An experiment: The original Gospel of Mark?—Chp. 3

As noted in the Introduction, two texts of the relevant chapter in the Gospel of Mark are presented here. The first is a short, hypothetical “core”—the first draft of an UrMark reconstructed according to the criteria below.

At the bottom of this post is the entire Chapter 3 in the RSV English translation. Both the short and the longer forms of the chapter are color coded. In order to separate out later Catholic accretions from the earlier Jewish Christian “core,” I have employed the following criteria:

The criteria used for color coding are discussed here. The resultant color coding is as follows:

[Contained in the Hebrew Gospel / UrMark]

Green: Possible/probable, or amended in UrMark.

STAGE 1: Gnostic. To c. 50 CE. “Jesus” is the saving gnosis.
                           Black: May contain historical elements going back to Yeshu ha-Notsri.
                           [Blue] Logia/parables of Yeshu.

STAGE 2a: Jewish Christian. [Brown] C. 50–c. 150 CE. “Jesus” is a divine spiritual entity sent from Yahweh indwelling any worthy human through the grace of God/obedience to God. But the first in whom the Jesus dwelled (the prophet Yeshu ha-Notsri by my reckoning) was known as “the first-begotten Son” of God, the “Christ” (Messiah; NTA I:177.2). This messiah was only a model for emulation, not the unattainable figure of later Christianity. Possessing the Jesus (which we can all do, and should do) enables repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The spirit Jesus is divine, but the humans in whom the Jesus dwells are not.

[Not in the Hebrew Gospel / UrMark]

STAGE 2b: Pauline/Marcionite. [Purple] C. 50–c. 150 CE. “Jesus” is a divine spiritual entity sent from the immaterial God (not the God of creation) indwelling any worthy human through the grace of God/obedience to God. The death on the cross of a prophet (“Jesus Christ”) in the distant past was a cosmic event of human redemption. Jesus is divine, but the human(s) in whom it dwells are not. Belief is required.

STAGE 3: Catholic Christianity. [Red] C. 150+. “Jesus of Nazareth” is the savior of the world. Gnosis, repentance, and forgiveness of sins have been superseded. “Jesus Christ” was both divine and human. Belief is required.      (Red underlined: Catholic and anti-Marcionite.)

The comprehensive UrMark, cumulatively updated after each installment, is found here.
The canonical (color coded) Gospel of Mark, also updated after each installment, is found here.


The Hebrew Gospel / UrMark: Chp. 3

[Note: I suggest that vss. 22–30 originally followed v. 6, and that vss. 31–35 originally followed v. 21.
This reconstruction has been amended accordingly.—R.S.]

[4] And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
[5] And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart.

[6] The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

[22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”

[23] And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?
[24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

[25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

[26] And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.

[27] But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.
[28] “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;

[29] but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” —


[30] for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

[19b] Then he went home.
[21] And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.”

[31] And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.

[32] And [those] sitting about him said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.”
[33] And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
[34] And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
[35] Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”


The Gospel of Mark: Chp. 3
(Revised Standard Version)

[1] Again he entered the synagogue, and a man was there who had a withered hand.
[2] And they watched him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.
[3] And he said to the man who had the withered hand, “Come here.”

[4] And he said to them, “Is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent.
[5] And he looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart, and said to the man, “Stretch out your hand.” He stretched it out, and his hand was restored.
[6] The Pharisees went out, and immediately held counsel with the Herodians against him, how to destroy him.

[7] Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the sea, and a great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea
[8] and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon a great multitude, hearing all that he did, came to him.

[9] And he told his disciples to have a boat ready for him because of the crowd, lest they should crush him;
[10] for he had healed many, so that all who had diseases pressed upon him to touch him.
[11] And whenever the unclean spirits beheld him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.”

[12] And he strictly ordered them not to make him known.

[13] And he went up on the mountain, and called to him those whom he desired; and they came to him.
[14] And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach
[15] and have authority to cast out demons:
[16] Simon whom he surnamed Peter;
[17] James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James, whom he surnamed Boanerges, that is, sons of thunder;
[18] Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,
[19] and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Then he went home;
[20] and the crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat.

[21] And when his family heard it, they went out to seize him, for people were saying, “He is beside himself.”

[22] And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.”
[23] And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan?
[24] If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
[25] And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand.

[26] And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
[27] But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man; then indeed he may plunder his house.

[28] “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter;
[29] but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” —

[30] for they had said, “He has an unclean spirit.”

[31] And his mother and his brothers came; and standing outside they sent to him and called him.
[32] And a crowd was sitting about him;
and they said to him, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, asking for you.”
[33] And he replied, “Who are my mother and my brothers?”
[34] And looking around on those who sat about him, he said, “Here are my mother and my brothers!
[35] Whoever does the will of God is my brother, and sister, and mother.”

 Chapter 2          Chapter 4 


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