Monday, September 05, 2005

Minor Projects

Until my doctorate is conferred (Lord and examiners willing) I can't really work on turning the thesis into a book and since my notes on Galatians are somewhere between Brisbane and Aberdeen, I'm having to create new minor research projects to entertain myself on the side. Here they are:

1. ‘A Light to the Nations’ (Isa. 42.6 and 49.6): Inter-textuality and Mission Theology in the Early Church.

I find it interesting the way that Christian authors from Luke to Justin treat these texts and I am planning on writing a short piece (4000 words) on how this was the mission text par excellence in the early church.

2. The Marcan Community: Myth, Mayhhem and Madness

I'm reviewing Brian Incigneri's monograph The Gospel to the Romans for RBL Although I would marginally favor a Roman provenance for Mark, I think we are more readily left with either agnosticism (i.e. it was written for a community, no no-one knows where it is) or scepticism (i.e. Bauckham was right, the intended audiences are broader than any one community). I need to read monographs by Roskam and Peterson before I tackle this one. I have some interesting ideas on this topic and they will germinate partly in my review.


J. B. Hood said...

I hesitate to comment on Mark on a blog known to be read by Crossley, but here goes.

I was just this morning in Joel Marcus's commentary on Mark; the intro has some interesting interaction with Bauckham's article (though the commentary antedates B's book). The evidence here is not good, in my opinion. 1) cryptic material in Mark which supposedly makes it 'uncyclical' is cryptic to us, but perhaps far less so to early church; if there is more interconnectedness than usually allowed, surely MANY could have known, say, of the events in Judea 66-70? (Thessalonian correspondence comes to mind...)
2) "The anonymity of the Gospel may point in the direction of a local address"--OR NOT! Surely it is more likely to point to universality?!?
3) Marcus is right that writing is not always a substitute for presence; but his examples of other reasons (imminent death through persecution, old age) still bring "absence" into the equation--for ALL communities, not just for a local one. If Peter/John Mark or whoever dies, the information is lost...not just for the local folks.

Ohter questions abound--namely, just how many communities does it take to make a Markan community?!?! Couldn't there be dozens?!? Or even hundreds, if this is John Mark (as Marcus allows) and if he travels widely, per the Scriptural testimony? Do we really expect John Mark (or whomever) to write only for his "home church(es)"? Can such a thing can be construed?!

Not that there aren't problems with Bauckham's comments...and Marcus's point about Mark writing "in the first instance" to particular communities is valid enough, provided we recognize that he could easily have targeted all the churches he had visited and TAUGHT...

James Crossley said...

I hope you both have better luck then me on this. I did think a little about this when I did some work on authorship but came to this non-monumental conclusion: dunno. I'm just not sure a precise location is demanded by any of the evidence.

I agree, the Bauckham stuff really does make it even more complex too.

Michael F. Bird said...

Fellas, I think the problems are: (1) our inability to determine a precise setting, Syria or Rome; (2) Scepticism if there even was a Marcan community; and (3) The possibility that Mark wrote for a wider audience.