Jesus and the Last Days.

The Interpretation of the Olivet Discourse
Charles E. Hill
Journal of Early Christian Studies, Volume 3, Number 3, Fall 1995,
pp. 359-361 (Review)
Published by The Johns Hopkins University Press

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Pinell). "Ireland" (E. Beatrice). Grégoire). One could scarcely dream of a more experienced guide through Mark 13 and the scholarship it has engendered. "School" (S. while it will by no means make earlier reference works obsolete. "Gallican Liturgy" and "Hispanic Liturgy" (J. "PatrologyPatristics" (A. "Painting" (V. with the appearance of. Pittsburgh. Guarducci). Christian scholars came swiftly to Jesus' defense." not even an entry in the Index). Hamman). De Simone). This new encyclopedia. Beasley-Murray Jesus and the Last Days. an in-depth review of the modern criticism of Mark 13 up to 1953. "Chronography-Chronology" and "Historiography. is indispensable for any library which is serious about early Christian studies. Beatrice). Malaspina). Munier). Siniscalco). Meloni and R. F. even those which determined that the . "Paleoslavonic" (I. Raineri). The second. Pricoco—there is no other article on "Education. F. "Homily" and "Sermon" (R. This book is the expanded and updated version of a work published previously in two parts. which presents the author's own approach to the Olivet Discourse and his commentary. Fiocchi Nicolai). 1993. 1835-36). Canart). J. Pennsylvania George R.BOOK REVIEWS 359 "Family" (Ch. but with no little faltering while the best weaponry was being perfected. The Interpretation of the Olivet Discourse Peabody: Hendrickson Publishers. "Epigraphy. "Germany" (E. The religious motive is unabashed in most of these early responses. "Sexuality" (P. The modern critical discussion of Mark 13 begins with the horror of NT exe- getes at Strauss's brutal skepticism as applied to the eschatology of Jesus (Life of Jesus. Christian life and worship: "Evangelization" and "Flight" (P. van Esbroeck). Dassmann). Siniscalco). The gems it contains in unexpected places make it worth consulting at leisure. Christian" (M. the New Century Bible Commentary on Revelation (1974) and Jesus and the Kingdom of God (1986). "Journeys-Lines of Communication" (P.95. among many other works. as Jesus and the Future (1954) and A Commentary on Mark Thirteen ( 1962). "Ethiopia-Ethiopic" (O. Michael Slusser. The nearly forty years which have intervened have of course been active ones for Beasley-Murray. $29. The first of these. has been thoroughly revised for the new work. χ + 518. Pp. Siniscalco). Languages and regions: "Coptic" (T. "Fast- ing and Abstinence" (P. Duquesne University. "Georgian Language and Literature" (M. comprises four chapters of the present volume and is supplemented by a very long chapter (188 pages) analyzing scholarly work on that Gospel text since the rise of redaction criticism up to 1991. "Syriac" (E Rilliet). Orlandi). Dujcev). "Manuscript Tradition" and "Paleography" (P. Christian" (P. Texts and transmission: "Dialogue" (P.

