Archives For Gospel of Mark

Each year at Easter I am challenged to consider what I could do to involve my family in a meaningful reflection of the risen Savior, Jesus Christ. This year I have chosen to use a day-to-day reading of Jesus’ last days as it is recorded in the Gospel of Mark. The readings go from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday. It is a great way to meditate upon the resurrection throughout the week and provide a great family devotion time.

Please see the link here for the day-to-day reading.

Thanks to my friend Ronaldo, I discovered this morning that the Mark Handbook is now listed on Amazon. They give these details:

Mark: A Handbook on the Greek Text (Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament)

Paperback – November 1, 2014

by Rodney J. Decker

Product Details

Series: Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament

Paperback

Publisher: Baylor Univ Press (November 2014)

v. 1: ISBN-10: 1481302388

ISBN-13: 978-1481302388

v. 2: ISBN-10: 1481302396

ISBN-13: 978-1481302395

MkHdbkCoverArt MkHdbkCoverArtVol2

It is going to be two vols. (yes, I sent in a fairly large MS!). Even then the editor cut it by 20% and suggested that it might well become the first 2-vol. handbook in the series, but this is the first “official” confirmation of that I’ve seen. This means that Mark may be larger than the single vol. on Luke.

Here’s a copy of a paper that I presented at a conference last week.

Mark and Miracle (Mark 16:17–20)

The question I deal with is, assuming that the traditional “long ending” of Mark is not original, what can we learn from that text?

Corrected copy (see comments):
Decker_MarkAndMiracle_Mk16_short

Long Ending of Mark

August 28, 2013

I’ve been working on a paper (overdue!) related to the Long Ending of Mark. Here’s one snippet from it. Most of the content is embedded in several long footnotes (designed to make the main paper readable in the time allotted). This also incorporates the reference in Irenaeus that I was trying to track down earlier (see the previous post).

— —

Kelhoffer has argued persuasively (in my mind) that this early Christian text [i.e., the Long Ending of Mark] originated in the second century, particularly sometime between AD 120 and AD 150.{7} The essence of his argument assumes several things. First, that the external and internal evidence adequately justifies the conclusion that the Long Ending is not original. Second, that the Gospels first began to circulate as a collection no later than about AD 120.{8} Third, there is adequate internal evidence for the literary unity of the Long Ending as we know it; i.e., it is neither a collection of or from other writings (e.g., the canonical Gospels, though there are numerous allusions to them), nor an edited version of an earlier text.{9} Fourth, that there is patristic evidence of knowledge of the Long Ending by AD 150. {10}

Notes

7. James Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission: The Authentication of Missionaries and Their Message in the Longer Ending of Mark, WUNT 2.112 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2000), 157–244, summary on 243.

