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Old 02-19-2001, 11:26 AM   #1
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Post The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark: A Sample

I have put up one two-column parallel from D. MacDonald's _The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark_ on a separate webpage, because I can't make columns work here. If Bede, Nomad, Layman and other apologists wish to talk about it in this new thread, here is the
link:

http://users2.ev1.net/~turton/examplehomer.html

If you can't make it work, let me know.

http://users2.ev1.net/~turton/Main_index.html

is the link for my personal site, so you
can double-check that to see if it is working.

Michael
 
Old 02-19-2001, 12:39 PM   #2
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This book is new. I can't wait for responses from the scholarly community, if and when it is considered.

Personally, I think you could make a case for similarities between Mark and other classical works if you tried hard enough...

Ish
 
Old 02-19-2001, 01:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Ish:
This book is new. I can't wait for responses from the scholarly community, if and when it is considered.

Personally, I think you could make a case for similarities between Mark and other classical works if you tried hard enough...

Ish
</font>
MacDonald is working only on Homer in here.
Obviously Mark drew on a whole range of sources, but used a skeleton from Homer for most of the major episodes.

Since Bede et al will no doubt weigh in later with their comments, let me stir up the pot by noting that MacDonald found the same parallels in most of the major episodes, including the Crucifiction and Burial. Now, if Mark is the first (seems solid) and the others are dependent on him, we don't have "independent witnesses" we have four versions of a provable fiction, since all the Gospels have Jesus getting executed at the end, and John has Jesus walking on water, and other episodes MacDonald has proven Mark invented. In other words, Christianity, at least the major canonical works, are variations of fictions from the brilliant mind of Mark.

Michael

 
Old 02-19-2001, 02:35 PM   #4
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by turtonm:
Now, if Mark is the first (seems solid) and the others are dependent on him, we don't have "independent witnesses" we have four versions of a provable fiction, since all the Gospels have Jesus getting executed at the end, and John has Jesus walking on water, and other episodes MacDonald has proven Mark invented. In other words, Christianity, at least the major canonical works, are variations of fictions from the brilliant mind of Mark.
</font>
turtonm,

How would you respond to the issue of Paul in relation to this ? For example, Paul's writings pre-date Mark by 10-25 years and much of the information in Mark is corroborated by Paul. For example, Paul speaks of Jesus' betrayal, "last supper", and other events. This would seem to greatly weaken the thesis that Mark was simply drawing on Homer's work.

Here's a link to a full review of the book you mentioned. Its written by a professor of classical literature at the University of Kentucky.

http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2000/2000-09-16.html


I'll close with a quote from the above review which sums it up well:

"Parallels do not necessarily signal direct influence, especially in the case of the Homeric poems, which have exercised a pervasive influence, both direct and indirect, over many aspects of Western culture, ancient and modern. One can discern literally hundreds of close parallels between the Iliad and, say, Clint Eastwood's hero's tale Unforgiven."

Peace,

Polycarp


 
Old 02-19-2001, 02:52 PM   #5
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Michael

Thanks for posting and typing. This promises to be interesting. Let me jot down some initian thoughts some of which may turn out to be off beam.

How close the paralell?

You suggest that Mark has moved Homeric events around for literary reasons. Is it not more likely that he did it because things happened that way. It appears that rather than taking Homer as his base he is taking something else (oral tradition or whatever) and grafting Homer on to that.

Coincidence?

Check this out. You can do the same thing with the Titanic and another ship that sank with the same name. The Bible code looked amazing to the untrained eye. Even the most critical thinkers can be tripped up by this sort of thing. There may be a lot less here than meets the eye (as someone has already said!).

Markan priority

You said Mark had a brilliant mind. This is odd because his writing style is pretty awful. One of the main reasons that he is thought to be earlier is that Luke and Matthew correct his grammar and bad style. That the writer of his calibre came up with this brilliant fiction would be very surprising.

But if Mark's oddities are due to him twisting a story he got from Matthew? Did he rearrange Matthew in a typical exercise of Homeric memisis such as rhetorists were taught. That would explain how such a poor stylist ended up with such a great story.

Paul and John

Finally, against it all being fiction we have the independent witness of Paul and John (I don't think you can say John is depedent on the synoptics).

