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Posts Tagged ‘Gospel of Mark’

Et accusabant eum summi sacerdotes in multis. Pilatus autem rursum interrogavit eum, dicens: Non respondes quidquam? Vide in quantis te accusant. Iesus autem amplius nihil respondit, ita ut miraretur Pilatus. (Mk 15.3-5)

And the high priests accused him of many charges. Pilate, moreover, asked him again, saying: “Why do you not answer? See how many charges they are accusing you of.” But Jesus all the more said nothing, and at this Pilate was astonished. (Translation mine)

Humans are given the remarkable gift of speech, reflecting that Trinitarian relationship between God the Father and the Word who proceeds. Because of this gift, we as God’s creatures are compeled to return the gift of speech back to our Creator, to render praise to Him who has given us the gift of speech.

Otherwise, we are to remain silent, lest we fall into sin.

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Matthew 3.1-2

Ἐν δὲ ταῖς ἡμέραις ἐκείναις παραγίνεται Ἰωάννης ὁ βαπτιστὴς κηρύσσων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τῆς Ἰουδαίας [καὶ] λέγων, Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.

1) παραγίνεται : dep. pres. 3rd sg., παραγίνομαι, to be at hand; arrive, come
2) κηρύσσων : pres. act. part., nom. sg., κηρύσσω, to cry, proclaim, herald; see κήρυγμα, preaching
3) Μετανοεῖτε : pl. impv., μετανοέω, to change one’s mind, repent
4) ἤγγικεν : 3rd sg., 1 aor./pft, ἐγγίζω, to draw nigh, be at hand

In those days came John the baptist proclaiming in the desert of Judea, [and] saying, “Repent! for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”


Notes

κηρύσσων
There seems, in the Gospel of Matthew, a certain connection between the action of κηρύσσω, preaching/proclaiming, and the at-hand-ness, ἤγγικεν, of theἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven

Mt 4.17
ἤρξατο ὁ Ἰησοῦς κηρύσσειν καὶ λέγειν Μετανοεῖτε, ἤγγικεν γὰρ ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
Jesus began to proclaim and say, Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.

Mt 10.7
πορευόμενοι δὲ κηρύσσετε λέγοντες ὅτι Ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν.
And as you go forth, proclaiming saying, “The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.”

βασιλεία
βασιλεία, kingdom, dominion is a term used throughout the breadth of the New Testament. Here specifically we have ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν, the Kingdom of Heaven, a term Matthew uses eighteen times in his composition. This count excludes kingdom of God in 19.24 and 21.31, kingdom of my father in 26.29, Your kingdom in 6.10, or just the kingdom; all of these could be understood to be equivalents theologically speaking.

In Matthew, the Kingdom of Heaven is a thesis statement, a message of proclamation, κήρυγμα, against all the kingdoms of the world(4.8). ἡ βασιλεία τῶν οὐρανῶν is never mentioned in Mark or Luke, both using ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ instead. John, too, opts for the the Kingdom of God, or my kingdom, (Jn 18.36Ἡ βασιλεία ἡ ἐμὴ οὐκ ἔστιν ἐκ τοῦ κόσμου τούτου, my kingdom is not of this world)


Postscript: Consider the Book of Daniel:
και εν τοις χρονοις των βασιλεων τουτων στησει ο θεος του ουρανου βασιλειαν αλλην ητις εσται εις τους αιωνας και ου φθαρησεται και αυτη η βασιλεια αλλο εθνος ου μη εαση παταξει δε και αφανισει τας βασιλειας ταυτας και αυτη στησεται εις τον αιωνα (LXX)

In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever. (NIV)

 

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Matthew 8.27

οἱ δὲ ἄνθρωποι ἐθαύμασαν λέγοντες, Ποταπός ἐστιν οὗτος ὅτι καὶ οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ ἡ θάλασσα αὐτῷ ὑπακούουσιν;

1)    ἐθαύμασαν : θαυμάζω, Aor. 3rd. pl., to wonder, be astonished (cf. mirari)

2)    λέγοντες : λέγω, pres. act. participle, to say, speak

3)    ποταπός : [cl. ποδαπός] adj. που + από, whence? (cf. cuius)

4)    ὑπακούουσιν : ὑπ – ακούω. Pres. Act. 3rd pl., to listen; hearken, obey + dat.

And the men were astonished, saying, “What (whose) man is this, that both the winds and the sea obey him?”

Notes

ἐθαύμασαν

Jesus receives the same reaction elsewhere: (i) marveling the crowds [οἱ ὄχλοι] in 9.32; (ii) his disciples [οἱ μαθηταὶ] in 21.20; (iii) and those listening [ἀκούσαντες] to his thoughts on giving to Caesar and to God in 22.22.

Luke will use the same form four times of his own, but note the comparison:

Lk 8.25 εἶπεν δὲ αὐτοῖς Ποῦ ἡ πίστις ὑμῶν; φοβηθέντες δὲ ἐθαύμασαν, λέγοντες πρὸς ἀλλήλους Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν ὅτι καὶ τοῖς ἀνέμοις ἐπιτάσσει καὶ τῷ ὕδατι, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ;

And he said to them, “Where is your faith?” And afraid they were astonished, saying to each other, “Who then is this, that he commands both the winds and the water, and they obey him.

Luke’s version is not as neat and tiddy as Matthew’s; the Greek is clean and says much, but Luke uses many words to get his point across. Matthew’s “sea” [ἡ θάλασσα] is much more massive than Luke’s “water” [τῷ ὕδατι]. At the same time, it is in Luke that Jesus  gives orders [ἐπιτάσσει] to these forces of nature.

