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Re: Did Mark write the Gospel of Mark?

Postby jimwalton » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:22 pm

Scholars are still trying to determine the nature of the genre of "Gospel." They are not biographies, per se, though a brand new book by Mike Licona ("Why Are There Differences in the Gospels?") gives evidence that they conform to the compositional devices of the era as a type of ancient biography.

I prefer to term them as "theographies." They are giving biographical data about Jesus, but arranged and told in such a way as to show WHO he is: God. Chronology is not important, and there is some flexibility in how stories are told (as is normal in oral tradition). Because what the writers are trying to show is that Jesus is divine. So they assemble the facts of his life in the order that suits their thesis, use OT elements, miracles, teaching, and natural phenomena to bolster their case, and publish as the story of Jesus. So I would say they distinctly and intentionally let theological concerns influence the ordering of their materials, because their point in writing was to make a theological point without sacrificing truthful historiography. In other words, they are very selective with their material, feel free to rearrange it, and include plenty of theological markers along the way.

To me, the truth is that archetypes are what they are because they actually do occur. Bad things DO happen on dark stormy nights; people DO make references to historical sayings when they are doing related activities; there is at least some truth to some omens (people are more weird during full moons). The incorporation of these elements into the Bible stories, to me, doesn't make them fictional. You know as well as I that many people treat Obama as messianic, and they treat Trump as demonic. These archetypes don't detract from the historicity of the persons or their actions, but only serve to help us categorize (whether fairly or not) and process the events of history.

> Similarly, you speak of Mark writing in a way which parallels Exodus. Again, intertextuality with ancient religious texts is a phenomenon I can only regard as worthy of the highest suspicion

See, I see this differently. Jesus specifically came to fulfill prophecy, and particularly to be the Moses that Moses never was, the David that David never was, the Temple that the Temple never was, and the prophet/priest/king that none of them ever were. That's the whole point. So it doesn't surprise me one bit to see many elements of the Exodus and the monarchy in Jesus' life.

> Tyre, Sidon, and Syro-Phoenicia

I know it's not the normal way of expressing a path. I know what you're saying, and agree. But I also know that sometimes when I'm talking with people, it makes a difference for understanding to have actually been there. Jesus was a wandering teacher, so it wouldn't surprise me if he wandered. The path seems weird, but there's so much about Jesus' path that we don't know. Because the Gospels aren't chronological, scholars have been trying to piece together a sequence of Jesus' life, and it's hard to know where he was when, how long he was there, and what he did. I try to keep an open mind.
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