Archives For Gospel of Mark

A friend just emailed me about a free book currently being offered for the Kindle and the Kindle Reader which runs on iPad, iPhone, etc. (Thanks, Mike.) I don’t know how long it will be available at this price ($0.00!).

Here’s the Amazon link to the book.

The Amazon info is as follows, though some of it is incorrect:

Commentary on Mark [Kindle Edition]
Robert H. Gundry (Author)
Digital List Price: $5.99 What’s this?
Print List Price: $49.99
Kindle Price: $0.00 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: $49.99 (100%)
Length: 1100 pages

First, the print price is not $50! Second, it is not 1,100 pages! Who came up with those figures, I don’t know, but they’ve confused some things. This is the Mark commentary section from Gundry’s one-volume NT commentary. The entire NT commentary is 1,100 pages, or perhaps they are using a rounded figure from Gundry’s massive critical commentary on Mark (Eerdmans, 1993) which is 1,124 pgs–and apparently, and unfortunately, out of print. The same is likely true of the price.

I don’t know what the actual page count would be from the print edition since I don’t own the one-vol. print edition. If someone has one at hand, you could let us know in the comments below.

In any event, though this edition is not an exegetical work, it surely reflects Gundry’s massive exegetical work on Mark and is more than worth the price! Get it while you can.

I see that the entire NT Commentary is available book-by-book in Kindle format, so perhaps this is a loss-leader, attention-getter advertisement for the other volumes.

ESV 2011 revision update

November 4, 2011

Not long ago I posted a note regarding a possible update to the ESV. Turns out that is has already been done “silently.” Now, somewhat after the fact, Crossway has finally announced what’s involved.

As the publisher of the ESV, I want to let you know that a small number of word changes are being incorporated into the ESV Bible text, as we reprint and publish new editions of the ESV in 2011.

This list of 2011 changes was reviewed and discussed over the last five years by the thirteen-member ESV Translation Oversight Committee (TOC). The TOC then met in the Summer of 2010, and finalized the list in the Spring of 2011. The changes were then approved by the Crossway Board of Directors in April 2011. Editions of the ESV with the 2011 text changes include the following notice on the copyright page: “ESV Text Edition: 2011.”

Most changes to the ESV text were made to correct grammar, improve consistency, or increase precision in meaning.

They provide a few examples of the changes:

from “yourself” to “you”; from “servant” to “worker”; from “has not” to “does not have”; from “young man” to “boy”; from “capital” to “citadel”; from “bondage” to “slavery”; from “nor” to “or”; from “trustworthy” to “faithful”; from “competent” to “sufficient”; from “everyone” to “each one”

There is a link to a complete list of changes. Unfortunately it is in a protected Flash container of some sort so that it cannot be copied and can only be printed in a very low/poor/fuzzy resolution, one-page-at-a-time ordeal. 27 pgs altogether.

As a sample, there are 6 changes in Mark, ranging from the pedantic to very helpful.

I would judge the change in Mark 4:3 to be pedantic, resulting in clumsy English. The previous (2d) edition read:

“Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

This is the same as, e.g., NIV, NET, HCSB, and NRSV. But since “Listen!” represents two words in Greek (Ἀκούετε. ἰδού…), we now have a more formal, but awkward:

“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow.”

Other than keeping some ESVO advocates happy by “not omitting any words” from the text (!), it accomplishes little other than lessening the naturalness of the English a bit further.

On the other hand Mark 16:1 has been improved considerably, though the change is only punctuation; it avoids a misunderstanding of the text:

2d ed.:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

3d ed.:

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him.

Mark 7:3 adds a word to the text—one that is very much a functional equivalent:

2d ed.:

For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders…

3d ed.:

For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands properly, holding to the tradition of the elders…

“Properly” is presumably an attempt to represent πυγμῇ—a word omitted in earlier editions, though with a f.n., “Greek unless they wash with a fist, probably indicating a kind of ceremonial washing.” The former note was, indeed, a formal equivalent (an “essentially literal” translation, if you will 😉 ), but to translate πυγμῇ as “properly,” while not a bad choice, is certainly a very functional equivalent.

In 8:24 we have an increase in gender neutral language:

2d ed.:

And he looked up and said, “I see men, but they look like trees, walking.”

3d ed.:

And he looked up and said, “I see people, but they look like trees, walking.”

