You build your case well, as usual. But my milage varies for various reasons, and there are some more things that need to be taken into account. Firstly, I think that an argument from semantic coherence carries more weight than most other arguments, so if it can be shown that the spirit-blasphemy saying fits well and truly into the immediate context then some really heavy arguments are needed to shift the balance toward the editing option, and thus towards a situation where we must be more cautious to use the saying to shed light on other parts of gMark, in this case the theme of un-forgiveness in Mark 4.Ben C. Smith wrote: ↑Sun Jun 24, 2018 7:40 amHi, Stefan. This is one of those cases in which I do not necessarily expect complete coherence from Mark, because I do not think that Mark himself invented the concept of blasphemy of the holy spirit; rather, he is taking a concept that already existed in the early church and working it into his composition.Stefan Kristensen wrote: ↑Sun Jun 24, 2018 12:29 amJesus says in Mark 3 that all will be forgiven the sons of men except blasphemy against the holy spirit. I suggest this means rejection of the gospel in general, in the sense of denial that the gospel is a message that has come from God. And not necessarily rejection of the gospel in a more active way, i.e. preaching against the gospel so as to make others fall away. Which is what the scribes do in Mark, and is also treated in Mark 9:38-50.
But if “blasphemy against the holy spirit” only means this latter active sense of rejecting the gospel, then of course there is much more hope. And this also means that none of the soils can necessarily be said to be “outsiders” (who will not be forgiven). I dunno, it’s diffucult!
We know from several sources that early Christian gatherings often included prophetic utterances. But a crucial issue must have arisen at some point: what happens if a prophet delivers a load of nonsense? Different groups came up with different responses to this issue. For example:
This strikes me as the obvious Sitz im Leben for the idea of the unforgivable sin.
There were other solutions to the problem:
Contrary to the injunction against blaspheming the spirit, this advice essentially invites the congregation to test prophets. It also offers an antidocetic litmus test by which to judge their prophecies.
If I am correct that the saying originated in the context of how to treat prophetic utterances in Christian gatherings, then its use in Mark as a defense on the lips of Jesus comes off as clearly secondary. Furthermore, I suspect that it has been added to that context artificially, on a purely textual level, with Mark 3.30 as an explanatory aid in its insertion:
Notice the sudden syntactic switch between direct dialogue ("all sins shall be forgiven... guilty of an eternal sin") and narration ("since they were saying"), a transition so awkward that the most literal translations mark it off with an em dash. We find this pattern elsewhere in situations in which a source is being modified. For example:
On Marcan priority, it is Luke who changed Mark's direct dialogue ("say nothing to anyone") into indirect dialogue ("he charged him to tell no one") before lapsing back into direct dialogue in a sudden and awkward manner.
Mark has the reason for Peter's statement as a completely new sentence, which is syntactically very straightforward, while Luke has summarized Mark's sentence as a participial phrase which can link back only to the subject, Peter, thus using the direct dialogue to divide the subject from its modifying participle in such a way that the cleanest, most literal translations (like the NASB above, or the RSV) have to use an em dash to mark the weird interplay between direct dialogue and narration.
One more example:
This time Mark has no direct dialogue: only narration, which Matthew changes to direct dialogue at one point before returning to the narration, thus creating another seam at which the dialogue interrupts the main clause and its subordinate purpose clause. Matthew's text is not actually ungrammatical here, but it does evince that same kind of close exchange between dialogue and narration.
So it appears to me that the saying about blaspheming the holy spirit was dropped into its current context at some point. There is one more indicator that this is so: to wit, another passage which seems to have been dropped into its current context, and which deals with similar issues:
Note the same awkward interplay between direct dialogue and narration as we have noticed in the other examples above. In this case we also have a clear reduplication ("says to the paralytic") marking off the direct dialogue which seems to intrude. I think that the original text moved directly from verse 5a to verse 11, without the intruding dialogue and repeated phrase. It was originally just a miracle story, but now it has been pressed into service as speaking to the issue of blasphemy and sin, which is very similar to the saying about blasphemy of the spirit being the ultimate sin. There are other bits in Mark which seem to speak to similar topics (blasphemy, the spirit, sin) which may also have been added to the text in an accretional style.
So it seems to me, at any rate. YMMV.
But we must always be cautious to let one passage in gMark shed light on another passage outside of its immediate context, because any saying in gMark is tightly tied together to its immediate, closest context. And even though Mark 4 is the same overall context and the same overall theme, we're dealing with two seperate episodes in the narrative, constituting their own thematic micro-universes, as I see it: Mark 3:20-30 is about the eschatological function of God's spirit in the new house vis-a-vis the world, and Mark 4 is about the role of the inhabitants of the house.
