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Old 08-16-2001, 01:28 PM   #11
Polycarp
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
You may be correct, but unfortunately we look at Mark through the lens of 2000 years of the Church's anti-Docetic theology.

Indeed, looking at it in a literary way, there is no way to know for certain what Mark thought. If he had believed Jesus was resurrected in a bodily way, why is there no clear statement of it, like Thomas sticking his hand in the side of Jesus? An empty tomb does not mean anything, Polycarp, either way; it signifies only that Jesus has been resurrected, but not in what form. Did Jesus himself predict in Mark that he would come back with a physical body?
OK… So when a writer has a messenger-type character say, “See where they laid his body… He is not here. He has been raised. Go to this place and you will see him.”, you would claim that the author is being ambiguous on the bodily nature of the resurrection. Come on, Michael. “They put his body here. His body is gone. He has risen. Go to Galilee and you will see him.” I’m repeating myself, but I can’t see how there is any doubt as to whether Mark was describing a bodily resurrection.

Your comment about Docetists using Mark really doesn’t count for much. How people in a later generation utilize a literary work should have no bearing on determining the intent of the original author. Docetists used the gospel of John, too. Are we now to conclude that the writer of that work was also ambiguous in revealing his beliefs on the bodily resurrection? Neo-Nazis use the gospel of Matthew as the basis for their beliefs, and so do some great humanitarians. Neither group’s opinion should be a factor in determining the intent of Matthew.

I’ve yet to see any internal evidence from Mark that he believed in a non-bodily resurrection. Do you have any ?

Or... Let me make it simpler. Where does Mark want the reader to believe that Jesus' body is located?

Peace,

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Old 08-16-2001, 01:34 PM   #12
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Posted by James Still:

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The interesting point to me is not whether Mark knew of the bodily resurrection. It seems quite clear that Mark was so confident about the matter that he could end at 16:8, with the women fleeing the tomb saying nothing to no one, knowing that his audience knew exactly what had happened
Couldn't this just as easily be interpreted as a way of avoiding the issue of physical resurrection? If he is in the Pauline tradition, as my theory postulates he might very well realize that the synthesis he is working on implies a physical resurrection, given the Talmudic method. I don't mean to suggest that he is aware that he is constructing a synthesis. But I could easily see where he got this far, realized the implications were more than his traditional beliefs allowed and also realized that he didn't need to go any further. Once the empty tomb was depicted, the Galilean tradition ended and Mark resolved all the contending issues in good Talmudic fashion.
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Old 08-16-2001, 03:58 PM   #13
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Posted by Polycarp:

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OK… So when a writer has a messenger-type character say, “See where they laid his body… He is not here. He has been raised. Go to this place and you will see him.”, you would claim that the author is being ambiguous on the bodily nature of the resurrection. Come on, Michael. “They put his body here. His body is gone. He has risen. Go to Galilee and you will see him.” I’m repeating myself, but I can’t see how there is any doubt as to whether Mark was describing a bodily resurrection.
I don't know much about Talmudic method, but the wording here seems to be carefully chosen. I see nothing inconsistent in this language with the idea that this was written to reconcile two apparantly conflicting traditions without contradiction.
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Old 08-16-2001, 04:04 PM   #14
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Well let me throw out a similar idea into the mix. What if Mark's audience has yet to make the connection between the historical Jesus and the bar adam, the son of man who must suffer? What if Mark's purpose is to identify Jesus as the son of man? Mark's audience already believes that Jesus is the Son of God. (After all Mark nonchalantly begins his gospel with the title.) God informs the listeners at Jesus' baptism that he is his beloved son and again later during the transfiguration God proclaims him to be the Son of God. The demoniac of Gerasenes and the roman centurion at the cross call Jesus "Son of God" and Mark tells us that all unclean spirits who encounter Jesus knew him to be the "Son of God" (3:11). Plus everyone in Mark's audience knew that important prophets like Ezekiel or important kings like Solomon were Sons of God.

