D. J. Harrington and Date of Mark's Gospel
In the latest Journal of Religion Daniel J. Harrington reviews the Date of Mark's Gospel. It's a pretty nice review and he takes some of the key points seriously. I'm particularly pleased that there is another scholar open to a more Jewish view of the gospel of Mark and a more Jewish historical Jesus.
But what I found personally interesting were comments such as these: "Crossley's case for an early dating of Mark does not appear to proceed from religious conservatism." I wondered what conclusions on my religious persuasion people might come to and Harrington has of course got it right. But some get it dead wrong. Probably my favourite moment in the weird world of academia was being accused of the very opposite by one NT scholar when I was a PhD student who happened to mention my thesis (so before it was published to be fair). Yes, I was labelled a 'conservative evangelical'. I will treasure that forever and it is interesting the assumption made just because of the conclusions I had reached without me explaining the arguments.
Another interesting comment from Harrington was this: "He is, however, a conservative historian in the sense that he generally trusts what the ancient texts say (and do not say) and shows a high level of skepticism toward modern attempts at explaining them away in favor of literary and/or theological hypotheses." On the basis of the Date of Mark book that is true and I can hardly deny it. It is just strange being reminded about what I wrote a few years ago, esp. after what I've been working on this the past couple of years (although that work still forms an important basis of my next book). Also, I have not been working on those kinds of debates in the past couple of years and looking more at the general results of what we have with C1 Christianity and why we got them. Many of my views about e.g. John and certain parts of Mark are much more sceptical than the book suggests. But he point is that if pushed I think I would have to say I am more conservative in terms of historical accuracy than just about anyone outside conservative evangelical scholarship on most gospel traditions. I'm also very sceptical about denying (or proving) the historicity of this or that passage on the basis of literary structure: it tells us little as narrative is inevitable (etc. etc. etc.).
See, you do have a friend.