Mark's Gospel: Memoirs from His Dad's (Peter's) Eyewitness Testimony

Berserk

Member
Peter had a mother-in-law and was therefore married (Mark 1:30-31). The early tradition that Peter had biological children is therefore probably true (Clement Stromata 3:52). Peter (Cephas) took his wife with him on his missionary tours (1 Corinthians 9:5) and was martyred together with her in Rome (Clement, Stromata 7:11). So it seems probable that Peter took his children with him on his missionary travels. Indeed, Peter's “son” (Greek: “huios”) Mark traveled with him on his tours (1 Peter 5:13). Paul uses “teknon” rather than “huios” when he calls his young missionary companions his “child.” So there is no reason to believe that Peter means “son” in a figurative sense. Paul never refers to young male believers as his “son” (Greek : “huios).” Though Paul does call both Timothy and Titus his “child” (”teknon”), he makes it clear that he is speaking figuratively of his “loyal child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4).

Papias (c. 60-130 AD) prefers “the living voice” of eyewitnesses to Jesus to written traditions and hears what 2 of Jesus' disciples, John and Aristion, are currently saying. Neither disciple is one of the Twelve, but both may well be included in the 70 other disciples (Luke 10:1). He refers to these 2 disciples as “the Elders” and quotes one of them on the origin of Mark's Gospel:

“The Elder [John or Aristion] said this: Mark, having become Peter's interpreter, wrote down accurately what he recalled. However, it was not in he exact order that he related the sayings or deeds of Christ...He accompanied Peter, who accommodated his instructions to the necessities of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a regular narrative of the Lord's sayings. Therefore, Mark made no mistake in writing some things as he recalled them (Eusebius HE 3:39).”

Note 2 implications of what Papias reports: (1) Mark is providing Peter's eyewitness testimony to Jesus' words and deeds. (2) Eyewitnesses were still alive to correct the sequence of Mark's Gospel, which is based on Peter's catechetical notes rather than on a sequential biography. So Mark's Gospel is basically Mark's record of his Dad's teaching about Jesus' words and deeds! Quite apart from my case for Peter as Mark's Dad, the important point for apologetics is the connection of Mark's Gospel with Peter's eyewitness testimony about Jesus. More evidence to follow.
 

Berserk

Member
After Peter is saved from execution by a miraculous deliverance from prison, his next decision supports the claim that Mark (also known as "John called Mark") is his biological son. We are told that Peter goes to Mary's house to let them know of his deliverance and that he must immediately leave Jerusalem (Acts 12:12, 17). Mary just happens to be Mark's Mom, the young man Peter calls his "son." So why does Peter go to Mary's house rather than James's house? After all, Jesus' brother James was the leader of the Jerusalem church. Because Mary is Peter's wife and Mark is his son, Peter's top priority is to let his family know he's OK and must immediately leave town. Obviously, he promised to let them know where he was, so that they could eventually be reunited. Thus, Paul's note that Peter took his wife with him on his missionary travels makes sense (1 Corinthians 9:5). After an unsuccessful missionary stint with Paul and Barnabas, Mark joins his "cousin" (so Colossians 4:10) Barnabas on a mission to Cyprus (Acts 15:39). From there Mark, keeping his missionary efforts in the family, joins his Dad Peter on the mission field (1 Peter 5:13).

So why didn't Luke explicitly identify Mary as Peter's wife? It is unusual that the house in question is identified as Mary's house rather than her husband's. The answer is Luke's lack of interest in the family relationships of apostolic leadership. Thus, in Luke's repeated references to James, he never identifies James as Jesus' brother and never mentions that Barnabas and Mark are cousins.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
So Mark's Gospel is basically Mark's record of his Dad's teaching about Jesus' words and deeds!
I am immediately reminded of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings (1927) in which the crippled orphan Mark, "destined to be one of the four to write the immortal Gospels," is "healed by the Great Physician" and taken into the inner group of disciples as a quasi-son by "Peter, the Giant Disciple -- a fisherman, quick of temper but soft of heart." Young Mark is an eyewitness himself throughout Jesus' ministry and present at the 'Great Commission' that concludes the film with an intertitle citing, not coincidentally, Mark 16:15.

On a more serious note, I appreciate what you posted and your appeals to the original language and pertinent sources exterior to the New Testament (hence the like). I say this in hopes that you will receive what follows as constructive criticism and encouragement to continue your exegetical pursuits.

