Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

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Stefan Kristensen
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Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:14 pm

I've argued that gMark was intended to be understood as an account of historical events. And as such, it is legitimate to compare gMark to other known history works of the time.

What I'm most interested in is the 'narrator' of such other works. Because one thing that characterizes gMark is the anonymity which pervades the whole work. It purports to present real events, but the person who presents them does not want to show himself to the audience. That's a strange way to present history, I think.

Compared to modern works of fiction the author of gMark appears in a stunningly consistent manner as what can be categorized as a 'covert narrator', i.e. a narrator that appears in the narrative as nothing more than a neutral and dry reporter of the events, never commenting in a such way so as to indicate any sort of personal interest or opinion or even understanding concerning the things which he narrates. The gospel of Mark is through and through anonymous.

So the 'narrator' which narrates the events in the narrative shows no opinions at all. Obviously, the contrast in this regard to the 'real author' himself is absurdly huge, and the question why that author chose to write his history work in such a way, with a 'covert narrator', is an interesting one which has not yet been posed in true fashion by biblical research, I believe.

But my question here is: Are there other examples of history writings where the 'narrator' is completely neutral, i.e. where the author appears in this way (or rather doesn't appear)? In the form of a 'covert narrator'? Or just anonymous history writings?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:46 pm

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:14 pm
I've argued that gMark was intended to be understood as an account of historical events. And as such, it is legitimate to compare gMark to other known history works of the time.

What I'm most interested in is the 'narrator' of such other works. Because one thing that characterizes gMark is the anonymity which pervades the whole work. It purports to present real events, but the person who presents them does not want to show himself to the audience. That's a strange way to present history, I think.

Compared to modern works of fiction the author of gMark appears in a stunningly consistent manner as what can be categorized as a 'covert narrator', i.e. a narrator that appears in the narrative as nothing more than a neutral and dry reporter of the events, never commenting in a such way so as to indicate any sort of personal interest or opinion or even understanding concerning the things which he narrates. The gospel of Mark is through and through anonymous.

So the 'narrator' which narrates the events in the narrative shows no opinions at all. Obviously, the contrast in this regard to the 'real author' himself is absurdly huge, and the question why that author chose to write his history work in such a way, with a 'covert narrator', is an interesting one which has not yet been posed in true fashion by biblical research, I believe.

But my question here is: Are there other examples of history writings where the 'narrator' is completely neutral, i.e. where the author appears in this way (or rather doesn't appear)? In the form of a 'covert narrator'? Or just anonymous history writings?
Armin D. Baum addresses the anonymity of the gospels in his article, "The Anonymity of the New Testament History Books: A Stylistic Device in the Context of Greco-Roman and Ancient near Eastern Literature" (Novum Testamentum, volume 50, fascicle 2, 2008, pages 120-142). Here is the abstract:

Baum, abstract: The anonymity of the NT historical books should not be regarded as peculiar to early Christian literature nor should it be interpreted in the context of Greco-Roman historiography. The striking fact that the NT Gospels and Acts do not mention their authors' names has its literary counterpart in the anonymity of the OT history books, whereas OT anonymity itself is rooted in the literary conventions of the Ancient Near East. Just as in the OT, where the authors of books that belonged to the genre of wisdom and prophetic literature were usually named while historical works were written anonymously, only the NT letters and the Apocalypse were published under their authors' names while the narrative literature of the NT remained anonymous. The authorial intent of the Gospels' anonymity can also be deduced from its ancient Near Eastern and OT background. Unlike the Greek or Roman historian who, among other things, wanted to earn praise and glory for his literary achievements from both his contemporaries and posterity, the history writer in the Ancient Near East sought to disappear as much as possible behind the material he presented and to become its invisible mouthpiece. By adopting the stylistic device of anonymity from OT historiography the Evangelists of the NT implied that they regarded themselves as comparatively insignificant mediators of a subject matter that deserved the full attention of the readers. The anonymity of the Gospels is thus rooted in a deep conviction concerning the ultimate priority of their subject matter.

I had come to some of these conclusions independently, and reading his article really helped to seal the deal.

Here is an excerpt:

Baum, page 124: The work of a Greco-Roman historian was almost always preceded by a prologue in which he informed his readers about the content of his book. The fact that a classical author like Xenophon abstained from using an prologue and abruptly opened his Hellenica with the words μετὰ δὲ ταῦτα was probably due to the fact that this historical narrative started where the historical work of Thucydides had ended and was apparently meant as its direct sequel.

