Author Topic: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered  (Read 21860 times)

scott3

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #210 on: August 03, 2007, 11:59:56 AM »
Brian,

Have you noticed yet that with one hand, you assert that the goal is to reduce biases in order to be "objective" while at the same time with the other hand, you are continue to tell other people what biases they should have in order to read in what YOU consider to be appropriate ways?

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #211 on: August 03, 2007, 12:36:22 PM »
Is it essential to know what the original readers thought?
Not essential, because we can't know for sure, but without seeking to understand the author's original intended meaning, we end up imposing our own thoughts onto the text -- and, as I responded to Dick Johnson, we turn a Bible study into a self-study. In addition, our hypotheses about the author's original, intended meanings provides some parameters around what interpretations are acceptable or not in the present day.

To return to Mark 16:1-8, I do not think that Mark's intentions were to deny the reality of the resurrection. Thus, an interpretation that does so, has strayed too far from the historical meaning of the text. I think that it is Mark's intention to show how the disciples failed Jesus. One can compare Mark's comments about the disciples with Matthew's. In Mark 4:40 they are people of "no faith". The parallel in Matthew 8:26 they are described as having "little faith". In Mark, the women say nothing. In Matthew, they tell the disciples. When read as a whole, I agree with Powell's statement about Mark's gospel:

Jesus keeps his disciples in spite of their complete faithlessness to him (Mark 14:26-27; 16:7). This is surely the most important point all. Jesus never rejects any of his followers, no matter how inadequate they turn out to be. Even when they desert him, deny him, and leave him to die, even then the message that goes out from the tomb on Easter orning is, in effect, "go, tell Peter and the others that I will be weaiting for them in Galilee -- I intend to see them there." This is frankly incredible! Why doesn't Jesus rise from the dead angry? Why wasn't ditching him in his hour of need "the last straw"? We might have expected him to fire the whole lot and find twelve new disicples who would prove somewhat worthy of him. (Loving Jesus, pp. 105-6)

I think that's a message that Mark intended his original audience to grasp -- or that they are grasped by this message as they hear and enter into the whole story of Jesus and his disciples throughout the book of Mark. The depth of this message is lost or at least watered down when one starts impossing Matthew and Luke's stories into Mark, such as understanding the women not as utter failures at the end. I don't think that Mark intended his audience to think that women eventually succeeded -- and we shouldn't think so either -- at least when studying 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]

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #212 on: August 03, 2007, 12:37:44 PM »
Have you noticed yet that with one hand, you assert that the goal is to reduce biases in order to be "objective" while at the same time with the other hand, you are continue to tell other people what biases they should have in order to read in what YOU consider to be appropriate ways?
No.
"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]

scott3

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #213 on: August 03, 2007, 12:45:02 PM »
Have you noticed yet that with one hand, you assert that the goal is to reduce biases in order to be "objective" while at the same time with the other hand, you are continue to tell other people what biases they should have in order to read in what YOU consider to be appropriate ways?
No.

Glad to be able to help you see yourself better then.  You're welcome.  8)

scott3

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #214 on: August 03, 2007, 12:55:19 PM »
I think that's a message that Mark intended his original audience to grasp -- or that they are grasped by this message as they hear and enter into the whole story of Jesus and his disciples throughout the book of Mark. The depth of this message is lost or at least watered down when one starts impossing Matthew and Luke's stories into Mark, such as understanding the women not as utter failures at the end. I don't think that Mark intended his audience to think that women eventually succeeded -- and we shouldn't think so either -- at least when studying Mark.

Yeah, except you don't have what Mark says to back you up since the way you are reading Mark is to say this: "...the women never said anything to anyone..." (insertion of the word "never") OR "...the women did not say anything to anyone and continued not to say anything to anyone" (perfective / intensive sense).  If this were intended, Mark could easily have plainly said the first or used the perfect to indicate the second in order to show that this is what he meant.  He did not.  Rather, he used the vague aorist (probably a Semiticism) which doesn't convey the sense of time you are reading into the statement.

So Mark is deliberately ambiguous on this point.  It is this ambiguity that points up the faithfulness of Jesus despite the failures of the women and even challenges the hearer directly by means of this ambiguity.  The ambiguity has the rhetorical function of involving the hearer by challenging them with the implicit question: "Jesus has promised and is faithful -- what do you say?"  This is a great rhetorical trick whereby Mark directly impacts the hearers and forces them to react to the promise of Jesus.  But it needs to be ambiguous to function like this rhetorically.

