Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Cleverly Devised Myth ? Is Mark's gospel a Biblical fan-fiction ?

       Are the gospels misunderstood novels? They appear to be a kind of ancient "Fan-fiction" that is always in the process of continuing and yet carefully rewriting the Old Testament stories in the context of Rome's inimitable power, social/racial problems and to answer the theological crisis arising after the Herodian Temple's obliteration. Mark seems to be the fist, with the others being "re-imaginings" of this work. Simply because I could not locate any resource that did so, I spent some weeks writing a commentary to the Hellenistic novel now known as "The Gospel according to Mark."  This author we now know as 'Mark, whoever he was, meant for us to see the many references to the  scriptures that he weaves into his narrative. One has only to have familiarity with the Septuagint or Greek translation(s) to notice immediately that the New Testament authors so often draw from earlier works for their creative activity, and it can be easily proven using simple analysis of the text itself in Greek. There does not seem to be one paragraph in this work called 'Mark' that is not obviously meant to be a direct parody or refurbishment of Jewish Scriptures via their eccentric and often (intentionally?) faulty Hellenistic interpretation/ translation. Hundreds of traces of the verbal parallels, so many as to astonishing and often ignored by Biblical scholars who assume that real events are somehow being reported, not scenes from a carefully crafted liturgical myth of staggering subtlety. That so many refuse to notice this seemed to me problematic, so this website is my attempt to present freely a presentation of what these ancient authors were doing in their didactic fictions and to provoke a better understanding of what that might mean, for the past as well as the present!
    The rewriting of gospel authors is often only obvious in Greek= the healing of Jairus daughter in Chapter 5 parodies Hagar abandoning Ishmael from Genesis, the 1st blind man's healing in chapter 8 parodies the Sodomites attacking Lot's house, the verbs used in mute's healing make it clear Mark is parodying the calling of the prophet Ezekiel! Peter's denial at chapter 14 parodies the episode of the 'Well of Oaths' from the Torah. The mysterious 'gar' word that seems grammatically awkward that ends the gospel is merely a partial quote from Genesis about Sarah's doubt concerning God's power to assist her birth of Isaac. The 'stilling of the storm' at chapter 4 parodies Jonah's adventures. The 'water-walking' incident at Mark 6  rewrites the crossing of the Red Sea, subtly identifying the protagonist of Marks novel, the teacher 'Jesus,' as either YHWH himself or his avatar who manifested as the angelic Pillar of Fire who led the Israelites. The entire Passion narrative mimics the Yom Kippur ritual as it is described out in the Mishnah and Talmuds. There are a hundred more examples. I wrote this book first, then went back to look at secondary scholarly literature to see if others had seen or found what I had, to check if any of this was common knowledge. Some, like John P. Meier, have seen it but dismiss it by willfully ignoring the obvious, while others are oblivious to this basic function of the biblical novels! I felt even more compelled to intersperse this work with quotes from scholarly literature to emphasize what they have unfortunately missed. There are more ironies and puns within Mark's text than could possibly be catalogued, though I offer here my attempt.
   This is a work in progress, and will function more like a few general observations of the evangelists method of writing and then translate the gospel of Mark in short sections followed by commentary and notes pertinent to the theory of a mimetic development from the OT scriptures.  The text of the Mark in translation will be in BOLD and shall be my own expansion/correction, founded upon the language of the King James version—simply due to it's straight-forward English familiarity of phrasing. For convenience' sake, LXX confusion of titles shall be ignored, i.e. 4 Kingdoms from the OG (=meaning the several Old Greek translations now titled Theodotion, Symmachus, Aquila that diverge from the readings of the LXX) shall simply be referred to as 2Kings, but the LXX version is always what is meant. The books of Samuel will be called such etc...  
   This commentary will function for now as such, not a "book" with a linear progress. One can start anywhere. My method is nothing but a thorough knowledge of the Septuagint and the Masoretic texts of Scripture and the New Testament with all it's related literature—including the Church Fathers and all the Rabbinic works up to the time of the Zohar and Rashi—and my applying this knowledge sentence by sentence to point out what must have been obvious to Mark's original hearers and readers: THIS IS DIDACTIC FICTION! It is brilliant and glorious, but still basically nothing more than a convoluted super-hero comic meant for edification, something sadly misunderstood for centuries now.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoy this perspective and glad someone is finally digging into all the parallels. I have found that a number of NT scholars as well as proponents of Mythicism lack this connection. The NT is definitely a response to the temple destruction and what to do about it. Our theory closely resembles you own as to why it was written.

    When you complete your book, would be available to interview? Our website is