Andrew Criddle wrote:
Brown in Death of the Messiah has a detailed discussion of whether or not the resemblances between Mark and John over Peter's denials indicate knowledge of Mark by John.
Brown concludes that this is not a standard Markan intercalation and the structural resemblances between Mark and John can be explained if both had access to two pieces of pre-Gospel tradition: a/ Jesus after his arrest was interrogated by the High Priest in the middle of the night b/ After the arrest of Jesus Peter repeatedly denied Jesus in the middle of the night. John and Mark independently put these two pieces of tradition together in a continuous narrative,
I was going to ask if you found Brown’s case persuasive – I would infer from your later comment that you did. I did not.
Brown’s conclusion that Mark and John had two pieces of tradition that they combined into a continuous narrative independently is a curious one. We have six generally acknowledged cases of Markan intercalation in which one story is framed by another one, which is why it is recognized as a Markan redactional technique. What are the other cases of Johannine intercalation?
I found Brown’s case that the Denial/Trial story was not a typical Markan intercalation unpersuasive. He argues: “Mark is not filling in between the beginning of Peter’s denial and its conclusion; he is describing two simultaneous actions,” (Death of the Messiah, v1 p. 427). Markan intercalations are varied in the temporal relationships between the two stories. Sometimes it’s sequential, as in Jairus Daughter/Woman with the flow of blood or the Cursing of the Fig Tree/Temple Incident, and sometimes overlapping, as with the Conspiracy Against Jesus/Anointing, and sometimes undefined, as in the Sending of the Twelve/Death of John. Brown seems to be arguing that simultaneity is not the standard temporal relationship in a Markan intercalation, but there is no standard temporal relationship in a Markan intercalation (and the distinction Brown needs to make his case between overlapping and simultaneous is a fine one).
Brown’s additional suggestion that 14.53 and 14.54 have “equal value” and that 15.1 “returns to the Sanhedrin scene” makes the whole an A-B-A-B-A pattern rather than a simple ABA pattern. He is willing to concede that “the entire arrangement came from Mark” but “it is far more elaborate than a Markan elaboration” misses the point. It may be more than what is needed to qualify as a Markan intercalation, but it is not less. Further, the ABABA pattern can be paralleled in the Fig Tree/Temple Incident intercalation if we include Mark 11.11 and 11.27 at either end. There is a family resemblance among the Markan intercalations and John shared it in this one case. At least, Brown doesn’t give any examples of stories in John that are combined in a way that resembles a Markan intercalation as much as the Denial/Trial does.
Andrew: IMHO the different ways John and Mark break up the Peter story is more likely a result of independence than of John improving Mark. Matthew and Luke both tell the story the way Mark does.
No, only Matthew tells the story the way Mark does. Luke 22:54-62 gives the denials of Peter in a block, followed by the trial (or informal hearing) of Jesus in two sections: first the blindfolding and mockery (Luke 22.63-65), then an interrogation before the elders the following morning (22.66-71). There’s an odd verse in the Peter story where Jesus turns and looks at Peter (Luke 22.61). It’s not clear where Jesus is supposed to be at the time.
I’m tempted to say that John has re-arranged the Denial/Trial/Denial story a bit less than Luke has, but that’s not quite true. I think it’s true with regard to the A-B-A pattern, but, as he does several other times in the Passion Narrative, John has relocated some of the material to elsewhere in his gospel. But that’s a story for another post.