Perhaps another, more practical reason why he left it so ambiguous was that if he were to solve the ambituity like you want to solve the ambiguity, Brian, what he said would no longer have been true because the women did eventually tell others (fairly quickly, actually), and his audience would have known these events from the Christian proclamation.  Instead of saying what wasn't true, he spoke ambiguously in regards to the time frame and still made his point which would have been gutted either way by being unambiguously understood.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 02:01:36 PM by Scott._.Yaki mow »

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #215 on: August 03, 2007, 01:26:01 PM »
But I'm just looking at the Gospel of Mark. For many years, that was the only gospel that Mark's community had.

So, Mark's Gospel fell out of the sky to some isolated community that had no other contact or relationship with other Christians -- apostles, missionaries, distant relatives, just plain visitors -- before, during, or after Mark's Gospel was inscribed?

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Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #216 on: August 03, 2007, 02:35:38 PM »
But I'm just looking at the Gospel of Mark. For many years, that was the only gospel that Mark's community had.

So, Mark's Gospel fell out of the sky to some isolated community that had no other contact or relationship with other Christians -- apostles, missionaries, distant relatives, just plain visitors -- before, during, or after Mark's Gospel was inscribed?
I should have written, "that was the only written gospel that Mark's community had."
"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 #217 on: August 03, 2007, 03:02:12 PM »
Yeah, except you don't have what Mark says to back you up since the way you are reading Mark is to say this: "...the women never said anything to anyone..." (insertion of the word "never") OR "...the women did not say anything to anyone and continued not to say anything to anyone" (perfective / intensive sense).
I do not insert "never" nor "at first". I say, that Mark's story of Jesus ends with the women saying nothing to anyone. Whatever happened after his story ended is conjecture. (Even my post-ending ending that the disciples went back to Galilee and there they saw the risen Jesus.) The story ends in such a way that the hearers have to conclude the story. They know that it can't end with silence and fear.

Quote
So Mark is deliberately ambiguous on this point. 

He says quite clearly, they said nothing to anyone. That's not ambiguous. The story ends with silence ... and fear. (I also note that "they were afraid" is imperfect, implying a state of continually being afraid in the past.)
"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]

Steven Tibbetts

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #218 on: August 03, 2007, 03:06:00 PM »
I should have written, "that was the only written gospel that Mark's community had."

Even that is a supposition on your part.  

Granted, one that fits much current scholarship.  But not all, and certainly not older, classical scholarship.

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Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #219 on: August 03, 2007, 03:07:27 PM »
When read as a whole, I agree with Powell's statement about Mark's gospel:

Jesus keeps his disciples in spite of their complete faithlessness to him (Mark 14:26-27; 16:7). This is surely the most important point all. Jesus never rejects any of his followers, no matter how inadequate they turn out to be. Even when they desert him, deny him, and leave him to die, even then the message that goes out from the tomb on Easter orning is, in effect, "go, tell Peter and the others that I will be weaiting for them in Galilee -- I intend to see them there." This is frankly incredible! Why doesn't Jesus rise from the dead angry? Why wasn't ditching him in his hour of need "the last straw"? We might have expected him to fire the whole lot and find twelve new disicples who would prove somewhat worthy of him. (Loving Jesus, pp. 105-6)

I think that's a message that Mark intended his original audience to grasp -- or that they are grasped by this message as they hear and enter into the whole story of Jesus and his disciples throughout the book of Mark. The depth of this message is lost or at least watered down when one starts impossing Matthew and Luke's stories into Mark, such as understanding the women not as utter failures at the end. I don't think that Mark intended his audience to think that women eventually succeeded -- and we shouldn't think so either -- at least when studying Mark.

What message are we grasped by, that Jesus does not reject any of his disciples?

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #220 on: August 03, 2007, 03:08:24 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.

Brian, I was reading books of the Bible at one sitting long before I ever heard your name.  Mark has been one of them, several times. So where, in Mark, if I can't rely on the trustworthiness of Scripture's accounts, do I get such a wild and crazy idea as resurrection of the dead?  The resurrection is what I was trying to find support for before the "faithfulness" red herring was dragged across the path and I followed it like a dedicated but stoopid bloodhound.  