A good change since the man’s blindness would not have enabled him to distinguish men from women before his healing.

The remaining two changes are unremarkable: 3:18; 5:13.

The Latin words in Mark have sometimes been used to argue for a Roman provenance of the gospel.

The Latin words in Mark are census (κῆνσος, “poll tax,” 12:14), centurio (κεντυρίων, “centurion,” 15:39, 44, 45), denarius (δηνάριον, a Roman coin, 12:15), legio (λεγιών, “legion,” 5:9, 15), modius (μόδιος, “peck measure,” 4:21), praetorium (πραιτώριον, “governor’s official residence,” 15:16), quadrans (κοδράντης, a Roman coin, 12:42), sextarius (ξέστης, quart measure, “pitcher,” 7:4), speculator (σπεκουλάτωρ, “executioner,” 6:27), and flagellum (φραγελλόω, “to flog,” 15:15).

Cadbury 1958, 88–89, argues that when these specific words are considered, using them to argue for Rome appears to be unjustified since these “are precisely those [Latin words] which would be adopted outside of Italy in any of the Greek-speaking provinces of the Roman Empire.” His evidence for this claim is that these words all occur in Aramaic or late Hebrew, citing Krauss, Griechische und lateinische Lehnwörter [loanwords] in Talmud, Midrash und Targum (1899).

To the contrary, however, Incigneri, 101 n.169, responding to a similar argument by Achtemeier, points out that this is evidence from a later period when Latin was more widespread. Incigneri, 101–02, also suggests other instances of Latin influence higher than the word level (syntax, idiom, etc.), concluding that “the most likely place for Latinisms to predominate is in the city of Rome, where the Latin and Greek languages were closely intermingled as nowhere else at that time…. It was in Rome most of all that the ordinary person was forced to deal with both languages in daily life.”

Smith, 58, gives a summary list of such Latinisms: iter facere (ὁδὸν ποιεῖν, “to make one’s way,” 2:23); consilium dederunt (συμβούλιον ἐδίδουν, “to give counsel,” 3:6); hoc est (ὅ ἐστιν, “that is,” 3:17; 7:11, 34; 12:42; 15:16, 42); satis facere (ἱκανὸν ποιῆσαι, “to satisfy,” 15:15); genua ponentes (15:19, τιθέντες τὰ γόνατα, “bending the knees”). Except for ὅ ἐστιν, these occur only in Mark and not elsewhere in the NT or LXX.

I would be leery of claiming ὅ ἐστιν as a Latinism since it occurs frequently elsewhere in the NT without apparent Latin influence.

A caveat is also in order for ὁδὸν ποιεῖν: “here used in the sense of the middle ὁδὸν ποιεῖσθαι, which is used in classical Greek in the sense ‘to journey’ ” (Cranfield, 114; see also Guelick, 119 n. c, citing as || Judg 17:8 LXX).

Although such arguments are not conclusive, it appears that such Latin influence is best accounted for on the basis of a Roman provenance for Mark’s gospel.


I just found some earlier notes that I had made from Gundry, 1044, along this same line, so these may be added to the above. (He cites a few others concerning which I am less confident.)

Latin loanwords: herba (χόρτος, in the sense “blade of grass,” 4:28); causa (αἰτία, but only as a v.l. in 5:33)

Latin idiom: in extremis esse (ἐσχάτως ἔχει, 5:23); verberibus eum acceperunt (ῥαπίσμασιν αὐτὸν ἔλαβον, 14:65)


Bibliography

  • Cadbury, Henry C. The Making of Luke-Acts. 2d ed., 1958. Reprint. Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1999.
  • Incigneri, Brian J. The Gospel to the Romans: The Setting and Rhetoric of Mark’s Gospel. Biblical Interpretation 65. Leiden: Brill, 2003.
  • Smith, Barry D. Introducing the New Testament: A Workbook. Moncton, NB, Canada: Crandall Univ., 2010 http://www.abu.nb.ca/courses/NTIntro/PDFFiles.htm. Accessed 5/28/2011.

