Re: Re[2]: Q and Papias

On Thu, 27 Oct 1994 Michael_Thompson@housing.ucsd.edu wrote:

>      I agree.  Actually, I see the birth narrative as absolutely essential
>      to the purpose of Matthew and not particularly important to
Mark.. . .Since Mark has a different orientation, I really think that
>      the birth narrative would have been lost on most of his audience since
>      they might not have had the background to understand it anyway.
>      Somehow we miss the fact that these books are tightly-knit narratives
>      with strong purpose and a definite audience; not just loosely woven
>      collections of "material".
>      Mike Thompson

I agree that the gospels are show strong and generally effective authorial
purpose in the selection, arrangement and wording of material.  On Mark, I
suggest that the author's probable didactic purpose in telling his story of
Jesus shaped the choice of what material to include, and in particular
shaped the narrative "plotline" as we have it.  He presents Jesus as the
leader to be followed, quite literally, and so we have a story of Jesus
that is essentially the "shape" of Christian discipleship:  from baptism
through mission and opposition to vindication by resurrection.  A
miraculous birth account would have spoiled the effect.  So (contra R. E.
Brown, for example), it is fallacious to think that the absence of a
miraculous birth narrative in Mark indicates that the idea couldn't have
been known to him.  That's not only an argument from silence, it's also an
argument insensitive to the literary/didactic purposes at work in shaping
the Markan storyline.

Cheers.  Larry Hurtado, Religion, Univ. of Manitoba