Another excerpt:

Baum, pages 135-136: In the formation of Old Testament historical works not only the scribes and secretaries remained anonymous but also the historians (and epitomisers). Even historians who had taken great pains in order to collect and arrange (and adorn) their material abstained from publishing their narratives under their names. The anonymity of the Hebrew historians corresponds to the observation that within Old Testament historiography auctorial reflections in the first person are almost entirely missing and that the narrators present their speech material almost completely in oratio recta.

This stands in stark contrast to Greek historiography. Herodotus used the first person hundreds of times in order to reflect on the reliability of his sources and his own reports. Thucydides provided information about his historical method, his temporal relationship to the events of the war and his narrative technique in his prologue and did so in the first person (I 20-22). The Greco-Roman historians acted as open narrators. In contrast, the Hebrew historians from Genesis to Kings totally abstained from statements in the first person in which they would reflect on the purpose and method of their work. The Old Testament narrators consciously remained virtually invisible.

A similar effect was achieved by reproducing the speeches consistently (with only a few exceptions) in direct speech. Thus the statements of the agents were presented much more directly and vividly. At the same time the narrators remained entirely in the background. In contrast, Greek historiography detached itself from the example of Homer, who also used to present his figures' words in direct speech. Greco-Roman historians delivered large parts of their discourses in indirect speech. Through their narrative techniques they moved themselves somewhat more into focus of their readers. In Greco-Roman historiography the gap between the speaker and the narrator is more visible than in Hebrew history writing.

These observations even bring the direct speech of the gospels into account; direct speech replicates the original scene, as if the reader were standing there, listening. Indirect speech, which the author rewords, inserts the author, visibly, in between the subject matter and the reader. The evangelists, like the Jewish historians (but very much unlike Greco-Roman historical and biographical authors), recede into the background as far as possible. Baum continues:

Baum, pages 138-140: ...the authority of Wisdom literature was generally deduced from the authority of the Wisdom teachers. Their names were therefore mentioned. With regard to prophetic literature, the authority of prophetic messages depended even more on the identity of the particular prophet who claimed to have been appointed by God and to be authorized to act as a mediator of divine revelation. For this reason an anonymous prophetical book was considered unacceptable in the world of the Ancient Near East (and the Old Testament). With historical works there was no comparable concern with the identity of the writer. The attention was focused entirely on the subject matter.

....

By writing their works without mentioning their names, the New Testament narrators deliberately placed themselves in the tradition of Old Testament historiography. Like their Old Testament models, they wanted to use the anonymity of their works to give priority to their subject matter, the narratives about the life of Jesus (and the spread of the early Jesus movement). As authors they wanted, for the most part, to disappear behind their subject matter. In order to move the subject matter to the foreground as much as possible they let their actors talk mostly in direct speech and abstained from any reflections in the first person. Even in this respect they took over the stylistic devices with which the Old Testament historians had already tried to disappear as far as possible into the background of their narratives. Since they were mainly concerned with their subject matter and not with displaying their literary skill, the narrators of the New Testament also largely abstained from elevating the colloquial Hellenistic prose of their sources to a more sophisticated literary level. All of these literary idiosyncrasies of the Gospels and Acts were designed to make the authors as invisible as possible and to highlight the priority of their subject matter.

The Greco-Roman authors operated with a different set of values. Baum again:

Baum, page 133: The fact that almost all Greek and Roman historians published their works under their names is probably due to their distinctive longing for fame. Every Greco-Roman author, not just the historians, wanted to receive recognition for his literary accomplishments.

What genre do the gospels belong to? I think that they, especially Matthew and Mark, belong to whatever genre the Jewish scriptural narratives belong to. I think that they are conscious continuations of that venerable tradition.
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Stefan Kristensen
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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:46 am

Oh that is just an excellent link, Ben! Top quality description of what I have tried to describe here in narrative-critical terms as 'covert narrator' and great analysis right there.

As for my question: It seems like there really are no examples of history writing at the time with such an 'invicible' author?

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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:35 am

I agree completely with your view about the genre of gMark as a continuation of what we find in 'Scriptures'. This view which you have arrived at and have found confirmation for in Baum's article is also the view held at Copenhagen University, and it has been carried forward by my teacher Mogens Müller who has followed Lars Hartmann.