But who is this mysterious son of man? Aside from two possible circumlocutions the son of man is first revealed by Jesus at chapter 8, which is a critical turning point in the gospel:

"And he began to teach them that the son of man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. And he said this plainly. And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter, and said, 'Get behind me, Satan! For you are not on the side of God, but of men.'" (8:30-32).

Jesus refers to the son of man in the third person. In 8:38 Jesus again uses the third person and as they were coming down the mountain Jesus "charged them to tell no one what they had seen, until the son of man should have risen from the dead" (9:9). The rest of Mark's gospel concentrates on the theme that the son of man must suffer, that he will be betrayed, but that he will also rise from death and come into power. Some commentators have conjectured that Jesus refers to the son of man in the third person because he is not yet ready to reveal his own true identity. But if this were true Mark most certainly would have incorporated this into his secret messiah motif, which he doesn't. Mark has already decided that Jesus is the son of man and his gospel seems crafted to point the reader toward that same conclusion. (Hence Mark slips up twice at 2:10 and 2:28 with a circumlocution.) Consistently Jesus speaks of the son of man in the third person but Mark wants us to see that since Jesus suffered the same fate as the son of man he must therefore be the son of man. In this sense you could say that Mark was constructing a synthesis.

If this analysis is sound what might we conclude? Only that Mark is writing during a time when Jesus (messiah), the Son of God, has been variously confused with the prophets Ezekiel and John the Baptist. Mark is also aware that Jesus taught that a son of man must suffer, die, and rise again. Mark's contribution was to connect the two together and convince his readers that they were one and the same person.

BB writes: "Maybe he didn't die. Maybe he's still alive, and will return. Could he have been resuscitated? Could there have been a miracle? At any rate, a sense of expectancy would pervade this sect."

To connect Jesus with the son of man serves the purpose of answering these questions. Mark is answering that Jesus did die and is not still alive; yet, he because he was the son of man he rose again and conquered death.
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Old 08-16-2001, 07:05 PM   #15
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I’ve yet to see any internal evidence from Mark that he believed in a non-bodily resurrection. Do you have any ?

Not a bit. Like I said, there isn't enough to decide either way.

Or... Let me make it simpler. Where does Mark want the reader to believe that Jesus' body is located?

I have no idea. Which doesn't mean that Mark meant what you think he meant. After all, what future generations see in a text....

Michael
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Old 08-17-2001, 04:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by boneyard bill:
<STRONG>Was Mark a simple historian?</STRONG>
Mark is obviously a pseudo identity adopted by any early christisn who wished his own rambling interpretaions to be taken more seriously, and is clearly the work of many hands. This is the origin of the phrase "Mark. My words."

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Old 08-17-2001, 06:06 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
Polycarp said: I’ve yet to see any internal evidence from Mark that he believed in a non-bodily resurrection. Do you have any ?

Turtonm said: Not a bit. Like I said, there isn't enough to decide either way.

Polycarp said: Or... Let me make it simpler. Where does Mark want the reader to believe that Jesus' body is located?

Turtonm said: I have no idea. Which doesn't mean that Mark meant what you think he meant. After all, what future generations see in a text....
What you’re saying is that you have “not a bit” of evidence from Mark to support a non-bodily resurrection. I’ve given clear statements from Mark that directly point to a bodily resurrection. You claim that it’s not clear what Mark meant. Mark tells us his body was placed in a tomb, but that now he (Jesus) has been raised and his body is no longer in the tomb.

So when I say, “My brother went for a walk.” I am being unclear unless I say, “My brother’s body went for a walk.” “I don’t have the flu. My body has the flu.” Do you see how crazy this is? We don’t have to be so specific in mentioning a body in order for the implication of our statements to be clear to others.