Quite apart from my case for Peter as Mark's Dad, the important point for apologetics is the connection of Mark's Gospel with Peter's eyewitness testimony about Jesus.
The apologetic purpose driving your reconstruction was important to state explicitly and I applaud you for doing so, though I do consider the project a bit misguided. Empirical studies demonstrate that eyewitness testimony is not the bastion of reliability it is often assumed to be. Even if Mark or any of the other gospels could lay genuine claim to being eyewitness accounts (and I don't think they can), that alone would not guarantee their veracity... they would still need to be subjected to critical scrutiny and none of the problems that currently beset them are avoided by considering them to have derived directly or indirectly from eyewitnesses of the events therein narrated.

Indeed, Peter's “son” (Greek: “huios”) Mark traveled with him on his tours (1 Peter 5:13). Paul uses “teknon” rather than “huios” when he calls his young missionary companions his “child.” So there is no reason to believe that Peter means “son” in a figurative sense. Paul never refers to young male believers as his “son” (Greek : “huios).” Though Paul does call both Timothy and Titus his “child” (”teknon”), he makes it clear that he is speaking figuratively of his “loyal child in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2; Titus 1:4).
Just because Paul does not use a term in a certain way, does not mean Peter (or whoever wrote the letter) would be similarly inclined not to. The word υιος was used to describe one's pupils, followers or 'spiritual' sons in Greek of the period (BDAG) and, in fact, is used in this sense in Matt 12:27 and Luke 11:19 to describe the followers of Jesus' interlocutors. The usage in Heb 12:5 (itself a citation from Prov 3:11) is also important to consider since the implied reader of the proverbs that follow is any student of wisdom. Even if one were to assume, for the sake of argument, that the Mark of 1 Pet 5:13 is the letter writer's biological son, there are still a number of hurdles to overcome such as serious challenges to Petrine authorship of the document and why this particular Mark should be considered the author of the gospel that (now) bears this name.

Papias (c. 60-130 AD) prefers “the living voice” of eyewitnesses to Jesus to written traditions and hears what 2 of Jesus' disciples, John and Aristion, are currently saying. Neither disciple is one of the Twelve, but both may well be included in the 70 other disciples (Luke 10:1). He refers to these 2 disciples as “the Elders” and quotes one of them on the origin of Mark's Gospel...
There is a significant problem here. If Papias (and it should be remembered that we know of his works only through a few citations by the later writers Irenaeus and Eusebius) actually conversed with followers of the historical Jesus then how does he know nothing of the (alleged) familial relationship between Peter and Mark, referring to the latter simply as his interpreter? Furthermore, Papias claims that Mark did not follow Jesus (a crucial piece of information curiously missing from your own citation where the ellipses appear) and contrasts this with how he followed Peter... this is important because the contrast implies a similar referent in both cases, namely Mark as a follower or devotee, not a son.

Another problem is the equation of "the living voice" with eyewitnesses... Papias claims to remember what he learned from the 'elders' (ie. disciples), but the primary practice he describes is to question followers of the elders and it is their words that he connects to a living and abiding voice even though those that speak are not themselves eyewitnesses. Given the range of dates for Papias' life (other scholars posit 75-140 CE, for example) it is reasonable to suggest, if there is anything historical here at all (and I doubt there is -- Papias is unreliable, elsewhere making the ridiculous claim that Judas became so bloated he couldn't fit through a passage wide enough for a wagon and Eusebius writes that he was a man of little intelligence), that his interaction with the 'elders' themselves occurred when he was very young and his primary source of information is from second generation Christians, Papias himself being a third generation Christian.

Eyewitnesses were still alive to correct the sequence of Mark's Gospel, which is based on Peter's catechetical notes rather than on a sequential biography.
Mark's gospel, however, has events presented in a particular sequence and one of the gospel's most distinctive features is its author's use of the word παλιν (again) to forge links between earlier and later narrative material thereby placing them in a chronological order. The claims made by Papias are defensive, explaining (away) Mark's order as related to Peter's situational preaching, yet this hardly squares with the aforementioned structure of the gospel itself. Mark's alleged disorder implies an account or accounts that are orderly to which his is being compared... and it is on this question that I will conclude. What is your understanding of how the four canonical gospels relate to each other on a literary level and by which Mark might be judged disorderly?

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 

Berserk

Member
Papias' identification of Peter as Mark's source finds independent support at Rome in Justin Martyr's portrayal of Mark's Gospel as Peter's memoirs:

“He changed the name of one of His apostles to Peter, and when it is written in his [Peter's ] memoirs that this so happened, as well as that He changed the names of the sons of Zebedee to Boanerges, which means “son of thunder... (Dial.106.3).”