Müller believes that gMark was produced to accommodate a need in the early communities. Because their sermons were, of course, all about the Christian truth, and these sermons were to a large extent based on the texts of the Bible. The 'problem' was, then, that their Bible was the 'Jewish' Scriptures, which had now instead in the hand of the Christians become a witness to Jesus Christ. As Dibelius famously said of the origins of the gospels: 'In the beginning was the sermon'. Actually, he never said that precisely, but it captures his point: We would do well to keep in mind that there was a Christianity with Christian communities and weekly gatherings of sermons and preaching - before there was a New Testament upon which to preach.

Müller likes to point out that it was the form critics who brought to our attention that wherever Mark got his material from (or at least his ideas), the traditions concerning the 'historical' Jesus, or, the earthly Jesus, had been endowed with theological freight before Mark composed his narrative. And so, the activity of preaching Jesus based on the texts of Scripture together with the traditions of the earthly Jesus finally came together in gMark: A written composition that could be preached upon which merged Jesus as witnessed in Scripture with the traditions about his actual ministry. But at the same time gMark functioned as the final concluding work of Scripture. It was Scripture, the finalization of it, in accordance with the understanding that Scripture was about God's salvation plan and the Christ event was the finalization of that plan.

Building upon Goulder's 'lectionary hypothesis', Müller further suggests that gMark was intended to cover all the sundays in the full 'church year'. That Mark maybe builds his narrative about Jesus' ministry in such a way that it fits with the festivals, so that gMark fulfilled the need of the Christian communities for their sermons based on Scripture each sunday in the whole one-year cycle, matching Jesus' one-year ministry in gMark.

I don't know about the lectionary hypothesis, but I think the whole idea of gMark as 'Scripture' is a very, very good one, and the suggestion of such a Sitz for gMark in the sermons of the gatherings can be a great explanation as to why gMark seems to be the same genre as Scripture. But I think we have to ask more questions now. I have more questions! I think we have just opened up this avenue, that gMark is like the genre of Scripture, and we have more road ahead of us. I think there is much more to be discovered when we try to answer the why. Why is the genre of gMark so alike the genre of the historiographical writings in Scripture. What I think we can discover is alot of things that can help us understand the text of gMark itself. As we have discovered the real 'genre' of gMark, let's see how that can help us better understand the text itself.

Baum's suggestion seems to be that the reason that the genre of gMark seems to be that of Scripture was simply because this was a conventional 'genre' of that Jewish and ANE culture from which Mark came. A genre where it is the message rather than the author who is important for the author. I may not have fully understood Baum's suggestion, but if that's what he suggests, then I don't agree with that answer as to why. First of all there is the hugely central aspect of divine authority of Scripture. But I'll get back to this tomorrow (I hope).

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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Irish1975 » Sun Oct 14, 2018 11:56 am

A few thoughts...

1) How is gMark different in this respect from Genesis, or many other books of the Hebrew Bible? It seems to me that anonymous authorship of life-like narratives is the norm for both OT and NT. Only the author of Luke-Acts provides anything like a Greco-Roman authorial preface, and even he preserves his anonymity.

2) The word "history" itself is a problem here. For ancient Greeks the verb historein meant primarily a discerning inquiry, an investigation, and not even necessarily into past factual events, although in time that became the predominant sense of the word. The account [logos] of the investigation, the resulting narrative, was a separate techne involving rhetorical and poetical skill. Herodotus, Thucydides and their successors were investigators of real world events in a way that no Biblical author ever was (although "Luke" pretended to be). Modern history implies research and at least quasi-professional competence. So I guess the question is why we should call these gospel narratives historical at all, unless we are still clinging to the unfounded assumption that they encode oral traditions of remembered events. Or, maybe because there is the conceit of it being about something "long ago," as in Star Wars or Downton Abbey.
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:26 pm

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:46 am
Oh that is just an excellent link, Ben! Top quality description of what I have tried to describe here in narrative-critical terms as 'covert narrator' and great analysis right there.

As for my question: It seems like there really are no examples of history writing at the time with such an 'invicible' author?
Thank you.

