An experiment: The original Gospel of Mark?—Chp. 7

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 7 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 Gnosis, repentance, and forgiveness of sins have been superseded.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 cumulative (color coded) Gospel of Mark, also updated after each installment, is found here.


The Hebrew Gospel / UrMark: Chp. 7

[5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat [what is] defiled?”
[6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
[7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’
[8] You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”

[9] And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!
[10] For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’;
[11] but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God)—
[12] then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
[13] thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

[14] And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand:
[15] there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.”

[17] And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.
[18] And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him,
[19] since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?”

[20] And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.
[21] For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,
[22] coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
[23] All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”

[24] And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid.
[25] But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.
[26] Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
[27] And he said to her, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
[28] But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
[29] And he said to her, “For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”
[30] And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.


The Gospel of Mark: Chp. 7
(Revised Standard Version)

[1] Now when the Pharisees gathered together to him, with some of the scribes, who had come from Jerusalem,
[2] they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands defiled, that is, unwashed.
[3] (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, do not eat unless they wash their hands, observing the tradition of the elders;
[4] and when they come from the market place, they do not eat unless they purify themselves; and there are many other traditions which they observe, the washing of cups and pots and vessels of bronze.)

[5] And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, “Why do your disciples not live according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with hands defiled?”
[6] And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, ‘This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;
[7] in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men.’
[8] You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.”

[9] And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition!
[10] For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’;
[11] but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God)—
[12] then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother,
[13] thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

[14] And he called the people to him again, and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand:
[15] there is nothing outside a man which by going into him can defile him; but the things which come out of a man are what defile him.”

[17] And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.
[18] And he said to them, “Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him,
[19] since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?”
(Thus he declared all foods clean.)
[20] And he said, “What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.
[21] For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery,
[22] coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
[23] All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man.”

[24] And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house, and would not have any one know it; yet he could not be hid.
[25] But immediately a woman, whose little daughter was possessed by an unclean spirit, heard of him, and came and fell down at his feet.
[26] Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by birth. And she begged him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
[27] And he said to her, “Let the children first be fed, for it is not right to take the children’s bread and throw it to the dogs.”
[28] But she answered him, “Yes, Lord; yet even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.”
[29] And he said to her, “For this saying you may go your way; the demon has left your daughter.”
[30] And she went home, and found the child lying in bed, and the demon gone.

[31] Then he returned from the region of Tyre, and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee, through the region of the Decapolis.
[32] And they brought to him a man who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech; and they besought him to lay his hand upon him.
[33] And taking him aside from the multitude privately, he put his fingers into his ears, and he spat and touched his tongue;
[34] and looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, “Ephphatha,” that is, “Be opened.”
[35] And his ears were opened, his tongue was released, and he spoke plainly.
[36] And he charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it.
[37] And they were astonished beyond measure, saying, “He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak.”

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