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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark Used CG in 15:42-16:8, Pt. 2-Fatigue in 16:6

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    ... I m not surprised. Translations usually render Mark s 3d person impersonals with English 3d person they even though an English passive better captures
    Message 1 of 8 , Feb 2, 2002
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      At 12:35 AM 2/1/02 -0600, Ted Weeden wrote:
      >Stephen Carlson wrote on Thursday, January 31, 2002:
      >> My take on the plural verb in Mark 16:6 is that it is an instance of
      >> using a 3d person plural in an impersonal or indefinite construction.
      >> [Citations to BDF and Turner snipped]
      >
      >You are quite correct that EQHKAN could serve in 16:6 to refer to "one" and that
      >it is possible plurality with respect to subject is not intended here. But I
      >find it quite curious that no English translation that I am aware of, incuding
      >those in reputable scholarly commentaries, translate EQHKAN other than as third
      >person plural with unspecified subject, namely, "they laid.".

      I'm not surprised. Translations usually render Mark's 3d
      person impersonals with English 3d person "they" even though
      an English passive better captures the sense. This is
      particularly true because (1) the "formal equivalence"
      principle adopted by many translators would dictate the
      rendering "they laid"; (2) the passive voice is deprecated
      in good English narrative style, so it is unlikely translators
      would introduce a passive even if the sense is a slight
      improvement; and (3) the English 3d person "they" in many
      contexts also functions impersonally.

      Furthermore, translation is not exegesis. Many translations
      are made without a detailed exegesis, particularly when, as
      is the case here in Mark 16:6, that there is no critical or
      important issue at stake. Therefore, the appeal to the
      authority of English translators on this question is at best
      *obiter dictum*.

      What is important, however, is the view of an exegete who
      has taken the trouble to interpret the sense of EQHKAN in
      Mark 16:6. After looking at my commentaries and monographs
      on Mark, including Tayler, Hooker, and, yes, even your
      TRADITIONS IN CONFLICT, the issue of the plural subject
      of EQHKAN is neglected in favor of making the point that
      Jesus's body is no longer there.

      Gundry is one of the few commentators, however, who did
      address it:

      >For example, I quote Gundry_Mark_ (992): "'Look, the place where they put him!'
      >underscores Jesus' not being here, i.e underscores that the fullfilment of his
      >prediction in 14:28 has already started. The exclamatory use of 'look' (N.B.
      >that IDE is singular though the women are plural, and is not followed by an
      >accusative of direct object) and of 'the place where they put him' (N.B. that
      >the nominative hO TOPOS has no verb) and the asyndeton which introduces both
      >'look' and 'the place where they put him' intensify the emphasis. 'Here' and
      >'where they put him' hark back to the two Marys' 'observing where he was put'
      >(15:47). Mark likes indefinite third person plural verbs. Here, 'they'
      >betrays his hand; for though Joseph of Arimathea doubtless had help, 15:46
      >mentions only Joseph as putting Jesus in the tomb (15:46)."
      >
      >Now, several things I observe in Gundry's exposition on the grammatical and
      >stylistic character of Mark's rhetoric in 16:6. He notes the fact, as you note
      >also below, that Mark has used IDE (singular) when the young man is addressing
      >women (plural). He notes that hO TOPOS (nominative) lacks a verb, and that
      >Mark uses an asynedetic construction. He notes, further, that Mark has a liking
      >for verbs in the third person plural, of which EQHKAN is one. However, he
      >does not make any mention of the possibility that EQHKAN is to be understood as
      >refering to singular unspecified subject, namely, 'one.' In fact, Gundry
      >repeatedly through the paragraph cited translates EQHKAN as a referencing a
      >plural but unspecified subject, namely, "they." Moreover, he goes on to say
      >that Mark in using EQHKAN, meaning "'they' laid him," "*betrays* his hand"
      >because, if I am understanding him correctly, Mark in 15:46 referenced a
      >singular subject, Joseph, when he penned the third person singular EQHKEN, even
      >though "doubtless" Joseph must have had help (putting, thereby, a collective
      >spin on the meaning of EQHKEN) in bury Jesus.

