Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a cool thing, I guess

I'm still reading The Interface of Orality and Writing: Speaking, Seeing, Writing in the Shaping of New Genres (A. Weissenrieder and R. Coote, eds.; WUNT 260; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2010). At the moment I'm working through Annette Weissenrieder's essay, "The Didactic of Images: The Fig Tree in Mark 11:12–14 and 20–21" (260–82). Weissenrieder locates the story of Jesus cursing of the fig tree in Mark 11 in Rome rather than in Palestine—not that Mark places Jesus in Rome but that the fig tree generates meaning within the context of Rome's foundation story (which Weissenrieder documents) rather than with Hebrew biblical themes of Israel, judgment, and fig trees.

At any rate, she writes the following:
What does the motif of the fig tree associated with the suckling twins Romulus and Remus and with the goddess Roma on the coins and on the Ara Pacis, have to do with the withered fig tree in Mark 11? The connection would be provided if Jesus' saying about the fig tree, which produces no fruit and for that reason withers, alluded to Rome's foundation saga, in particular and Augustus's new version of the saga and its intensification by Claudius and Nero. Jesus' word on the cursing of the fig tree thus would point to a historical event. (274)

At the end of this paragraph Weissenrieder places a footnote and references a number of books, including Jesus, the Voice, and the Text (T. Thatcher, ed. [see here]), Memory, Tradition, and Text (A. Kirk and T. Thatcher, eds.), and Performing the Gospel (R. Horsley et al., eds.). But I was surprised to find my own book, Structuring Early Christian Memory: Jesus in Tradition, Performance, and Text included in the footnote. Now, to be honest, I'm not sure how my book supports her point—that "Jesus' word on the cursing of the fig tree thus would point to a historical event"—but I'm glad to find my work cited here.

Annette: If somehow you ever happen to find this post, perhaps you could provide a brief explanation?

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