Mike Bennett ???
“What peace can there be, so long as the many whoredoms and sorceries of your mother Jezebel continue?”  2 Kings 9:22

Eric_Swensson

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #221 on: August 03, 2007, 03:12:16 PM »
Powell writes:

Jesus keeps his disciples in spite of their complete faithlessness to him (Mark 14:26-27; 16:7). This is surely the most important point all. Jesus never rejects any of his followers, no matter how inadequate they turn out to be. Even when they desert him, deny him, and leave him to die, even then the message that goes out from the tomb on Easter orning is, in effect, "go, tell Peter and the others that I will be weaiting for them in Galilee -- I intend to see them there." This is frankly incredible! Why doesn't Jesus rise from the dead angry? Why wasn't ditching him in his hour of need "the last straw"? We might have expected him to fire the whole lot and find twelve new disicples who would prove somewhat worthy of him. (Loving Jesus, pp. 105-6)

So, here is the new gospel of incusiveness: the most important thing is that Jesus didn't rise from the grave angry, not that he rose from the grave for our justification (Rom 4:25).

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #222 on: August 03, 2007, 03:13:13 PM »
What message are we grasped by, that Jesus does not reject any of his disciples?
Jesus remains faithful to those he has called. Disciples can count on Jesus to fulfill his promises even when they don't. Even Jesus' word that all would fall away (Mk 14:27) will prove to be true, even though Peter disputes that he would ever leave Jesus. (Peter's word isn't as certain as Jesus'.)
"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]

scott3

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #223 on: August 03, 2007, 03:14:02 PM »
Yeah, except you don't have what Mark says to back you up since the way you are reading Mark is to say this: "...the women never said anything to anyone..." (insertion of the word "never") OR "...the women did not say anything to anyone and continued not to say anything to anyone" (perfective / intensive sense).
I do not insert "never" nor "at first". I say, that Mark's story of Jesus ends with the women saying nothing to anyone. Whatever happened after his story ended is conjecture. (Even my post-ending ending that the disciples went back to Galilee and there they saw the risen Jesus.) The story ends in such a way that the hearers have to conclude the story. They know that it can't end with silence and fear.

Quote
So Mark is deliberately ambiguous on this point. 

He says quite clearly, they said nothing to anyone. That's not ambiguous. The story ends with silence ... and fear. (I also note that "they were afraid" is imperfect, implying a state of continually being afraid in the past.)

Yep, Mark writes that as the women "fled" from the tomb, they said nothing to anyone.  How long such silence lasted is not indicated and there is no indication that reading in any time period for their silence is appropriate.

So the duration of their silence as they fled from the tomb is ambiguous, but they fact that they fled from the tomb without saying anything to anyone is not.

Glad we agree.

As to the imperfective of fear, you're right.  That does give a sense that they were continuing to fear.  Makes me think of a group huddled in an upper room for fear of the Jews, to be honest.  However, since the narrative abruptly ends after that point, the length of their continuing fear is also indeterminate as we simply don't have anything else to go on.  I could easily say that "I was continually afraid of crime in Nairobi...", but this doesn't necessarily mean that I continued for the rest of my life to be afraid of the crime in Nairobi.

But I do agree that there is a contrast between the aoristic sense of the verb "to say / tell" and the imperfective form of the verb "to be afraid".  Seems like Mark might be wanting to contrast the two phenomena where one continues longer than the other.

Thanks for the supporting argument that highlights the aoristic "snapshot" sense of eipan (to tell / say) as indicating indeterminate time.
« Last Edit: August 03, 2007, 03:19:21 PM by Scott._.Yaki mow »

Brian Stoffregen

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Re: The Gospels -- Jesus Remembered
« Reply #224 on: August 03, 2007, 03:16:27 PM »
I should have written, "that was the only written gospel that Mark's community had."

Even that is a supposition on your part.  

Granted, one that fits much current scholarship.  But not all, and certainly not older, classical scholarship.
It seems to make more sense to believe that Mark was written first and ended with the women's silence and fear, which, if Matthew and Luke were using, revised that ending by having the women speak.

The other option (a classical one) is to believe that Matthew was written first, then Mark wrote an abridged version of it; but then we have to wonder why did Mark silence the women at the end if he had a source that where they spoke -- and even saw and heard the risen Jesus?
"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]