The Fruits of Monotheism

HILR Fall 2018

SGL: B Ruml

6. The Gospel of Mark; Secret Mark

Where are we? So far:

1. Cosmic monism's inability to handle the problem of evil has resulted in the new idea of a second antagonistic force: Satan.

Where are we? So far:

2. The introduction of personal piety has focussed attention on the inaccuracy of the prophets' claim that the righteous are rewarded and the wicked punished in this life.

As a result: the new idea of the delivery of divine justice after death.

Where are we? So far:

These two new ideas, added to the certainty that YHWH was the superior cosmic force, led naturally to the idea of a final battle in which YHWH vanquishes the forces of evil forever and provides the final judgment of just deserts.

Where can one go with these ideas?

1) Jewish apocalypticism: Daniel, Qumran, Enoch (Watchers)

2) Gnosticism: Christian and non-Christian varieties

What's the fundamental difference?

Ehrman's Apocalypticism:

Cosmic dualism;

Historical pessimism (helplessness);

Ultimate vindication (requires resurrection);

Imminence of the end times;

The New Testament:

13 letters of Paul; 7 by Paul: ~50-62CE

Mark: ~70CE

Matthew: ~80CE

Luke / Acts: ~80CE

John: ~95CE

Revelation: ~110CE

The Synoptic Gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke

Mark written first around 70CE;

Matthew and Luke relying on Mark and "Q";

"Q": what Matthew and Luke have in common but not in Mark;

"M" and "L": what Matthew or Luke have uniquely;

Sources for Matthew and Luke
Sources for Matthew and Luke

Criteria of Authenticity

Earlier is better;

Contextual credibility;


Independent Attestation;

Was Jesus an Apocalypticist?

The earliest sources so describe him;

The later sources retreat (Luke, John);

The latest sources (Thomas) deny a future Kingdom;

Final Judgment in Matthew 25

Salvation depends on good deeds;

Not on belief in Jesus (as Paul);

[so, dissimilar]

Argument from John => Jesus => Paul

What was John's message?

What was Paul's message?

What would connect them?

Jesus's apocalyptic teachings

Mark 1:15: the Kingdom of God is almost here: repent!

KofG to be here on earth (Son of Man comes down);

Descriptions of the coming judgment: the furnace of fire;

The "Son of Man": many meanings:

Jesus's ministry;

his future suffering;

cosmic judge from heaven;

Son of Man

Jesus refers to a cosmic judge who is not himself;

Source is Daniel 7;

references also in 1 Enoch;

and 4 Ezra (flamethrower mouth!)

Reversals of fortune: the logic

Evil forces are now in control;

Prosperous therefore on the side of evil;

When evil is defeated, the prosperous will be poor;


Last will be first;

First will be last;

Widely attested;

Salvation for sinners

sinner = no attempt to follow Torah;

Will enter the KofG before righteous!!

The Beatitudes: more reversals

Matthew: the poor in spirit;

Luke: the poor;

Coming Destruction of the Temple

Deuteronomy permits sacrifice only there;

World-wide temple tax;

Hierarchy of spaces;

Prediction of Destruction from Jesus?

"not one stone left on another";

Must have been written before 70CE!

Jeremiah 7: how different?

End Times as Immanent

Within this generation;

Sudden and unexpected;

Jesus v. Prophets

Enrman: "Jesus' apocalyptic context;

What are differences?

Jesus' ethics for the long term?

There will be no long term!

Ethics are for preparation for KofG

The Gospel of Mark

Mediocre Greek;

What happens prior to Passion?

Is it clearly apocalyptic?

Are demons real? (you can hear what they say!)

The Gospel of Mark

No nativity scene;

Adoptionist Christology;

What history prior to canonical Mark?

Secret Mark: Ehrman's Stance

"jury is out";

Example of scholarly forgery: apt?

What questions remain?

The End