Dave Black (on his “non-blog blog” 🙂 ) asked today,

Was Jesus “pushed” into the wildness by the Spirit to be tested by Satan? … The Greek verb here is ekballo. The text says that the Spirit “ekballoed” Jesus into the wilderness (Mark 1:12). The same verb is used to describe the way Jesus would “cast out” (ekballo) demons. It seems to be a strong term, but did the Spirit have to force (“push”) Jesus to submit to temptation? The Message has, “At once, this same Spirit pushed Jesus out into the wild.” What do you think? How would you translate ekballo in Mark 1:12? [6:24 pm, 1/26/2011 post]

Since there’s no means to respond to Dave’s questions on his blog, I post my response here. (This is very lightly adapted from the Baylor Handbook on Mark that’s forthcoming someday.)

The present tense of ἐκβάλλω in Mark 1:12 is used in its discourse function of marking the beginning of a new paragraph; the time reference is past. Despite Mark’s usual use of this compound verb in reference to exorcising demons (10 of 16 occurrences), ἐκβάλλω need not have any connotation of force (the word has a fairly wide semantic range; BDAG, s.v. ἐκβάλλω, 299.2); contra Marcus: “the violent action of the Spirit” (Mark, AB, 234, see also 167). The Synoptic accounts have what might be considered a more typical verb for this action: Matt 4:1, ἀνήχθη/ἀνάγω; Luke 4:1, ἤγετο/ἄγω. I translate Mark’s statement rather simply: “Then the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness.”

In Mark 12:6 both the Gramcord and Accordance databases parse ἔσχατον as masculine—I assume because it is parked next to the masculine form αὐτόν (the form is the same for both masc and neut acc sing). Yet syntactically it appears to function as an adverb, modifying ἀπέστειλεν. When adjectives function as adverbs they are usually neuter. If this were masculine, this would suggest, I think, understanding it as substantival in apposition to αὐτόν: “he sent him, the last one.”

I’d put it in English something like this:

“He still had one [to send], a beloved son. He finally sent him to them, saying ‘They will respect my son’.”

Does this analysis make sense? Or am I missing something here?

See BDAG, 397–98.2.b (end) for ἔσχατον as an adverb; for a discussion of adjectives that function as adverbs, see Wallace, 292–93.

FWIW observation: The longer I study the serious, exegetical Mark commentaries who actually deal with grammar and syntax,* the more skeptical I’m becoming of some common claims. As just one example, one of my favorite commentaries (and it is that) on Mark is Robert Gundry’s massive tome. It’s really a magisterial work, worth the price just for the introduction. He’s read everybody and interacts with most of them in massive sets of notes on each section. These notes sections may not be the best organized, but they are loaded with helpful material, even if you often disagree with him. But to my point, the more I read Gundry the more leery I am of claims to “emphasis.” If there is as much emphasis in Mark as Gundry finds, then Mark comes across as a writer who always uses his caps lock key for email. (Or maybe like an Oliver B. Greene commentary filled with CAPS, or an A. W. Pink book! —I think Pink got a fire sale special! and bought an entire warehouse full!! of exclamation points!!! 🙂 ) When everything is emphatic, then nothing is, even if you dress it up with fancy names like hyperbaton, aposiopesis, trajection, etc.

*Surprisingly, not all “exegetical commentaries” spend much time on grammar and syntax. So long as I’m naming names in this post, Craig Evans’ WBC vol on the 2d half of Mark is a good example of this. His notes with the translation are almost entirely text critical, and his commentary (about 600 pgs on 8 chs) rarely discusses grammar or syntax. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a helpful work–but its forte is Second Temple backgrounds, not the language.

Note on Markan style

June 10, 2010

C. H. Turner has posited an interesting idea regarding a grammatical feature in Mark that may be stylistic and which may reflect one of his sources. In brief, where Mark often has a pericope introduced with a plural verb form, he often develops the account with a singular reference to Jesus alone. In the other synoptic accounts the same event is often narrated in the singular throughout. Turner listed 21 such texts, from which I’ve eliminated one to conform to the UBS/NA text. (Turner tends to use these stylistic features in a somewhat circular fashion, using them to make text critical decisions, but the decisions also tend toward uniformity of a particular stylistic feature.) Since Turner only gives the Markan text, I’ve worked through these 20 examples, identified the Matthean and Lukan parallel passages, and offer this summary. (And no, I haven’t transcribed all my handwritten notes with all the refs., etc. Sorry.)