8. “The comparison of the NT Gospels and the decision by the [Long Ending’s] author that the end of Mark was deficient were only possible at a time when the four Gospels had been collected and compared with one another” (ibid., 155, emphasis original). The rationale for AD 120 is that the fourth Gospel was written shortly before the end of the first century and that it would take some time for all four to become known and begin circulating as a collection. Kelhoffer’s suggestion is that this happened around AD 110–20 (ibid., 158, esp. n. 4). We do not have documentary evidence of such a collection this early, so the date must remain somewhat tentative. In support of Kelhoffer’s thesis, I would note that there are explicit references to all four Gospels in Irenaeus by AD 180. (“the Gospel has four forms but a single spirit,” see D. C. Parker, An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and Their Texts [CUP, 2008], 312; ἔδωκεν ἡμῖν τετράμορφον τὸ Εὐαγγέλιον, ἑνὶ δὲ πνεύματι συνεχόμενον, Haer. 3.11.8]). Tatian’s Diatessaron obviously assumes a knowledge of all four Gospels (ca. AD 170?). Justin Martyr also refers to “the Gospels” (plural), though it is not possible to tell to which specific Gospels he refers; it could refer to all four, but that cannot be proven (“For the apostles, in the memoirs composed by them, which are called Gospels [ἃ καλεῖται Εὐαγγέλια], have thus delivered to us what was enjoined upon them…” Apol. 1.66, ca. AD 160?). Even earlier Papias (ca. AD 110) reflects knowledge of both Mathew and Mark (Eusebius, Hist. eccl., 3.39.15–16; see Harry Gamble, Books and Readers in the Early Church: A History of Early Christian Texts [New Haven, Conn.: Yale Univ. Press, 1995], 102, 285n65, and bibliography there). Another clue in this regard is the traditional titles of the Gospels; the use of κατά is explicitly intended to distinguish one such account from another. The earliest extant example of these titles is 𝔓75, which distinguishes Luke from John as κατὰ Λουκᾶν versus κατὰ Ἰωάννην (Parker, Introduction, 313). The earliest extant manuscript that includes all four Gospels is 𝔓45, dating to the third century (usually around AD 250), though there are other papyri MSS which include various combinations of two or three of the Gospels (see the list in Larry Hurtado, The Earliest Christian Artifacts: Manuscripts and Christian Origins [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006], 20n24). It appears that Matthew and John were the most commonly used followed by Luke/Acts; Mark’s Gospel, despite being the most likely Gospel to have been first written, was the least frequently copied and used—if the extant MS evidence is a guide, though it is confirmed by patristic citation frequency as well (ibid., 30–31). Although it is no longer complete (in its current form only Luke and John remain), it is possible that 𝔓75 once contained all four Gospels. If so, this could push our documentary evidence even earlier (𝔓75 is probably to be dated in the AD 175–225 range). See the summary and bibliography (that 𝔓75 was originally a four-Gospel codex was first proposed by T. C. Skeat) in Hurtado, Earliest Christian Artifacts, 36. The phrases libri et epistulae pauli (Acts of the Scillitan Martyrs, ca. AD 180) and τὰ βιβλία καὶ οἱ ἀπόστολοι (2 Clem 14:2, mid-2nd C.?) may also be relevant, suggesting collections of Scripture books that likely includes the Gospels (libri and τὰ βιβλία); see the discussion in Gamble, Books and Readers, 150–51.

9. See chs. 2 and 3 of Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission.

10. The Long Ending appears to be known by the following 2nd C. writers: Justin Martyr (ca. AD 155–61; e.g., Apol. 1.45.5 reflects Mark 16:20), Tatian (ca. AD 172; the Diatessaron assumes 16:9–20), and by Irenaeus (ca. AD 180; Haer. 3.9–12 quotes Mark 16:19). The probable date of the Long Ending could be narrowed to AD 120–40 if it were possible to date the pseudepigraphal work, The Acts of Pilate, with any certainty (it is not) since it quotes Mark 16:15–19 almost verbatim; this is the longest such citation from the Long Ending in any second century text. For detail, including the text of the citations, see Kelhoffer, Miracle and Mission, 169–77.

In his own words…

This small book contains one or two ideas that, I think, are more or less original; but, in the main, it owes so much to others that, if the normal method of acknowledgement had been adopted, it would have consisted largely of footnotes. As it is, footnotes have been banned, with a view to the comfort of the reader; and I can only ask the living scholars whose ideas have been quietly pillaged to believe that I am at least a grateful thief, although, like most thieves, I do not advertise the robbery.

C. F. D. Moule, The Gospel According to Mark, Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible (CUP, 1965), v.

I suspect the words I’ve cited above have been quoted before, but I found them interesting nonetheless. I suspect that many commentary writers have had similar thoughts, though those that have not banned footnotes (or documentation of some sort) have hopefully been more careful to give credit where it is due. I’ve mentioned this before on the blog (though I haven’t gone back to find out where), but as I’ve worked on the Mark Handbook that I’ve had to make it a practice of always beginning with the oldest of my “commentary conversation partners”* since I find that more recent writers, even in well-known series, have often done little more than rearrange the furniture of previous commentaries. Even then I’m sure that there is a long history of shared observations that predate the span I’ve selected for interaction. (I start with the ICC commentary by Gould, 1896—an arbitrary cut off point I’m sure, but I decided to go with primarily 20th–21st C. works.)