Justin implies that Mark represents Peter's memoirs because Mark alone notes the Boanerges nicknames given James and John.


Mark's status as Peter's son is favored by 3 considerations:

(1) The interpretation of Mark as Peter's natural son derives support from the implication that Peter takes his wife with him on his missionary journeys and the 2nd century tradition that Peter has children. That fact alone should make a biological understanding of “huios” in 1 Peter 5:13 our default expectation.

(2) The use of “huios” by Greeks to designate a student is not common and in any case needs examples in contemporary Jewish and Christian literature. I challenge you to find a single Jewish or Christian example from the first 3 centuries of “huios” (singular as a reference to a contemporary student.

Pointing to Papias' failure to identify Mark as Peter's son is a weak argument from silence because Papias can refer to James and John mentioning neither that they are “sons of Zebedee” nor that they are brothers.

When Peter escapes from prison in Jerusalem and must leave town in a hurry, the most obvious people to notify of his plans are his family. This expectation is satisfied if Mary is his wife and Mark (= John Mark—so Acts 15:39) is his son. The expectation that Luke would identify “Mary's house (12:12)” as Peter's house is eliminated by Luke;s failure in both his Gospel and in Acts to identify James as Jesus' brother. The identification of Mary as Mark's mother rather than as Peter's wife might be explained by the role Mark plays in Luke's next 3 allusions to him. In a patriarchal society it is unusual to imply a woman's ownership of a house. But there is no implication that she is a widow; so her identity as Peter's wife makes the most sense of all the relevant data.


Your claim that Mark intends to construct a correct historical sequence of Jesus' ministry can be challenged by his use of chiasmus as an organizing literary principle for much of his material, by his many widely recognized awkward transitions, and by his use of “euthus” (“immediately”--40 times) as an artificial transition.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
Papias' identification of Peter as Mark's source finds independent support at Rome in Justin Martyr's portrayal of Mark's Gospel as Peter's memoirs
Insofar as Justin's work postdates that of Papias, it is not necessarily independent support even if a direct literary connection is elusive... assuming for the sake of argument that it is independent offers nothing of value to your argument, it remains either way evidence that the tradition of a connection between Peter and the gospel now known as Mark was circulating in the middle of the second century (which isn't something I've challenged). I would also point out that Justin uses "memoirs" in reference to all the gospel material he cites from and does so for apologetic reasons relating to its respectability as a form of writing about famous teachers among the Greeks, particular Socrates and Pythagoras... it is a late derivative label applied to the gospels to help in debates against pagans rather than a genuine description of their contents.

The interpretation of Mark as Peter's natural son derives support from the implication that Peter takes his wife with him on his missionary journeys and the 2nd century tradition that Peter has children. That fact alone should make a biological understanding of “huios” in 1 Peter 5:13 our default expectation.
Whether it should be the "default" is a matter of opinion and I even allowed this understanding for the sake of argument... your failure to engage with the problems I outlined, even accepting that the Mark of 1 Pet 5:13 refers to his biological son, is duly noted.

The use of “huios” by Greeks to designate a student is not common and in any case needs examples in contemporary Jewish and Christian literature. I challenge you to find a single Jewish or Christian example from the first 3 centuries of “huios” (singular as a reference to a contemporary student.
I already provided examples from the New Testament, including one in the singular... your demand for other specifically singular examples is refused as I've already demonstrated my case from relevant literature for the viability of reading υιος as a disciple.

Pointing to Papias' failure to identify Mark as Peter's son is a weak argument from silence because Papias can refer to James and John mentioning neither that they are “sons of Zebedee” nor that they are brothers.
The obvious difference is that the patronymic and fraternal relationship of James and John is common knowledge available in texts to which Papias and his implied readers would have access... the proposition that Mark, specifically the one thought to have written the gospel that now bears his name, was Peter's biological son is not. Since Papias' work is not fully extant, we cannot say for certain either (a) that he knew the first so-called Petrine letter or (b) interpreted the Mark therein mentioned as Peter's biological son. I would further point out that an argument from silence is not weak when one excepts to find information supplied... insofar as you imply a direct connection between Papias and followers of Jesus, the identity of Mark as Peter's son is something one would expect Papias to both know and to include alongside or even in place of the functional description of an interpreter.

