Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Wicked Tenants Part 2

In keeping with my continued study into the Parable of the Wicked(?) Tenants in Mark 12, I have just a few thoughts regarding the use of Isaiah 5:1-7 in Mark 12. I am reading through Kloppenborg's monograph and this is what I read today:

The relationship of texts of the Tanak to Mark's parable arose quite independently of any knowledge of the Gospel of Thomas. Even before the discovery of this gospel critics had observed both the poor fit between the quotations of Ps 117,22-23 and the parable proper, and the fact that the details in Mark 12,1 drawn from Isaiah 5 are largely irrelevant to the plot of the parable. The owner's building of a palisade and a tower and his digging of a vat have no bearing on the plot or on the outcome of the story. Indeed, Luke omitted most of these details, probably precisely because they were irrelevant. A generation ago it was standard to observe that the Isaiah allusions in Mark 12,1.9 were Septuagintal and undoubtedly secondary.1

Interestingly, Evans says:

Secondly, the appearance of some Septuagintalisms does not prove that Isa. 5:1-7 was not present in the parable from the very beginning, for Septuagintalizing inevitably took place as the Gospel tradition evolved from Aramaic into Greek. Our Greek Gospels themselves provide compelling evidence of this tendency. For example, the Aramaic-influenced paraphrase of Isa. 6:9-10 in Mark 4:12, "so that they may indeed see but not perceive, and may indeed hear but not understand; lest they should turn again, and be forgiven," is shortened in Matthew (with the result that the distinctive Aramaic element "be forgiven" is dropped) and then is followed by a verbatim quotation of LXX Isa. 6:9-10 (cf. Matt. 13:13-15).2

I haven't fully thought this through myself, but it's tough when two scholars make opposite arguments!

1John S. Kloppenborg, The Tenants in the Vineyard, WUNT 195 (Tubingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2006), 149-50.
2Craig A. Evans, "How Septuagintal is Isa. 5:1-7 in Mark 12:1-9?", NovTest XLV, 2 (2003), 106.

The Wicked Tenants Part 1

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