dutch." [Robert Capon, _Between Noon and Three_, p. 148]