      Gundry's analysis on this point is somewhat incoherent. Gundry
      correctly recognized that "Mark likes *indefinite* third person
      plural verb" (emphasis added), but then he failed to realize that
      indefinite verbs, regardless of the actual grammatical number,
      also comprehend a singular subject or at the very least render
      the actual subject irrelevant.

      [Mark 15:46 states that Joseph rolled (PROSEKULISEN, singular)
      the stone. The sheer physics of the operation, as recognized
      by Mark's audience, implies that Joseph had help.]

      >Thus, in Gundry's mind, if I am understanding him correctly, and all English
      >translators that I know of take Mark literally in his use of EQHKAN. Third
      >person plural means third person plural: "EQHKAN ("'They' laid").

      Given Mark's proclivity for 3d person indefinite verbs, its
      grammatically plural number does not bear the semantic weight
      you are placing on it.

      >I agree that Mark's Greek is not sophisticated Greek and that Matthew and Luke
      >try to raise the level of Mark's Greek in appropriating his texts for their
      >compositions. I do not, however, think it is clear in this case that
      >dissatisfaction with Mark's pedestrian Greek is the primary reason for doing
      >surgery on Mark's use of EQHKAN in 16:6. Given some interesting correspondence
      >between the use of EQHKAN in the texts of CG as I have noted, I think Mark may
      >have inadvertently and under the influence of the CG text, penned EQHKAN when he
      >meant EQHKEN. And Matthew and Luke caught the error and, in the case of
      >Matthew, corrected it along with the other Markan stylistic weaknesses.

      Your position would be stronger if Matthew and Luke surgically
      corrected EQHKAN by a simple letter change, but Matthew and Luke's
      redaction was much more radical: Matthew rewrote the sentence,
      and Luke omitted it. This suggests the fault is elsewhere and
      the change of EQHKEN to a different verb EKEITO in Matthew and
      its omission in Luke is merely collateral damage. Furthermore,
      the fact that no scribe copying Mark changed EQHKAN to EQHKEN
      shows that, whatever narrative difficulty there was, it was not
      perceived before modern times.

      >My argument for my theory that Mark may well have used CG as a source for
      >composing his burial and empty-tomb stories is a cumulative one. I am not
      >placing all "my eggs" in the basket of a Markan error in 16:6. I am suggesting
      >it is plausible to see Mk. 16:6 as an error, and Gundry, for one, appears to
      >view it that way. CG offers an explanation for the error, and if additional
      >examples from CG account for other "odd" features of the Markan empty-tomb
      >story, in particular, then that gives more weight to the plausibility that 16:6
      >is an instance of Markan editorial fatigue.

      I've gone back over both your argument and the Gospel
      of Peter, and I just cannot see how the argument can
      be made to work.

      The plural EQHKAN, as you noted, occurs in two places.
      The first is GPt 6:21 KAI EQHKAN AUTON EPI THS GHS,
      where, after pulling nails from Jesus's hand, "they
      put him on the ground" and an earthquake ensued. There
      is no clear antecedent for "they" in 6:21, but it would
      have to be the the Jews (hOI IOUDAIOI) in 6:23, who
      rejoice and give the body to Joseph. After the body
      is turned over Joseph, the Gospel of Peter, like Mark,
      relates the events in the singular, including that
      Joseph brought the body to his own tomb (EISHGAGEN
      [sing.] EIS IDION TAFON). Mark does not relate anyone's
      putting Jesus on the ground, the earthquake, the rejoicing
      Jews, or any intermediary for Joseph. Matthew, however,
      does mention an earthquake.

      The second occurrence of the plural form EQHKAN is
      at 8:32 where the centurions and soldiers put a large
      stone at the entrance of the tomb (EQHKAN EPI THi QURAi
      TOU MNHMATOS). This instance of EQHKAN is not used of
      Jesus's body. Mark, of course, does not mention the
      guarding of the tomb, a detail present in Matthew.

