Friday, July 2, 2010

Just a Thought

While it might seem rather strange - and perhaps ultimately unnecessary - to connect the throne of St. Mark to a lost ending to the gospel only testified in a single source, I think it is absolutely necessary to make sense of the iconography. The Alexandrian interpretation of Luke 4:19 announcing the introduction of a new solar calendar can only make sense if it is connected later in the narrative which took place on Yom Kippur. There simply is no other way that the consistent Alexandrian interpretation of 61:2 makes any sense. This attempt to make sense of the narrative is further restricted by the consistent emphasis of a one year ministry of Jesus where he is apparently acknowledge to have 'suffered in the twelfth month' (AH 2. ). As Passover can only fall in the first month, the Marcosians must have held that Jesus came down from heaven and remained on earth for twelve months - perhaps three hundred and fifty four days - before undergoing his Passion.

It is very difficult to determine the date of Jesus's reading of Isaiah 61:1 - 4 in the synagogue as it not a part of the weekly Parshah or 'readings' in the synagogue. In order to make the Passion fall in the twelfth consecutive month of Jesus's ministry, his appears seems to have to coincide with the month of Iyyar. While the canonical texts of Luke have the rejection at Nazareth precede the visit to Capernaum, Baur demonstrated that there is an inherent inconsistency here where "the former narrative refers to an earlier visit of Jesus to Capernaum. In Luke 4:23 we have, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Doctor, cure yourself!' And you will say, 'Do here also in your hometown the things that we have heard you did at Capernaum.'" As the order in canonical Luke stands there is a reference to an event in Capernaum that has not yet been described. Baur also comments that Luke 4:24 makes better sense in a context in which the reader can see a contrast with Jesus' reception outside his hometown."[1]

Indeed Tertullian's complete passing over in silence of the reading of the Isaiah - neither saying that Marcion 'cut the passage' nor ridiculing the 'inconsistency' of Marcion 'retaining' the passage - should argue for the fact that it appeared later in the narrative having nothing to do with a specific 'rejection' at Nazareth by his hearers.[2] As happens so many times in the Marcionite recension we see the orthodox fused together to stories for some polemic agenda. In this case, it is obvious that the Marcionite justification for the abandoning of the Law of Moses was identical with that of the Marcosians. It had to do with the manifestation of the awaited 'year of favor' as a messianic Jubilee year where the old lunar year as well as the rest of the ordinances of the old Law were understood to have been replaced by something better.

Indeed for those who want to continue believing that there never was a rival gospel narrative implying a different context for Jesus's use of Isaiah 61:2 we need only cite Clement of Alexandria's reference of the tradition.

And our Lord was born in the twenty-eighth year, when first the census was ordered to be taken in the reign of Augustus. And to prove that this is true, it is written in the Gospel by Luke as follows: "And in the fifteenth year, in the reign of Tiberius Caesar, the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zacharias." And again in the same book: "And Jesus was coming to His baptism, being about thirty years old," and so on. And that it was necessary for Him to preach only a year, this also is written: "He hath sent Me to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord." This both the prophet spake, and the Gospel.(Stromata 1:21)

Ἐγεννήθη δὲ ὁ κύριος ἡμῶν τῷ ὀγδόῳ καὶ εἰκοστῷ ἔτει, ὅτε πρῶτον ἐκέλευσαν ἀπογραφὰς γενέσθαι ἐπὶ Αὐγούστου. Ὅτι δὲ τοῦτ´ ἀληθές ἐστιν, ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ τῷ κατὰ Λουκᾶν γέγραπται οὕτως· «ἔτει δὲ πεντεκαιδεκάτῳ ἐπὶ Τιβερίου Καίσαρος ἐγένετο ῥῆμα κυρίου ἐπὶ Ἰωάννην τὸν Ζαχαρίου υἱόν.» καὶ πάλιν ἐν τῷ αὐτῷ· «ἦν δὲ Ἰησοῦς ἐρχόμενος ἐπὶ τὸ βάπτισμα ὡς ἐτῶν λʹ.» καὶ ὅτι ἐνιαυτὸν μόνον ἔδει αὐτὸν κηρῦξαι, καὶ τοῦτο γέγραπται οὕτως· «ἐνιαυτὸν δεκτὸν κυρίου κηρῦξαι ἀπέστειλέν με.» τοῦτο καὶ ὁ προφήτης εἶπεν καὶ τὸ εὐαγγέλιον.

A careless reading of the passage would imply that Clement is merely citing from Luke but then we remember that in our copies of Luke Jesus is depicted as referencing the words during the course of a 'reading' from Isaiah (a reading which never takes place in Judaism and never has).

Clement however cites from some source - note the Alexandrian never says that the line is from Luke - a parallel tradition that Jesus references 'the year of favor' WITHOUT reading from Isaiah:

«ἐνιαυτὸν δεκτὸν κυρίου κηρῦξαι ἀπέστειλέν με.»

My guess is that the orthodox DELIBERATELY constructed Luke to have the artificiality of a synagogue reading in order to avoid the original idea that Jesus was announcing a Jubilee.

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