At 12:40 PM -0400 6/02/98, Jeffrey B. Gibson wrote:
>In rsponse to a question from a "wordy" inquirer Ben Crick wrote:
>> > SU LEGEIS is a legal response to a leading question from the prosecution,
>> > which amounts to a prosecution demand for Jesus to confess or admit the
>> > charge. Actually it is the Judge hO PILATOS who puts the leading question,
>> > SU EI hO BASILEUS TWN IOUDAIWN; "Are you the King of the Jews?"
>> > To this the only "neutral" response is to say "That is what you are
>> > that is what you have to prove". SU LEGEIS: "That is what you are saying".
>> > Compare APEKRIQH IHSOUS, *APO SEAUTOU SU TOUTO LEGEIS* H ALLOI EIPON SOI
>> > PERI EMOU; (John 18:34).
>> > To translate "You said it!" as if agreeing with the charge is to
>> > Courtroom scenario of the pericope.
>To which Carl Conrad, quoting his own private response to Mr. Word,
>> "As for the question itself--regarding the meaning of Jesus' response in Mk
>> 15:2, I've heard/read the same comment again and again, to the effect that
>> Jesus is saying, as you put it, "Yes!" But personally I've never felt
>> CONVINCED that this was right, however plausible it may be. I find it just
>> as plausible to understand Jesus' response in the sense: "YOU're the one
>> who is making that assertion about me"--with the implication that Jesus
>> himself is not making any claim at all. I don't say that I find this latter
>> reading MORE plausible than the other; rather, I've never felt that there's
>> really a preponderance of evidence for one way of looking at the passage
>> over the other. I might add that this is not the only passage of the sort
>> whereof I think our efforts to interpret are reduced to conjecture. I'd
>> just rather honestly admit that I don't feel fully satisfied by the
>> arguments I've heard/read. And that (rather than because of the multiple
>> addressees and the pseudonymous sender--is why I didn't respond to the
>> question myself."
>Ben and Carl,
>Though I am sympathetic to this interpretation of SU LEGEIS, I still
>have two questions:
>1. How do we know that SU LEGEIS is "legalese"? - an expression drawn
>from the world of the court, let alone that "in legalese" it had the
>meaning you attribute to it? Is there independent evidence to support
>the claim that the phrase SU LEGEIS is known legal terminology and means
>(to quote A.L. Weber in _JC Superstar, Your words, not mine"? That is to
>say, do we find the expression used in, say, transcripts of trials or in
>stories of court proceedings other than Mk. 15 *and* with the meaning
>ascribed to them here?
This was Ben's idea, not mine (i.e. EKEINOS ELEGEN!). I don't have any
particular reason to think this is forensic diction; I rather assumed that
Ben got the idea from the fact that the setting is a quasi-judicial
proceeding. But I should let Ben answer that for himself.
>2. Is there not a confusion here, assuming that Jesus himself actually
>said these words, between the meaning the expression might/would have
>had in its original historical setting and what it has in Mark? It would
>seem to me that within the context of Mark, the expression is laden with
>irony and cannot be tied down to having one meaning. After all, Pilate
>(however reluctantly) takes the answer as an affirmation. And certainly
>Mark assumes that Jesus *is* King of the Jews. Moreover, can we really
>assume, if these are indeed the words of Jesus and that they were given
>in answer to what Mark reports Pilate asked, that Jesus himself was
>*not* being ironic?
You are asking a redaction-critical question, I'd say; I will venture my
own redaction-critical answer while at the same time warning that we really
can't carry on a thread on redaction criticism on B-Greek (wherefore, as
you have suggested in an off-list note, I'll cross-post this to
Synoptic-L): I have no idea whether this (SU LEGEIS) is a real dominical
saying--it would not surprise me if it originates in the Marcan narrative
(but I'm less and less inclined to speculate upon tradition and
redaction--there are just so many more questions than there are answers--,
even or especially in Mark's gospel). The only thing that I feel reasonably
sure of is that the entire conversation as Mark reports it (and in fact,
I'd say the same about most of the converations Mark reports) is, as you
say, heavily charged with irony. As I think Mark (Goodacre, that is!) said
yesterday, Matthew's passion narrative does indeed have plenty of irony in
it (it is surely the most dramatic of the passion narratives, and I can't
imagine a more powerful setting of it than Bach's) but much of that irony
may well derive from adaptation of Mark.
>OK, that's three questions.
And that's a quasi-answer ... after a fashion.
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243