Singular in Matthew: 9
Singular in Luke: 9
Singular in either Matthew or Luke: 12
Singular in both Matthew and Luke: 6

Same (i.e., plural) in Matthew: 6
Same in Luke: 1
Text/statement not parallel in Matthew: 5
Text/statement not parallel in Luke: 8

Total passages involving a genitive absolute (in any one of the three): 5
Genitive absolute in Mark: 4
Genitive absolute in Matthew: 3
Genitive absolute in Luke 1

If this were described on the premise of Markan priority, this would be phrased as “instances in which [Matthew/Luke] changed Mark from plural to singular. I have left the stats above “neutral” in that regard (even though I assume Markan priority as a working hypothesis).

It does appear as if there is sufficient change in this regard to suggest that the differences are not coincidental. They are too consistent for randomness to be a helpful explanation. The numbers are not quite as impressive as Turner makes them sound (“The net result is that the retention of Mark’s plural is rare in Matthew, rarer still in Luke”—I wouldn’t call 6/20 “rare”), but significant none the less. I’ve noted the genitive absolute texts since they tend to introduce another variable, being used to reference a related party and consequently a singular/plural variation is not unexpected (especially given the subject matter of Jesus and the disciples).

The “not parallel” category above encompasses several types of texts. They may be a pericope which is not present at all in one of the Synoptics. There may be a parallel account, but the statement/s in question may not be included, or the statement may be reworded to the point where it is no longer a parallel statement.

So what’s the possible significance? Here’s Turner’s suggestion:

Whey then did our earliest Evangelist tell his story in the plural, not being himself one of the company who went about with Jesus, save because he is repeating the story of one to whom the plural cam natural as being himself as actor in the events he relates?

[re. 1:29] The hypothesis that the third person plural of mark represents a first person plural of Peter makes what as it stands is a curiously awkward phrase into a phrase which is quite easy and coherent.

Mark’s story is told as from a disciple and companion, while Matthew and Luke are less directly interested in that particular point of view.

If we give Papias’ account any credibility, this observation would be consistent with Peter being the primary source of Mark’s gospel.

Turner’s article was originally in JTS 26 (1925), part 5 of “Notes on Marcan Usage,” now reprinted in the Language and Style of the Gospel of Mark, ed. J. K. Elliott, 151–84, NovTSupp 71 (Leiden: Brill, 1993), this particular note occurs on pp. 36–42.

For earlier discussions on this blog regarding Mark and Papias, see these two earlier posts from 2007 and 2008.

I’d be interested in feedback on how you think this Greek idiom is best expressed in English. I’m not satisfied that the more formal equivalent does it justice. Here are my thoughts in summary.

In Mk 10:41 ἤρξαντο ἀγανακτεῖν would formally be expressed as “began to be indignant/angry” (ESV, NRSV), but here it seems more likely that the point is “they became indignant” (e.g., NIV, NET). This is partly due to English idiom in which a collocation of “began to” with “to be indignant” is not customary. The statement explicitly comments on the beginning of the action which is adequately conveyed by “became…,” though it may also imply in English that the indignant state continued which is not the focus of the Greek statement.

Mark 10:19

March 22, 2010

Here’s a first draft excerpt from the Mark Handbook. It’s an intro statement re. 10:19.

10:19 τὰς ἐντολὰς οἶδας· Μὴ φονεύσῃς, Μὴ μοιχεύσῃς, Μὴ κλέψῃς, Μὴ ψευδομαρτυρήσῃς, Μὴ ἀποστερήσῃς, Τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα.

There are several perplexities in this verse, most of which go beyond the scope of a grammatical handbook (see the commentaries for additional discussion). Mark records Jesus’ citation of six commands. These come mostly from the second table of the Decalogue, though not in the OT order and with one command substituted.

Exod 20:12–17 reads as follows (Deut 5:16–21 is the same):

MT (BHS), as reflected in ESV, “Honor your father and your mother…. You shall not murder. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness…. You shall not covet.”

LXX, τίμα τὸν πατέρα σου καὶ τὴν μητέρα…, 13οὐ μοιχεύσεις. 14οὐ κλέψεις. 15οὐ φονεύσεις. 16οὐ ψευδομαρτυρήσεις…. 17οὐκ ἐπιθυμήσεις….