Mark has collocated these scraps of Jesus' teaching and published them in a timely fashion just when false hopes were being stirred in his own Christian community. As evidence. Beasley-Murray believes the notices of false Christs and false prophets (vv. emerged as the method of choice to liberate Jesus from the embarrassment of eschatology. therefore. 21-22) reflect Mark's own situation. which proposed that Mark 13 contains an independent Jewish-Christian apocalypse (in Colani's original version all the material from v. both note that the admonition to flee from the city into the mountains would at that time have seemed an invitation to run into the hands of the Romans or the Sicarii. Beasley-Murray views the middle of the Jewish war with Rome as providing the likeliest backdrop for the publication of Mark 13 and. 2. according to BeasleyMurray. and besides. Scholars never could agree on the exact content of the supposed apocalypse. calling it an apocalypse was itself problematic. . one not unlike that which precipitated the crisis behind 2 Thess. He quite rightly stresses that significant parts of it at least were known already to Paul in 1 Thess. Jesus answers with more than was requested. 13. Beasley-Murray's own planting is compar- atively sparse. and that people actually fled into Jerusalem from the countryside rather than vice versa. he says with reference to 13. But this does not mean that Mark has simply manufac- tured the warnings. and added connective and instructional material of his own. Eventually Colani's "Little Apocalypse" theory. "there is no clear testimony to the parousia of the Son of Man in any pre-Christian Jewish apocalypse" (339). This is partly due to his higher than usual regard for the essential authenticity of the material in Mark 13. as Beasley-Murray points out. in order to remove the sins of Jesus—the sin not merely of a mistaken eschatology. It is. 24-27 in particular being either preChristian Jewish or Christian but non-dominical is slight. though he rejects the idea that the elements as assembled by Mark bear much resemblance to any single "discourse" of Jesus. those who work the soil of the Olivet Discourse have been most reluctant to allow a pair of Ockham's pruning scissors near the premises. the whole Gospel.1-2).11. But the prophecy of doom for the temple and city is neither an invention of the evangelist nor a vaticinium ex eventu. The original question of the disciples as Mark gives it has to do only with Jesus' prophecy of the temple's overthrow. the Little Apocalypse theory had become a "sententia recepta of synoptic criticism" (Moffatt).14-20 that "there is not a syllable which reflects knowledge of events which took place in the Jewish War. still less of the actual destruction of the city and temple" (407). appended them to Jesus' prediction of the temple's destruction (Mk. 5 to v. but of having an eschatology at all. Where a penchant for complex thickets prevails. when its origins had all but been forgotten. no longer. Agreeing with Hengel. 6. 4. alas.15-5.360 JOURNAL OF EARLY CHRISTIAN STUDIES integrity of Scripture could be sacrificed by assigning the offending portions to Jesus' disciples. 31) spliced in between the somewhat fewer threads of authentic Jesus- material. By the early years of the twentieth century. Mark has brought together formerly freefloating sayings and "units of tradition" (some of which had already been grouped together in the church's catechesis). As is the case with others who labor in the lush overgrowth of Gospel redactional theories. Instead. The probability of the gist of vv.

The audience this book can most help includes scholars who look with disdain on the "pre-critical" winners of early Christian struggles and Christian fundamentalists who know that "criticism" is the devilish invention of the Enlightenment or the not-so-enlightening creation of the Devil. He helpfully elucidates the theophanic nature of the parousia in 24-27. Dionysius of Alexandria and Jerome. 1993 Pp. but likewise for the tautaoiv. 30] must represent forerunners of the end and not the end itself" (436-7). Thus they do not belong with the premonitory "signs" requested by the disciples (13. 24-27. this generation will not pass away before all these things take place" (13. The theophanic phenomena recorded there "are consequences of the stepping forth of God into his creation. The book does not highlight the connections between the NT Gospels and the non-canonical literature of the early church. however.00. Grant Heresy and Criticism: The Search for Authenticity in Early Christian Literature Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press. The thesis is clear: Christians who became known as "heretics" had by the second century employed the critical tools of Hellenistic scholarship on the texts of the Christian tradition. Such was not its design. vv. But by the end of the second century. particularly its emerging canon. Clement of Alexandria had used those tools in more "orthodox" projects. not precedents of his appearing. Grant is at his best when his attention is focused on problems which many of us have looked at in pieces but have neither gathered together nor expressed with his clean prose and sharp wit. his emphasis). Do the "these things" encompass also the preceding description of the parousia in vv. Later Origen. "Truly. continued the process until both "lower and higher" criticism were commonly applied to the Bible. who admits his mind has changed on this matter. Charles E. As might be expected.30). as well as others. whose arrangement of the fragmentary material is something less than tidy. Iowa Robert M.4) but are instead indications that the end has finally arrived in the person of the Lord. thus "will have expected his readers to recognize that the tauta [of v. Orange City. χ + 180. Beasley-Murray affirms these two eschatological foci in the discourse as we have it. because superseding in importance even the razing of the temple and city is the ultimate parousia of the Son of Man. If they are represented as accompaniments of his coming they are understood as manifestations of his presence" (307. The problem is in how they are related to each other.BOOK REVIEWS 361 however. Like most. It is nevertheless a book of prodigious learning which achieves great success in its aim to illuminate both a great text and the vicissitudes of scholarly attempts to come to grips with it. says no. Hill. I say to you. Mark. $17. as assumed by Strauss and so many since? Beasley-Murray. those of us in between will be its most avid readers. 24-27. . 29.