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[Synoptic-L] Hardness of Heart (Mark 6:52 and 8:17)

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  • J. Ted Blakley
    I am currently pursuing a couple of ideas in the GMark trying to determine what sort of relationship(s) obtain between a number of key features of Mark: the
    Message 1 of 13 , Apr 6, 2004
      I am currently pursuing a couple of ideas in the GMark trying to determine what sort of relationship(s) obtain between a number of key features of Mark: the Sea-crossings, the similarities between the disciples and the Pharisees, the spread of the kingdom in relation to Jew-Gentile issues, etc. In particular, I have been looking at the issue of the disciples' hardness of heart (blindness, deafness, etc.) which crops up in 6:52 and 8:17, and pursuing a couple of theses about how their hardness of heart relates to the hardness of heart of the Pharisees (3:5, 10:5) and to Jesus' mission to Gentiles which the disciples seem to be having a hard time with (Note the first, failed trip to Bethsaida in 6:45-52 and the disciples refusal to take 'extra loaves' with them on the second, successful trip to Bethsaida 8:14-21 (Here I find Gibson's thesis about the nature of Jesus' rebuke of the disciples convincing. See Jeffrey B. Gibson, "The Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark 8.14-21," JSNT 27 (1986): 31-47.). So with that introduction here are the particular issues I would enjoy receiving feedback on.

      When the disciples are described as having hardened hearts in 6:52 and 8:17, it would seem that they are purposefully being compared to the Pharisees who are the only other characters described in this way (3:5, 10:5, note the different words for hardness), and the warning about the leaven of the Pharisees in 8:15 provides additional support for this connection between the disciples and the Pharisees. What I find interesting and potentially significant is the fact that nouns are used to describe the Pharisees hardness of heart (PWRWSEI, SKLHROKARDIAN) whereas the disciples' hardness of heart is described using passive participles (PEPWRWMENH). Do the nouns communicate the idea that hardness of heart is simply a property of the Pharisees, that is, hardness of heart is simply their nature in Mark's gospel? If so, do the verbs/participles give the sense that the hardness of heart of the disciples is not so much a static property of the disciples but something that is taking/has been taking place throughout the course of the narrative?

      This leads to a second question, namely, is there any progression indicated in the disciples hardness of heart via the syntax of 6:52 and 8:17. That is, I think it could be argued that as this section of the gospel progresses the disciples are shown to be increasingly dull, blind, deaf, resistant; their hardness seems to be increasing/intensifying thus making them dangerously close to becoming those on the outside, thus the warning about the leaven of the Pharisees and of Herod. Given that narrative progression, I am wondering if this same thing is taking place in the grammar of 6:52 and 8:17. As I have attempted to pursue this question, I have found myself confused about how 6:52 and 8:17 can and might be translated. Here are my questions.

      6:52b. ALL' HN AUTWN hH KARDIA PEPWRWMENH.
      It looks like we are dealing with a periphrastic construction here which I am inclined to translate as "But their heart(s) was/were hardened." Is it possible, however, to translate this as "But their hearts were becoming hardened?" Also, what's going on with the plural AUTWN and the singular KARDIA? Is this just a typical greek idiom, no different in meaning if both were plural, or is this saying something different than if it were AUTWN hAI KARDIAI?

      8:17b PEPWRWMENHN ECETE THN KARDIAN hUMWN;
      For some reason, this seems like an odd construction to me. At first, I was inclined to translate this as "Have you hardened your hearts?" as if PEPWRWMENHN ECETE were functioning like a periphrastic construction. But, I've not been able to find anyone who suggests that ECW can function as the helping verb in a periphrastic construction. Also, I would think that since the participle is accusative this would rule it out as a periphrastic since they are normally nominative (unless ECW can be used in a periphrastic construction and happens to take the participle in the accusative). What seems more likely to me is that the PEPWRWMENHN ... THN KARDIAN hUMWN is functioning as an object clause of ECETE, which would explain the accusative case but then leads to the question of translation. Perhaps "Do you have hearts which have been hardened?" (dropping out the hUMWN as redundant in English). I also wondered about the possibility of translating it as, "Have your hearts become hardened?"

