An experiment: The original Gospel of Mark?—Chp. 14

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 14 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 Gnosis, repentance, and forgiveness of sins have been superseded.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. 14

[1] It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth, and kill him;
[2] for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult of the people.”

[10] Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
[11] And when they heard it they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.
[12] And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?”
[13] And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,
[14] and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’
[15] And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”
[16] And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.

[17] And when it was evening he came with the twelve.
[18] And as they were at table eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”
[19] They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”
[20] He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.
[21] For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

[26] And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
[27] And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

[29] Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
[30] And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
[31] But he said vehemently, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

[32] And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.”
[33] And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.
[34] And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.”
[35] And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
[36] And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
[37] And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?
[38] Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
[39] And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.
[40] And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him.
[41] And he came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
[42] Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
[43] And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

[44] Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard.”
[45] And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said, “Master!” And he kissed him.
[46] And they laid hands on him and seized him.
[47] But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.
[48] And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me?
[49] Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.”
[50] And they all forsook him, and fled.

[51] And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him,
[52] but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

[53] And they led Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were assembled.
[54] And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, and warming himself at the fire.
[55] Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none.
[56] For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree.
[57] And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying,
[58] “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'”
[59] Yet not even so did their testimony agree.

[65] And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

[66] And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the high priest came;
[67] and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
[68] But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway.
[69] And the maid saw him, and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.”
[70] But again he denied it. And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.”
[71] But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.”
[72] And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.


The Gospel of Mark: Chp. 14
(Revised Standard Version)

[1] It was now two days before the Passover and the feast of Unleavened Bread. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to arrest him by stealth, and kill him;
[2] for they said, “Not during the feast, lest there be a tumult of the people.”

[3] And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.
[4] But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted?
[5] For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her.
[6] But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.
[7] For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me.
[8] She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying.
[9] And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

[10] Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them.
[11] And when they heard it they were glad, and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.
[12] And on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrificed the passover lamb, his disciples said to him, “Where will you have us go and prepare for you to eat the passover?”
[13] And he sent two of his disciples, and said to them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him,
[14] and wherever he enters, say to the householder, ‘The Teacher says, Where is my guest room, where I am to eat the passover with my disciples?’
[15] And he will show you a large upper room furnished and ready; there prepare for us.”
[16] And the disciples set out and went to the city, and found it as he had told them; and they prepared the passover.

[17] And when it was evening he came with the twelve.
[18] And as they were at table eating, Jesus said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.”
[19] They began to be sorrowful, and to say to him one after another, “Is it I?”
[20] He said to them, “It is one of the twelve, one who is dipping bread into the dish with me.
[21] For the Son of man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.”

[22] And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”
[23] And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.
[24] And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
[25] Truly, I say to you, I shall not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

[26] And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
[27] And Jesus said to them, “You will all fall away; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’

[28] But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.”
[29] Peter said to him, “Even though they all fall away, I will not.”
[30] And Jesus said to him, “Truly, I say to you, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.”
[31] But he said vehemently, “If I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And they all said the same.

[32] And they went to a place which was called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I pray.”
[33] And he took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be greatly distressed and troubled.
[34] And he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch.”
[35] And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
[36] And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible to thee; remove this cup from me; yet not what I will, but what thou wilt.”
[37] And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour?
[38] Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
[39] And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.
[40] And again he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to answer him.
[41] And he came the third time, and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? It is enough; the hour has come; the Son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners.
[42] Rise, let us be going; see, my betrayer is at hand.”
[43] And immediately, while he was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders.

[44] Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, “The one I shall kiss is the man; seize him and lead him away under guard.”
[45] And when he came, he went up to him at once, and said, “Master!” And he kissed him.
[46] And they laid hands on him and seized him.
[47] But one of those who stood by drew his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his ear.
[48] And Jesus said to them, “Have you come out as against a robber, with swords and clubs to capture me?
[49] Day after day I was with you in the temple teaching, and you did not seize me. But let the scriptures be fulfilled.”
[50] And they all forsook him, and fled.

[51] And a young man followed him, with nothing but a linen cloth about his body; and they seized him,
[52] but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.

[53] And they led Jesus to the high priest; and all the chief priests and the elders and the scribes were assembled.
[54] And Peter had followed him at a distance, right into the courtyard of the high priest; and he was sitting with the guards, and warming himself at the fire.
[55] Now the chief priests and the whole council sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death; but they found none.
[56] For many bore false witness against him, and their witness did not agree.
[57] And some stood up and bore false witness against him, saying,
[58] “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.'”
[59] Yet not even so did their testimony agree.

[60] And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, “Have you no answer to make? What is it that these men testify against you?”
[61] But he was silent and made no answer. Again the high priest asked him, “Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?”
[62] And Jesus said, “I am; and you will see the Son of man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
[63] And the high priest tore his garments, and said, “Why do we still need witnesses?
[64] You have heard his blasphemy. What is your decision?” And they all condemned him as deserving death.

[65] And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face, and to strike him, saying to him, “Prophesy!” And the guards received him with blows.

