Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Votes Are In! The Next Topic: Who Wrote Mark?

Now from your voting it seems pretty clear you want me to write about the Gospel of Mark, where it fits and who wrote it. This is the most difficult and involved project of the choices, but  I accept the challenge.

The Gospel of Mark poses a unique problem for me, as there is very little unique material in the book that can be ascribed to Mark. Only a baker’s dozen verses are unique to Mark, and beyond that only a small number of phrases and some individual words. And some of this unique material is most likely part of a later Catholic layer that all books of the New Testament seem to have. As I write this I do not have the answers, and I think this will be a journey of discovery for all of us. I'll try to get the first  of what will probably be a two or three part work up before the Labor Day weekend is up. No promises however.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Marcionite Philippians Interlinear and Notes

Chester Beatty p46 Philippians & Galatians
In the Marcionite Apostolikon Paul's Epistle to the Philippians is a rather minor book, less than half the size of the Catholic version in our bibles today. My reconstruction of Marcionite form, or rather Marcionite plus indeterminate verses, results in a mere 46 verses, and could have been much smaller, as 36 of these verses are not attested. I erred on the side of caution leaving in some questionable phrases and verse. The small size of Philippians suggests the the Marcionite Epistles were arraigned from largest to smallest, excepting Galatians which was the heralding letter giving the stamp of authority on the collection, much like the Catholic collection. But to arrive at that order, the Thessalonians have to be considered one letter, probably also the Corinthians.

Philippians is now the fifth book I have completed a reconstruction in Marcionite form. Although I have a much better handle on the specifics of the targets of the content and a better eye for the Catholic editor's themes and words, there were still several unique challenges faced in the reconstruction this book in Marcionite form. Unlike other books in Marcion's collection I have reviewed, Philippians has no additional attestation beyond Tertullian, and it is the last book that Tertullian looked at and may have skipped over more material than usual. Below I go over a  few interesting points.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Antithesis and the relationship of Matthew 5:3-48 to Marcion
The Book of Kells: Matthew (c.800)
I left off my analysis of Matthew’s dependence upon the Antithesis, after showing a pair of blocks in Chapter 5 that matched wording from the Marcionite Antithesis. But now I will examine the entirety of the chapter and show verse by verse the dependence upon Marcion as source, explaining every phrase.

Matthew structure differs dramatically from the other Synoptic Gospels. Several years ago, back in the early 1990s, I spent a considerable amount of time trying to understand the Synoptic Gospels without a clue to the theology involved. Being an engineer by profession, I liked purely mechanical solutions, since at least in theory you could construct a model that explained the development. Of course this didn't get me anywhere because without a thorough understanding of the theological developments there was no way to distinguish between early and late material.

This situation is compounded in view by an atmosphere of sophomoric theories and silliness bred from ignorance of those in the field. I decided they were all nuts, and undisciplined, or rather unwilling to cross pollinate with higher critics and gain insights, and so were hopelessly locked in a useless battle pitting one flawed theory against another. Today however knowing Marcion's text and theological and historical events which shaped the New Testament, I now have the tools to break down Matthew's unique structure and explain in the context of known history, not fiction.