      Basically, what I have been trying to determine is if it is (1) possible and (2) probable from a grammatical standpoint to translate 6:52 and 8:17 respectively as "There hearts were becoming hardened" and "Have your hearts become hardened?" These would seem to fit the overall progression of Mark's narrative with respect to the disciples but I am wondering what level of violence, if any, I would be doing to the syntax of each sentence.

      I guess ultimately my question is whether there is more going on in 6:52 and 8:17 than the typical translations of "there hearts were hardened" and "Do you have hardened hearts." These translations don't seem to communicate the dynamics of action of the participles in contrast with the more static nouns of 3:5 and 10:5, and these translations don't seem to communicate any nuanced difference between 6:52 and 8:17(which, when all is said and done, may in fact be what is going on).

      Sorry for the length of this email. It seemed important to me to communicate both what I am thinking and why at this point. Feel free to repsond to as little or much of this as appropriate.

      Sincerely,
      Ted


      --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
      J. Ted Blakley
      Ph.D. Candidate St. Mary's College, University of St. Andrews
      35 Auldburn Park
      St. Andrews, Fife KY16 8JD
      01334-47984
    • Maluflen@aol.com
      ... I am particularly interested in your detection of the final theme (the Jew-Gentile issue) in these passages in Mark. Particularly because it is not there
      Message 2 of 13 , Apr 6, 2004
        In a message dated 4/6/2004 12:49:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jtb1@... writes:

        >> I am currently pursuing a couple of ideas in the GMark trying to determine what sort of relationship(s) obtain between a number of key features of Mark: the Sea-crossings, the similarities between the disciples and the Pharisees, the spread of the kingdom in relation to Jew-Gentile issues, etc.>>

        I am particularly interested in your detection of the final theme (the Jew-Gentile issue) in these passages in Mark. Particularly because it is not there in the parallel passages of Matthew. As usual, Matthew has an earlier perspective -- a concern regarding Jesus' (Jewish) disciples' minds being influenced by other Jewish teachers, the Pharisees and Sadducees (cf. Matt 16:11-12). Since this was no longer an issue by the time Mark was writing, Mark attempted to re-use this material and apply it now to the theme of Jewish-Gentile relationships as this had emerged for discussion in the Pauline
        school (e.g., in Luke-Acts and the Pauline epistles). In point of fact, Mark 6:52 and 8:17 both look very much like later additions by a late Mark, highlighting a theme that is very much his own. In contrast to Matthew, for whom the disciples "understand" (cf. 13:10-17 and 51), and are contrasted with those other Jews whose eyes are blinded (13:13-15), Mark is interested in a certain "blindness" on the part of the Jerusalem disciples themselves, who, at a later date in history, were slow to acknowledge the implications of the spread of the Gospel of Jesus to Gentile lands. As with all the later gospels, Mark is reading back into the time of Jesus perspectives from the time of the Church as narrated in Acts and the Pauline letters. He does this with considerable sharpness in 8:14-21, where twice (vv. 17 and 21) he employs the term SUNIENAI, in negation, to the very disciples whom Matthew presented as, indeed, "understanding" (13:10-17, 51). In Mark 8:18, Jesus then also accuses the disciples of a "blindness", through the use of Ezek 12:2, which pointedly reverses the blessing by Jesus of their "eyes that see" in Matt 13:16.

        << When the disciples are described as having hardened hearts in 6:52 and 8:17, it would seem that they are purposefully being compared to the Pharisees who are the only other characters described in this way (3:5, 10:5, note the different words for hardness), and the warning about the leaven of the Pharisees in 8:15 provides additional support for this connection between the disciples and the Pharisees.>>

        If I have understood you correctly, you are saying that in Mark the "leaven" of Herod and that of the Pharisees, is not, as it clearly is in Matt (16:12), the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees, but rather the blindness, hardness of heart and lack of understanding on the part of Herod and the Pharisees. This too would make sense as a secondary adaptation of material that originally made reference to an infectious teaching, which was no longer a threat to the audience of Mark in its Gentile setting.


        << 8:17b PEPWRWMENHN ECETE THN KARDIAN hUMWN;
        > For some reason, this seems like an odd construction to me. At first, I was inclined to translate this as "Have you hardened your hearts?" as if PEPWRWMENHN ECETE were functioning like a periphrastic construction.>>

        The real problem with this translation is that it does not reflect the passive character of the participle.