      Furthermore, in the place where Mark does use the
      grammatically plural EQHKAN, i.e. 16:6, the Gospel
      of Peter follows Matthew instead: "KAI IDETE TON
      TOPON ENQA EKEITO, hOTI OUK ESTIN" (13:56). The
      GPt agrees with Matthew against Mark in: (1) the
      plural IDETE versus Mark's sing. IDE, (2) the
      accusative TON TOPON versus Mark's nominative
      hO TOPOS, and (3) replacement of Mark's EQHKAN
      AUTO with EKEITO. Both the additional ENQA and
      hOTI OUK ESTIN look like explanatory glosses
      on a Matthean base.

      The fatigue argument cannot stand up. If Mark
      were fatigued and lapsed into the wording of
      his source at 16:6, there is no EQHKAN in the
      corresponding place in the Cross Gospel (as
      known via GPt) to use. In fact, the parallel
      to Mark 16:6 is virtually identical to Matthew's
      text at 28:6. So, Mark would have to have
      rewritten a literary sentence in more colloquial
      terms. While not impossible, it is important
      to realize that the Mark 16:6 // Matthew 28:6
      parallel is viewed as one of the strongest
      indications of Mark's priority over Matthew!
      (e.g., Stein, SYNOPTIC PROBLEM, p. 53)

      Neither occurrence of EQHKAN in the Gospel of
      Peter relates to putting Jesus's body in the
      tomb. The first occurrence involves putting
      Jesus's body on the ground near the cross,
      and the second pertains to the rock over the
      entrance to the tomb. The closest GPt gets
      to relating the act of putting Jesus's body
      in the tomb is that Joseph "brought" (sing.
      EISHGAGEN at 6:23) it there.

      Furthermore, there is considerable doubt in
      my mind whether either instance of EQHKAN
      should belong in the Cross Gospel in the
      first place. The first occurrence of EQHKAN
      in GPt is in a passage that includes Matthean
      redaction (the earthquake) and an anti-Semitic
      polemic. Both these elements are later than
      Mark. The second occurrence of EQHKAN also
      occurs in the material that Matthew added to
      Mark, viz. the guarding of the tomb, which
      also includes an anti-Semitic bias. Since
      both occurrences of EQHKAN parallel Matthew's
      redaction of Mark and caught up in an anti-
      Semitic polemic, their presence in one of
      Mark's sources is difficult to fathom.

      The most relevant parallels to Mark 16:6
      lack the plural EQHKAN. Although more
      remote passages of GPt do include the plural
      EQHKAN, the demonstratably late elements
      in these passages (Matthean redaction and
      increased anti-Semiticism) refutes the idea
      that Mark could be dependent on such passages.
      If such secondary passages were to be factored
      out of the GPt in reconstructing the Cross
      Gospel, there would nothing left to base a
      case of Markan dependence upon.

      Stephen Carlson

      --
      Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
      Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
      "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
    • Ted Weeden
      ... Stephen, my apologies for not responding to your very incisive critique to my post. I am behind in responding to many posts because of the number I have
      Message 2 of 8 , Feb 7, 2002
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        Stephen Carlson wrote on Saturday, February 02, 2002:

        > What is important, however, is the view of an exegete who
        > has taken the trouble to interpret the sense of EQHKAN in
        > Mark 16:6. After looking at my commentaries and monographs
        > on Mark, including Tayler, Hooker, and, yes, even your
        > TRADITIONS IN CONFLICT, the issue of the plural subject
        > of EQHKAN is neglected in favor of making the point that
        > Jesus's body is no longer there.

        Stephen, my apologies for not responding to your very incisive critique to my
        post. I am behind in responding to many posts because of the number I have
        received, for which I am appreciative, and because I decided what I really
        needed to do is to set forth my methodological presuppositions which I have used
        in working out my thesis. As you probably have noted I posted those
        presuppositions in a post, "Mark and CG: Methodological Presuppositions,"
        yesterday afternoon (2/6/02), and now I am trying to catch up.