When Peter escapes from prison in Jerusalem and must leave town in a hurry, the most obvious people to notify of his plans are his family. This expectation is satisfied if Mary is his wife and Mark (= John Mark—so Acts 15:39) is his son. The expectation that Luke would identify “Mary's house (12:12)” as Peter's house is eliminated by Luke;s failure in both his Gospel and in Acts to identify James as Jesus' brother. The identification of Mary as Mark's mother rather than as Peter's wife might be explained by the role Mark plays in Luke's next 3 allusions to him. In a patriarchal society it is unusual to imply a woman's ownership of a house. But there is no implication that she is a widow; so her identity as Peter's wife makes the most sense of all the relevant data.
I didn't even respond to this original addendum to your thread opener as it is little more than a humorous modern midrash on Acts 12, reading into the biblical text some heartfelt family reunion where none whatsoever is even hinted at. Why you feel referring to the house as Mary's is not an implication she is a widow is anybody's guess. Mary is, furthermore, a woman of some means as she has a maidservant and a lavish door to her home (consult BDAG on the word πυλων); Peter, on the other hand, is a not some wealthy homeowner in Jerusalem, but a poor (Acts 3:6) fisherman from Galilee who left his family there (Luke 5:11).

Your claim that Mark intends to construct a correct historical sequence of Jesus' ministry can be challenged by his use of chiasmus as an organizing literary principle for much of his material, by his many widely recognized awkward transitions, and by his use of “euthus” (“immediately”--40 times) as an artificial transition.
Even assuming for the sake of argument that there are chiastic structures in Mark's narrative, that hardly negates that his story proceeds in chronological order, nor does his use of ευθυς to convey a sense of immediacy to Jesus' actions relate to chronology. What might have some relevance is your allegation about awkward transitions, but since you offer no examples there is nothing for me to engage. What does relate to order in the gospel is, as I already offered in critique and to which you offered no response, the word παλιν since it is used to refer back to similar incidents in the gospel and creates a chronological structure in which events A and A', B and B', C and C', etc. occur in order.

Your failure to answer my direct question about the literary relationship between the gospels is also duly noted, yet in order to demonstrate your case for a disordered Mark you have to point to at least one of the other gospels as providing the 'correct' sequence of events. If you have not considered this necessary demonstration, you would do well to stop and do the analysis... of course, having done such an analysis myself, I can already tell you that it will not support your claim because Mark is a demonstrable middle term between Matthew and Luke, meaning its narrative either 'snakes' back and forth between the orders of Matthew and Luke (minority position and convoluted) or is the source for Matthew and Luke (majority position and the one I hold to). Deviations in order from Mark in Matthew and less extensively in Luke are easily explained in light of their rhetorical purposes.

In addition to the three evasions already noted, you did not address my criticisms related to an inflated trust in eyewitness testimony, appealing to one author's use of a word as evidence for how another author must use it, the identity of Mark as a follower of Peter implied in Papias' contrastive language and your erroneous connection of his 'living voice' only to eyewitnesses. A more thoroughgoing and cordial response would have been appropriate as I am the only poster to have thus far bothered responding to your thread and to preface it with several positive comments... the lack of reciprocity was disappointing, to say the least.

Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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Berserk

Member
(1) Insofar as Justin's work postdates that of Papias, it is not necessarily independent support even if a direct literary connection is elusive... it remains either way evidence that the tradition of a connection between Peter and the gospel now known as Mark was circulating in the middle of the second century.

(2) I already provided examples from the New Testament, including one in the singular...

(1) There is no evidence that Justin knew Papias' work. So the independent witness to Mark's connection with Peter is hardly rendered improbable by your obvious admitted bias against any Gospel connection with eyewitness testimony. It is a basic principle of epistemology that the preferred interpretation is that which makes the best sense of the relevant available data. It is absurd to limit Peter's connection to Mark's Gospel to Rome in the mid-2d century when Papias; a first-century figure already establishes this connection to Rome.

Two points in rebuttal to (2):
(a) I apologize for forgetting that you posted Heb. 12:5 (citing Prov. 3:11). But the address "son" here is not a reference to a one-on-one student relationship with a Wisdom teacher. Rather, the address reflects status as a "child of Wisdom" as expressed in Jesus' identification of Himself and John the Baptist as "children of Wisdom" personified (Luke 7:35). In his magisterial Commentary on Proverbs, William McKane notes,

"The form of address [in Prov. 3:11] is `My son,' but the teacher claims authority for Yahweh and not for himself and the relationship between father and son is a simile which sheds light on the character of Yahweh's discipline (p. 294)."