Mark does not match the order of either MT or LXX, nor is his order the same as Matthew or Luke. In English, the key terms are as follows:

OT/MT: honor, murder, adultery, steal, false witness, covet
LXX: honor, adultery, steal, murder, false witness, covet
Mark: murder, adultery, steal, false witness, defraud, honor
Matt: murder, adultery, steal, false witness, honor
Luke: adultery, murder, steal, false witness, honor

These data verify that “lists of the Ten Commandments in early Christian literature often reveal selectivity, additions, or both” (Edwards, Mark, 310 n.31, citing examples from Did. 2 and Barn. 19, both of which have a greatly extended list of commands with Decalogue commands interspersed).

An additional variation is found in the grammatical form of the commands. Mark formats them all as aorist subjunctives with μή (as does Luke), but LXX and Matthew have future indicatives with οὐ. There is no difference in meaning; both constructions constitute prohibitions.

There is relatively little written in the grammars on the idiomatic use of εἰ μή. I spent some time working through all the examples in Mark this evening; here’s my summary. It’s limited to Mark and to the use as an idiom (i.e., it does not include use in a conditional statement, etc.).

What have I missed? Or botched?!

εἰ μὴ is an idiom which means “except.” It is used in slightly different ways grammatically. One common construction is seen in Mark 2:7 in which a noun (or sometimes a string of nouns) is appended in either nominative or accusative case which functions as the subject or direct object of an elliptical statement restating the preceding clause and which assumes the same verb, but which states an exception to that first clause. In this verse, the elliptical statement is, “One is able to forgive sin—God.” For other similar statements using a nominative, see 10:18 and 13:32; for an accusative, 5:37; 6:8; 11:13. Other times, but less commonly, the exception is fully stated (e.g., 6:5; 9:9; 13:20), or a prepositional phrase is used (e.g., 6:4), which sometimes repeats the same preposition as the first clause, but specifies a subset excluded from the original statement (e.g., 9:29). (There are other uses of εἰ μή that do not occur in Mark; see Smyth, §2346; BDF, §376; MHT 1:171.)

For reference, here’s Mark 2:7, Τί οὗτος οὕτως λαλεῖ; βλασφημεῖ· τίς δύναται ἀφιέναι ἁμαρτίας εἰ μὴ εἷς ὁ θεός;


Following up on Bill Comb’s comment (see comments below), here is an extract from Boyer’s article on εἰ μή in GTJ.

Boyer_GTJ1983_εἰ-μή.pdf

I’m puzzling over Mark 9:42.

καλόν ἐστιν αὐτῷ μᾶλλον εἰ περίκειται μύλος ὀνικὸς περὶ τὸν τράχηλον αὐτοῦ….

Is it better to explain this as a conditional statement, thus:

Protasis: if a large millstone were hung around his neck …

Apodosis: It would be better for him … [taking εἰμι as expressing an impersonal subject, “it”]

Or should εἰ be taken to introduce a subject clause (as ὁτι might do)? Thus:

For a large millstone to be hung around his neck would be better…

.

You may download a full copy of my SBL paper below.

The Function(s) of the Imperfect Tense in Mark’s Gospel
Rodney J. Decker, ThD
Professor of NT, Baptist Bible Seminary
Society of Biblical Literature
Annual Meeting, Nov. 2009, New Orleans
Biblical Greek Language and Linguistics Section

ImperfectFunctionMk1-8_SBL2009_Decker.pdf

You may download a complete copy of my 2009 ETS paper below.

Markan Idiolect in the Study of the Greek of the New Testament
Rodney J. Decker, ThD
Professor of NT, Baptist Bible Seminary
NTResources.com
New Testament Greek Language and Exegesis Consultation
Evangelical Theological Society Annual Meeting
New Orleans, Nov. 2009

Idiolect_ETS09_Decker.pdf

Here’s a snippet of my paper for SBL this weekend. The entire paper will be posted later, probably Sat or very early on Sun.

Other imperfects serve as summary statements and are often found in summary sections which include a string of imperfect verb forms: 1:5 (2×), 1:32, 34, 45; 3:11 (4×), 12; 4:33–34 (4×); 6:5, 6, 13 (3×), 19–20 (7×), 55, 56 (4×). (“Summary” in this context does not refer to a summary of a preceding narrative, but rather to a synopsis of a series of events which are not described in detail.)

Note the following examples. In the first example the use of ὅταν is another pointer to a summary section.