[66] And as Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the maids of the high priest came;
[67] and seeing Peter warming himself, she looked at him, and said, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.”
[68] But he denied it, saying, “I neither know nor understand what you mean.” And he went out into the gateway.
[69] And the maid saw him, and began again to say to the bystanders, “This man is one of them.”
[70] But again he denied it. And after a little while again the bystanders said to Peter, “Certainly you are one of them; for you are a Galilean.”
[71] But he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.”
[72] And immediately the cock crowed a second time. And Peter remembered how Jesus had said to him, “Before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” And he broke down and wept.

 Chapter 13          Chapter 15 


Comments

An experiment: The original Gospel of Mark?—Chp. 14 — 4 Comments

  1. The pericope at Simon’s house contains two hints of the impending crucifixion: (a) Jesus will not always be with them; and (b) the meaning of the woman’s work alludes to the embalming at Jesus’ impending death (as described in Tobit 1:17 etc). A third and most important allusion appears at the end of the supper: this is the last cup until the arrival of the kingdom. These three allusions, each more precise than the preceding, are clumsily interrupted by most of the account of the supper and the betrayal, which hence must be deemed a late interpolation. This also explains the contradiction of Jesus participating in the passover seder while he is also the passover sacrifice–hence already dead by the time of the seder. The last supper must, therefore, be the supper in the home of the leper and have been artificially placed on the eve of the day of preparation.

    Detering realized that the leper, metyra, is a pun on the city of Tyre, home of Simon Magus and Helena. The source of this scene might therefore be one where Simon, late known as the Magus, is embalmed by Helen for his impending funeral. Luke turns the woman even more explicitly into a sinner and moves the encounter to a much earlier point in the narrative.

    The concern for the poor is a late invention–it depends on the legend of Paul’s collection for the poor (Ebionim) of Jerusalem, which is ultimately tied to the Marcion’s donation to the Roman church (deemed hypocritical by the patristic literature).

    The betrayal by Judas Ischariot is a wholesale late forgery, one invented in order to accuse the jews of betrayal of the Lord and deicide.

  2. The account of the supper contains several blatant interpolations, characterized by reprises. After the elimination of these, it reduces to something like the following: Jesus arrives with the twelve; while they sit at table eating, Jesus takes a cup, gives thanks, passes it around, and then declares it to be his last cup before drinking it again in the future kingdom. This stripped-down account conforms to an understanding of Jesus as the apocalyptic messiah who, at the end time, will prepare the great banquet for the righteous believers. That is, by sharing the wine and food (in the miracle of five loaves), the community anticipates the great banquet that will take place at the end of history.

    Still to be explained is the inclusion of the bread and the concept of theophagia. The major template for this inclusion can be identified in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26–itself a late interpolation within the epistle. This passage is based on a rudimentary account of the Lord’s supper and, at the same time, serves as a catalyst for the later version of the account.

    Van den Bergh van Eysinga realized in Het Christendom als Mysteriegodsdienst that the eucharist may initially not have included the wine. But, unlike Jean Magne, he does not see that the supper was not the primitive source for the the eucharist (the miracle of the loaves was). Nevertheless, van Eysinga perceptively recognizes that the language of 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 pertains to hellenistic mystery cults.

    This layered redactional history can help to explain inconsistencies in the received account, such as:

    1. Jesus pronounces his thanks for the cup but a blessing for the loaf;
    2. Ordinary bread (as opposed to azyme/unleavened bread) is served on preparation day, contrary to Jewish law;
    3. Instead of Paul’s “the same for the cup,” the account of the supper is needlessly repetitive and verbose;
    4. Jesus does not drink from the cup, which he declares go be his last one – for if he did, he would drink his own blood;
    5. The cup is already empty when Jesus explains its meaning.

    An early version of Luke’s account must have developed from the minimalist account described above by adding the passover meat, before the modifications brought about by the interpolated passage from Paul’s epistle. The increased difficulties of hosting the new agenda caused a huge variety of reading variants of Luke’s last supper, roughly classifiable by the relative position of the bread and by the duplication – or lack thereof – of the cup.

  3. The whole account of the betrayal may have been caused by a confusion of prodidomi (betray) and paradidomi (hand over, deliver). Even modern translators of 1 Cor 11 commit this mistake, whence “the night in which he was betrayed” is found in English translations of the epistle.

    In GJohn, Roman troops (speira) are involved when Jesus is arrested. However, this fact immediately removes the whole necessity for a Jewish trial (during Passover night). Only the trial before Pilate is essential, and this was probably not even mentioned before the crucifixion was, at a later point, placed into the era of Tiberius and Pilate. The Roman tribunal may simply replace the archons of the gnostic mythology, reflected in 1 Corinthians 2:8.

    In the synoptics, the Jewish crowd (ochlos) condemns Jesus. Indeed, several repeats, mostly maintained in the Matthean account, hint that the participation of the entire Jewish people is an addition to the synoptic story. Mt 26:57 repeats 26:50, so everything in between suggests itself as interpolated. Likewise all material between Mk 14:46 and 14:54 (Peter’s violence against the priest’s servant, fleeing disciples) can be seen as an interpolation.

    The interpolations in the story of seizure, trial, and passion have been discerned by Jean Magne in Crucifixion (link will be supplied if I can find it again).

    The fleeing naked young man is only at Mk 14:52 and may include a polemic reaction to the tradition of Secret Mark. [On the fleeing young man, see here on this site.–RS] But it also points to the prophet Amos who claims that God would force the bravest warriors to flee nude.

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