So you have provided no Jewish or Christian example from the first 3 centuries of a named Jewish or Christian teacher using "huios" to refer to his named student. So in context, the logically prior expectation is that when Peter refers to Mark as his "son," he means "son" and not "student."

(b) More importantly, you ducked the key issue: if Peter travels with his wife and therefore probably his family, then what is the basis of your gratuitous assumption that a proud Dad would not refer to the helpful presence of his biological son?
The obvious difference is that the patronymic and fraternal relationship of James and John is common knowledge available in texts to which Papias and his implied readers would have access... the proposition that Mark, specifically the one thought to have written the gospel that now bears his name, was Peter's biological son is not.
Your argument from silence is a fragile imposition of your anti-eyewitness agenda. Papias's main interest is to connect Mark's Gospel to an eyewitness of Jesus, not to clarify family relationships. You miss a similar point with your misunderstanding of Papias' preference for "a living and abiding voice." Papias is referring to Aristion and John the Elder, whom he describes as "disciples of the Lord," not as disciples of the disciples.
This description mirrors Papias' description of the other eyewitness apostles as "disciples of the Lord." Thus, your rejection of "a direct connection between Papias and followers of Jesus" is misguided.

You also ducked my point about Acts 12:12, namely that at this point Luke is more interested in Mary's relationship with Mark (= John Mark) than he is in Peter's family relationships. Indeed, 12:12 introduces (John) Mark by his relationship with ,Mary to set up discussion of his future roles (see 12:24; 15:37, 39). To use your logic Luke should be chided for failing to mention in his allusions to James that he is Jesus' brother!
Why you feel referring to the house as Mary's is not an implication she is a widow is anybody's guess.
First, the text does not identify her as a widow. Second, I have provided evidence that [John] Mark is Peter's son.
Third, you duck the question of why, after his escape, Peter would flee to Mary's house rather than, say, James's house. Peter is married; so common sense dictates that his top priority would be to notify his family of his escape and need to flee at once.
Mary is, furthermore, a woman of some means as she has a maidservant and a lavish door to her home (consult BDAG on the word πυλων); Peter, on the other hand, is a not some wealthy homeowner in Jerusalem, but a poor (Acts 3:6) fisherman from Galilee who left his family there (Luke 5:11).
The fact that Peter was not carrying "silver or gold" at the time does not imply that he had no access to significant funds from the support of his Christian community, of which he was a key leader. Also, it is a mistake to assume that fisherman were "poor" relative to other Galilean peasants. Since the Jerusalem church would have been composed of house churches, it is natural to assume that Peter needed a larger house with room for several worshipers to meet.

Your quibble about Markan sequence can be summarily dispatched by 3 observations:
(1) If Mark's Gospel is based on Peter's catechetical and preaching notes rather than a historically sequential written Gospel, t;hen Mark would have no idea about the entire historical sequence, even if he chose to write as if he did.
(2) Matthew and Luke feel free to alter the sequence of their Markan material. So we can't assume that sequential accuracy was important to the Evangelists.
(3) Redaction critics have long observed the awkward transitions in Mark and the massive chiastic structures, which refute your claim of an intention to preserve the original sequence. A demonstration of this would consume too much space.
 

timtams

Member
No, Irenaeus calls him the disciple and interpreter of Peter, not literal son.

According to Eusebius and the Acts of Peter, Peter came to Rome in Claudius's reign, and it was at about that time (early 40s) that Mark wrote his Gospel, according to those sources. Any son of Peter would have been too young at that time. And if he were twenty years old, then he would have surely have met Jesus as a child, yet Papias (c. 105) states that Mark neither heard nor followed Jesus.

It's an interesting idea that shows up in the odd medieval source, but nothing more. He is his son by baptism, not birth.

John Mark wasn't identified with Mark the Evangelist until centuries later.
 

Berserk

Member
No, Irenaeus calls him the disciple and interpreter of Peter, not literal son.
Ireneaus (180 AD.) is too late for reliable information on this matter and is makes other mistaken apostolic identifications.
According to Eusebius and the Acts of Peter, Peter came to Rome in Claudius's reign, and it was at about that time (early 40s) that Mark wrote his Gospel, according to those sources. Any son of Peter would have been too young at that time. And if he were twenty years old, then he would have surely have met Jesus as a child, yet Papias (c. 105) states that Mark neither heard nor followed Jesus.
No, the scholarly consensus dates Mark around 64-70 AD, a period shortly after Peter's presence and execution in Rome. The objection that Mark never saw Jesus' ministry is irrelevant because Mark may well not even have been born yet or may have been at most a toddler.
John Mark wasn't identified with Mark the Evangelist until centuries later.
In Acts John Mark is also simply designated "Mark." Many scholars identify him as the Mark who wrote the Gospel. Mark was a missionary companion for both Peter and Paul. One needs evidence to postulate a different Mark as the Gospel's author.
 

timtams

Member
Ireneaus (180 AD.) is too late for reliable information on this matter and is makes other mistaken apostolic identifications.