Anyway, for me, it is only your secondary argumentation that carries weight here, i.e. the grammatical argument that there may be signs of editing in the "blasphemy against the holy spirit" saying in Mark 3. Because your first argument, the Sitz-im-Leben argument, i.e. that we might deduce a Sitz (and therefore prior to gMark) by using the appearance of the saying in Didache in a different context, I will dismiss flatly on the ground that I regard Didache as dependant on gMatt (I know you disagree with me on this). So for me the saying in Didache does not point to any original Sitz at all, but is instead an interpretation and usage of the saying as it appears in Matt 12:32. And therefore I don't think this shifts the balance toward the spirit-blasphemy saying being traditional rather than Markan. Actually, the whole concept of 'Sitz-im-Leben' is a modern construction by the form critics and a fantasy, as far as I'm concerned. I know we fundamentally disagree on this issue, but that's a whole other discussion in itself.
As for your secondary, grammatical argument, i.e. that the syntax in 3:29-30 is awkward in a way that points to editing, that's an argument I can engage with. But I'm cautious. Because it could also very well be what we regard as typical Markan clumsiness and also what generally characterizes his style of free-flowing narrative with little care for full grammatical or even semantic coherence. What I mean is semantic coherence on the surface level of the narrative, because Mark is carefully and meticulously writing a double-level narrative, and he is only really concerned with semantic coherence on the other, true, level of his narrative, the sublevel where his real message is conveyed, the "Jesus Christ gospel" (1:1). Which is the same way that God's real message, the gospel, is conveyed cryptically or encoded according to Mark, like a hidden lamp that needs to shine, or like someone speaking in parables, or events happening to allegorically convey a transposed meaning, e.g. being inside a "house".
And the added note in Mark 3:30, "because they were saying, 'he has an unclean spirit'", I regard as typical of Mark's style. Like "because she was twelve years old", or in 3:22 "they were saying that, 'he has Beelzebul', and that, 'by the prince of the demons he casts out the demons'" or "declaring all foods clean" (7:19b). I can see why we can suspect some of the very grammatically awkward places as being the results of editing, but I also think that Mark's overall style is so clumsy (on the surface level) that we're dealing with many degrees of clumsiness. And so I ask, by what criteria must we judge one clumsy construction to be just Mark's style and another the result of editing? I think that's problematic, if you understand what I mean.
Further, I also think there are signs that the syntax in Mark 3:29-30, prompting the em dash in translation, may not be as awkward in the Greek after all as it looks to us. There are no textual variants as far as I can see that tries to correct the awkwardness (which would also be the first thing you would point out, if I know you!) Also, in your example with the Paralytic neither Matthew nor Luke changes the apparant awkward part, but they both retain it in its full 'awkwardness'. If it really were awkward they would simply have rephrased it in some way, especially Luke we'd think. Granted, Matthew adds a "then" (Matt 9:6), but he's still fine with interrupting Jesus' saying in the same 'awkward' manner as Mark, and we know he has no problem in rephrasing Jesus' sayings as he pleases, so why doesn't he just rephrase this one sentence? He doens't. Luke seemingly chooses to rephrase the sentence a little, but the 'awkward' part he chooses to retain, why?
The reason that neither Luke nor Matthew retain the spirit-blasphemy saying in Mark 3:29-30 with the 'awkward' part, could be explained by the apparant awkwardness. But it is much better explained for semantic reasons than for a need to remove supposed awkwardness, a need they don't seem to have, as we can see. Matthew adds further to the saying in a way that there's really no room for Mark 3:30; and Luke generally keeps the holy spirit out of the picture because for him this element rightfully belongs to the sequel, Acts, so instead he inserts the motif with an unclean spirit in a house which must be kept out by "keeping the word" inside of the house.
Also, the two examples you bring with the Transfiguration and the Healing of the Leper in gLuke I'd say can strengthen my point here just as well as yours, because even though they are examples of editing, like the passages in gMark might also be, as you suggest, it is a different kind of editing. In these two instances Luke edits a Markan passage, but he also himself creates such an "awkward" syntax in the process – but here there's no apparant reason for it. So I need an explanation as to why Luke would seemingly unmotivated choose to create awkward syntax. He is one of the top commanders of Koine in the NT. I mean, the apparant awkwardness here is not created by Luke as he copy/pastes into his narrative some Jesus-saying that he might have from elsewhere, but rather in both cases he chooses to add this 'awkwardness' himself - but for no apparant reason.
And with your last example, Matt 12:10, it is the same: Why would Matthew choose to create an awkward syntax when he could just as easily rephrased it in some other way? The best explanation I can see is that it is not really awkward. So it looks to me like the 'awkward' grammatical phenomenon that appears in Mark 3:29-30 is not really awkward after all, and on that basis at least, this thing doesn't point to editing. Perhaps it's abit clumsy, if you will, but that's the Mark we know and love, but the other seem to have no problems with it either.
Of course, the question is also, are there any instances of this phenomenon elsewhere in gMatt or gLuke in passages that are not clear edits, or is it only a phenomenon that appears in clearly edited passages?