        With regard to the commentaries: that has been my experience. Commentators have
        neglected to note what I now describe as a compositional error on Mark's part
        due to editorial fatigue. You are correct that I did not see "the error"
        myself when I wrote _Mark-Traditions_ in 1971, nor when I developed my original
        thesis on Mark for my 1964 Claremont dissertation, "The Heresy That Necessitated
        Mark's Gospel," which became, as a result of a radical rewrite, my book. It
        was not until four years ago, when I was asked to write a commentary on Mark
        that I returned to a serious relook at Mark, except for a piece I did for
        _Chicago Studies_ in 1995, after being away from Markan studies for many years.
        I had a lot of catching up to do. In the course of that catching up, I reread
        Crossan's _The Cross That Spoke_ and saw some interesting elements in the texts
        to which I have given my attention in the thesis I am now presenting.

        It was at that point, because I began to compare the Greek text of Mark with the
        Greek text of Crossan's reconstructed CG (Crossan does not provide the Greek
        text itself), that I spotted what I had not seen before, EQHKAN in 16:6, an
        occurrence which did not comport in my thinking with EQHKEN in 15:46, though
        EQHKAN was to be found in the initial statement regarding what I presumed to be
        the beginning of the burial process in CG 6:21. That is when I began to wonder
        if Mark had mistakenly copied CG's EQHKAN in composing 16:6. I did not know
        quite what to call the compositional error until I read Mark Goodacre's
        editorial-fatigue theory. By then I had put aside an unfinished draft of my
        thesis, which I now am trying to finish and update and present as a result of
        Karel Hanhart's post that prompted me to do so. I share this only to set the
        record straight with regard to the hermeneutical path I have followed, lest it
        should be misunderstood that I spotted the Markan "error" in 16:6 and then went
        searching for some source to explain the error; and viola: CG. I began with
        CG and comparing its Greek text with Mark, and then saw for the first time
        EQHKAN..

        [snip]

        > Gundry's analysis on this point is somewhat incoherent. Gundry
        > correctly recognized that "Mark likes *indefinite* third person
        > plural verb" (emphasis added), but then he failed to realize that
        > indefinite verbs, regardless of the actual grammatical number,
        > also comprehend a singular subject or at the very least render
        > the actual subject irrelevant.

        Gundry is a very careful writer. I have not found him to be incoherent. That
        is why I am wondering if he had a certain ambivalence over how one explicates
        EQHKAN in 16:6. You mention again the use of a verb in third person plural with
        reference to a singular subject. In your previous post on this you drew my
        attention to BDF #130 in which this compositional practice is discussed, and
        particularly to #130.2 where Markan texts are cited in which this particular
        rhetorical use of the verb in the third person plural can be found. BDF (#130.
        2) offers two examples of such Markan use of the verb (10:13 and 15:27). In
        10:13 the verb is PROSEFERON ("they brought"). However I cannot find the
        EPOUSIN BDF claims is an example of such a use in 15:27; moreover I cannot find
        it in Mt. 5:15; Lk. 12:20 and other texts cited there, with the exception of
        17:23. Am I misreading or misunderstanding BDF at this point? Am I losing it?

        But back to PROSEFERON in Mk. 10:13. It strikes me that PROSEFERON in 10:13
        could be read either as an aggregate of people (thus: "they" ) or as a
        collective, and thus referring to the singular "one." It is not clear to me in
        this case which is meant. Moreover, I have yet another probing question.
        When the use of the third person plural is used with the singular meaning
        understood, I understand how that could be the intended meaning when the subject
        of the verb has not been previously identified and thus is left unspecified.
        But what about the case of an act, such as burial which has been described with
        a specified singular subject, Joseph in Mk.15:46, followed by the reference back
        to that act performed by that specificed singular subject, shortly thereafter,
        in which the subject of the verb referring to that act, burial, is in the third
        person plural? In other words is not the subject of EQHKAN in 16:6 really
        understood to be Joseph? Now you can argue that the EQHKEN in 15:46 is really
        a collective use of the third person singular, meaning Joseph and his serviants.
        If that be the case and the intent, then why not use EQHKEN again with the same
        collective meaning in 16:6? At best there seems to be an inconsistency in my
        mind in the use of "person" in the verbal form as it is represented in 15:47 and
        16:6. Of course, one way to check out what Mark's stylistic practice is would
        be to check the entire Markan Gospel to see what he does in other cases in which
        an act is ascribed to a singular individual and is referred back to later as an
        act ascribed to "they." I do not have time to do that kind of tedious work
        now. Perhaps you have some insights regarding the questions I pose.