No, the scholarly consensus dates Mark around 64-70 AD, a period shortly after Peter's presence and execution in Rome. The objection that Mark never saw Jesus' ministry is irrelevant because Mark may well not even have been born yet or may have been at most a toddler.

In Acts John Mark is also simply designated "Mark." Many scholars identify him as the Mark who wrote the Gospel. Mark was a missionary companion for both Peter and Paul. One needs evidence to postulate a different Mark as the Gospel's author.
But Eusebius, quoting Clement and Papias, places the whole thing in Claudius's reign. The first writer to place it around 65 is Irenaeus, and you just discounted him. Or is Irenaeus now suddenly better than Papias?

The evidence is that the two weren't identified until centuries later, and that many ancient sources differentiated them. If you believe they are the same person, you have to demonstrate why.
 

Berserk

Member
But Eusebius, quoting Clement and Papias, places the whole thing in Claudius's reign. The first writer to place it around 65 is Irenaeus, and you just discounted him. Or is Irenaeus now suddenly better than Papias?
Produce the quote and we'll discuss it.
 

timtams

Member
Produce the quote and we'll discuss it.
Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 2.14-15


5. And coming to the city of Rome, by the mighty co-operation of that power which was lying in wait there, he was in a short time so successful in his undertaking that those who dwelt there honored him as a god by the erection of a statue.

6. But this did not last long. For immediately, during the reign of Claudius, the all-good and gracious Providence, which watches over all things, led Peter, that strongest and greatest of the apostles, and the one who on account of his virtue was the speaker for all the others, to Rome against this great corrupter of life. Clad in divine armor like a noble commander of God, He carried the costly merchandise of the light of the understanding from the East to those who dwelt in the West, proclaiming the light itself, and the word which brings salvation to souls, and preaching the kingdom of heaven.

Chapter 15. The Gospel according to Mark.​

1. And thus when the divine word had made its home among them, the power of Simon was quenched and immediately destroyed, together with the man himself. And so greatly did the splendor of piety illumine the minds of Peter's hearers that they were not satisfied with hearing once only, and were not content with the unwritten teaching of the divine Gospel, but with all sorts of entreaties they besought Mark, a follower of Peter, and the one whose Gospel is extant, that he would leave them a written monument of the doctrine which had been orally communicated to them. Nor did they cease until they had prevailed with the man, and had thus become the occasion of the written Gospel which bears the name of Mark.

2. And they say that Peter — when he had learned, through a revelation of the Spirit, of that which had been done — was pleased with the zeal of the men, and that the work obtained the sanction of his authority for the purpose of being used in the churches. Clement in the eighth book of his Hypotyposes gives this account, and with him agrees the bishop of Hierapolis named Papias. And Peter makes mention of Mark in his first epistle which they say that he wrote in Rome itself, as is indicated by him, when he calls the city, by a figure, Babylon, as he does in the following words: The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, salutes you; and so does Marcus my son. 1 Peter 5:13

 

timtams

Member
And you can notice that Eusebius says that Peter makes mention of him, but he says nothing about Acts making mention of him, and he places him in Rome and goes on to say that he went from there to Alexandria, when Acts places him in Antioch, Syria, and Cyprus during that time, showing that Eusebius didn't identify Mark the Evangelist with John Mark.
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
If you would kindly refrain in future from inserting your own material inside a quote box attributed to me, no matter how innocuous you may think it is... I am here referring to the numbers that were added to which you then referred in your response. Another problematic practice is your use of ellipses to excise crucial information (such as Mark not being a follower of Jesus and the force of this contrast with respect to Peter against your position), though in your most recent example you relied on my own idiosyncratic use of ellipses in place of a semicolon to indicate a pause to effect your removal of a clause, which made it appear to those familiar with my writing style as if nothing was missing. You also removed one of my parenthetical clauses without using ellipses to show you were doing so. None of these practices are acceptable.