You’re making assertions, but when asked for evidence to support your claims you say that you don’t have any and plead ignorance. Why consider a theory that has “not a bit” of evidence to support it? Normally those theories are discarded by free-thinkers and left to those totally dependent on blind faith. Blind faith doesn’t seem to be your usual “MO”.

Peace,

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Old 08-17-2001, 07:22 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Polycarp:
What you’re saying is that you have “not a bit” of evidence from Mark to support a non-bodily resurrection. I’ve given clear statements from Mark that directly point to a bodily resurrection. You claim that it’s not clear what Mark meant. Mark tells us his body was placed in a tomb, but that now he (Jesus) has been raised and his body is no longer in the tomb.

All I can say is what I have said before. The Gospel is clearly ambiguous enough on this that it could be especially loved by people who thought Jesus came back as a spirit. Obviously the lack of a body in the tomb is not a problem. The body vanished and Jesus came back as a spirit or, alternately, the body vanished and Jesus came back as flesh. There is no way to decide between those positions based on Mark alone.

So when I say, “My brother went for a walk.” I am being unclear unless I say, “My brother’s body went for a walk.” “I don’t have the flu. My body has the flu.” Do you see how crazy this is? We don’t have to be so specific in mentioning a body in order for the implication of our statements to be clear to others.

Sure, but we're not talking about an issue where it is clear. We're discussing an issue where it is not clear. If it were clear, there wouldn't have been three centuries of controversy about it.

You’re making assertions, but when asked for evidence to support your claims you say that you don’t have any and plead ignorance. Why consider a theory that has “not a bit” of evidence to support it? Normally those theories are discarded by free-thinkers and left to those totally dependent on blind faith. Blind faith doesn’t seem to be your usual “MO”.

I'm not considering a theory, and I am not taking a position on what the gospel says. I am saying that the empty tomb is an ambiguous event that can be INTERPRETED several ways. You have one interpretation, the Docetists have another. There is no evidence in the Gospel of Mark that conclusively disqualifies one of those INTERPRETATIONS.

The empty tomb is a fact of Mark. I have no idea what he meant, and it could signify anything to anyone. It's ambiguous. I have no evidence from Mark to support a Docetist position, and no evidence from Mark to support yours. Its a matter of interpretation.

Since the Ancients clearly felt that Mark wasn't strong enough on this issue -- or they wouldn't have added a story about Thomas and Jesus' side -- obviously Mark is open to interpretation. I'm not advocating a theory, I am stating a fact: Mark is ambiguous on the issue of the physicality of Jesus' Resurrection.

Michael
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Old 08-17-2001, 09:43 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
The empty tomb is a fact of Mark. I have no idea what he meant, and it could signify anything to anyone. It's ambiguous. I have no evidence from Mark to support a Docetist position, and no evidence from Mark to support yours. Its a matter of interpretation.

Since the Ancients clearly felt that Mark wasn't strong enough on this issue -- or they wouldn't have added a story about Thomas and Jesus' side -- obviously Mark is open to interpretation. I'm not advocating a theory, I am stating a fact: Mark is ambiguous on the issue of the physicality of Jesus' Resurrection.
Do you think John's gospel is ambiguous on the issue of the physicality of the resurrection? If not, then your argument gets flushed right down the toilet because Docetists used John frequently.

If you think John's gospel is ambiguous, then when do you think we have the first clear explanation of the physicality of the resurrection in Christian writings?

Last question... Where is Irenaeus' reference to Docetic use of Mark? I honestly can't recall such a reference, but I'm willing to check it out if you'll refer me to the passage.

Peace,

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Old 08-17-2001, 10:39 AM   #20
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Posted by Polycarp:

Quote:
Originally posted by turtonm:
Polycarp said: I’ve yet to see any internal evidence from Mark that he believed in a non-bodily resurrection. Do you have any ?
Turtonm said: Not a bit. Like I said, there isn't enough to decide either way.

Polycarp said: Or... Let me make it simpler. Where does Mark want the reader to believe that Jesus' body is located?