The Handbook, BTW, is now complete in first draft and most of it in a second draft. I dearly hope to finish it this summer. What remains is the second draft of chs. 15-16 and the introduction. How soon you’ll see it from Baylor after that, I’ve no idea. I’d like to think that it might be feasible to have it out before ETS/SBL 2014. If so, then my two major projects of late will possibly both appear in 2014. (The Grammar is in the hands of the publisher now and is scheduled for spring 2014.)

*My “commentary conversation partners” list includes the following, roughly in chronological order. Were I writing a full commentary, then this list would have to be much longer and reach back further. Most noted here have more explicit grammatical comment than others (though there are a few exceptions). There are a smattering of other commentary writers that I cite occasionally, but the list below are those whom I’ve read in their entirety, paying particular attention to their grammatical comments whether they are explicit or implicit. There is also a selection of journal articles, etc. in the bibliography. So here’s the list: Gould, Swete, A. B. Bruce, Cranfield, Taylor, Lane, Guelick/Evans, Gundry, Edwards, France, Bock, Collins, and Stein.

The phrase πρώτῃ σαββάτου (v. 9) occurs nowhere else in the NT (but see Jub. 3:1; the superscription to Psalm 47 uses δευτέρᾳ σαββάτου, “the second day of the week”) though a similar construction, τῇ πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ τῶν ἀζύμων, occurs in 14:12. It might be wondered, however, if such a reference in regards to the first day of the week is not part of “standard usage,” and in that case the standard collocation with σαββάτου/ων seems to be μία σαββάτου/ων (an elliptical expression for μία ἡμέρα σαββάτου/ων; see Matt 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19; Acts 20:7; 1 Cor 16:2; see also the superscription of Psalm 23 [Eng., 24]). LXX usage typically employs πρώτη ἡμέρα in regard to a feast (e.g., Exod 12:15) or of a month (e.g., Ezra 10:17). The Pseudepigrapha uses πρώτῃ ἡμέρᾳ (Jub. 2:2) Josephus typically uses πρώτη ἡμέρα (Ant. 1.29), or in the similar construction, τῇ πρώτῃ τῆς ἑορτῆς ἡμέρᾳ (Ant. 5.22). Philo, likewise uses πρώτην ἡμέραν (Spec. Laws 2.162, in regard to a feast). It appears that the normal pattern is to use the ordinal (πρώτη) with ἡμέρα, but the cardinal (μία) in the elliptical expression μία [ἡμέρα] σαββάτου/ων, though the use with σαββάτου/ων appears in our literature almost exclusively in the NT; the OT and related texts are more concerned with the seventh day, typically ἡ ἡμέρα ἡ ἑβδόμη (e.g., Exod 16:26, 27)—also an ordinal. Also of note is the use of the singular σαββάτου; the only other NT uses of the singular in a temporal sense of “week” are δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου (Luke 18:12, “twice a week”) and κατὰ μίαν σαββάτου (1 Cor 16:2, “on the first day of the week”). In the LXX we find τὸ σάββατον (“the Sabbath,” usually genitive or accusative, e.g., 2 Kings 11:5; Neh 13:19), but almost never in the sense of “week” (the superscription to Psalm 47 [Eng., 48] is the only exception). The use of the singular by Josephus and Philo is the same, as it is in the Pseudepigrapha and the Apostolic Fathers.

