barryjones

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The Christian scholarly majority hold at least two views:  a) Mark is the earliest of the gospels to be written, and b) authentic Mark ends at 16:8.

Would I be unreasonable to adopt those two views for myself?

If not, why would it be unreasonable for me to deduce from these two views that the earliest resurrection report did not say anybody had ever actually seen the risen Christ?

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ChristianInvestigator

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Re: Is it unreasonable to agree with the Christian scholarly majority?
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2020, 12:29:02 am »
My current thoughts about the ending of Mark is that the writer of the gospel left the story “unfinished” to make a dramatic point. All throughout the gospel people are in confusion about Jesus’ identity and mission; the only character who actually recognizes Jesus for who he is is the Roman guard who says, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”

It’s a consistent theme in Mark’s gospel; therefore it makes perfect sense that at the end, the women are confused about Jesus’ identity and “tell no one what they saw.” It’s not that Mark didn’t believe Jesus was physically resurrected or that he didn’t believe there were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrected body (Jesus predicts His resurrection several times throughout the book of Mark, so Mark was obviously aware of the resurrection.); rather, he chose to end his gospel with the confusion of the women to wrap up a major theme of his gospel.

I mean, c’mon. In the authentic portion of Mark 16 the angel literally relays a message from Christ — “I am going before you into Galilee.” Obviously Mark knew about the claims of post-resurrection appearances of Jesus; he just chose not to relay those stories in order to support his thematic point.

Or maybe I’m reading too much into this and the original ending of Mark was just lost; that’s possible, too.

Do you think Mark is trying to communicate that the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus never happened? Is Mark trying to tell his readers that he knows that the resurrection was just a hoax? Be more specific with what you’re claiming.
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noncontingent

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Re: Is it unreasonable to agree with the Christian scholarly majority?
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2020, 01:34:43 pm »
If you're reasoning properly, then by definition it's not unreasonable. Truth isn't democratic.


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Fred

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Re: Is it unreasonable to agree with the Christian scholarly majority?
« Reply #3 on: October 13, 2020, 02:16:52 pm »
The Christian scholarly majority hold at least two views:  a) Mark is the earliest of the gospels to be written, and b) authentic Mark ends at 16:8.

Would I be unreasonable to adopt those two views for myself?
No, it would not be unreasonable.  It would be reasonable.  Now suppose you encountered someone who insists Matthew is the earliest, because the Apostolic fathers believed it to be so.  Given your contrary belief, would you consider THEM unreasonable? 
Fred

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barryjones

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Re: Is it unreasonable to agree with the Christian scholarly majority?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2020, 05:29:34 pm »
My current thoughts about the ending of Mark is that the writer of the gospel left the story “unfinished” to make a dramatic point. All throughout the gospel people are in confusion about Jesus’ identity and mission; the only character who actually recognizes Jesus for who he is is the Roman guard who says, “Surely this man was the Son of God.”

It’s a consistent theme in Mark’s gospel; therefore it makes perfect sense that at the end, the women are confused about Jesus’ identity and “tell no one what they saw.” It’s not that Mark didn’t believe Jesus was physically resurrected or that he didn’t believe there were eyewitnesses to Jesus’ resurrected body (Jesus predicts His resurrection several times throughout the book of Mark, so Mark was obviously aware of the resurrection.); rather, he chose to end his gospel with the confusion of the women to wrap up a major theme of his gospel.

I mean, c’mon. In the authentic portion of Mark 16 the angel literally relays a message from Christ — “I am going before you into Galilee.” Obviously Mark knew about the claims of post-resurrection appearances of Jesus; he just chose not to relay those stories in order to support his thematic point.

Or maybe I’m reading too much into this and the original ending of Mark was just lost; that’s possible, too.

Do you think Mark is trying to communicate that the post-resurrection appearances of Jesus never happened? Is Mark trying to tell his readers that he knows that the resurrection was just a hoax? Be more specific with what you’re claiming.

I think you are jumping the gun.  Skeptics do not have any burden to explain why Mark ends the way it does.  All we have to ask is DID Mark say anybody ever saw the risen Christ.  If he didn't, then skepticism is going to be reasonable, since speculations about why Mark ends the way it does, are rampant, and none appear better than the others.

How do you know Mark intended "angel" when describing the man the women saw at the tomb?  Did 1st century people find it impossible to create white colored robes?

Might there justification for skepticism from the fact that those women had been with Jesus prior to his death, and yet as they walk on the way to his tomb, they don't know how they will be able to move the stone from the tomb entrance?  Sounds like the first people to the tomb did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead, which might suggest the "predictions" of resurrection Mark puts in Jesus' mouth, aren't what Jesus really said.  And if the women are so unbelieving, they probably didn't see Jesus do any genuinely supernatural miracles before he died.

Don't you find it kind of funny that despite Mark's alleged access to Peter's preaching (the preaching the Roman church pestered Mark to preserve for posterity), Mark chooses to be vague about the historical facts documenting what he allegedly thought was the most important miracle god ever did?

or maybe it's also reasonable to suppose that no Christian would likely be intentionally vague about such a thing, so if Mark is, it isn't by choice, but solely because the earliest resurrection story didn't say anything about anybody seeing the risen Christ?