Turtonm said: I have no idea. Which doesn't mean that Mark meant what you think he meant. After all, what future generations see in a text....

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

What you’re saying is that you have “not a bit” of evidence from Mark to support a non-bodily resurrection. I’ve given clear statements from Mark that directly point to a bodily resurrection. You claim that it’s not clear what Mark meant. Mark tells us his body was placed in a tomb, but that now he (Jesus) has been raised and his body is no longer in the tomb.

So when I say, “My brother went for a walk.” I am being unclear unless I say, “My brother’s body went for a walk.” “I don’t have the flu. My body has the flu.” Do you see how crazy this is? We don’t have to be so specific in mentioning a body in order for the implication of our statements to be clear to others.
Mark's statement implies a bodily resurrection but leaves some wiggle room. At least his successor gospelists felt the need to be more specific and describe a physical resurrection unambiguously.

It is possible that Mark simply wasn't being as precise as he could have been. But it is also possible that he was being extremely precise. That is the point I tried to make earlier. If he was operating in the Talmudic tradition then he needs to phrase his statements in such a way that there is no contradiction with or within scripture. The passage in question does appear to be carefully worded.

It is also possible that Mark worded it the way he did because he was working out a compromise on the issue between different views within his sect.

I disagree with Turtonm on this issue. I don't think the issue can go either way on the internal evidence alone. But neither does the wording present an insuperable barrier to the idea that Mark did not believe in a physical resurrection. When you get to the other gospels that isn't the case.

So the final interpretation of Mark has to be decided on the basis of the larger theory involved. In Doherty's theory I don't see where the issue makes much difference. If Mark is an independent invention, he could easily believe, or at least be advocating, that Jesus' resurrection was physical. The only question involved is how you conceive of the way Mark was handling the Midrashic genre.

Doherty's thesis requires three things:

1. That Paul is not referring to an earthly Jesus or an earthy crucifiction and resurrection.

2. That Mark is an independent invention within the tradition of Jewish Midrash, though not necessarily strictly Midrash.

3. That the other gospels are dependent on Mark.

I concocted a theory that gives up number two and suggests instead that Mark had an oral tradition that he was trying to reconcile with a Pauline tradition as described by Doherty. I further suggest that he was functioning in the Talmudic, not the Midrashic tradition.

What I wanted to show was that, if Mark regarded the Pauline tradition (which could have been available to him in the form of hymns, slogans, and other liturgical devices that Paul appears to be quoting), as scripture equal in importance to the Old Testament, then that tradition would have imposed itself on an oral tradition that could have been factually very different. Yet certain anomolous details would remain. (For example, details of a tabernacles feast in a passover setting.)

And I wanted to show that a physical resurrection story could emerge out of such a process even though neither side believed in such a resurrection.

Moreover, you don't have to believe that Mark was inventing anything. From his point of view he was reconstructing events based on oral tradition, the Pauline tradition, Biblical prophecy, and the Talmudic method.

So it seems to me that you could accept Doherty's view on Paul, but if you give up Mark inventing through Midrash in favor of Mark reconstructing through Talmud, you get a theory with fewer problems and more explanatory power. (Of course, you also have to accept a Galilean historical martyr related to the development of Christianity which is a historical Jesus in some senses of that term).

This is why I think Mark's gospel does not compel us to accept that he believed in a physical resurrection. He could have been more direct, but he wasn't. His successor gospelists were. Does that fact require an explanation? I shouldn't think it would if everything else in the gospels were straight forward and consistent. But they aren't. So we come to Mark through the back door, and then we have to look at his wording more carefully and ask why he chose to put it quite that way and maybe he meant something other than what later gospels suggest he meant. So I don't think that finding wiggle room in Mark's statement need be regarded as a stubborn refusal to accept the gospel meaning as Christianity traditionally has interpreted it. We need to look at the issue because the gospels present other problems.

[ August 17, 2001: Message edited by: boneyard bill ]
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