There are two contrasting uses here: τῇ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων in 16:2 and πρώτῃ σαββάτου in 16:9—odd for being used divergently only a few verses apart if Mark were the author of both when usage almost everywhere else is so consistent. These differences in themselves are not adequate to demonstrate a difference of authorship between the Long Ending and Mark (i.e., between 16:9–20 and 1:1–16:8), but it does suggest that this is very unusual usage since πρώτῃ σαββάτου can be paralleled exactly, so far as I can determine, in only one pseudepigraphal text (plus one other similar expression).

I am wondering if this could reflect later usage (i.e., post 1st C AD or at least post-NT), though I do not have TLG access from off campus to check that hypothesis.

Mark 12:28, an uncommon phrase

February 15, 2013

I was surprised recently to find that πρώτη πάντων (“first of all”) in Mark 12:28 is, apparently, an uncommon phrase. I spent several hours yesterday rummaging in TLG hunting for similar instances and found hardly any. Here’s my draft summary for the Baylor Handbook on this expression.

πάντων. Partitive genitive (see 8:8) referring to the entire corpus of commandments. The gender is neuter in place of the expected feminine (πασῶν, to agree with πρώτη and ἐντολή); this is probably an idiomatic, “frozen masc.-neut. form” (BDF §164.1.1; cf. Zerwick §12). A stereotyped use such as this may be used “to intensify the superlative” (Cranfield, 377). “Since πάντων, ‘of all’ (v 28), does not agree in gender with ἐντολή, ‘commandment,’ the interpretation has arisen that ‘first of all’ does not mean ‘foremost of all the commandments,’ but ‘the commandment that is more important than everything else, whether other commandments or not.’ But Jesus’ stating that there is no other commandment greater than the two he has quoted (v 31) shows that πάντων occurs ad sensum, perhaps stereotypically, to intensify the superlative ‘first’ ” (Gundry, 714). See Edwards 2002, 370, as an example of the argument which Gundry rejects. The expression πρῶτος + πᾶς in the sense “first of all” occurs less frequently in Greek literature than might be expected. The only other NT use is 1 Tim 2:1, Παρακαλῶ οὖν πρῶτον πάντων, but there πρῶτον is used adverbially. (In LXX see the related form in 2 Sam 19:21, πρότερος παντός.) TLG shows very few instances of such phrasing prior to the NT. The only such instance with a feminine form of πρῶτος (as in Mark) is Dionysius Halicarnassensis (1 C. B.C.), Antiq. Rom. 8.51.1, πρωτῃ πάντων τὰς τοῦ βίου χάριτας ὀφειλήσεις ἐμοί (“to me before all others you will owe gratitude for your life,” Loeb transl.). The only phrases with a masculine form are Hellanicus (5 C. B.C.), Frag. 85a.2 and Diodorus Siculus (1 C. B.C.), Bib. Hist. 9.3.2. With a neuter it is slightly more common prior to the time of the NT, but even then it is only found in Plutarchus (Crass. 19.6.3; Frag. 179.9), Demosthenes (In Aristog. 1, 58.4), and Diodorus Siculus (Bib. Hist. 14.5.6). There are a few other instances (but only a few) in the second and third centuries A.D.; the phrase becomes much more common in later Byzantine Greek, often in Christian writers who may have been influenced by a familiar NT phrase.

If I’ve missed something here, I’d be glad to hear of it, but I was genuinely surprised that the Greek phrase is, apparently, an uncommon one.

The use of δέ in Mark

January 12, 2013

A consistent observation that I have made in Mark is the use of δέ rather than καί. Although Mark overwhelmingly prefers καί as his clausal connective (all occurrences of καί, 1,087 times), δέ is used consistently to indicate some shift in the narrative (157 times). Often this is a shift of speakers in dialog, but others times it may be a shift of grammatical subjects, of topic, a turning point in the argument, or a contrast between two concepts. By contrast, καί joins equal items that continue with no shift, whether that is a subsequent element in the storyline, the same speaker, etc. There are only a very few instances where δέ does not fit this pattern (e.g., the “additive” use in 7:7). The relative frequency of καί over δέ is consistent in narrative genre in the NT (5,775 versus 1,976 for Matt – Acts), but Mark’s proportion shows both a higher frequency of καί and a lower frequency of δέ, making his use of the less common δέ more noteworthy. The increase in καί and decrease in frequency (relatively over the range of narrative books) can be seen in the graphic below.