Yours

Bede

Bede's Library - faith and reason
 
Old 02-19-2001, 04:47 PM   #6
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[QUOTE]Originally posted by Bede:
Michael

Thanks for posting and typing. This promises to be interesting. Let me jot down some initian thoughts some of which may turn out to be off beam.

How close the paralell?

You suggest that Mark has moved Homeric events around for literary reasons. Is it not more likely that he did it because things happened that way. It appears that rather than taking Homer as his base he is taking something else (oral tradition or whatever) and grafting Homer on to that.


Well, I like to think of it as using Homer as a skeleton, and then incorporating various other influences, such as his own creativity, Jewish myth and legend, oral tradition if extant, etc.

Coincidence?

Check this out. You can do the same thing with the Titanic and another ship that sank with the same name. The Bible code looked amazing to the untrained eye. Even the most critical thinkers can be tripped up by this sort of thing. There may be a lot less here than meets the eye (as someone has already said!).


I knew you guys would say this! That's why I didn't want to post just one. You have to read the whole argument.

If this was the only story you could do that to, you would be right. To a whole gospel of them, no. According to MaDonald, the bulk of the gospel's stories, and many of its unique features, can be treated in this way. There are also some stories in Luke-Acts that yield to this treatment. I know the Titanic story, it's a famous one. This is a parallelism of an entirely different nature.

Markan priority

You said Mark had a brilliant mind. This is odd because his writing style is pretty awful. One of the main reasons that he is thought to be earlier is that Luke and Matthew correct his grammar and bad style. That the writer of his calibre came up with this brilliant fiction would be very surprising.


Do not confuse creative brilliance with grammatical facility. His Greek may have been poor, but his mind was fine. Even spoken and written language are vastly different. On the phone, when I speak Chinese, native speakers often cannot tell that I am not a native speaker. But my Chinese writing skills are poor. It is difficult for me to write good sentences in that language, though I have no trouble reading it. If I had to write a gospel in Chinese, it would sound pretty illiterate no matter how creative I was.

But if Mark's oddities are due to him twisting a story he got from Matthew? Did he rearrange Matthew in a typical exercise of Homeric memisis such as rhetorists were taught. That would explain how such a poor stylist ended up with such a great story.

Well, yes, but then building on Homer would explain the same thing, wouldn't it? I mean, he had the master right there in front of him. As MacDonald points out, some of the differences between Mt and Mk are in areas
where Mt has eliminated the odd stuff introduced as a result of Mk's use of Homer.
For example, the naked youth at Jesus' arrest is almost certainly Elpenor, and Lk and Mt toss him. Similarly, they toss the reference to "legion/Nobody" in the passage I gave you.
Elpenor, who appears again as the youth who appears at the empty tomb, is promoted to an angel in Mt and two angels in Lk. There are others.

Paul and John

Finally, against it all being fiction we have the independent witness of Paul and John (I don't think you can say John is depedent on the synoptics).


Assuming for the moment that Mark is a fiction produced from Homer, then by what coincidence does John wind up with the same stories that are produced from Homer in Mark?
As for Paul, references to details are quite thin. In the seven epistles considered authentic, what details are copied in Mark?

Michael
 
Old 02-19-2001, 07:09 PM   #7
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:


http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2000/2000-09-16.html


I'll close with a quote from the above review which sums it up well:

"Parallels do not necessarily signal direct influence, especially in the case of the Homeric poems, which have exercised a pervasive influence, both direct and indirect, over many aspects of Western culture, ancient and modern. One can discern literally hundreds of close parallels between the Iliad and, say, Clint Eastwood's hero's tale Unforgiven."

Peace,

Polycarp

</font>
I'll open with a quote of his, that sums up his position equally well:

"Not being a biblical scholar,....."

and

"Some of the parallels laid out in the book seem persuasive, especially the argument
in Chapter 4 that the depiction of the sons of Zebedee owes something to mythological traditions about the Dioscuri."

But seriously, the quote you put there is his whole argument. His major point is that it is overkill -- it would have been better if MacDonald hadn't combed Mark to find everything that fit! In other words, the critic is conceding the point with that single word, "overkill." Actually, he does concede quite a bit to MacDonald.