I am not sure about any examples from exactly the same time as the gospels (unless the Lives of the Prophets count and are roughly contemporaneous), but some of the apocryphal OT books help fill in the gap a bit between the OT itself and the NT gospels. 1 Maccabees starts by calling itself "this history," but its narrator does not insert himself any more than the evangelists do, I believe. And Judith is similar, I think, as is the book of Jubilees, which is written very much in a scriptural style.
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:35 am
Building upon Goulder's 'lectionary hypothesis', Müller further suggests that gMark was intended to cover all the sundays in the full 'church year'. That Mark maybe builds his narrative about Jesus' ministry in such a way that it fits with the festivals, so that gMark fulfilled the need of the Christian communities for their sermons based on Scripture each sunday in the whole one-year cycle, matching Jesus' one-year ministry in gMark.

I don't know about the lectionary hypothesis....
I like Goodacre's modification of Goulder's hypothesis: Mark as a whole is not a lectionary book, but the passion narrative is very different than the earlier parts of the book, and includes elements which may betray a liturgical purpose, such as those specified three-hour intervals at the cross.
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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by andrewcriddle » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:40 am

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:35 am
I agree completely with your view about the genre of gMark as a continuation of what we find in 'Scriptures'. This view which you have arrived at and have found confirmation for in Baum's article is also the view held at Copenhagen University, and it has been carried forward by my teacher Mogens Müller who has followed Lars Hartmann.

Müller believes that gMark was produced to accommodate a need in the early communities. Because their sermons were, of course, all about the Christian truth, and these sermons were to a large extent based on the texts of the Bible. The 'problem' was, then, that their Bible was the 'Jewish' Scriptures, which had now instead in the hand of the Christians become a witness to Jesus Christ. As Dibelius famously said of the origins of the gospels: 'In the beginning was the sermon'. Actually, he never said that precisely, but it captures his point: We would do well to keep in mind that there was a Christianity with Christian communities and weekly gatherings of sermons and preaching - before there was a New Testament upon which to preach.

Müller likes to point out that it was the form critics who brought to our attention that wherever Mark got his material from (or at least his ideas), the traditions concerning the 'historical' Jesus, or, the earthly Jesus, had been endowed with theological freight before Mark composed his narrative. And so, the activity of preaching Jesus based on the texts of Scripture together with the traditions of the earthly Jesus finally came together in gMark: A written composition that could be preached upon which merged Jesus as witnessed in Scripture with the traditions about his actual ministry. But at the same time gMark functioned as the final concluding work of Scripture. It was Scripture, the finalization of it, in accordance with the understanding that Scripture was about God's salvation plan and the Christ event was the finalization of that plan.

Building upon Goulder's 'lectionary hypothesis', Müller further suggests that gMark was intended to cover all the sundays in the full 'church year'. That Mark maybe builds his narrative about Jesus' ministry in such a way that it fits with the festivals, so that gMark fulfilled the need of the Christian communities for their sermons based on Scripture each sunday in the whole one-year cycle, matching Jesus' one-year ministry in gMark.

I don't know about the lectionary hypothesis, but I think the whole idea of gMark as 'Scripture' is a very, very good one, and the suggestion of such a Sitz for gMark in the sermons of the gatherings can be a great explanation as to why gMark seems to be the same genre as Scripture. But I think we have to ask more questions now. I have more questions! I think we have just opened up this avenue, that gMark is like the genre of Scripture, and we have more road ahead of us. I think there is much more to be discovered when we try to answer the why. Why is the genre of gMark so alike the genre of the historiographical writings in Scripture. What I think we can discover is alot of things that can help us understand the text of gMark itself. As we have discovered the real 'genre' of gMark, let's see how that can help us better understand the text itself.

Baum's suggestion seems to be that the reason that the genre of gMark seems to be that of Scripture was simply because this was a conventional 'genre' of that Jewish and ANE culture from which Mark came. A genre where it is the message rather than the author who is important for the author. I may not have fully understood Baum's suggestion, but if that's what he suggests, then I don't agree with that answer as to why. First of all there is the hugely central aspect of divine authority of Scripture. But I'll get back to this tomorrow (I hope).
It is unlikely that the elaborate list of readings for the year suggested by Goulder goes back early enough to be relevant for the Gospels. As Ben Smith notes, a lectionary explanation for the narrative of the Passion is more plausible.

Andrew Criddle

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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by hakeem » Mon Oct 15, 2018 3:46 am

Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sat Oct 13, 2018 12:14 pm
I've argued that gMark was intended to be understood as an account of historical events. And as such, it is legitimate to compare gMark to other known history works of the time.