Markan DE+

Mark 15:12 reads quite nicely in English translations and it is not too difficult to figure out what the verse is saying in Greek. Describing it grammatically, however, is a bit of a tangle, especially when an accounting of every element must be rendered—as is the case in the Baylor Handbook series. Here’s my first draft entry for the verse along with a translation and a grammatical diagram.

15:12 ὁ δὲ Πιλᾶτος πάλιν ἀποκριθεὶς ἔλεγεν αὐτοῖς, Τί οὖν [θέλετε] ποιήσω [ὃν λέγετε] τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

ὁ … Πιλᾶτος. Nominative subject of ἔλεγεν.

πάλιν. “Again” because Pilate has already addressed them in this regard: ὁ δὲ Πιλᾶτος ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς λέγων (v. 9).

ἀποκριθεὶς. Aor mid ptc masc nom sg ἀποκρίνομαι (means). Redundant adverbial participle of speaking; see the discussion of this intransitive, “-θη- middle” form at 3:33.

ἔλεγεν. Impf act ind 3rd sg λέγω.

αὐτοῖς. Dative indirect object of ἔλεγεν.

Τί οὖν [θέλετε] ποιήσω [ὃν λέγετε] τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων; Clausal complement (direct discourse) of ἔλεγεν.

Τί. Interrogative pronoun, accusative direct object of θέλετε.

θέλετε. Pres act ind 2nd pl θέλω.

ποιήσω [ὃν λέγετε] τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων. Clausal complement of θέλετε. One might have expected this clause to have been introduced by ἵνα (though that is a rare construction; it is not used in NT or LXX, but see Hist. Rech. 7:13, τί θέλεις ἵνα ποιήσωμέν σοι;), but it is intelligible as it stands: it indicates the content of Pilates’ query as to what the crowd (really, the chief priests) wanted (θέλετε) him to do. The pattern “interrogative + second person indicative of θέλω + aorist subjunctive” is the usual way to express this (see Matt 27:17, 21; Mark 10:36; L.A.E. 29:2; 4 Bar. 3:9).

ποιήσω. Aor act subj 1st sg ποιέω. Here the sense is “to do to/with” (BDAG, 841.4).

[ὃν λέγετε] τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων. Clausal complement of ποιήσω.

ὃν. Accusative direct object of λέγετε in an object-complement double accusative construction. Matthew’s construction is similar, though substituting the name for the pronoun and a synonymous expression for the complement: Τί οὖν ποιήσω Ἰησοῦν τὸν λεγόμενον Χριστόν; (Matt 27:22).

λέγετε. Pres act ind 2nd pl λέγω. In this context the verb means “to call, name” (BDAG, 590.4). In placing these words in the mouth of the crowd (second person), Pilate does not say that Jesus is such a king, but only that they have used that appellation. He may, in doing so, be mocking them. In Mark’s account neither the crowd nor the chief priests have so designated Jesus, but that the religious leaders have accused him of claiming to be a king is implied in Pilate’s question in 15:2. Luke 23:2 confirms that this was, indeed, one of the charges leveled against Jesus.

τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων. Accusative complement in an object-complement double accusative construction. τῶν Ἰουδαίων is an objective genitive indicating those over whom the king reigns.


Translation

So Pilate responded to them again, “What, then, do you want me to do with the one whom you call ‘The King of the Jews’?”

Grammatical Diagram

Mark15 2diag

(No, the Baylor Handbook will not have grammatical diagrams, though it would be helpful to conceptualize sentences such as this!)

