Lost Doctor Who Episodes and Exciting Manuscript Finds

Mark Goodacre offered a comparison between the finding of lost Doctor Who episodes and the discovery of important ancient manuscripts. Both happen, but rumors of such things are more frequent than the actual occurrences.

He related this to the recent rumors of a first-century fragment of the Gospel of Mark having been found.

Chuck Grantham decided to take the analogy further, with inspiration taken not only from Mark’s post but also the brief Doctor Who Children in Need video Time Crash:

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Since this subject involves the intersection of two areas of both academic and personal interest for me – the study of ancient texts and Doctor Who – I had to share it.

  • Geoff Hudson

    What good will a small fragment do anyway when the existing text is a big step away from its original?  You are still left floundering.  

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      How do we know whether or not the existing text is a big step away from its original, other than to the extent that we can draw inferences via textual criticism?

      • Geoff Hudson

        What do you mean by textual criticism?

        • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Just the ordinary meaning of those words when found side by side. Why?

          • Geoff Hudson

            I was wondering if you were giving it a special meaning of finding differences in extanct texts of similar documents or fragments, working in the language of the extanct documents?

            • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Presumably you meant extant? I was not giving the term any sort of special meaning, but it is not entirely unrelated to the things that you seem to have been mentioning in an awkward and obscure manner.

              • Geoff Hudson

                Thankyou.  I think I understand.

                So where do we stand with John the Baptist. In Mark 1, he is introduced briefly only to be put in prison.  Would you say this was an interpolation?  It isn’t natural to tell a story and have one of its heroes immediately exterminated.  I think you have mentioned doubt about John before. He was proclaiming the Holy Spirit as a kind of second blessing to be imparted subsequently by Jesus.   

                • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  As a matter of textual criticism, then no, there isn’t a good case to be made for John the Baptist being an interpolation. It would be more plausible, I think, to suggest that the abruptness of the beginning and ending of Mark’s Gospel indicates accidental or deliberate truncation of the text.

                  • Geoff Hudson

                    Would you like to suggest a reason for thinking there is deliberate truncation of the text of Mark at the beginning?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I don’t know of any particular reason to think it was deliberate, but since it is a possibility it should not just be passed over as though we knew otherwise. 

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      So how do you think the beginning of Mark may have been truncated?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If there was truncation at the beginning of Mark, presumably it happened together with and as part of the same process as affected the ending. The beginnings and endings of codices are ever so susceptible to damage.

                      Clayton Croy’s book The Mutilation of Mark’s Gospel explores this scenario in more detail, if you or anyone else is interested in this possibility.

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      A different scenario for an apparent truncation is that the stories about the birth and youth of Jesus may not have been thought of when Mark was written.  Mark appears to be a first thought hurriedly produced. 

                      That the writer of Mark was aware of an earlier movement of the Spirit is shown by Mark 1:8, “I baptise you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.”    He was also aware that the people of this movement wore special clothing,  ate special food and had a special message which didn’t include sacrifice.He also knew they used Joel’s prophecy: ‘In the last days God says, “I will pour out my Spirit on all people”. (Acts 2:17).  The writer of Mark introduced a similar formulation to signal the arrival of John the Baptist, ‘it is written in Isaiah the prophet’, I will send my messenger before you.”He bypassed the movement of the Spirit in favour of Jesus.  Having used his foil John, he has him exterminated (perhaps by his Darleks) a few verses later.       

                  • Geoff Hudson

                    James wrote: ”
                    It would be more plausible, I think, to suggest that the abruptness of the beginning and ending of Mark’s Gospel indicates accidental or deliberate truncation of the text.” 

                    I certainly don’t believe the beginning of Mark has been truncated.  It is how the original was created, a first attempt to create the story of Jesus from the story of James.

                    I have been saying all along that James was sent by Nero from Rome in 60 CE (the time Paul was supposed to have travelled from Jerusalem to Rome).  James’s appearance in Jerusalem was abrupt.  James came to Jerusalem.  John came preaching in the desert, just like ‘Banus’ in Life.  Josephus is supposed to have learned from ‘Banus’.  John, Banus and Josephus were all inventions of Flavian historians, and substitutes for James. 

                    Two years after James came to Jerusalem, he was executed.  John was executed shortly after the start of his supposed mission.

