June 5, 2020

BEN: On p. 152 I had an ah ha! moment when you showed that Mark had juxtaposed a two-stage healing of a blind person with the two stage growth in understanding of Jesus by the disciples starting in Mk. 8. Throughout, one of the things you are showing is how carefully crafted and ordered this Gospel is by Mark—there is nothing haphazard about it. This means that older characterizations of Mark’s work as clumsy, awkward, rough and ready simply do… Read more

June 4, 2020

43 years ago today, Ann and I got married in the Methodist Church in South Hamilton Mass. We’ve been all over the world together, and still going! Read more

June 3, 2020

BEN: On p. 152 I had an ah ha! moment when you showed that Mark had juxtaposed a two-stage healing of a blind person with the two stage growth in understanding of Jesus by the disciples starting in Mk. 8. Throughout, one of the things you are showing is how carefully crafted and ordered this Gospel is by Mark—there is nothing haphazard about it. This means that older characterizations of Mark’s work as clumsy, awkward, rough and ready simply do… Read more

June 2, 2020

BEN: Long ago, Charlie Moule stressed that the persistent use of the definite article before the phrase ‘Son of Man’ must be interpreted to refer to ‘the aforementioned (or well known) Son of Man (i.e. the famous one in Dan. 7). In other words, it’s unlikely to be an attempt at a modest self-reference, and Mk. 14.62 in particular was seen as making this finally quite clear with the reference to coming on the clouds. Given the eschatological and even… Read more

June 1, 2020

BEN: On p. 128 you quite rightly comment on the lack of use of the title Son of David to characterize who Jesus was in Mark. I wondered if you had considered that in that era the title ‘son of David’ if used in conjunction with a request for healing or some miracle was assumed to refer to someone who was like Solomon, who in the wisdom tradition was believed to have the wisdom for cures. Indeed, even for exorcisms… Read more

May 31, 2020

BEN: Your discussion of the structure of Mark in Chapter 3, especially at the smaller unit level is quite helpful, but I was surprised there was no discussion of the theological structuring Mark uses (unless the passing remark at the bottom of p. 104 counts), namely Who and Why questions are raised about Jesus and his disciples and their behavior in Mk. 1-8. The who question about Jesus is answered at Caesarea Philippi in Mk. 8, in terms deliberately reiterating… Read more

May 31, 2020

A BARRISTER’S BRIEF BRIEF ON PENTECOST The filigree flame of fire fell on the fellowship Pursuant to the prayer and praise and paeans of the plaintiffs Such that there was no room in the upper room, And they fled like men fleeing a burning building. But even the Temple courts could not contain the ebullience and effervescence And so they were deemed drunk, tipplers before their time. Yet all that they had imbibed was Spirit, Which was so like fire… Read more

May 30, 2020

BEN: One of the more interesting monographs about Mark in the last few decades is Maurice Casey’s monograph which shows or attempts to show that large portions of Mark’s Gospel is translation Greek from a Semitic language. Rather than having a few stray Aramaisms or Semitisms, the Greek in Mark involves considerable translation. Have you read Casey’s work, and if so, what would you say about it? It might support the report of Papias that Mark translated Peter’s materials which… Read more

May 29, 2020

BEN: I agree with you that Mark, at most reflects an elementary use of rhetoric, but one thing that gave me pause in reading Teresa Morgan’s work is that our thinking about levels of educations, perhaps even in different social locations with different teachers is much too stratified for the actual situation on the ground in most places in the Empire. Indeed, all three levels could be taught by one instructor in one local, with younger students bunched together with… Read more

May 28, 2020

BEN: On p. 80 you suggest that it doesn’t much matter whether ‘the reader’ in Mark 13 is the audience or a lector. It seems clear to me from Rev. 1.3-4 that a distinction was made between the reader, and those who heard the text, the former being a literate person, who could even decipher the continuous flow of letters in an ancient text. I think it does matter in Mark 13 that when Mark says ‘let the reader understand’… Read more

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