Remember, Mark was that guy whom Paul wanted to dismiss from the ministry because Mark abandoned a prior mission.  Acts 15.  There is nothing about Mark's gospel that foists the least intellectual compulsion upon a non-Christian to read into Mark's mind and motives the other resurrection appearance details we get from the other 3 gospels.  For all you know, Mark was a genuine apostate, he only wrote that gospel for the church which pestered him to do so, and he didn't say much about Jesus rising from the dead because Mark didn't personally believe it anymore.  There's nothing unreasonable about a prosecutor using other known truths to fill in details that the suspect is choosing to avoid answering.  So there's nothing unreasonable in using Mark's known apostasy to say he could have just as easily been an unbeliever when composing his gospel.  For if he was as skippy about Jesus' resurrection as today's apologists think his source Peter was, he would surely not have found Jesus' pre-crucfixion acts more worthy of detailed description than the Resurrection.

What's unreasonable about the atheist who says the Markan texts showing Jesus predicted his own resurrection, are just a case of Mark doing a little bit of what apostle John did a lot of...putting in Jesus' mouth words Jesus never said, to "help" the reader "understand" the "true import"?

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ChristianInvestigator

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Re: Is it unreasonable to agree with the Christian scholarly majority?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2020, 09:32:37 am »

I think you are jumping the gun.  Skeptics do not have any burden to explain why Mark ends the way it does.  All we have to ask is DID Mark say anybody ever saw the risen Christ.  If he didn't, then skepticism is going to be reasonable, since speculations about why Mark ends the way it does, are rampant, and none appear better than the others.


Oh, well if the question is just "did Mark explicitly say anyone saw the risen Christ?" then the answer is no, obviously not. The follow up question is "why not?" I think it's to make a thematic point that Jesus' identity and purpose was originally hidden from His disciples, so that Gentiles (like the Roman centurion) realized He was the Son of God before the Jewish people did. Another possibility is that the original ending of Mark was lost, though I think it's less likely. Your explanation seems to be that Mark was an apostate commissioned by the church to write about something he didn't really believe in anymore, so he purposely left his resurrection narrative shorter than the rest of the book.

Quote from: barryjones

How do you know Mark intended "angel" when describing the man the women saw at the tomb?  Did 1st century people find it impossible to create white colored robes?


I don't think Mark meant to communicate it was just an ordinary man, but even if it is, my point still stands. Look at what Mark describes the man as saying:
"Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you." And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:6-8)
Mark is clearly saying (through this third party character) that Jesus has risen from the dead, and He is going to appear to Peter and the disciples in Galilee. Why doesn't Mark explicitly describe the appearance to the disciples? I think it's to make a thematic point, but it's possible the original ending is lost.

Quote from: barryjones

Might there justification for skepticism from the fact that those women had been with Jesus prior to his death, and yet as they walk on the way to his tomb, they don't know how they will be able to move the stone from the tomb entrance?  Sounds like the first people to the tomb did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead, which might suggest the "predictions" of resurrection Mark puts in Jesus' mouth, aren't what Jesus really said.  And if the women are so unbelieving, they probably didn't see Jesus do any genuinely supernatural miracles before he died.


You are absolutely right that, according to Mark's gospel, the first people to the tomb did not expect Jesus to rise from the dead; even the disciples of Jesus didn't except it to happen!
There's a theme throughout Mark where everyone is struggling to understand Jesus' identity, and nobody completely understands until the Centurion at the end of the Gospel.
Mark 1:27 - "What is this? A new teaching with authority."
Mark 3:21 - his family says "he is out of his mind."
Mark 4:41 - his disciples see a storm calmed, and are still filled with great fear. "Who is this?"
Mark 6 -"isn't this the carpenter's son?"
Mark 6:51-52 - After Jesus walks on water, Jesus' disciples are "utterly astounded," and "their hearts were hardened."
Mark 8 -- this is a crucial turning point in the story, where Peter takes a step in the right direction by saying to Jesus, "You are the Christ!" This is the point in the story where Jesus first predicts his death and resurrection to his disciples. But instead of taking it to heart and worshipping, Peter takes him aside and begins to rebuke him. This chapter is a clear example of the theme I've been talking about, where nobody in Mark understands who Jesus really is until the end of the book.
Mark 9:9 - the transfiguration happens, but the disciples "questioned to themselves what this rising from the dead might mean." In Mark, the disciples don't realize that Jesus is going to physically rise from the dead and meet with them in Galilee; instead, they think Jesus is talking about something symbolic or spiritual.
There are plenty more examples of this. In Mark 10, James and John want to sit at Jesus' right and left hand, thinking he will be a victorious earthly king instead of a suffering Savior. In chapter 12, Jesus describes himself as a "rejected stone" that becomes the cornerstone. In chapter 14, Peter and the disciples are afraid. "They all left him and fled" -- clearly not believing in him.
Finally, in Chapter 15, as Jesus utters a loud cry and breathes his last, a Roman centurion realizes -- "truly this man was the son of God!"
Mark 16:8 - the women arrive at the empty tomb, clearly not expect in a resurrection, but they find the tomb empty and a man says to them, "He is not here; he is risen, and going before you into Galilee." Instead of worshipping, rejoicing, and going to tell the other disciples, they "fled the tomb in trembling and astonishment, for they were afraid."

