Sunday, June 17, 2007

Petrine and Pauline Perspectives in the Gospel of Mark

The huge dispute between Paul and Peter in Antioch as recorded in Gal. 2.11-14 is well known. And some have argued that there is no indication that the rift between the two Apostles ever healed and Paul and Peter remained in competitition and rivalry with each other. So it goes, it was not until Luke-Acts and the rise of "early catholicism" in the early second century that this division between Pauline and Petrine Christianities was mended.

I have another proposal. Mark, according to tradition is associated with Peter in Rome. And if Richard Bauckham is correct, the Gospel of Mark shows traits of eyewitness testimony throughout (i.e. Peter's testimony). What is more, the Gospel of Mark also has a Pauline perspective of Christ's death (10.45), on the Law (7.19c), and on the Gentile mission (13.10). If these two premises are correct, do we have evidence of a synthesis of Petrine testimony and Pauline theology in the Gospel of Mark?

15 comments:

Chris Weimer said...

Only if the two premises are assumed correct. I'd buy into the latter, but not the former. Bauckham hasn't persuaded me about Mark.

Doug Chaplin said...

I would say that the evidence of a "rift" as opposed to a serious dissension is even scantier than the evidence linking Mark with Peter, the Pauline emphases of tradition the church was comfortable attributing to Peter (i.e. 1 Peter), and the strong traditions of Peter's presence in Rome. None of those are firmly evidence based, but apart from Paul's own description of a single dispute with Peter, which gives no clear indication of an ongoing dispute, there is no evidence whatesoever of a "rift." In my view it owes more to Hegelian fantasies of historical processes than to any actual evidence.

Eric Rowe said...

All good points.
I also find compelling Jeffrey Peterson's argument for giving due weight to the Pauline evidence for unity in his Restoration Quarterly article.
In addition, I was persuaded some time ago by Zahn's NT Intro that Paul consciously used and approved of the epistle of James in his writing of Romans.

Michael Barber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Barber said...

A very helpful suggestion! I'll chew on that one for a few days now.


By the way, Bochmuehl takes issue with those who would seek to make more out of Galatians 2 than is really there in his new book Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006). Among other things he points out that Paul speaks warmly of Peter in 1 Corinthians 3:22. Have you read his book yet? I think the chapter in which he deals with this is excellent.

Thanks for the post!

J. B. Hood said...

Barber, great point.

And I've never seen a pauline chronology that put 1 Cor afer galatians. I suppose one could say that Paul is talking up Peter in 1 Cor to defend his "connections" and make himself look good...but it seems to me this would run contrary to his argument in in 1 Corinthians as a whole. I got this not from Bockmuehl but from I H Marshall, in Longenecker, Narrative Dynamics in Paul, 211; he suggests also there is no negative view of James here either. (But I wonder a bit about 1 Cor 15:10, where Paul does at least suggest he has worked harder than everybody else..maybe the strain of cross-cultural ministry is in view?)

Eric Rowe said...

Hood, you've never seen a Pauline chronology that put 1 Corinthians after Galatians? The early date for Galatians is widely popular and makes it the earliest Pauline epistle. The view has its problems, but a list of its supporters from Ramsay to Longenecker would be pretty formidable.

J. B. Hood said...

WHOOPS. Sorry I mistyped that. Vice versa on date of 1 Cor and Gal.

Geoff Hudson said...

Paul and Peter are fictitious, as is Titus. The 'rift' was between between James the travelling prophet and the high priests of Jerusalem. One high priest in particular, was James's persuer and executioner, namely Ananus.

Geoff Hudson said...

In Mk.10:42, I suggest the prophet was not talking about the rulers of the Gentiles, but the rulers of the people - rulers who were indeed known to the 'disciples'. Thus the rulers of the people lorded it over the people. Further , I suggest that the high 'officials' were the high priests who indeed did exercise authority over the rulers of the people, as in the Sanhedrin. "Not so with you", said the prophet. (Mk.10:43). In other words the high priests were not to lord it over the 'disciples'. So who was to lord it over the 'disciples'? The answer was originally in Mk.10:43/44 - "whoever wants to become great among you must be a slave of the Spirit", not of the Pauline 'all'. The 'disciples' were to ignore what the high priests told them and obey the Spirit. Clearly, Mk.10:45 is a Pauline interpolation in its entirety.

T Michael W Halcomb said...

For the most part, I would agree with Mr. Chaplin that the evidence for the "rift" between Peter and Paul is rather weak. Sure, Paul was upset with Peter at Antioch but as some have already noted, there are other places where he speaks warmly of him. While I tend to agree with Mark's Petrine testimony, it seems like a stretch (if based on nothing other than traditional exagerrations and thin historical evidence) to assert such a strong division between the two apostles. Given that these men were, in numerous ways, of the same ilk and preaching and teaching the same "tradition," it seems that theological "syntheses" must occur at some point. While we must take note of the different ways theology is done and stories are told by the various NT authors, to make so much of their differences, it seems to me, is to take emphasis off of the common "traditions" of the early Church (1 Cor 15, etc.). In short, there have to be overlaps at times. We can take virtually any two theologians of Church history, from various (or similar) parts of the world who stand in theological opposition to one another, and probably find "some" overlaps in their works. This, I would argue, is because they are working out of a common tradition, much like those in the early Church.
--michael
http://michaelhalcomb.blogspot.com/

James Crossley said...

I'm not sure any of the evidence you cite from Mark can be called distinctively 'Pauline' unless we follow more a long tradition of ignoring Jewish evidence (e.g. Macc martyrs, development of the complex purity laws) and the fact that a gentile mission was not exclusive to Paul.

Michael F. Bird said...

James,
Very good point! I think any one of those points by themselves would not indicate Pauline influence, but together, I think that they do, esp. the salvation-historical priority of the children over the dogs (= Rom. 1.16).

Geoff Hudson said...

'Pauline' is what you want it to be. For me it is the creation of Jesus, the cross, justification, Paul, Peter, the disciples, James as the leader of the Jerusalem Church - in fact anything that cannot be traced back to the activity of Jewish prophets who regarded the Spirit as their only ruler and lord (Mk.10.43/44 is about the prophets rejecting the rule of rulers of the people and high priests, in effect the rejection of rule by those in control of the Sanhedrin.

Ant.18:1:6 attributed to Josephus has the so-called 'fourth sect' of Judas the so-called 'Galilean' rejecting Roman rule saying that "God was to be their only ruler and lord." This garbled and interpolated (out of time) account is clearly an attempt to conceal the fact that the prophet Judas and the order of prophets were rejecting the rule of the high priests, not the rule of the Romans. There only ever was two 'sects' (ruling orders of Judaism), namely priests and prohets. The accounts of the four 'philosphies' or 'sects' in the texts attributed to Josephus are pure dissimulation, probably by those same 'Pauline' editors of the NT.

steph said...

Michael,

Anthony Flew said something like ten thousand leaky buckets make not one full bucket ... ie lots of shakey arguments don't make a solid argument, let alone Mark distinctively 'Pauline', much the same as all that weak (circular and ambiguous) evidence accumulated by the IQP doesn't demonstrate that Q existed (let alone as a single document).