        << Basically, what I have been trying to determine is if it is (1) possible and (2) probable from a grammatical standpoint to translate 6:52 and 8:17 respectively as "There hearts were becoming hardened" and "Have your hearts become hardened?" These would seem to fit the overall progression of Mark's narrative with respect to the disciples but I am wondering what level of violence, if any, I would be doing to the syntax of each sentence.>>

        I think you do some violence to the syntax of the sentences by these translations. From a synchronic perspective, the real progression here in Mark lies in the fact that JESUS CONFIRMS in 8:17-18 a blindness of the disciples' "mind" that was first merely noted by the evangelist as an editorial comment in 6:52. I think one should be careful, however, not to exaggerate even the very pointed criticism of the disciples' blindness in Mark. Jesus' final comment in Mark 8:21: "do you not YET understand"? suggests that Mark was aware that the disciples in fact eventually had their minds opened (as we learn from Acts 10) to the full implications of the Gentile mission.

        Leonard Maluf
        Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
        Weston, MA
      • J. Ted Blakley
        Leonard, Thank you very much for your detailed response. I appreciate your comments from the perspective of Matthean priority, for although I am not convinced
        Message 3 of 13 , Apr 7, 2004
          Leonard,
          Thank you very much for your detailed response. I appreciate your
          comments from the perspective of Matthean priority, for although I am not
          convinced of Matthean priority (I just haven't sat down and done enough of
          my own evaluation of the different positions to argue one way or another, I
          have basically inherited Markan priority) I have wondered how what I seem to
          be seeing in Mark contributes to the discussion of the synoptic problem. In
          Mark, Jesus engages in a purposeful Gentile mission (7:31-8:11, 8:14-21)
          following the disciples inability and/or refusal to engage in such a mission
          (6:45-53), whereas Matthew makes it clear that Jesus was sent only to Israel
          during his earthly ministry and the disciples were sent to Gentiles only
          after the resurrection. So has Mark changed Matthew or Matthew changed Mark
          on the Gentile question. I expect good arguments could be made from both
          sides but I haven't sat down and thought through them and evaluated their
          strengths and weaknesses. I can imagine the position you have argued for,
          but I also see some possible arguments from the perspective of Markan
          priority. For example, Matthew could be a conservative Jewish-Christian
          response to Mark's position on Gentiles. But as I said, I haven't really
          explored this.
          One of the things I found particularly helpful in your response was your
          commment, "I think you do some violence to the syntax of the sentences by
          these translations. From a synchronic perspective, the real progression here
          in Mark lies in the fact that JESUS CONFIRMS in 8:17-18 a blindness of the
          disciples' "mind" that was first merely noted by the evangelist as an
          editorial comment in 6:52." The idea of Jesus confirming a previous
          editorial comment supports my intuition about an increasing hardness on the
          part of the disciples; they are getting closer and closer to the position of
          the Pharisees and are in ever increasing danger of becoming those on the
          outside who only get taught in parables.
          So what do you do with 8:17b? How do you translate it and understand
          the syntax of PEPWRWMENHN ECETE THN KARDIAN hUMWN? Is it in any sense
          periphrastic? Is the hUMWN simply redundant? I am still baffled, perhaps
          unnecessarily, about how this sentence is constructed.
          I do think you are right to point out that my translation does not bring
          out the passive sense of the participle, but it has sparked another thought
          I hadn't considered before. Since the hardening is in the passive, might we
          ask if there is an implied agent involved who is either doing the hardening
          or who is allowing it to take place? Is there not some sense in this case of
          implied agency of the hardening with the use of the passive, in which case
          an active translation might be used to bring this out? One would then have
          to consider who might be the agent (God, Satan, the disciples).
          Okay one final question and I will quit (this is getting somewhat stream
          of consciousness here). It just occurred to me that PEPWRWMENHN could also
          be a middle, couldn't it? If so, would my translation, "Have you hardened
          your hearts?" be an appropriate reflection of the Greek. Not trying to push
          this translation, but am simply trying to figure out at what points my
          thinking is correct and were it is wrong. Thanks again for your response.