        > [Mark 15:46 states that Joseph rolled (PROSEKULISEN, singular)
        > the stone. The sheer physics of the operation, as recognized
        > by Mark's audience, implies that Joseph had help.]

        Agreed the physics of the matter does suggest Joseph must have had help. That
        is certainly an issue in the real world of the "Einsteinian" space-time
        continuum, but I do not find either the laws of Newtonian or Einsteinian physics
        to be operative in the narrative world Mark has created. In that world, Newton
        and Einstein to the contrary, Jesus walks on water (see my post on
        methodological presuppositions).

        [snip]

        > Your position would be stronger if Matthew and Luke surgically
        > corrected EQHKAN by a simple letter change, but Matthew and Luke's
        > redaction was much more radical: Matthew rewrote the sentence,
        > and Luke omitted it. This suggests the fault is elsewhere and
        > the change of EQHKEN to a different verb EKEITO in Matthew and
        > its omission in Luke is merely collateral damage.

        You are correct. It could suggest that; yet it could also suggest that they
        recognized an error and chose to correct it, each in his respective way.

        > Furthermore,
        > the fact that no scribe copying Mark changed EQHKAN to EQHKEN
        > shows that, whatever narrative difficulty there was, it was not
        > perceived before modern times.

        That is a good point. However, Nestle does not give all the variant readings
        of a text in all the manuscripts. It does look like there was some scribal
        redaction of the portion of 16:6 that leads into EQHKAN AUTON in the textual
        apparatus cited in the eighth revised edition of Nestle. It is not clear to me
        whether those variant readings omitted EQHKAN AUTON altogether and thus those
        readings did not refer back to the burial itself.

        > >My argument for my theory that Mark may well have used CG as a source for
        > >composing his burial and empty-tomb stories is a cumulative one. I am not
        > >placing all "my eggs" in the basket of a Markan error in 16:6. I am
        suggesting
        > >it is plausible to see Mk. 16:6 as an error, and Gundry, for one, appears to
        > >view it that way. CG offers an explanation for the error, and if additional
        > >examples from CG account for other "odd" features of the Markan empty-tomb
        > >story, in particular, then that gives more weight to the plausibility that
        16:6
        > >is an instance of Markan editorial fatigue.
        >
        > I've gone back over both your argument and the Gospel
        > of Peter, and I just cannot see how the argument can
        > be made to work.

        It may not work, but I ask you to reserve judgment until I have presented my
        entire argument. The editorial fatigue, if that is what it is finally, is only
        a small part of my thesis. Again the argument in support of the thesis is
        cumulative.

        > The plural EQHKAN, as you noted, occurs in two places.
        > The first is GPt 6:21 KAI EQHKAN AUTON EPI THS GHS,
        > where, after pulling nails from Jesus's hand, "they
        > put him on the ground" and an earthquake ensued. There
        > is no clear antecedent for "they" in 6:21, but it would
        > have to be the the Jews (hOI IOUDAIOI) in 6:23, who
        > rejoice and give the body to Joseph.

        I think the antecedent is expressed in CG 2:5a: namely hO LAOS.

