Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Head on a Platter @ Laudator Temporis Acti

On Laudator Temporis Acti, Michael Gilleland points to the interesting parallel between Mark 6.17-29 // Matt. 14.3-12 and "a remarkably similar episode from the life of Lucius Quinctius Flaminius, consul in 192 B.C., expelled from the Senate by Cato the Censor in 184 B.C." The story is found in Cicero, Livy, and Plutarch and Michael has the texts handy:

A Head on a Platter

Michael notes that the parallel is not mentioned in the commentaries available to him. It is, however, occasionally mentioned in recent literature, e.g. according to Ross Kraemer, Kathleen Corley and John Dominic Crossan both claim that Mark invented the story on the basis of the one about Lucius. See Ross Kraemer, Herodias I in Carol Meyers, Toni Craven and Ross Kraemer, Women in Scripture: A Dictionary of Named and Unnamed Women in the Hebrew Bible, the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books, and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001): 92-4.

1 comment:

Holger said...

"... claim that Mark invented the story on the basis of the one about Lucius..."

I love those arguments. Something similar is mentioned elsewhere, so it must have been copied. Hmmm...

Hardly convincing. Having a prisoner executed (especially one who did not have the right connections) was hardly a problem, especially in the provinces far from Rome -- and there is only so much you can do with a severed head, so putting it on a platter is hardly creative. Doing it because the despot in question is momentarily infatuated with a particular woman/girl (or boy, for that matter) is not terribly novel either.

So there is no way of telling whether the account of John's beheading is 'made up' or simply another example of "what despots do". But then, you can't write in commentaries "we cannot know..." all that often, or it isn't going to sell.

By the way, Mark, good example of putting "google print" to use!!!