αὐτῷ ὑπακούουσιν

This exact combination is used by both Matthew and Luke (listed above), and is a part of a formula they may have picked up from Mark

Mk 1.27 ὥστε συνζητεῖν αὐτοὺς λέγοντας Τί ἐστιν τοῦτο; διδαχὴ καινή: κατ᾽ ἐξουσίαν καὶ τοῖς πνεύμασι τοῖς ἀκαθάρτοις ἐπιτάσσει, καὶ ὑπακούουσιν αὐτῷ.

So they discussed these things, saying, “What is this? a new teaching with authority! And he gives orders to unclean spirits, and they obey him.

Mk 4. 41 καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν, καὶ ἔλεγον πρὸς ἀλλήλους, Τίς ἄρα οὗτός ἐστιν ὅτι καὶ ὁ ἄνεμος καὶ ἡ θάλασσα ὑπακούει αὐτῷ;

And they feared a great fear, and said to each other, “who then is this, that both the wind and the sea obey him.

The wind is singular, but we are back to the forces of nature.

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Salt, an exercise

Consider

Matt 5.13 Ὑμεῖς ἐστε τ λας τῆς γῆς: ἐὰν δ τ λας μωρανθ, ν τνι λισθσεται; εἰς οὐδὲν ἰσχύει ἔτι εἰ μὴ βληθὲν ἔξω καταπατεῖσθαι ὑπὸ τῶν ἀνθρώπων.

You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt has lost its flavor, however will it be “salted”?  It’s become good for nothing, except to be tossed outside beneath (the feet) of men.

Compare with

Luke 14.34Καλὸν οὖν τ λας: ἐὰν δ καὶ τ λας μωρανθ, ν τνι ρτυθσεται; 35οὔτε εἰς γῆν οὔτε εἰς κοπρίαν εὔθετόν ἐστιν: ἔξω βάλλουσιν αὐτό. ὁ ἔχων ὦτα ἀκούειν ἀκουέτω.

And so salt is good! But if the salt has lost its flavor, however will it “be salted”? neither for the earth nor for manure is it useful. They throw it outside. He who has ears to hear let him hear.

and

Mark 9.49πᾶς γὰρ πυρὶ λισθσεται. 50Καλὸν τ λας: ἐὰν δ τ λας ἄναλον γένηται, ν τνι αὐτὸ ἀρτύσετε; ἔχετε ἐν ἑαυτοῖς ἅλα, καὶ εἰρηνεύετε ἐν ἀλλήλοις.

For everyone will “be salted” with fire.  Salt (is) good. but if it has become un-salty, however will you season it? Have in yourselves salt, and make peace among each other.

and finally, from Saint Paul

Colossians 4.6 ὁ λόγος ὑμῶν πάντοτε ἐν χάριτι, ἅλατι ρτυμνος, εἰδέναι πῶς δεῖ ὑμᾶς ἑνὶ ἑκάστῳ ἀποκρίνεσθαι.

(May) the talk among you all always (be) in grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know who to respond to everyone.

Notes:

The noun salt, λς, doesn’t get too much press in the New Testament; in only these four passages does salt appear.  In Mark, the model which Matthew and Luke theoretically use, salt is very good (!), but not before stating that everyone will be “salted” with fire.

λισθσεται : ἁλίζω is a verb based on the noun ἅλς, salt, so to salt, to season with salt. ἁλισθήσεται is a particularly delicious form, present in all three witnesses [a future, passive, 3rd, singular form]. It is likely Matthew and Luke borrowed the form from Mark, but perhaps not the concept entire. It is very likely the form references Leviticus (LXX) 2.13:

καὶ πᾶν δῶρον θυσίας ὑμῶν ἁλὶ λισθήσεται οὐ διαπαύσετε ἅλα διαθήκης κυρίου ἀπὸ θυσιασμάτων ὑμῶν ἐπὶ παντὸς δώρου ὑμῶν προσοίσετε κυρίῳ τῷ θεῷ ὑμῶν ἅλας,

Season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not leave the salt of the covenant of your God out of your grain offerings; add salt to all your offerings [NIV].

Same form, future, passive, etc.

Now Paul (or Paul’s crew, as we are not positive who wrote this epistle to the Church in Colossae) was writing arguably before any of these Gospels, but Colossians may be a bit more contemporary with the writing of Mark and subsequent gospels.

But I’m still concerned with Mark’s expression, πυρὶ ἁλισθήσεται, seasoned (literally, “salted”) with fire,” and how this expression didn’t carry on into either Matthew or Luke. And so the issue is not so much salt, though it is the salting verb, but fire.

πῦρ, where we get our English pyro– words, which brings back up the sacrificial vocabulary found through out the Old Testament. And salt was indeed included as a part of the rites of the sacrifice, as we say in the Leviticus passage.

Questions:

Has Mark inverted the formula? Instead salting something on fire or having been sacrificed, as in Leviticus, will the salted (“You are salt…”, “talk… seasoned with salt”) be visited with fire?

And, if this is the case, have Matthew and Luke softened the Jesus’ (apocalyptic?) tone by leaving out the expression?

Finally, was this salt and seasoned vocabulary a Markan invention, playing off the Old Testament sacrifice motif, that Matthew and Luke recognized? Was Paul likening our conversations among each other as a part of our sacrifice to God? Was salt a preached theme hovering around the churches of the early Jesus movement? Was salt a theme we’d like to send back to Jesus’ ministry itself?

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