Thursday, 22 November 2007

A Really Bad Blog

I am enjoying Mark Baddeley's blog heaps, and will be returning to it regularly. It's pretty new. I'm glad these thoughts are being preserved in one place (I mean apart from inside Badders' head) as to trace the Baddeline corpus has required a knowledge of loopy websites and a Sherlock Holmesian cunning, until now.

Here's a recent fave quote from the Bad man himself:

And there’s something impressive about Origen’s freshness in how he reads the Bible. He doesn’t assume that asking the cup to pass from him means that Jesus is trying to avoid death. He looks at outside the box and suggests that it meant that Jesus wanted an even more intense kind of death than crucifixion. And looking outside the box is a good ability to have—if we are going to avoid just reading our own ideas into the Bible, it’ll only be because we’re prepared to take roads not just less travelled, but never travelled.

But this is one time when staying in the box would have been so much better.


And so it goes on. This quote was taken from the post "And you were doing so well". I believe Mark has managed to expose an Origenal sin.

8 comments:

michael jensen said...

That pun only works if you soften the 'g' in Origen so it sounds like the state next to Washington in the USA...

Dark Knight said...

John had a better idea - if there is something like Jesus' anguish in Gethsemane, which doesn't square with your picture of him, change it. So "take this cup from me" becomes "what should I say? 'Father save me from this hour?' No it is for this hour I came into the world" (Jn 12:27)

Origen's problem is that he is dealing with what he believes is an authoritative text, unlike whoever wrote John.

Gordon Cheng said...

But John's recording of Jesus' prayer in John 12 is consistent, in both content and outcome, with the prayers prayed in the other gospels.

At any rate, this John 12 prayer is not at all the same prayer as Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. It's prayed at a different time and in a different circumstance. So it is not surprising if the thoughts expressed are similar but not identical.

Dark Knight (aka Mark) said...

gordon said:
"But John's recording of Jesus' prayer in John 12 is consistent, in both content and outcome, with the prayers prayed in the other gospels."

How so?

"At any rate, this John 12 prayer is not at all the same prayer as Jesus prayed in Gethsemane. It's prayed at a different time and in a different circumstance. So it is not surprising if the thoughts expressed are similar but not identical."

That's pretty much my point. This is supposed to replace the prayer in Gethsemane. You could argue that the author didn't know the tradition from Mark, which is fair enough. I am suggesting he/she did know it, and it didn't fit with the narrative of Jesus he/she wanted to compose.

Gordon Cheng said...

Mark:

This is supposed to replace the prayer in Gethsemane.

How do you know it replaces the prayer in Gethsemane?

In the same pargraph as this prayer (yes, I know greek doesn't have paragraphs!) we read

v 29 The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered

Which says to me that this particular prayer was a public event, and responded to by God publicly. Still in the same section, and straight after this, Jesus engages the crowd in dialogue. And the whole event John is recording happens before the Last Supper, not after.

It's a prayer that is similar in content at points, but it ain't the same one. Haven't you ever prayed similar prayers on different occasions, Mark? Seems to me if you can, then Jesus can.

Gordon Cheng said...

gordon said:
"But John's recording of Jesus' prayer in John 12 is consistent, in both content and outcome, with the prayers prayed in the other gospels."

How so?


They both have Jesus giving voice to the possibility that he won't die by the means envisaged, and they both anticiapte/receive the answer 'no'.

The tone of each prayer is different, but that is because they are different prayers, prayed at different periods of Jesus' earthly ministry.

Mark said...

Took me a while to get back to this. Sorry.

Yes I have prayed different prayers on different occasions. I certainly concede that could be what is going on here. Also, my idea is based on the contentious thesis that John knew Mark's gospel, which is certainly not the majority view.

I still stand by it. I think both prayers are constructions of the authors. I think this is most clearly evident in the Markan account. Who heard the prayer? Who knows what Jesus said? According to the story, no one. This is not without precedent - think, who could have known what happened to Moses in his last days? Who else was there?

If you look at the prayers as theological constructions of the particular authors, then my view that they are supposed to be the same incident, illustrating very different theologies and atonement ideas, makes more sense.

Gordon Cheng said...

Hey Mark,

Thanks for coming back!

I agree that the gospel writers paraphrased and edited what they or their sources witnessed, but once you start positing theological constructions on the basis of differing views of the atonement, we are going to part company.

Such tampering with the historical material renders the historicity of the accounts suspect—yet the theologizing that occurs relies on the reliability of what was said. And the gospel writers, on the few occasions where they address historicity, seem to rate accuracy of the record as a high concern.

If we can't trust the words Jesus said were essentially accurate, then we certainly can't trust the conclusions the gospel writers were supposed to have drawn from them, and later readers are left in a bit of a fog.

On Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane, I have always assumed that though Jesus was not out of earshot. Mark 14:33 says "he took with him Peter and James and John". He gives them quite specific instructions in v 34 to "remain here and watch"—ie they are witnesses as well as guards—and then in v 35 we understand that he is only "going a little farther" (Gk "proelthwn mikron").

Yes, the disciples fell asleep, but given that Jesus prayed for a while ("Could you not watch one hour?") and repeatedly, they could certainly have heard the few sentences that ended up being recorded: “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.”

And given Jesus' anguish on the occasion (another thing we don't sense in the brief and public John 12 prayer, by the way), it doesn't seem unlikely to me at least that Jesus was only really praying for the one thing, repeatedly. If that's the case, it would help explain why the disciples found themselves unable to maintain their attention.