        > After the body
        > is turned over Joseph, the Gospel of Peter, like Mark,
        > relates the events in the singular, including that
        > Joseph brought the body to his own tomb (EISHGAGEN
        > [sing.] EIS IDION TAFON). Mark does not relate anyone's
        > putting Jesus on the ground, the earthquake, the rejoicing
        > Jews, or any intermediary for Joseph. Matthew, however,
        > does mention an earthquake.
        >
        > The second occurrence of the plural form EQHKAN is
        > at 8:32 where the centurions and soldiers put a large
        > stone at the entrance of the tomb (EQHKAN EPI THi QURAi
        > TOU MNHMATOS). This instance of EQHKAN is not used of
        > Jesus's body. Mark, of course, does not mention the
        > guarding of the tomb, a detail present in Matthew.
        >
        > Furthermore, in the place where Mark does use the
        > grammatically plural EQHKAN, i.e. 16:6, the Gospel
        > of Peter follows Matthew instead: "KAI IDETE TON
        > TOPON ENQA EKEITO, hOTI OUK ESTIN" (13:56). The
        > GPt agrees with Matthew against Mark in: (1) the
        > plural IDETE versus Mark's sing. IDE, (2) the
        > accusative TON TOPON versus Mark's nominative
        > hO TOPOS, and (3) replacement of Mark's EQHKAN
        > AUTO with EKEITO. Both the additional ENQA and
        > hOTI OUK ESTIN look like explanatory glosses
        > on a Matthean base.

        But I agree with Crossan and Brown that the author of the Gospel of Peter itself
        also drew upon Matthew (Brown=from memory), while at the same time incorporating
        "the guard-at-the-tomb story" as it has been, from my view, too narrowly dubbed.

        >
        > The fatigue argument cannot stand up. If Mark
        > were fatigued and lapsed into the wording of
        > his source at 16:6, there is no EQHKAN in the
        > corresponding place in the Cross Gospel (as
        > known via GPt) to use. In fact, the parallel
        > to Mark 16:6 is virtually identical to Matthew's
        > text at 28:6. So, Mark would have to have
        > rewritten a literary sentence in more colloquial
        > terms. While not impossible, it is important
        > to realize that the Mark 16:6 // Matthew 28:6
        > parallel is viewed as one of the strongest
        > indications of Mark's priority over Matthew!
        > (e.g., Stein, SYNOPTIC PROBLEM, p. 53).

        My position is that the parallels between Mark and CG are not verbatim use of
        terminology or even common terminiology found in the same structural location in
        the respective narratives, but parallels lie rather in the ideational
        relationships and the necessary cause for the creation of an burial-empty tomb
        story in the first place. I have referred briefly to these factors in my post
        on presuppositions. I will articulate them in detail in the next portions of my
        thesis.

        [snip]

        Thanks, Stephen, for engaging me on this thesis and for your usual penetrating
        critique in response to what I have proposed.

        Ted
      • Stephen C. Carlson
        ... Thanks for your comments and other posts. I ll try to just address some of the questions you ve had. ... Just so you know where I m coming from, I require
        Message 3 of 8 , Feb 7, 2002
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          At 03:46 PM 2/7/02 -0600, Ted Weeden wrote:
          >Stephen, my apologies for not responding to your very incisive critique to my
          >post. I am behind in responding to many posts because of the number I have
          >received, for which I am appreciative, and because I decided what I really
          >needed to do is to set forth my methodological presuppositions which I have used
          >in working out my thesis. As you probably have noted I posted those
          >presuppositions in a post, "Mark and CG: Methodological Presuppositions,"
          >yesterday afternoon (2/6/02), and now I am trying to catch up.

          Thanks for your comments and other posts. I'll try to just
          address some of the questions you've had.

          >It was at that point, because I began to compare the Greek text of Mark with the
          >Greek text of Crossan's reconstructed CG (Crossan does not provide the Greek
          >text itself), that I spotted what I had not seen before, EQHKAN in 16:6, an
          >occurrence which did not comport in my thinking with EQHKEN in 15:46, though
          >EQHKAN was to be found in the initial statement regarding what I presumed to be
          >the beginning of the burial process in CG 6:21. That is when I began to wonder
          >if Mark had mistakenly copied CG's EQHKAN in composing 16:6. I did not know
          >quite what to call the compositional error until I read Mark Goodacre's
          >editorial-fatigue theory.