Mark 14:3b, ἦλθεν γυνὴ ἔχουσα ἀλάβαστρον μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτελοῦς….

The four genitives each describe a preceding word: the ἀλάβαστρον (alabaster jar) contained μύρου (perfume), which was made of νάρδου (nard), whose quality was πιστικῆς (pure) and which was valued as πολυτελοῦς (very expensive).

Four contiguous genitives, each modifying the preceding, is not common (there are no other similar strings in the NT that I know of*), but it does not seem to me to be clumsy or unnatural. I do find similar strings of at least 4 genitives in LXX: e.g., Lev 5:15; Num 22:5; Josh 4:7. More commonly a long genitive string involves apposition, a list, or spelled-out numbers (e.g., Mark 1:1; Rom 1:29; Antiq. 10:147†).

*The parallel in John 12:3 is almost identical: λίτραν μύρου νάρδου πιστικῆς πολυτίμου.
†8 consecutive genitives to spell out 1,957 years, 6 mths., and 10 days: ἐτῶν χιλίων ἐνακοσίων πεντηκονταεπτὰ μηνῶν ἓξ ἡμερῶν δέκα.

I’d be more comfortable saying this is not a “clumsy construction” if I knew of more examples that were not in translation Greek. I do not find any that are parallel to Mark 14:3 in the Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, Philo, or the Apostolic Fathers. (I do not have other tagged texts to search.) Edwards, 413, says that “Mark stumbles over himself in Greek to convey the value of the nard.” I’m not sure I’m ready to agree with that sentiment just yet.

Thoughts?


Update: Here are some similar strings that I found with a variation on my Accordance search query. These do not seem to me to have exactly the same relationship as the instance in Mark 14:3; they are more of a list of descriptions rather than sequential modifiers of the preceding word.

Sibyl. 1:103 εἰς γένναν μαλεροῦ λάβρου πυρὸς ἀκαμάτοιο.

Pseudo_Hecat. 6:17, ἔχων διπλᾶς πύλας, ἐν ᾧ βωμός ἐστι τετράγωνος ἀτμήτων συλλέκτων ἀργῶν λίθων… (and the identical staement/phrase in Apion 1:198).

Philo, Somn 1.220, πολλαὶ δὲ καὶ μεγάλαι μοῖραι ψευδῶν εὐλόγων πιθανῶν εἰκότων

Mark 14:47, εἷς τις

February 21, 2012

Mark 14:47 εἷς δέ [τις] τῶν παρεστηκότων σπασάμενος τὴν μάχαιραν ἔπαισεν τὸν δοῦλον τοῦ ἀρχιερέως καὶ ἀφεῖλεν αὐτοῦ τὸ ὠτάριον.

Re. εἷς τις, “It is probable that the numeral is used here, as it is commonly, to call attention to the number, not like the indefinite τις. The probability of this is increased if τις is retained in the text” (Gould, 274). The indefinite pronoun is used adjectivally, “a certain one.” “The combination of εἷς τις is class[ical]…; in that case εἷς forms the contrast to the rest of the group” (BDF §247.2.2). The pronoun is often omitted in English translation (BDAG, 1008.1.b.α). The presence of τις seems secure since it is supported by both the Alexandrian and Byzantine families (B C W Θ Ψ f1, 13 𝔐; the probable reason for brackets in the text is the absence of τις in ℵ).

The assailant is not identified in Mark; the other Synoptics say that it was one of Jesus’ companions (εἷς τῶν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ, Matt 26:51; cf. Luke 22:49–50), and John explicitly identifies him as Peter (18:10). Gundry, 860, argues at length (but unpersuasively) that the unnamed swordsman in Mark was not a disciple, but one of the crowd who had come to arrest Jesus, “an accident in which one member of the crowd injures another member of the crowd.” If Gundry is right, then Matthew, Luke, and John are wrong; I am inclined to trust the NT writers on this score! 🙂

Here’s a revision of the post I made a few days ago on the use of καινός in Mark 14:25 based on the comments posted and further reflection.

