Date: Tue, 16 Dec 1997 12:57:36 -0500
Subject: Re: Mark and Thomas (was Re: Mark 7:19)

On Tue, 16 Dec 1997, Mark Goodacre wrote:
> Steve Davies wrote on the question of Thomas's use of Mark:


> Granted that I caricatured your view, I should point out that the 
> passage I was thinking of was this one:
> 'It does not seem possible that Thomas could have had the form-
> critical expertise necessary to excise allegorical elements from a
> synoptic passage so as to construct a version of a parable that is
> quite similar to the probable original version. Much more probably,
> the version we find in Thomas is the more original and it was taken
> from oral tradition. The synoptic versions are highly allegorized
> later adaptations.'
> On which I wrote a month or two ago:
> "The notion of a 'probable original version' presupposes that 
> parables begin as simple stories which become steadily more 
> allegorised with the passage of time.  'Highly allegorized' and 
> 'later' are held together as if they necessarily belong together in 
> the last sentence here.  The notion of 'form-critical expertise' etc. 
> is rhetoric. Luke's version of this very parable demonstrates that 
> allegorical features from an earlier version (Mark's) can be dropped 
> - Mk 12.5 (in which the third servant is killed and many others are 
> beaten and killed), representing the fate of the prophets, is 
> dropped, or, one might say, 'excised'."


It is a precarious course of action to base a general theory such as you
propose on such a proof-text. Because this example may be invalid.

I've mentioned already the theory of Ur-Markus that you don't like. But
this theory probably explains the allegorisation in this pericope much
better than your proposed explanation. What I think happened here is that
this story of the Wicked Tenants was not in Mk originally, but was added
later. Hence the the allegorisation.

You may note that Mk 11:33 is followed quite naturally by 12:12, the
retreat of the questioners. So 12:1-11 seems like a late insertion.

Alfred Loisy writes in his ORIGINS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, 1962:

"Between the anecdote [11:27-33] and this conclusion someone has
intercalated the parable of the Wicked Husbandmen (12:1-11), a short
apocalypse which turns on the fall of Jerusalem, the evangelisation of the
pagans, and on the assumption of Jesus into glory; a fragment of
apologetic in the style of the discourses attributed in Acts to the first
Christian preachers, and even ending with the usual quotation of the
apologists (Psalm 143, 22-23). This must be the work of some Christian
prophet, utilized at first as the conclusion of the Jerusalem ministry
(note the correspondence of 12:12a with 14:1-2) before being replaced for
that purpose by the great apocaplytic discourse (Ch. 13)." (p. 109)

This is of couse yet one more instance when the Ur-Markus looms large in
the backgroound. We can only ignore this looming presence at our own risk.



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