MacDonald's point isn't even that there are parallels, it's that they work in particular and repetitive ways. I think the critic's remarks on the Peter parallel are apropo, I thought it was quite thin myself.

For the Paul issue, see my remarks to Bede.

Michael
 
Old 02-19-2001, 07:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Polycarp:


http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/bmcr/2000/2000-09-16.html


I'll close with a quote from the above review which sums it up well:

"Parallels do not necessarily signal direct influence, especially in the case of the Homeric poems, which have exercised a pervasive influence, both direct and indirect, over many aspects of Western culture, ancient and modern. One can discern literally hundreds of close parallels between the Iliad and, say, Clint Eastwood's hero's tale Unforgiven."

Peace,

Polycarp

</font>
I'll open with a quote of his, that sums up his position equally well:

"Not being a biblical scholar,....."

and

"Some of the parallels laid out in the book seem persuasive, especially the argument
in Chapter 4 that the depiction of the sons of Zebedee owes something to mythological traditions about the Dioscuri."

But seriously, the quote you put there is his whole argument. His major point is that it is overkill -- it would have been better if MacDonald hadn't combed Mark to find everything that fit! In other words, the critic is conceding the point with that single word, "overkill." Actually, he does concede quite a bit to MacDonald.

MacDonald's point isn't even that there are parallels, it's that they work in particular and repetitive ways. I think the critic's remarks on the Peter parallel are apropo, I thought it was quite thin myself.

For the Paul issue, see my remarks to Bede.

Michael
 
Old 02-19-2001, 07:16 PM   #9
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OT: Polycarp, are you the same one as used to post on SDMB?
 
Old 02-19-2001, 09:45 PM   #10
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Alright, let's look at the parallels:

1) Odysseus is on a ship that goes on a long voyage across a sea, Jesus is on a boat that crosses a lake.
2) goats=pigs???
3) Odysseus & co. got off their boats. Jesus & Co. got off their boats. LOL!
4) Odysseus encounters a Cyclops in a cave, Jesus encounters a demon posessed man in a cemetary.
(NOTE: Am I the only one missing something here? Moving right along)
5) The giant (cyclops?) askes Odysseus his name. Jesus asked the demon his name. (Umm... ???)
6) Nobody=Legion???
7) Odysseus subdued the giant with violence and trickery [Circe had turned Odysseus' soldiers into swine]. Jesus subdued the demons with divine power and sent them into the swine and then into the sea.
8) The goats had sheppards. The pigs had swinekeepers.
9) The Cyclopes came to the site asking about Polyphemus' sheep and goats. The Gerasenes came to the site to find out about their swine.
10) [Polyphemus is usually depicted nude.] The demoniac, once naked, was now clothed. 11) Odysseus and crew re-embarked. Jesus and his disciples re-embarked.
(I'm sorry. I am still not getting this)
12) Odysseus told the giant to proclaim that he had blinded him. [Jesus told the healed demoniac to proclaim that he had healed him]. (Proclaim? Mark 5:19 Jesus did not let him, but said, "Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.")
13) Odysseus refused the request. Jesus refused the request.
Odysseus and crew sailed away. Jesus and the disciples sailed away.
14) Odysseus awoke during a storm at sea in the episode immediately following the story of Cyclops [Jesus awoke during a storm and calmed the wind and sea just before exorcising the demoniac.]

I hope MacDonald has something better than this.

Out of curiosity, have you ever read the parallels between the Kennedy and Lincoln assisinations Michael? They really are quite remarkable. (i.e. Booth shot Lincoln in a theatre, and was caught in a warehouse/barn. Oswald shot Kennedy from a warehouse, and was caught in a theatre).

Personally, I like the list of parallels I offered comparing Elvis and Jesus better.

The problem with all of this is that (a) the parallels listed more or less aren't (although I have to admit, two different guys both in boats... well that is AMAZING) or are textbook examples of reaching and overreaching, and (b) none of this shows that Mark wasn't just reporting the facts of the story as he knew them.

Now, on a serious note, can you please offer proof of John's dependence on Mark? I am seriously looking forward to that. And if you have another set of "parallels", I would welcome those too. The first set was interesting.

Nomad

[This message has been edited by Nomad (edited February 19, 2001).]
 
 

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