There is no evidence that Justin knew Papias' work. So the independent witness to Mark's connection with Peter is hardly rendered improbable by your obvious admitted bias against any Gospel connection with eyewitness testimony. It is a basic principle of epistemology that the preferred interpretation is that which makes the best sense of the relevant available data. It is absurd to limit Peter's connection to Mark's Gospel to Rome in the mid-2d century when Papias; a first-century figure already establishes this connection to Rome.
I will deal with your accusation of bias below since you repeat it later on. When one writing postdates another within the same general milieu, the possibility that the latter writer is aware of the earlier one is there and you would do well to factor such things into your arguments and the way you phrase your assertions. Words such as "appears" or "probably" abound in scholarly works precisely because they reflect the complexities involved in historical reconstructions... the more emphatically you declare your position to be correct to the exclusion of other possibilities, the weaker it becomes because you are relying on the strength of rhetoric rather than on the strength of arguments. Your suggestion that I 'absurdly' limited the circulation of the tradition of a Petrine basis for the content of Mark's gospel to the mid-second century fails to appreciate it was offered in the context of a comment about Justin whose work in question is dated to around this time... I implied nothing from this as to when this tradition might have begun and earlier discussion of this tradition in the writing of Papias, dating several decades earlier, implies I understand it to have already been in circulation around the turn of the first Christian century, as indeed I do.

I apologize for forgetting that you posted Heb. 12:5 (citing Prov. 3:11).
Thanks for acknowledging the oversight.

But the address "son" here is not a reference to a one-on-one student relationship with a Wisdom teacher. Rather, the address reflects status as a "child of Wisdom" ...personified...
There is no reason to get distracted by an interpretation of Luke 7:35 so I have (properly) excised references to it to focus on the idea of wisdom personified... the relationship in the context of Proverbs remains one of teacher and student with the latter addressed as 'son' and in the context of Hebrews, the author steps into this role, bringing it even closer to the level of evidence you keep demanding (though this is hardly required to establish the use of υιος to refer to one's pupil). The kind of evidence you seek may very well exist, but because of a certain pandemic I cannot at the moment access the best critical commentaries, which are reference only in my university's libraries. While I am open to understanding the reference as a biological son, I do not think this is the only way it can be understood as you seem to be suggesting... and it is this kind of narrow view and dismissive attitude toward centuries of critical scholarship that adjudicate against you on this matter that I find most off-putting about your posts.

More importantly, you ducked the key issue: if Peter travels with his wife and therefore probably his family, then what is the basis of your gratuitous assumption that a proud Dad would not refer to the helpful presence of his biological son?
I twice allowed the interpretation of υιος in 1 Pet 5:13 as a biological son for the sake of argument, precisely because I am not so adamantly opposed to the possibility as you assume (less the unnecessary flourish of your misplaced accusation) me to be. I have ducked nothing... that Peter travels with his wife (as Paul implies in 1 Cor 9:5) implies nothing about other members of his family and there is nothing probably about his sons traveling with him (as if they always follow in their father's footsteps); at best it is within the realm of possibility and that's the most you can or should say in constructing your argument.

Your argument from silence is a fragile imposition of your anti-eyewitness agenda.
I will now deal with this accusation and direct your attention back to my very first post where I comment on your own explicitly stated agenda: "the important point for apologetics is the connection of Mark's Gospel with Peter's eyewitness testimony about Jesus." In response I challenged the implied equation of 'eyewitness testimony' with 'reliability'. This is the crux of the matter. Even if you were to convince me that the gospels derived directly or indirectly from eyewitnesses, it would not change my criticisms of them one iota. Why? Because the empirical evidence is there that eyewitnesses sometimes get things wrong, they sometimes embellish events, and *gasp* sometimes they even lie! Every claim, whether it derives from an eyewitness or not, must be subjected to the same critical scrutiny... this is plain common sense and the approach taken by historians to all their sources, alleged eyewitnesses account and/or texts that are held to be sacred do not get a free pass. I am not "anti-eyewitness", I am a realist as to the strengths and weaknesses of this kind of testimony.

You miss a similar point with your misunderstanding of Papias' preference for "a living and abiding voice." Papias is referring to Aristion and John the Elder, whom he describes as "disciples of the Lord," not as disciples of the disciples.
I would suggest you reread the pertinent text from Eusebius... "the living and abiding voice" comes, for Papias, through his interviews with the followers of the elders, whose company includes the seven named disciples and others who have since died, as well as Aristion and John the Elder who are still living, just not in Hieropolis. It is not limited to these latter two, as you seem to suggest, and Papias' actual acquaintance with them is questionable.