                    John’s lifestyle, his habitation in the desert, his clothing and diet was an echo of ‘Banus’s’.  No doubt James clothing and diet was similar to ‘Banus’s’.  ‘Banus’ bathed.  John baptised.

                    According to Hegesippus, James entered the holy place in the temple, and knelt  before God asking forgiveness for the people.  John’s baptism was for forgiveness of sins.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      No doubt? I think you need to learn to doubt more, and to not be so quick to allow a late text to trump an early one.

                      Not simply making things up would also help you formulate more plausible scenarios.

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      “not be so quick to allow a late text to trump an early one.”
                      Which texts were you referring to?

                    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      The ones you referred to.

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      I referred to Hegesippus and Mark.  Hegesippus is quoted by Eusebius.  This quote seems quite genuine. Whereas the text about John in Mark does not. Eisenman quotes Hegesippus often. Magness quotes Hegesippus on page 175 of her book.   

                    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      I am not objecting to your using these sources, but to the arbitrary manner in which you are using them.

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      I feel safer being ‘arbitrary’.   

                    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      If you mean safe from having anyone be able to take what you say seriously, which might mean receiving criticism, then you may indeed achieve a measure of safety in this way. But at what cost?

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      For me being safe means not being a literalist.  We are dealing in allusions or lies mostly.

                      In the Gospels, John dies before Jesus. In Ant.18.5.2, supposed John is killed by a supposed Herod after Jesus.  Once Antiquities was in the hands of the Flavian historians they could change the text at will.  On this occasion they failed to get it to agree with Mark.  

                    • Geoff Hudson

                      James, do you think that the people who wrote the Scrolls (found near the Dead Sea) were capable of raising an army?  I believe this question is relevant to an explanation of Ant.18.5.

  • http://twitter.com/goodacre Mark Goodacre

    Thanks, James!  It’s an analogy I want to develop a bit.  More anon.

  • http://twitter.com/Nooph Scott

    New manuscripts, meh. Lost Doctor Who episodes, woohoo!

  • http://goulablogger.wordpress.com/ Chuck Grantham

    Mark’s all substance and I’m all fluff; all’s right with the world.

    MInd you I do look forward to further installments of Goodacre’s TARDIS adventures. It’s not often you hear the Doctor say, “Not there! Not then!”

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  • Geoff Hudson

    James, you do realise that Ant.18.5 about John has been highly garbled, don’t you?

    • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Garbled by whom? When? How do you know this? What is your evidence? The fact that you are able to perceive something as garbled doesn’t necessarily mean that it is, and so you need to actually offer a reasoned, logical explanation that lays out your case, rather than assuming that what you think is what everyone will, should, and ought to think.

      • Geoff Hudson

        I haven’t assumed that anyone will, should or ought to think as I think.  

      • Geoff Hudson

        So James how do you reconcile John dying before Jesus in the Gospels, and after Jesus in Antiquities?
        And do you think that the people who wrote the Scrolls (found near the Dead Sea) were capable of raising an army? 

  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    In response to the first question, someone got the date wrong. Even among the Gospels, the placement of John’s imprisonment in relation to Jesus’ public activity differs. Clearly the Gospel authors either did not have information about precisely when certain things happened, or were not concerned about it, or both.

    In response to the second, is there any group of people who were strictly speaking incapable of raising an army?

    • Geoff Hudson

      James you wrote in relation to John’s imprisonment in Mark:  “Clearly the Gospel authors either did not have information about precisely when certain things happened, or were not concerned about it, or both.”   Does this mean that you assume that Antiquities is correct with its timing of John’s death in relation to Jesus’s?  As to the placement of John’s death in relation to Jesus’s public activities amongst the Gospels being different, I find that even more pointed towards creation of John.  There is variation in the story among the Gospels, and there is a statement in Ant 18:5 which disagrees with the Gospels.  One could say that the writers were struggling to fit the story of John in with their other stories.

      Considering the second case, one might have expected that if ‘Essenes’ were at Qumran, and had written the Scrolls found there, they would not have raised any army because they were regarded as being peaceful.  They would only carry weapons for self defence.  To them the War Scroll would have been a heavenly, but twisted, vision, whereas it does show the deliberate intent of raising an army.        


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