Was the Gospel of Mark adjusted by Christians?

Discussion in 'History and Mythology' started by badger, May 14, 2022.

  1. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    That's an easy one.

    The answer is because faithful transmission of the scripture has always been the sacred duty of the monks tasked with transcribing it. Books were all written out by hand. Monks and abbots were not permitted to alter scripture -- nor would they want to, imo

    If one abbey made an alteration, a different abbey would call them to account. Nobody was involved in deliberately altering the gospels. It was a most sacred duty not to change a single word of scripture. When Martin Luther added one single word to the New Testament, there was an outcry.

    If perhaps the Pope made (very occasional) alterations, the changes and the reasons would be made known to all the abbeys. Such changes were not surreptitious. 'Christians' in general were not involved in wholesale alteration of the gospels. It is a fallacy, imo
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2022
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    There's a couple of things worth noting here: The first is the survival of texts.

    Almost every text we have of the ancient world survives in one or two copies of medieval manuscripts. Lucretius, 1st century BC, survives in one manuscript discovered in the 14th century. Because we have so many early copies, and copies of copies of copies, we have far more reliable source material for the NT than we have for Homer, Virgil, Caesar, Cicero or Seneca.

    Plato, Aristotle et al survive in copies of copies of copies, and survive because of circumstance. Aristotle was a tutor to Alexander the Great, so when Alexander conquered the world, Aristotle's reputation was secured, but having said that, Aristotle's output was prolific, and we know so much has been lost. Plato survived at the hands of his intellectual descendants, firstly Neoplatonists, then later Christian theologians like Clement and Origen, Augustine and Aquinas.

    The second is errors.

    Texts were laboriously copied. The copyists were not infallible. Nor were there proof-readers. Yes there are numerous errors, but the vast majority are spelling mistakes, or accidental repetitions or omissions, which can be explained by examining the texts themselves. They are all small-fry.

    Yes, there are perhaps glosses, but these are largely known and accounted for, and it's generally agreed that the basics of Christian doctrine would be the same if all these elements were left out. If Mark 16:9 et seq, covering the Resurrection and Ascension, ere excluded as possibly not belonging to the original, it's there in Matthew, Luke and John. It's there, in Paul, writing before Mark.

    The 'gold' would be discovering something that directly contradicted the canon, and nothing does, so the debate is largely an exercise in methodology for the scholar ... to the man in the street, and as regards matters of faith ... there is nothing to worry about.
     
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  3. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    Errors would happen -- not deliberate alterations -- and they would be transmitted onward, but by comparing transcriptions from other monasteries and scribes, they would mostly cancel out, imo?

    Of course these are transcriptions of the 'settled' gospels. There was a period of assembly before the gospels came to the present form -- but once the present form was arrived at* I don't believe there was as much 'gospel fiddling' over time as people automatically assume?

    I don't believe Christians were getting away with changing the gospels to suit themselves?

    *very long ago
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
  4. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    That was your reply to a question of mine! :D

    Of course you think that I'm looking at it the wrong way. I am a Deist and you don't seem to be able to acknowledge such a belief.
    I think that your are looking at it the wrong way but I can acknowledge your faith, it's what you believe.

    That's all that you needed to tell me.
    So, do you believe that the Gospel of Mark is a spiritual metaphor?
    Yes? No?

    So........ if you just forget the points that you identify as contentious, forget about the word 'contentious', and just agree that your church, your Pope (back in 1965?) explained that the gospel messages are not historical accuracies, but spiritual messages, analogies?
    Yes? No?
     
  5. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Are you telling us that you and your church identify the gospels as spiritual doctrine..... delivered metaphorically?
     
  6. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    Are you saying that Christians and church doctrine produced the gospels as spiritual messages, delivered in metaphors and not in historical facts?

    Thought:- A youth approaches his parents and tells them, 'One of my first memories is when you both cradled me together and told me that the Stork had brought me to you......were you deceitful liars?' ...and Mum answers, 'No darling, we were simply trying to explain the unknowable to you at that time'.
     
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  7. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    No. I think they delivered the main historical facts of the life and death (and resurrection) and teachings of Jesus the Christ. There may be some literary license, and the sequence may not be quite right, but it was going around from the earliest times when Paul was writing and Peter and James and John were alive and active, and Nero was murdering Christians using cannabilism as the reason, based on the Eucharistic body and blood of Christ evident from very early.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
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  8. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    The first biography of Alexander the Great only arrived more than 300 years after his death. There is considerable literary license, but the main facts are evident.

    "The Histories of Alexander the Great (Latin: Historiae Alexandri Magni) is the only surviving extant Latin biography of Alexander the Great. It was written by the Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus in the 1st-century AD, but the earliest surviving manuscript comes from the 9th century."
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Histories_of_Alexander_the_Great#:~:text=The Histories of Alexander the,comes from the 9th century.

    The gospels were much earlier, Mark around AD 70

    "Most scholars date Mark to c. 66–74 AD, either shortly before or after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD."
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Mark#:~:text=Most scholars date Mark to,Second Temple in 70 AD.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Yes, I think so.

    Nor do I think so.
     
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  10. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    You wrote:- .......'There may be some literary license,'........... so, some adjustment?
     
  11. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    But do you think that the gospels were of a spiritual message rather than a tempral historical one?
     