What I'm most interested in is the 'narrator' of such other works. Because one thing that characterizes gMark is the anonymity which pervades the whole work. It purports to present real events, but the person who presents them does not want to show himself to the audience. That's a strange way to present history, I think.

Compared to modern works of fiction the author of gMark appears in a stunningly consistent manner as what can be categorized as a 'covert narrator', i.e. a narrator that appears in the narrative as nothing more than a neutral and dry reporter of the events, never commenting in a such way so as to indicate any sort of personal interest or opinion or even understanding concerning the things which he narrates. The gospel of Mark is through and through anonymous.

So the 'narrator' which narrates the events in the narrative shows no opinions at all. Obviously, the contrast in this regard to the 'real author' himself is absurdly huge, and the question why that author chose to write his history work in such a way, with a 'covert narrator', is an interesting one which has not yet been posed in true fashion by biblical research, I believe.

But my question here is: Are there other examples of history writings where the 'narrator' is completely neutral, i.e. where the author appears in this way (or rather doesn't appear)? In the form of a 'covert narrator'? Or just anonymous history writings?
It should be noted that in antiquity the stories of Jesus were not accepted as historical accounts by all and even by a vast amount of Christian cults.

Christians cults accused each other of inventing fiction and fabrication.

For example See "Against Heresies" attributed to Irenaeus and "Refutation of All Heresies" attributed to Hippolytus.

http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/t ... book1.html
Preface to "Against Heresies"
1. Inasmuch as certain men have set the truth aside, and bring in lying words and vain genealogies, which, as the apostle says, "minister questions rather than godly edifying which is in faith," and by means of their craftily-constructed plausibilities draw away the minds of the inexperienced and take them captive, [I have felt constrained, my dear friend, to compose the following treatise in order to expose and counteract their machinations.]

These men falsify the oracles of God, and prove themselves evil interpreters of the good word of revelation....



See "Against Hierocles"
http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/euseb ... rocles.htm

"Against Hierocles"
And this point is also worth noticing, that whereas the tales of Jesus have been vamped up by Peter and Paul and a few others of the kind,--men who were liars and devoid of education and wizards....
Now, it must also not be forgotten that Christian writers of antiquity did not admit that they did not know the real authors of the Gospels but instead invented writers called Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:24 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 5:26 pm
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 9:46 am
Oh that is just an excellent link, Ben! Top quality description of what I have tried to describe here in narrative-critical terms as 'covert narrator' and great analysis right there.

As for my question: It seems like there really are no examples of history writing at the time with such an 'invicible' author?
Thank you.

I am not sure about any examples from exactly the same time as the gospels (unless the Lives of the Prophets count and are roughly contemporaneous), but some of the apocryphal OT books help fill in the gap a bit between the OT itself and the NT gospels. 1 Maccabees starts by calling itself "this history," but its narrator does not insert himself any more than the evangelists do, I believe. And Judith is similar, I think, as is the book of Jubilees, which is written very much in a scriptural style.
I agree, they do, and also some of the pseudepigrapha, but the question is in what way exactly they fill in a gap.

As to non-Jewish/Christian literature (or Greco-Roman) around the time of gMark, there are no examples as such, I guess?
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:35 am
Building upon Goulder's 'lectionary hypothesis', Müller further suggests that gMark was intended to cover all the sundays in the full 'church year'. That Mark maybe builds his narrative about Jesus' ministry in such a way that it fits with the festivals, so that gMark fulfilled the need of the Christian communities for their sermons based on Scripture each sunday in the whole one-year cycle, matching Jesus' one-year ministry in gMark.

I don't know about the lectionary hypothesis....
I like Goodacre's modification of Goulder's hypothesis: Mark as a whole is not a lectionary book, but the passion narrative is very different than the earlier parts of the book, and includes elements which may betray a liturgical purpose, such as those specified three-hour intervals at the cross.
I can't subscribe to such a view, because I don't think the differences between the passion narrative and the rest of the story supports any such kind of separation between the two. But that's another discussion. And I think the lectionary hypotheses are generally so speculative that I don't feel they explain all that much. But I do think that it explains a lot to try and view gMark as ultimately an accommodation for the need to have the Christ event in the 'form' of Scripture, which for example includes the written form.

