Diagrams for relative dating

One recent study is presented by Gerd Theissen in The Gospels in Context, on which I am dependent for the following observations.Theissen begins his discussion by observing that there lies behind Mark a narrative that presupposes a chronology that corresponds to the one found in John, in which Jesus dies on the preparation day before the Passover. 166-167): In my opinion, in Mark we can discern behind the text as we now have it a connected narrative that presupposes a certain chronology.The existence of a pre-Markan passion narrative has been challenged.The assumption of a pre-Markan passion narrative has been undermined by studies that aim to show that the final three chapters of Mark contain themes developed throughout the Gospel.It would be hard to imagine any author's using a formulation so subject to misunderstanding in an account that describes events on the day of Passover, since no work was done on that day.

On the naming of "James the younger," Theissen writes, "It would have been particularly necessary in Jerusalem to distinguish a 'James the younger' (or 'the less') from the 'older' (or 'greater') bearers of that name in the period circa 30-65 C. 178) Theissen speculates that the "Mary of James the younger and the mother of Joses" is to be indentified with the mother of Jesus in Mk 6:3, and thus that "James the younger" is James the brother of Jesus.Originally, it was probably the preparation day for the Passover (cf. The motive for removing Jesus from the cross and burying him before sundown would probably have been to have this work done before the beginning of the feast day, which would not make sense if it were already the day of Passover.Finally, the "trial" before the Sanhedrin presupposes that this was not a feast day, since no judicial proceedings could be held on that day.Theissen finds another reason for the anonymity of the high priest; it was not necessarily for the reason that the writing took place before 37 CE.Rather, during the period between 30 and 70 CE, "there was no time when Caiaphas and his family were not powerful" (p. For this reason, reasons Theissen, "Traditions circulating in their sphere of influence were well advised not to mention their names in a negative context" (p. By contrast, as shown by Philo and Josephus, Pilate "was the subject of more negative tradition than many other prefects and procurators," and so the creators of the original passion narrative had no reason not to mention Pilate by name and to place blame upon him.

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According to Mark, Jesus died on the day of Passover, but the tradition supposes it was the preparation day before Passover: in 14:1-2 the Sanhedrin decided to kill Jesus before the feast in order to prevent unrest among the people on the day of the feast.

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