Mark 14:25 ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ πίω ἐκ τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ὅταν αὐτὸ πίνω καινὸν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

In regards to καινόν in the phrase αὐτὸ πίνω καινόν, an adjective seems out of place here since there is no adjacent substantive to modify. There are several possible explanations. It has been said that it reflects an inaccurate translation of the original Aramaic (see Evans, 395, for a survey of such proposals). I am inclined to view such proposals as speculative since they are only hypothetically possible reconstructions. More likely options include taking καινόν adverbially (neuter adjectives not uncommonly are used adverbially) modifying πίνω, thus “drink it in a new way” (HCSB, CEB). (Gundry, 834, suggests that the word order, with the accusative αὐτό preceding the verb, may be intended to clarify that καινόν is intended adverbially rather than modifying αὐτό with which it agrees in gender, number, and case.) A variation on this explanation is that it refers to Jesus who is renewed: “When he drinks the fruit of the vine in the kingdom of God, he will do so renewed…. It will not be the old Jesus who drinks wine at the next Passover; it will be the ‘new’ Jesus who will drink it in the kingdom” (Evans, 395)—the renewal apparently referring to the resurrection. Or καινόν might be viewed as a predicate accusative describing αὐτό, the antecedent of which is τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου, thus in effect, “I will drink this [wine which is] new.” Similarly, καινόν could be substantival as equivalent to οἶνον καινόν, thus, “I will drink this new wine” (though elsewhere in the NT the expression is usually οἶνον νέον, e.g., 2:22). Or, if taken adjectivally, it could modify αὐτό; supplying the antecedent (which would be necessary to express it this way in English), “I will drink new wine” as suggested by HCSB mg. (“Or drink new wine”; see also GNB, CEV, NJB, GW). Separating the adjective from the word it modifies by the verb (not impossible: 13:4; 16:6; cf. Jas 2:8) seems to result in a somewhat clumsy statement here. There is little difference in meaning among the last three explanations, one of which is probably to be preferred. Many commentaries are content to discuss the idea of newness in theological terms with no reference to the grammar of the text (e.g., Lane, 508, “newness is the mark of the redeemed world”). Most English translations are noncommittal, using “drink it new,” a translation that has an ancient English pedigree (e.g., “vntyll that daye that I drinke it new in the kyngdome of God,” Tyndale), but which communicates very little.

Dick France, 1938-2012

February 14, 2012

Thanks to a post by Peter Head on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog today I just learned that a major Markan scholar has died (2/10/2012). France’s commentary on Mark (NIGTC) is one of the better in its department. I’ve also profited much from his volume on Jesus and the OT, particularly his discussion of typology.

NewImage

Mark 14:41, ἀπέχει

February 11, 2012

ἀπέχει is a difficult, impersonal expression for which there are several options. It might be understood as equivalent to the English expression “Enough!” (ISV, “Enough of that!” also NET). This appears to be the preference of BDAG, 102.2: “Vulg. has for ἀπέχει Mk 14:41 ‘sufficit’ it is enough, which is supported by some comparatively late evidence … and is followed in numerous translations, incl. REV, NRSV (‘Enough!’); that the expression is not found in this sense in other lit. is not surprising, for it is a colloquialism that emerges, as in the case of the Anacreontea [*], in dramatic statement. In this instance, as w. ἀπελπίζω (Lk 6:35) q.v., context is a strong semantic determinant.”

Another possibility is that “the rather freq. expr. οὐδὲν ἀπέχει = ‘nothing hinders’ … would suggest for ἀπέχει in Mk 14:41 that is a hindrance (referring to the extreme drowsiness of the disciples at the decisive moment)” (BDAG, 102.3). Or it might be understood in light of its use as a “commercial t.t. = ‘provide a receipt for a sum paid in full’, used both lit. and fig…. Some would here put the difficult impers. ἀπέχει in the sense the account is closed Mk 14:41; s. JdeZwaan, Exp. 6th ser., 12, 1905, 459–72, who takes the informant of vs. 42 as the subj. he has received the money” (BDAG, 102.1).

