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[Synoptic-L] fatigue argument on Mk 3:31-35

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  • Maluflen@aol.com
    I will allow Professor Eric Eve to have the last word in our detailed discussion of Markan idioms related to entering houses and going home. I remind the list
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 9, 2002
      I will allow Professor Eric Eve to have the last word in our detailed discussion of Markan idioms related to entering houses and going home. I remind the list that the discussion began with my suspicion that the fatigue argument by which the GH was disqualified as a likely theory to explain the Synoptic parallels of Mk 3:31-35 was weak. In light of what has emerged in the discussions between Eric and me I am now more convinced than I was before that my suspicion was warranted. Let me summarize the evidence that has come out of the discussion, as I see it, in the following points:

      1. The fatigue argument assumes that all the Evangelists (or at least Matt and Mk) envisioned the story as having taken place in a house; yet this is not clear from evidence within the parallel passages themselves: no house, or house parts are mentioned in the account; the word ECW is a relative term and can be used to contrast with "inside" situations that do not necessarily imply a house. In the present case, a crowd surrounding Jesus can be conceived as a human shield that made it impossible for Jesus' family to approach him.

      2. The fatigue argument also interprets Matt 13:1 as showing Jesus emerging from the house he was thought to be inside of during the episode recorded in 12:46-50. I have shown that it is not likely that the text should be interpreted in this way. There are no connecting particles suggesting a conceptual link between the two Matthean texts, and 13:1 has the distinct air of a new beginning, where the Evangelist simply views a house Jesus exited from as the terminus a quo for a movement which ends with him sitting in a boat in the sea and speaking to crowds on the shore. These crowds are not said to have followed Jesus to the sea (emerging from the house with, or after him), but rather are described as newly coming together to Jesus (SUNHQHSAN PROS AUTON), and without reference of any kind (anaphoric definite article) to the crowds mentioned in 12:46. The Symposion of Plato supplies a good literary example of a story in which a house, not otherwise relevant to the account, is referred to at the beginning of a new narrative as a terminus a quo of the movement of a protagonist. There are probably numerous other such cases; I just happened to be reading the Symposion at the time this point was discussed.

      3. The fatigue argument also supposes that Mk 3:20 describes Jesus entering a house. This too is far from certain. Mark's usual idiom for entering a house involves the use of the term EISELQEIN as opposed to ELQEIN. When Mark uses the latter verb followed by references to an OIKOS or OIKIA it is often clear from the context that the Evangelist has in mind a coming [to a] home, but not an entrance into a house. This is most clear from the case of 5:38. Mk 1:29 could, but need not necessarily, be taken as an exception to this rule. Although the terms OIKOS or OIKIA are often followed by a genitive of possession in this latter idiom (coming home), they need not be. Lk 15:6 shows that the Greek idiom "to come home" can be used without such a genitive qualifier (as it is in Mk 3:20), especially when the home is implicitly being contrasted with a geo/topographical area that is notably distinct from the home sphere, such as "the desert" or "the mountains".

      The above data as here interpreted make it clear, I think, that the fatigue argument is insufficiently strong to disqualify the GH as an explanatory hypothesis for Mk 3:31-35 pars.

      Leonard Maluf
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