Monday, June 4, 2007

Ur-Mark and the Passion

Novum Testamentum Blog has been running a poll on preferred solutions to the Synoptic Problem, which has been getting some play in the biblioblogs. It is not very reflective of prevailing sentiment in the academic community but it does suggest what sort of issues are of interest to the bibliobloggers.

Chris Weimer over at Thoughts on Antiquity briefly comments on the Ur-Mark theory, that there was a pre-Mark source modified by Mark and that it may have been this pre-Markan source that Matthew and Luke used rather than Mark itself.

While I lean towards the idea of an Ur-Mark, I have not yet decided if I agree with Weimer's view that Ur-Mark contained some material that is currently assigned to Q. However, based on my work on The Judas Brief, I am convinced that there was a full-blown (but historically dishonest) written Passion account that Mark adopted and modified in several areas. One of the biggest changes made by Mark was placing the flogging of Jesus after Pilate's verdict rather than before, as in John's Gospel. However, I further argue in my book that many Christians realized that Mark's (and Ur-Mark's) Passion account were narratively, historically, and logically flawed and quite unconvincing. This led to a major modification of Ur-Mark's Passion account that also circulated in Christian circles. John relied on the revised Ur-Mark, which he further modified, and Luke used both Mark and/or Ur-Mark and the revised Ur-Mark, to which he also made modifications. Ultimately, I believe that John, despite numerous problems and dishonest sources, probably comes closest to the historical events underlying the Passion, although he is still a long way off from the truth in several instances.

No comments: