Paul's Dying Formula and Mk. 10:45
- Pursuant to the calim I made in response to Ted's question about
parallels between Paul's use of the "dying formula" and Mark's theology
of the cross, I'd like to reproduce here a section of my _Temptations of
Jesus in Early Christianity_ which is part of a larger attempt to
outline, though an understanding of who the disciples thing Jesus is (or
ought to be), what Mark says is the path of Messiahship that Jesus was
urged by the disciples to take at Caerea Philippi and which the Markan
Jesus subsequently rejects as grounded in "thinking" TA TOU
ANQRWPOU. I hope that why I think Mk 10:45 is parallel to what I think
Paul was up to in claiming that "Christ died for us", will be clear once
you have read the excerpt.
Finally, that the disciples view Jesus as a worldly, powerful king is
also evident from Jesus' statement in Mk 10.45 concerning the nature of
his role as Son of Man in the plan of redemption /1/. The statement
serves to counter what Jesus, in the use of the words OU...ALLA,
designates as a false set of expectations concerning his activity as the
Son of Man, by contrasting what he recognizes is expected of him with
the facts /2/. Since in its present context /3/ the statement is
addressed to the disciples, it is they who hold the expectations about
Jesus' role which Jesus insists are inappropriate. But what precisely
are these expectations? They are not simply, as a cursory reading of
what is negated by OU in Mk 10.45 might suggest, that Jesus is, on the
one hand, to be served and, on the other, not give his life /4/. For in
its context, what is negated is highly evocative and allusory, calling
to mind in the first instance of negation the Son of Man of Dan. 7.14
... was given dominion, and glory, and kingdom
that all the peoples, and nations, and languages
should serve him ...
and in the second instance the Son of Man of 1 Enoch 46.4ff. and 69.27
who in `raising up' (i.e., routing)
... the kings and the mighty from their seats
(and the strong from their thrones)
and loosening the reigns of the strong
and breaking the teeth of the sinners
because they do not extol and praise him
nor humbly acknowledge whence the kingdom was
bestowed upon them ...
and in sitting
... on the throne of his glory ...
(causing) the sinners to pass away and be destroyed
from off the face of the earth ...
takes rather than ransoms the lives of his enemies /5/. Notably this
Son of Man is also one who does not die, but instead is bestowed with
`the sum of judgment' (1 Enoch 69.27) but also with a `dominion
(EXOUSIA) which shall not pass away, and a kingdom (BASILEA) `that shall
not be destroyed' (Dan. 7.15) /6/. Accordingly, in the eyes of the
disciples Jesus is seen as a king appointed to manifest his sovereignty
by exercising a mighty and devastating authority against all who might
be thought of as his foes.
1. Whether or not, or in what manner, the historical Jesus referred to
himself as `the Son of Man', and whether the phrase OUTOS hUIOUS TOU
ANQRWPOU (Aramaic bar-nash/bar nasha') possessed, or was ever used in, a
titular sense in the time of Jesus, it is clear that Mark presents Jesus
using the term as a self designation with a specific apocalyptic,
Christological sense. On this, see N. Perrin, `The Creative Use of the
Son of Man Traditions by Mark' in A Modern Pilgrimage in Christology
(Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974), pp. 84-93 and J.D. Kingsbury, Jesus
Christ in Matthew, Mark, and Luke (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1981), p.
38-40. On `The Son of Man' in Judaism and early Christianity, see now
the important work by M. Casey, Son of Man: The Interpretation of Daniel
7 (London: SCM, 1979) and B. Lindars, Jesus, Son of Man (Grand Rapids:
2. On this, see C.K. Barrett, `The Background to Mark 10.45' in New
Testament Essays, ed. A.J.B. Higgins (London: SPCK, 1959), pp. 8-9; M.
Hooker, Jesus and the Servant (London: SPCK, 1967), p. 141.
3. The break between Mk 10.44 and 10.45 caused by the introduction of
the term `the Son of Man' suggests that v. 45 was not originally one
with the preceding logia, but was a secondary addition to that material.
On this, see Best, Following Jesus, p. 125. Best, however, finds it
unlikely that Mark was responsible for the redaction of vs. 45 to the
community rule of vs. 42b-44. On the question of the authenticity and
the tradition history of the `Ransom' saying, see the brief but succinct
and informative summary by B. Lindars, `Mark 10.45; A Ransom for Many',
ExpT 92 (1981-82), pp. 292-95.
4. Strictly speaking, the OU... ALLA contrast is not explicitly
continued in the second part of Mk 10.54 where the idea of `to give
one's life' appears. But, nevertheless, especially as precedes the
full statement of the purpose of the Son of Man's coming (KAI GAR hOUTOS
TOU ANQRWPOU OUK HLQEN ... DOUNAI THN YUXAN AUTOU...), its sense is
undoubtedly carried on. On this, see Barrett, `The Background of Mark
10.45', p. 9.
5. On this, see Barrett, `The Background of Mark 10.45', p. 9.
6. Hooker, Son of Man in Mark, p. 141.
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626