(to be continued in a second post due to character limitation)
 

En Hakkore

Well-known member
You also ducked my point about Acts 12:12, namely that at this point Luke is more interested in Mary's relationship with Mark (= John Mark) than he is in Peter's family relationships. Indeed, 12:12 introduces (John) Mark by his relationship with ,Mary to set up discussion of his future roles (see 12:24; 15:37, 39). To use your logic Luke should be chided for failing to mention in his allusions to James that he is Jesus' brother!
Why would I chide Luke for doing precisely what I would expect him to do in the case of James given his pro-Paul agenda? It is clear in Paul's letter to the churches of Galatia that there was friction between him and the leaders of the Jerusalem church, which included James. While Luke tries to smooth over some of these conflicts in Acts, his hero is undoubtedly Paul and he implicitly rejects any superior claim James might be thought to have because of his familial relationship to Jesus by suppressing it. There is no such motive operative when it comes to Mary or John (Mark)... indeed, the setting functions precisely to introduce the latter into the narrative and his role as one who accompanies others on their missionary journeys.

First, the text does not identify her as a widow.
Now who's arguing from silence? The fact the house is Mary's implies it... your contortions to evade this simple narrative clue are not persuasive.

Second, I have provided evidence that [John] Mark is Peter's son.
That evidence is hardly indisputable (see critiques in other post) and you are close to arguing in a circle... your claims about the narrative of Acts 12 need to stand up on their own and there is no reason whatsoever, from Luke's text itself, to conclude that this John called Mark is Peter's son.

Third, you duck the question of why, after his escape, Peter would flee to Mary's house rather than, say, James's house.
Why not? Perhaps it was just closer to the jail... who knows, who cares, obviously Luke doesn't. It is the setting of a gathering of believers praying for Peter and a means of introducing John (Mark) into the narrative.

Peter is married; so common sense dictates that his top priority would be to notify his family of his escape and need to flee at once.
There is no reason to think his family is anywhere but Galilee where he left them when he followed Jesus.

The fact that Peter was not carrying "silver or gold" at the time does not imply that he had no access to significant funds from the support of his Christian community, of which he was a key leader.
I see, so wealthy Peter gets out of lying on the technicality he didn't have the coin on him at the time... :rolleyes:

Your quibble about Markan sequence can be summarily dispatched by 3 observations...
It is not a quibble, it is an important matter to resolve if your argument is to hold up... if you propose that Mark's sequence is chronologically 'disordered', you need to prove that by comparing it to a gospel you think is 'ordered'. Which gospel is this and what is your evidence that this gospel's chronology is accurate or at the very least superior to that offered in Mark?

If Mark's Gospel is based on Peter's catechetical and preaching notes rather than a historically sequential written Gospel, t;hen Mark would have no idea about the entire historical sequence, even if he chose to write as if he did.
I'm not sure why you think this is good a counter-argument... it has Mark fabricating a chronological framework on which to hang Peter's (alleged) preaching notes --- not only is his integrity as an author impugned, but you all but concede the argument that the gospel has every appearance of following a chronological (ie. ordered) sequence, albeit a made-up one. You need to seriously rethink this one...

Matthew and Luke feel free to alter the sequence of their Markan material. So we can't assume that sequential accuracy was important to the Evangelists.
It's unclear whether you actually accept Markan priority or if you are doing so simply for the sake of argument. In any case, editorial changes of this nature imply dissatisfaction with Mark's order, not that order itself is unimportant. It is also clear that the different order of events in the gospels was a problem in its early reception history, as the 'excuse' provided for Mark's deviation in Papias' comments attests.

Redaction critics have long observed the awkward transitions in Mark and the massive chiastic structures, which refute your claim of an intention to preserve the original sequence. A demonstration of this would consume too much space.
Alleged chiastic structures have no relevance to this discussion. "Jesus was born and travelled to Jerusalem when he was twelve years old; around the age of thirty he journeyed to Jerusalem and was crucified." This is a short, chronologically-ordered chiasm... I could make an even longer, more elaborate one, but the point should be clear --- this particular literary form has no bearing whatsoever on overarching chronological order. As I noted previously, awkward transitions might be relevant, but you again hold back from providing an example. I'm not asking for a full demonstration, just your best example of such a transition and why you feel it is evidence that Mark wasn't intended to be a sequential history...


Kind regards,
Jonathan
 
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