          Just so you know where I'm coming from, I require a fairly
          strict set of criteria (which was outlined in Goodacre's
          article) to be present before I'll conclude that a particular
          case is an instance of "fatigue" sensu strictu. If, on
          the other hand, you want to call the EQHKAN in Mark 16:6
          (assuming the rest of the argument holds up) an editorial
          lapse I would not object.

          >> Gundry's analysis on this point is somewhat incoherent. Gundry
          >> correctly recognized that "Mark likes *indefinite* third person
          >> plural verb" (emphasis added), but then he failed to realize that
          >> indefinite verbs, regardless of the actual grammatical number,
          >> also comprehend a singular subject or at the very least render
          >> the actual subject irrelevant.
          >
          >Gundry is a very careful writer. I have not found him to be incoherent. That
          >is why I am wondering if he had a certain ambivalence over how one explicates
          >EQHKAN in 16:6. You mention again the use of a verb in third person plural with
          >reference to a singular subject. In your previous post on this you drew my
          >attention to BDF #130 in which this compositional practice is discussed, and
          >particularly to #130.2 where Markan texts are cited in which this particular
          >rhetorical use of the verb in the third person plural can be found. BDF (#130.
          >2) offers two examples of such Markan use of the verb (10:13 and 15:27). In
          >10:13 the verb is PROSEFERON ("they brought"). However I cannot find the
          >EPOUSIN BDF claims is an example of such a use in 15:27; moreover I cannot find
          >it in Mt. 5:15; Lk. 12:20 and other texts cited there, with the exception of
          >17:23. Am I misreading or misunderstanding BDF at this point? Am I losing it?

          I'll admit that the citation list is misleading, but the EROUSIN
          is meant to apply to Luke 17:23 only. The remaining verses feature
          other 3d pers. pl. verbs, some of which I agree with and some I
          do not.

          Matt 5:15 OUDE KAIOUSIN LUCNON ("neither do they light a candle").
          The referent of the "they" is unclear and the NRSV translates it
          with an indefinite pronoun ("No one after lighting a candle").

          Mark 15:27 recites STAUROUSIN ("they crucify"). A rather poor
          example in my opinion since plural soldiers are clearly in view.

          Luke 12:20 THN YUCHN SOU APAITOUSIN APO SOU ("they demand your
          life from you"). The NRSV, NIV, NASB, NAB, and AV all employ
          the English passive here. The Amplified Bible actually says
          "they" but then footnotes Marvin Vincent, WORD STUDIES as
          saying "The indefiniteness is impressive."

          Luke 14:35 EXW BALLOUSIN AUTO ("they throw it out"). The referent
          for "they" is unclear and the NIV, NASB, NAB, and Rheims use the
          passive.

          John 15:6 KAI SUNAGOUSIN AUTA KAI EIS TO PUR BALLOUSIN ("They
          gather and throw them into the fire"). The NRSV and NIV use
          the passive here.

          John 20:2 HRAN TON KURION EK TOU MNHMEIOU KAI OUK OIDAMEN POU
          EQHKAN AUTON ("They have taken the Lord from the tomb, and we
          don't know where they put him.") The referent of "they" is
          unclear and not important. Also a good parallel to Mark 16:6.

          Acts 3:2 hON ETIQOUN ("whom they put"). The NIV and NAB used
          the passive voice.

          Rev 12:6 hINA EKEI TREFWSIN AUTHN ("so that there they may
          feed her"). Passive in NRSV, NIV, NAB, and NASB.

