Re: [Synoptic-L] Lk 9:39: who "cries out"?
- In a message dated 7/3/2000 7:01:10 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< In a quick search of on-line versions I find what you say constated,
although the NET notes that in the Greek the subject is ambiguous and could
be either the boy or the demonic spirit. The Vulgate retains the
"ambiguity" of the Greek: et ecce spiritus adprehendit illum et subito
clamat et elidit et dissipat eum cum spuma et vix discedit dilanians eum.
The "ambiguity" of KRAZEI obviously resides in the fact that the voice
employed by the demonic spirit in the outcry must be the boy's voice even
if the utterance derives from the spirit.>>
Hmm. Yet the utterance is not articulated, and may therefore be unarticulate
in this instance (Mark describes the spirit as ALALON), as opposed to what we
find, e.g., in Lk 4.
<< Personally I think that the
translators have shifted the subject of KRAZEI in the translation to "he"
for that very reason, the understanding that the outcry must come from the
boy even if it is caused by the spirit.>>
I am sure that your analysis here is basically correct. Yet for exegetical
(and translation) purposes it is perhaps best to retain the precise
perspective of Luke, if that can be accurately surmised (see below).
My present interest in this text comes from the fact that I am currently
preparing a paper to be read at the CBA meeting in Los Angeles in August on
demoniacs in Lk. This paper is part of a larger project to illustrate the
superiority of the Gospel Hypothesis over the Two-Source Hypothesis for the
interpretation of individual Synoptic texts and parallels.
In this set of parallels, Matt's text seems to be the most primitive. The
subject of all the verbs that describe the troubled son is the boy himself,
even though his actions may betray the presence of a lurking demon. A
demon/spirit is not mentioned explicitly, however, until the very end of the
story (17:18b), when it actually departs (from him: i.e., the lad) at the
command of Jesus. So a differentiation between boy and demon coincides
literarily with the separation of the two that occurs with the exorcism
Luke's version comes next. Luke has noted the primitive undifferentiation in
Matt's account between boy and possessing demon. He remedies this from the
start by clearly distinguishing the two early in his narrative: v. 39: the
spirit takes hold of him... From this point forward all the verbs have the
spirit for subject (i.e., if the subject of KRAZEI is also the spirit, as we
both think) and, when transitive, the beleaguered lad for object (the only
verb of which the boy is subject is the ESTIN in the father's statement: hOTI
MONOGENHJ MOI ESTIN).
Mark's text is clearly the latest of the three, and, as is his usual custom,
Mark conflates the perspectives described above: he has numerous sentences
with the spirit as subject, as in Luke, and others with the boy as subject,
as in Matt. He clearly shows, however, that the actions of the boy described
by these verbs are being caused by the malicious attacks of the demon (see
especially 9:18). This is a logical development, in the direction of
explicitness, from the earlier accounts where implicitness in this regard is
a sign of primitivity. It is Mark's usual development in terms of popular
appeal that is most evident in this story. His audience can see vividly, from
Mark's verbal portrayal of the boy's strange behavior, the effects of
internal demonic possession. The dialogue throughout the narrative, and
especially the catechesis on faith, is also highly developed in the direction
of a Gospel drama in Mark's account. In Mark 9:14-29, there are no fewer than
52 verbs (not counting ALALON as a verb) that have no parallel in either Lk
or Matt. On the Two-Source Hypothesis, AMatt and ALk have independently
chosen to omit each of these 52 verbs in their respective renditions of the
story. Unlikely in the extreme.
- In a message dated 7/2/2000 9:07:08 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
[Responding to Carl Conrad]
<< So you are arguing, if I understand you correctly, that PNEUMA is the most
likely subject of KRAZEI. I agree with you -- for reasons, beyond purely
grammatical ones, which I do not wish to raise at the moment, but which are
closely related to your observation of the sequence of verbs with PNEUMA for
implicit subject. However, are you aware that this option is not taken by
most modern versions? I'm not even aware of any modern version that follows
this option. >>
I have just noticed that the NEB does indeed translate Lk 9:39 so as to make
PNEUMA the subject of all the verbs, including KRAZEI:
"From time to time a spirit seizes him, gives a sudden scream, and throws him
into convulsions with foaming at the mouth, and it keeps on mauling him and
will hardly let him go.."
So in Matt, once the narrator begins to describe the condition of the boy,
all the verbs have the boy as their subject (primitive undifferentiation); in
Luke, all the verbs have the spirit as their subject, and most have the boy
as their object; Mark represents a perfect conflation of these perspectives,
with a number of verbs having the spirit, and a number having the boy as
subject. Furthermore, the actions of the boy in Mark (Matthean perspective)
are clearly seen to be reactions to, caused by, the malicious activity of the
demon (Lukan perspective). Both differentiation between the two agents and
subordination of the second's activity to that of the first are most highly
developed in Mark's account.