Only the first and third options as listed here appear in CL, 43, with no indication of preference.) Although the later two options could make sense, neither seems to fit the context. Nothing is said that would suggest that the disciples’ sleep is a hindrance (to what?) and to introduce an oblique reference to Judas is premature at this point in the narrative. The first view is reflected in Bruce’s explanatory summary of the meaning: “I have conquered in the struggle; I need your sympathy no longer; you may sleep now if you will” (440).

Evans, 416–17, argues that this is a one-word question: “Is it far away?” That is, Jesus asks two questions in sequence: “Are you still sleeping and resting? Is it [i.e., the end] far away?” He gives two reasons. First, he says that this is “the most common meaning” of ἀπέχει and second, “it makes better sense in the context.” Although it might be the more common meaning in the LXX, the NT evidence is scanty. For this meaning, BDAG’s catalog (102–03.4) lists only five clear NT uses, two of which are metaphorical (Matt 14:24; Luke 7:6; 24:13 and Matt 15:8; Mark 7:6); most entries here are from the LXX. While this meaning does fit the context, so do the other alternatives cited above; none are clearly superior in this regard.

Cranfield, 435, lists a number of other proposals which are less likely.

*The Anacreontea to which BDAG refers (see above) is a collection of 60 post-classical Greek poems. For the specific text in which ἀπέχει is used, see Field, 39, or Bruce, 440.

Mark 14:25, καινός

February 11, 2012

Mark 14:25 ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι οὐκέτι οὐ μὴ πίω ἐκ τοῦ γενήματος τῆς ἀμπέλου ἕως τῆς ἡμέρας ἐκείνης ὅταν αὐτὸ πίνω καινὸν ἐν τῇ βασιλείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ.

In regards to καινόν in the phrase αὐτὸ πίνω καινόν, an adjective seems out of place since there is no adjacent substantive to modify. There are several possible explanations. It has been said that it reflects an inaccurate translation of the original Aramaic (see Evans, 395, for a survey of such proposals). I am inclined to view such proposals as speculative since they are only hypothetically possible reconstructions. A more likely option is that it should be taken adverbially (neuter adjectives not uncommonly are used adverbially) modifying πίνω, thus “drink it in a new way” (HCSB, CEB). The word order, with the accusative αὐτό preceding the verb, may be intended to clarify that καινόν is intended adverbially rather than modifying αὐτό with which it agrees in gender, number, and case (so Gundry, 834). A variation on this explanation is that it refers to Jesus who is renewed: “When he drinks the fruit of the vine in the kingdom of God, he will do so renewed…. It will not be the old Jesus who drinks wine at the next Passover; it will be the ‘new’ Jesus who will drink it in the kingdom” (Evans, 395)—the renewal apparently referring to the resurrection.

There are at least two other options, though they seem less likely. It could be substantival as equivalent to οἶνον καινόν (though elsewhere in the NT the expression is usually οἶνον νέον, e.g., 2:22) as suggested by HCSB mg. (“Or drink new wine”; see also GNB, CEV, NJB, GW). If taken adjectivally, the only choice would be to modify αὐτό, though that is separated from the adjective by the verb (not impossible: 13:4; 16:6; cf. Jas 2:8), but it seems to result in a clumsy statement here. Many commentaries are content to discuss the idea of newness in theological terms with no reference to the grammar of the text (e.g., Lane, 508, “newness is the mark of the redeemed world”). Most English translations are noncommittal, using “drink it new,” a translation that has an ancient English pedigree (e.g., “vntyll that daye that I drinke it new in the kyngdome of God,” Tyndale), but which communicates very little.