The question I think we should pose, then, is not what do we think this 'form' of Scripture is (besides written form obviously), which Mark wanted his narrative to be. But rather what did Mark think was the 'form' of Scripture. What kind of 'genre' did Mark think Scripture was. How did he read Scripture and understand the nature of the texts, whose form he tried to mimick, such as the narratives of Elijah and his follower, but also the whole of Primary History. Did he regard the stories as historical? If so, in what way? Did he think all these texts were the word of God, i.e. written by prophets in the spirit? Did he think they concealed revelations about Jesus? If so, in what way exactly? Etc.

Considering amongst other things that Mark - in my view - was fluent in the theology found in the Pauline corpus, I think we have legitimate ways to try and answer these questions.

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Re: Comparing gMark with 'other' history writings of the time?

Post by Stefan Kristensen » Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:32 am

andrewcriddle wrote:
Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:40 am
Stefan Kristensen wrote:
Sun Oct 14, 2018 10:35 am
I agree completely with your view about the genre of gMark as a continuation of what we find in 'Scriptures'. This view which you have arrived at and have found confirmation for in Baum's article is also the view held at Copenhagen University, and it has been carried forward by my teacher Mogens Müller who has followed Lars Hartmann.

Müller believes that gMark was produced to accommodate a need in the early communities. Because their sermons were, of course, all about the Christian truth, and these sermons were to a large extent based on the texts of the Bible. The 'problem' was, then, that their Bible was the 'Jewish' Scriptures, which had now instead in the hand of the Christians become a witness to Jesus Christ. As Dibelius famously said of the origins of the gospels: 'In the beginning was the sermon'. Actually, he never said that precisely, but it captures his point: We would do well to keep in mind that there was a Christianity with Christian communities and weekly gatherings of sermons and preaching - before there was a New Testament upon which to preach.

Müller likes to point out that it was the form critics who brought to our attention that wherever Mark got his material from (or at least his ideas), the traditions concerning the 'historical' Jesus, or, the earthly Jesus, had been endowed with theological freight before Mark composed his narrative. And so, the activity of preaching Jesus based on the texts of Scripture together with the traditions of the earthly Jesus finally came together in gMark: A written composition that could be preached upon which merged Jesus as witnessed in Scripture with the traditions about his actual ministry. But at the same time gMark functioned as the final concluding work of Scripture. It was Scripture, the finalization of it, in accordance with the understanding that Scripture was about God's salvation plan and the Christ event was the finalization of that plan.

Building upon Goulder's 'lectionary hypothesis', Müller further suggests that gMark was intended to cover all the sundays in the full 'church year'. That Mark maybe builds his narrative about Jesus' ministry in such a way that it fits with the festivals, so that gMark fulfilled the need of the Christian communities for their sermons based on Scripture each sunday in the whole one-year cycle, matching Jesus' one-year ministry in gMark.

I don't know about the lectionary hypothesis, but I think the whole idea of gMark as 'Scripture' is a very, very good one, and the suggestion of such a Sitz for gMark in the sermons of the gatherings can be a great explanation as to why gMark seems to be the same genre as Scripture. But I think we have to ask more questions now. I have more questions! I think we have just opened up this avenue, that gMark is like the genre of Scripture, and we have more road ahead of us. I think there is much more to be discovered when we try to answer the why. Why is the genre of gMark so alike the genre of the historiographical writings in Scripture. What I think we can discover is alot of things that can help us understand the text of gMark itself. As we have discovered the real 'genre' of gMark, let's see how that can help us better understand the text itself.

Baum's suggestion seems to be that the reason that the genre of gMark seems to be that of Scripture was simply because this was a conventional 'genre' of that Jewish and ANE culture from which Mark came. A genre where it is the message rather than the author who is important for the author. I may not have fully understood Baum's suggestion, but if that's what he suggests, then I don't agree with that answer as to why. First of all there is the hugely central aspect of divine authority of Scripture. But I'll get back to this tomorrow (I hope).
It is unlikely that the elaborate list of readings for the year suggested by Goulder goes back early enough to be relevant for the Gospels. As Ben Smith notes, a lectionary explanation for the narrative of the Passion is more plausible.

Andrew Criddle
Like I wrote to the reply to Ben, I think the lectionary hypotheses are too speculative, at least concerning the division into weekly readings. But if 'lectionary hypothesis' simply means that gMark was produced to generally be 'new' Scripture also to be used to be preached upon and scrutinized and interpreted at the gatherings, instead of the 'old' Scripture, but also used for all the other purposes which the 'old' Scripture might have had for the Christians, then I think it's plausible. But not the concrete division into specific weekly readings.

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