The last chapter of Mark doesn't make sense until you realize the context of the Themes of the book.

Quote from: barryjones

Don't you find it kind of funny that despite Mark's alleged access to Peter's preaching (the preaching the Roman church pestered Mark to preserve for posterity), Mark chooses to be vague about the historical facts documenting what he allegedly thought was the most important miracle god ever did?

or maybe it's also reasonable to suppose that no Christian would likely be intentionally vague about such a thing, so if Mark is, it isn't by choice, but solely because the earliest resurrection story didn't say anything about anybody seeing the risen Christ?


Nope, I think Mark was being intentionally vague. If he wanted to tell a resurrection story, he could have made one up, or described the Appearance in Galilee the man at the tomb talks about. The Crucifixion was actually more important to Mark thematically because all of the disciples were expecting the Christ to be a victorious king who gives them thrones at his right and the left in a new earthly kingdom; the ending of Mark turns that all on its head by dramatically showing that the Christ is a suffering Savior who dies a servant's death.

Quote from: barryjones

Remember, Mark was that guy whom Paul wanted to dismiss from the ministry because Mark abandoned a prior mission.  Acts 15.  There is nothing about Mark's gospel that foists the least intellectual compulsion upon a non-Christian to read into Mark's mind and motives the other resurrection appearance details we get from the other 3 gospels.  For all you know, Mark was a genuine apostate, he only wrote that gospel for the church which pestered him to do so, and he didn't say much about Jesus rising from the dead because Mark didn't personally believe it anymore.  There's nothing unreasonable about a prosecutor using other known truths to fill in details that the suspect is choosing to avoid answering.  So there's nothing unreasonable in using Mark's known apostasy to say he could have just as easily been an unbeliever when composing his gospel.  For if he was as skippy about Jesus' resurrection as today's apologists think his source Peter was, he would surely not have found Jesus' pre-crucfixion acts more worthy of detailed description than the Resurrection.


I've already addressed most of this. I don't think Mark was an apostate, since he has no trouble writing about calming a storm, the transfiguration, Jesus' predictions of His death and resurrection, etc. It's much more reasonable to assume that Mark ended his gospel with the women fleeing the tomb in fear as a thematic choice. Something like, "All of these people failed to understand who Jesus really was. Now it's time for you to decide who you think He is. Is the Christ a victorious king? Or is He first this suffering servant from Nazareth?"

Quote from: barryjones

What's unreasonable about the atheist who says the Markan texts showing Jesus predicted his own resurrection, are just a case of Mark doing a little bit of what apostle John did a lot of...putting in Jesus' mouth words Jesus never said, to "help" the reader "understand" the "true import"?

Hang on, you're changing your story. If Mark was an apostate who was unwilling to write about the Resurrection Appearances, there's no reason for him to make up stories about Jesus predicting His resurrection. That's the exact thing he wouldn't do if he was an apostate!

Thanks for your thoughts.
"This year, though I'm far from home
In Trench I'm not alone.
These faces facing me,
They know... what I mean."

|-/

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ChristianInvestigator

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Re: Is it unreasonable to agree with the Christian scholarly majority?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2020, 09:45:37 am »
Postscript:

My view of the Gospels is very similar to Mike Licona (if you haven't heard of him, he's a Christian scholar and apologist who did a few debates with Bart Ehrman. he's controversial in the evangelical community for claiming that Matthew may have made up the story of the saints rising from their graves as literary "special effects." See his book "Why are there differences in the Gospels?"

In the first century A.D., the greatest historians of the time (Plutarch, Suetonius, Tacitus) were very inaccurate by modern-day standards. They would make up speeches that conveyed the gist of what the speakers would have said, they placed events in different orders chronologically, they changes events in order to communicate a thematic point or write a good story. They weren't Bad Historians; they were the best historians of their time!

The gospels are in the genre of Greco-Roman biography, and we shouldn't expect them to be exactly, chronologically accurate like a modern history. They are true history, but they sometimes just communicate the gist of what Jesus said and did, and in what order it happened. They felt free to rearrange events or describe them in different terms to fit the overall theme of the book.

What actually, literally happened after the women discovered the tomb was probably that they went to the disciples to tell them what happened. Mark uses hyperbole and says "they didn't tell anyone, leaving the tomb in fear" in order to make a thematic point.

I also believe that most of Jesus' dialogue in the book of John is an example of John making Jesus say explicitly what He mainly showed through His actions or vague statements, a common practice for Greco-Roman historians at the time. But that's another topic.
"This year, though I'm far from home
In Trench I'm not alone.
These faces facing me,
They know... what I mean."

|-/