Just heard snippets of the broadcast I mentioned in previous post. Loved bits I heard. So John Carroll is also another Frank Kermode fan! That’s surely one of the best reads on the gospel of Mark — check out Interpreting Mark like any other work of literature.
One reason I want to read Carroll’s book, The Existential Jesus, is to follow up his intriguing idea that the Gospel of John understood the Gospel of Mark and was an exposition of the mysteries coded in Mark. I can’t imagine more two totally opposite gospels so this is surely (hopefully) going to be an interesting read. (About the only thing in common that immediately hits me is their apparently less than “orthodox” provenance.)
I just know our public broadcaster the ABC is a secret front for book publishers.
This morning there’s a radio program (web accessible) on Mark’s Gospel — John Carroll sees Mark’s gospel as “up with Homer as the great Western storyteller; the other gospels are inferior. . . .”
This can be heard live from http://www.abc.net.au/rn/
but podcast will be available for 4 weeks at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/religionreport/default.htm (Transcript will be there forever)
The announcement from last week:
Stephen Crittenden: Welcome to the program.
Before we get under way, a reminder that next week on the program we’ll be reading the strangest and most troubling of the four gospels, St Mark’s gospel. It’s the one with the angry Jesus who frowns at the fig tree because it’s not in season, and turns it into a black stump; who gives up trying to teach his disciples because they don’t get it, and who dies alone and in despair.
Sociologist John Carroll has written a new book about Mark, ‘The Existential Jesus’. He says that Mark is up with Homer as the great Western storyteller; the other gospels are inferior, just footnotes, although at least John’s footnotes are better than Luke’s and Matthew’s. So, it’s time to refresh your memory of a great Western storyteller, the man who invented Jesus. That’s next week.
15. The Witness of the Beloved Disciple
Bauckham opens this chapter with:
In the last chapter we demonstrated that, according to John 21:24, the Beloved Disciple was both the primary witness on whose testimony the Gospel is based and also himself the author of the Gospel. (p.384) Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 15a”
Richard Bauckham places critical importance on the way Papias expresses his preference for a “living voice” over “books”, and argues that here Papias is informing readers that he follows “best historical practice” according to standards of antiquity.
Thanks to my life-long habit of frequenting second hand bookstores I have just come across my old 1965 Penguin paperback of G. A. Williamson translation of Eusebius and notice a small print footnote on these words of Papias: Continue reading “Papias: theologian or historian?”
Is there any evidence in Mark’s narratives that the author is reporting the point of view of anyone other than his own? Is there any indication that he is relaying a third party’s “eyewitness” testimony?
Do we ever catch the author stepping outside his own perspective for a moment and finding himself reliant on the testimony of an “eyewitness” in the telling of a story? Continue reading “Bauckham’s eyewitnesses vs Petersen’s narrator”
Have just put up another detailed comparison of Mark’s narrative of the raising of Jairus’s daughter with its literary antecedent in 2 Kings 4, the story of Elisha’s raising of the son of the Shunammite woman. Again, what is the more reasonable? To think that a person can be raised from the dead or to think that an author draws on a similar well-known story to describe a raising from the dead?
I have made all too passing references to a feature that deserves the most attention of all in any serious thought about Richard Bauckham’s eyewitness hypothesis — the alternative hypothesis, the literary-borrowing hypothesis. Continue reading “Bauckham versus Elisha on the 5000”
6am Thursday 1st Mar 07:
Yes miracles of healing and exorcism would be memorable but what is important in the context of the gospels is that these were unlike the ‘normal’ works of healers and exorcists in the ancient world (1.27; 2.12; 3.22). Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 14/WIFTA”
Meanwhile, have made a few minor changes/additions to points 3 and 6 (’emotional involvement’ and ‘point of view’) in my previous chapter 13 discussion since originally posting it.
14. The Gospel of John as Eyewitness Testimony
This chapter attempts to establish three points:
- that the author of the gospel of John identifies himself as “the Beloved Disciple” (– but exactly who that was B reserves for a future chapter)
- that the original ending of the gospel was 21:24-25
- that significant “we” references testify to an “authoritative we”
On these three points I found Bauckham’s conclusions (although not all his arguments) refreshingly persuasive. Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 14”
13. Eyewitness memory
Richard Bauckham uses this chapter to relate modern studies in memory psychology “to gospel traditions in a systematic way”. RB acknowledges that others like Crossan have addressed memory studies before but B is attempting to apply them more specifically in a range of cases of eyewitness recall and as the sources of gospel episodes. B’s purpose for this study is once again to attest to the “authority” of the Jesus traditions in our canonical gospels:
How are we to gauge the reliability or otherwise of the gospel traditions? How far would they have been accurately preserved even within the memories of the eyewitnesses themselves? (p.319) Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 13”
We probably should envisage . . .
We probably should envisage a carefully compiled and formulated collection of Jesus traditions, incorporating other important eyewitness testimony as well as that of the Twelve themselves, but authorized by the Twelve as the official body of witnesses. (p.299)
This would surely be not too difficult to test. What would we expect the final compilation of this collection to look like? What features would it have that would clearly indicate it was “carefully compiled and formulated”, and that it incorporated different classes of eyewitness testimonies? Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 12b”
12. Anonymous Tradition or Eyewitness Testimony
Eyewitnesses: a superfluous hypothesis?
Bauckham argues that the primary sources of the gospel authors (following best historical practice by ancient standards) were the eyewitnesses. He therefore takes issue with Dunn when he says:
[ I]t is almost self-evident that the Synoptists proceeded by gathering and ordering Jesus tradition which had already been in circulation, that is, had already been well enough known to various churches, for at least some years if not decades. (p.291 — Dunn p.250)
But then Bauckham seems to admit that Dunn’s statement here is quite sufficient as an explanation for our gospel materials when he responds: Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 12a”
So far Bauckham has not addressed two of the most graphically told gospel scenes to explain how his eyewitness hypothesis accounts for them: his series of trial appearances and scourgings and his resurrection appearances. Continue reading “Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Interlude”
Added about a day after the original post:
Knew it would be a mistake to rush that last chapter. (wifta: ‘what i forgot to add’). Had originally intended to address Bauckham’s Theissen reference:
Certainly something happened when the traditions were appropriated by the writers of the Gospels, but it could not have been so discontinuous with the attitude of the oral traditions themselves. The nature of the traditions . . . shows that they made reference to the real past history of Jesus. The fact that this is stated in the excellent textbook The Historical Jesus, by Gerd Theissen and Annette Merz, shows how far the mainstream of Gospel scholarship has moved . . . (p.277)
B’s reference to the gospels recording “real past history” is to pp.102-104 of Theissen. Here are a few quotations from those pages in Theissen: Continue reading “Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses. Chapter 11/WIFTA”