3:11–12, καὶ τὰ πνεύματα τὰ ἀκάθαρτα, ὅταν αὐτὸν ἐθεώρουν, προσέπιπτον αὐτῷ καὶ ἔκραζον λέγοντες ὅτι σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ. 12 καὶ πολλὰ ἐπετίμα αὐτοῖς ἵνα μὴ αὐτὸν φανερὸν ποιήσωσιν.
The unclean spirits, whenever they saw him, fell before him and cried out, “You are the son of God.” 12 He rebuked them sternly that they should not make him known.

4:33–34, Καὶ τοιαύταις παραβολαῖς πολλαῖς ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς τὸν λόγον καθὼς ἠδύναντο ἀκούειν· 34χωρὶς δὲ παραβολῆς οὐκ ἐλάλει αὐτοῖς, κατ᾿ ἰδίαν δὲ τοῖς ἰδίοις μαθηταῖς ἐπέλυεν πάντα.
With many such parables he was speaking the message to them as they were able to understand, 34 but he did not speak to them without parables, but he explained everything privately to his own disciples.

These summaries often occur at the end of sections and sketch the general situation at the time or the results of the previous events. Thus 4:33–34 serves as the summary of Jesus’ ministry and occurs at the end of the lengthy series of parables in 4:1–32. Likewise 6:19–20 summarizes the reason why John was in prison and his relationship with both Herod and Herodias. There are often other specific items in the context which reinforce this summary sense. For example, in Mark 6:55–56 there is not only a string of five imperfect forms, but there are also two ἄν constructions.

Parataxis in Mark’s Gospel

November 13, 2009

I realize that it’s been “quiet” here of late, and it likely will be another 2 weeks. I finished the first full draft of my paper on Markan idiolect for ETS last night, so today I return to work on my SBL paper on the use of the imperfect in Mark. Both papers will be posted here next week (by Thurs morning for ETS, Sun morning for SBL). In the meanwhile, here’s one snippet from the first paper (all f.n.s omitted and one block quote).

Perhaps the most distinctive feature of Mark’s idiolect is his paratactic style, stringing sentences together with καί rather than more specific conjunctions. Of the NT writers, Mark is least helpful in directing his readers’ understanding of his discourse, thus placing greater demands on the reader in tracking contextual clues to meaning and the relation of events other than by the more explicit indication of sentence conjunctions. …

Mark’s usage can be quantified in various ways. Metzger, e.g., observes that 80 of 88 sections in Mark begin with καί. Another way of illustrating Mark’s parataxis is noting that about 64% of the sentences in Mark begin with καί (376 of 583). A more limited snapshot can be seen in taking Mark 1 as a sample and comparing it with the sections in Matthew and Luke which are roughly equivalent. Of the 38 sentences in Mark 1 (UBS4), 33 begin with καί. By contrast, Matt 3–4 contain 34 sentences, but only 9 begin with καί. Luke 4 has 31 sentences, of which 23 are καί initial.

This does not mean that Mark is characterized by pervasive asyndeton (on which see below), only that he does not write hypotactically—he does not make very extensive use of the various particles available to him. For Mark, all is καί—the unmarked connective (= vav)—with fewer uses of δέ, τότε, γάρ, οὐν, etc. The gospel appears to follow a Hebraic pattern with the ubiquitous vav. Although Mark was presumably a native speaker of Aramaic, this does not appear to be the most likely explanation of Mark’s paratactic style.

Since it seems to be somewhat precarious to assume that Hebrew was widely spoken in first century Israel, this leaves a direct Hebraic influence on Mark’s style at this point in question. Perhaps we should look instead to the LXX for possible influence. Mark, as a native speaker of Aramaic, would have often (and perhaps most commonly) read and heard his Bible read in Greek. It appears that Mark’s usage of καί as an unmarked sentence (and clause) connective is very similar to narrative books that I have examined in the LXX. Adjusted for length, the frequency of sentence-initial καί in Mark is very close to 1 Maccabees and 1 Chronicles (28.66/1,000 words, 28.71, 27.08 respectively), with Genesis and Joshua close behind (18.42 and 21.0), all significantly higher ratios than other narrative books in the NT. The next-nearest NT narrative book is Luke at 14.9—half the frequency of Mark. At the clause-initial level, the difference in the same books is even more obvious (see stats in the appendix). I would suggest, then, that the influence is indeed Hebraic, but as mediated through the LXX.