Jeff Peterson wrote:
> Thanks to contributors for the interesting discussion regarding Mark
> 16:1-8. In conversation last summer, Larry Hurtado suggested that 16:8's
> KAI OUDENI OUDEN EIPAN should perhaps be read in light of 1:44's hORA
> MHDENI MHDEN EIPH(I)S, where the prohibition clearly involves an exception
> for the priest to whom the cleansed leper is to communicate his
> restoration. If read in light of Mark's earlier narrative, the conclusion
> would then run: ". . . go tell his disciples and Peter" . . . And they said
> nothing to anyone [else], for they were afraid.
> This exegesis would retain much of the suspense that Mark Matson mentions,
> the question left for the reader being whether the disciples would overcome
> their fear and participate in the dissemination of the gospel among all
> nations adumbrated at 13:10; 14:9, the risen Lord's commission to which is
> prefigured at 14:28; 16:7.
This is tempting, and I see some strengths (more below), but
ultimately find this interpretation as it stands a bit tenuous. On
the face of it, 1:44 is clear in that gives a command AND an
exception; on the other hand, 16:7 is inclusive of Peter and the
disciples, NOT an exception. In addition, the command in 1:44 is
negative, while in 16:7 it is positive. Moreover, the command is
not that exceptional (cf. 1:34, 3:12, 5:43 -- although these are in
indirect discourse, not direct -- but still why pick only 1:44?).
For 16:7 to be an intertextual reference back to 1:44, I would think
a stronger echo -- some exceptional language -- would be necessary.
And the idea that the response of the women was not absolute silence,
i.e. that they told no-one EXCEPT the disciples, really requires
1:44 to be strongly echoed in 16:7.
Having said that (that 16:8 does not seem to directly suggest
the idea that the women told Peter and the disciples but no-one
else), I do think there is a "thematic" link. As 1:44 and 45 show,
Jesus speaks clear commands which are disregarded. The whole gospel
seems to show disciples, especially, and others ignorant or, worse,
hard-hearted in their response to Jesus (6:52). So the issue of
speaking is problematic in Mark -- spoken commands or explanations
(4:34) are routinely disregarded. This is part of the topsy-turvy
world of Mark -- the insiders are outsiders; the outsiders are
insiders. This world is confirmed and extended at the ending: once
again followers (insiders) ignore the command and fail.
Your post is interesting, though. I would be interested in your
reaction (or Larry Hurtado's or others) to this, Jeff.
Mark A. Matson, Ph.D.
Asst. Director, Sanford Institute of Public Policy
Adjunct Professor of New Testament
Durham, NC 27713