          >But back to PROSEFERON in Mk. 10:13. It strikes me that PROSEFERON in 10:13
          >could be read either as an aggregate of people (thus: "they" ) or as a
          >collective, and thus referring to the singular "one." It is not clear to me in
          >this case which is meant. Moreover, I have yet another probing question.
          >When the use of the third person plural is used with the singular meaning
          >understood, I understand how that could be the intended meaning when the subject
          >of the verb has not been previously identified and thus is left unspecified.
          >But what about the case of an act, such as burial which has been described with
          >a specified singular subject, Joseph in Mk.15:46, followed by the reference back
          >to that act performed by that specificed singular subject, shortly thereafter,
          >in which the subject of the verb referring to that act, burial, is in the third
          >person plural? In other words is not the subject of EQHKAN in 16:6 really
          >understood to be Joseph? Now you can argue that the EQHKEN in 15:46 is really
          >a collective use of the third person singular, meaning Joseph and his serviants.
          >If that be the case and the intent, then why not use EQHKEN again with the same
          >collective meaning in 16:6? At best there seems to be an inconsistency in my
          >mind in the use of "person" in the verbal form as it is represented in 15:47 and
          >16:6. Of course, one way to check out what Mark's stylistic practice is would
          >be to check the entire Markan Gospel to see what he does in other cases in which
          >an act is ascribed to a singular individual and is referred back to later as an
          >act ascribed to "they." I do not have time to do that kind of tedious work
          >now. Perhaps you have some insights regarding the questions I pose.

          Two studied treatments of impersonal plurals in Mark are C.H.Turner
          in J.K.Elliott, THE LANGUAGE & STYLE OF MARK (Brill, 1993): 4-12 and
          39-45 and E.J.Pryke, REDACTIONAL STYLE IN THE MARCAN GOSPEL (Cambridge,
          1978): 107-115. Turner gave lots of examples where Mark seems to go
          back and forth between the singular and plural, with Matt. and Luke
          often correcting Mark. I suggest now that you may have discovered
          another example.

          >> [Mark 15:46 states that Joseph rolled (PROSEKULISEN, singular)
          >> the stone. The sheer physics of the operation, as recognized
          >> by Mark's audience, implies that Joseph had help.]
          >
          >Agreed the physics of the matter does suggest Joseph must have had help. That
          >is certainly an issue in the real world of the "Einsteinian" space-time
          >continuum, but I do not find either the laws of Newtonian or Einsteinian physics
          >to be operative in the narrative world Mark has created. In that world, Newton
          >and Einstein to the contrary, Jesus walks on water (see my post on
          >methodological presuppositions).

          How about Aristotelian physics? ;-) It is true that our physical
          rules are violated when certain miracles are narrated, but it
          does not seem to me that Joseph's rolling the stone is intended to
          be a miracle story.

          >> Your position would be stronger if Matthew and Luke surgically
          >> corrected EQHKAN by a simple letter change, but Matthew and Luke's
          >> redaction was much more radical: Matthew rewrote the sentence,
          >> and Luke omitted it. This suggests the fault is elsewhere and
          >> the change of EQHKEN to a different verb EKEITO in Matthew and
          >> its omission in Luke is merely collateral damage.
          >
          >You are correct. It could suggest that; yet it could also suggest that they
          >recognized an error and chose to correct it, each in his respective way.

          You could be right. C.H.Turner has many examples of Matthew
          and Luke correcting Mark's number usage.

          >> Furthermore,
          >> the fact that no scribe copying Mark changed EQHKAN to EQHKEN
          >> shows that, whatever narrative difficulty there was, it was not
          >> perceived before modern times.
          >
          >That is a good point. However, Nestle does not give all the variant readings
          >of a text in all the manuscripts. It does look like there was some scribal
          >redaction of the portion of 16:6 that leads into EQHKAN AUTON in the textual
          >apparatus cited in the eighth revised edition of Nestle. It is not clear to me
          >whether those variant readings omitted EQHKAN AUTON altogether and thus those
          >readings did not refer back to the burial itself.

          You are right about Nestle, which is why I looked at Tischendorf's
          8th ed. and Swanson. No variants are cited.

          >It may not work, but I ask you to reserve judgment until I have presented my
          >entire argument. The editorial fatigue, if that is what it is finally, is only
          >a small part of my thesis. Again the argument in support of the thesis is
          >cumulative.

          Please note that my comments presumed the strict fatigue
          criteria from Goodacre's article. If you had a broader
          understanding editorial lapses in mind, then your milage
          my vary. However, looking over at Turner's notes on
          Markan usage, it appears that mixing up singular and
          plural is so pervasive that it would be unnecessary
          to invoke dependent on a source to explain only one of
          them.

          Stephen Carlson


          --
          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
          Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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