  12. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    No. I mean feeding of 5000 may be more like 500 -- and perhaps the eviction of the temple traders may have been a bit exaggerated (;)) that a net full beyond breaking with 153 large fishes may have contained a few less, the Gadarene swine episode may have actually been a bit less dramatic, etc. No change to the main issue
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2022
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Yes. Does it not make sense?

    No, I do. In this case I think your belief is not relevant to this particular point.

    You asked:
    "And so, the author of G-Mark adjusted the account to express sentiment and a kind of spiritual message? Is that correct?"
    I'll offer again:
    Not really. The spiritual message is the account, the account is the spiritual message – that's what gospel means. The author is bringing to the foreground the message of universal salvation in Christ.

    Did the author detail every happening in Jesus' life and ministry? No. He selected narratives he regards as relevant and orders them accordingly to the transmission of the message. So if you want to call that 'adjustment', then OK, but I think in context it's the incorrect term, for example do you mean the narrative traditions were altered by the author or subsequent redactors to infer something that wasn't there or didn't happen, or make the revised narrative say something other than the received tradition ... No.

    Where your belief comes in is when you edit the text to bring it into line with your personal beliefs. You speak about parts that, if left out, make the narrative flow better. Surely Mark 14:51-52 is an example of extraneous and irrelevant detail that adds nothing to the text but only interrupts the flow of the narrative? I only raise it as an example of applying a rule cohesively, yet we both defend the inclusion of those pesky verses!

    Yes, of course it is! It's a multi-layered narrative. Everything Jesus says and does has meaning, ramifications, implications ... There are the Four Senses of Scripture – literal, moral, spiritual and eschatalogical – the Jews have a similar tradition of looking at Scripture (Peshat, Remez, Derash, Sod).

    That's not quite what he said nor what I am saying.

    To be precise, Dei Verbum says the gospels are an historical account that may contain inaccuracies. I'd go a step further and say the events recorded therein do not necessarily follow their actual chronological order.

    It's generally agreed that in the Synoptics, Jesus makes one visit to Jerusalem during His ministry, yet there are three occasions in the year when a Jew is required to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, although the authorities accept this might not be possible. In John He makes two, possibly three. Scholars regard this as far more likely. It certainly makes more sense of the fracas in the temple court, and bearing in mind he was funded on his missions, there is no reason why He could not go.
     
  14. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    And so there were some adjustments or errors?
     
  15. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    It was compiled (shortly) after the event from sources and eyewitnesses -- perhaps personal author eyewitness memories of certain events -- whose diverse individual memories could never be 100% accurate. It's an overall account of the main events of Jesus's life and death and ministry. There was never a deliberate attempt to distort or misrepresent the life of Jesus, and it has come down two millennia as carefully preserved as possible by monks and still basically accurate in the main.

    @badger
    That's no reason for a person to just toss out bits that don't fit his own theory about what he personally thinks Jesus probably said and did, imo
     
  16. RJM

    RJM God Feeds the Ravens Admin

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    I use for an example of the fidelity of those tasked with preserving scripture the Qumran Isiaah Dead Sea scroll buried for 2000 years that tallies almost exactly word for word with the modern Biblical version of Isiaah, with very minor errors.
     
  17. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    *Chuckles*

    I'm rather used to hearing similar claims. A daily or weekly occurance in my working life.
    You caused us to fail those integrity tests!
    You only followed me because I am (whatever)!
    You deliberately served this divorce petition at this time to embarrass me!
    You concocted all this evidence to get me!

    You edited the text to fit your agenda...... Is just another of countless thousands of accusations.

    No....... I went searching without agenda.
     
  18. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Regarding text transmission, let's contextualise things for a moment here:

    The New Testament was written between 45-90AD. We have fragments that date back to 120 and 150, just 35-100 years after the originals.

    There is a staggering proliferation of texts – 4,000-5,000 NT Greek manuscripts (partial or complete) existing. By comparing these many copies, it's possible to cross-check for mistakes.

    All scholars agree there are two factors that enable us to assume the texts are reliable, one is that we have copies dating close to the time of the originals, and two, we have lots of copies to cross-check.

    There are no original autographs of anyone in the era, nor for some time after it. The entire corpus of Greek philosophy, for example, is composed of copies, or references in other works.

    When we think of the great names of antiquity, we find

    7 copies of Plato, the earliest MS copied 1200 years after he died;
    10 copies of Caesar, 900 years later;
    8 of Herodotus, 1,300 years later;
    5 of Aristotle, 1,400 years later.

    No other text of the ancient world is available in such proliferation, meaning we can establish the idea of the original text with much greater reliability than any other.
     
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  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    LOL, that says something!

    But Badger – You've declared your agenda from the get go! How can you say that in all seriousness?
     
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  20. badger

    badger Well-Known Member

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    I asked a question:-
    Was the Gospel of Mark adjusted by Christians?
    .... and now I'm getting some answers.

    such as from @RJM :- I mean feeding of 5000 may be more like 500 -- and perhaps the eviction of the temple traders may have been a bit exaggerated (;)) that a net full beyond breaking with 153 large fishes may have contained a few less, the Gadarene swine episode may have actually been a bit less dramatic,

    I'm getting there......... slowly. And it would appear that many Christians see the gospels as more spiritual than temporal........ I'm getting there.

     

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