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Re: Matthean Irony

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  • Stevan Davies
    ... Antonio ... I ve just re-read the thing, having always assumed the reverential or rather, the Markan notion that confessing the Son vis a vis
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 1998
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      > Mark Goodacre wrote:

      > <My feeling would be that there is irony in Matthew, especially in the
      > <Passion Narrative, but that most of it comes in from Mark's much more
      > <richly ironic Passion Narrative. Matthew's tendency is to play down
      > <the elements of dramatic irony, most clearly in the Centurion's
      > <confession. In Mark this is clearly ironic: the reader can see that
      > <the veil of the temple has torn in two from top to bottom (15.38) but
      > <all that the centurion can see is the last despairing cry of Jesus
      > <(15.39). Mockingly, he says "Huh, surely this was a son of God".

      Antonio
      > I know that Robert Fowler has argued for this interpretation of
      > the Centurions words in "Let the reader understand". But I think
      > this may be a case where we are reading just too much irony
      > into Mark's text. Why is this "clearly ironic"? Is there something
      > in the greek that makes the Centurions words mocking and not
      > just simply reverential?

      I've just re-read the thing, having always assumed the reverential
      or rather, the Markan notion that confessing the Son vis a vis
      suffering/death is the right approach. No. No way.

      The whole scenario is one of mocking. Mock mock mock mock.
      The soldiers, all the soldiers and so the centurion, do the
      fake kingly reverencing. Those who pass by insult him, the
      chief priests and doctors of the law mock him. He gets mocked
      with the Elijah calling business, the vinegar, he dies and then
      the centurion speaks. It's even the same kind of soldierly mocking
      as the former, "Hail to the King of the Jews... not!" "Hail to a
      son of God... not!" The context demands some piece of solid
      evidence to say the centurion isn't mocking, but there isn't any
      at all.

      At the end Jesus cries out loudly in desolation and then gives
      a loud cry. This is, I believe, NOT how a Roman soldier would
      ideally face death. Rather, I think stoic silence would be the
      presumed honorable way to go.

      The "whole Markan context" which I'd been thinking in terms
      of doesn't even help here, for even if the soldier had been privy to
      Jesus' definition of his mission his 'right answer' should have been
      "Surely this was the Son of Man." There's not a shred in Mark about
      the need for the Son of God to die. I have to go for irony here.
      One more bit to change in the next revision of my New Testament
      Fundamentals.

      Steve
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