          Sincerely,
          Ted
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
          --------------
          J. Ted Blakley

          Ph.D. Candidate
          St Mary's College
          University of St Andrews

          jtb1@...
          ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
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        • Fathchuck@aol.com
          In a message dated 4/6/2004 12:51:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jtb1@st-andrews.ac.uk writes: In particular, I have been looking at the issue of the disciples
          Message 4 of 13 , Apr 7, 2004
            In a message dated 4/6/2004 12:51:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jtb1@... writes:
            In particular, I have been looking at the issue of the disciples' hardness of heart (blindness, deafness, etc.) which crops up in 6:52 and 8:17, and pursuing a couple of theses about how their hardness of heart relates to the hardness of heart of the Pharisees (3:5, 10:5) and to Jesus' mission to Gentiles which the disciples seem to be having a hard time with (Note the first, failed trip to Bethsaida in 6:45-52 and the disciples refusal to take 'extra loaves' with them on the second, successful trip to Bethsaida 8:14-21
            I don't usually post,  I'm using this site to keep abreast of current thought on the Synoptics. But I am a bit confused about the premises cited here. In the first instance you refer to Mark 6,45-52 as a 'failed trip'. I have checked several translations, and the Greek text and can not see how you have determined that it was a failed trip. In the second instnace, Mark 8,14-21, you characterize the disciples as "refusing" to take extra loaves with them. Every translation and the Greek text says they 'forgot'. How did you jump from forgetting to refusing -- two very different ideas?
             
            Rev. Charles Schwartz, Associate Pastor
            St. Joan of Arc parish
            Marlton, NJ
          • Jeffrey B. Gibson
            ... The verb translated as forget (EPILANQANOMAI) means to willfully forget/neglect . It has nothing to do with inadvertence. Yours, Jeffrey Gibson --
            Message 5 of 13 , Apr 7, 2004
              Fathchuck@... wrote:
               In a message dated 4/6/2004 12:51:45 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jtb1@... writes:
              In particular, I have been looking at the issue of the disciples' hardness of heart (blindness, deafness, etc.) which crops up in 6:52 and 8:17, and pursuing a couple of theses about how their hardness of heart relates to the hardness of heart of the Pharisees (3:5, 10:5) and to Jesus' mission to Gentiles which the disciples seem to be having a hard time with (Note the first, failed trip to Bethsaida in 6:45-52 and the disciples refusal to take 'extra loaves' with them on the second, successful trip to Bethsaida 8:14-21
              I don't usually post,  I'm using this site to keep abreast of current thought on the Synoptics. But I am a bit confused about the premises cited here. In the first instance you refer to Mark 6,45-52 as a 'failed trip'. I have checked several translations, and the Greek text and can not see how you have determined that it was a failed trip. In the second instnace, Mark 8,14-21, you characterize the disciples as "refusing" to take extra loaves with them. Every translation and the Greek text says they 'forgot'. How did you jump from forgetting to refusing -- two very different ideas?
              The verb translated as "forget" (EPILANQANOMAI) means "to willfully forget/neglect".  It has nothing to do with inadvertence.

              Yours,

              Jeffrey Gibson
              --

              Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

              1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
              Chicago, IL 60626

              jgibson000@...
               

            • Maluflen@aol.com
              In a message dated 4/7/2004 3:30:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jgibson000@comcast.net writes:
              Message 6 of 13 , Apr 7, 2004
                In a message dated 4/7/2004 3:30:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jgibson000@... writes:

                << The verb translated as "forget" (EPILANQANOMAI) means "to willfully forget/neglect". It has nothing to do with
                inadvertence.>>

                Jeffrey, I think you overstate the point here. The term occurs in the parallel account of Matthew, apparently without this negative connotation. One could argue, on the basis of context and overall interpretation of the pericope in Mark, that the author of the second Gospel intended the meaning you suggest. But this is a secondary and less frequent meaning of the Greek term in question. Cf. Lk 12:6.

                Leonard Maluf
                Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                Weston, MA

                Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
                List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...
              • Jeffrey B. Gibson
                ... I did not mean to deny that EPILANQANOMAI can and does mean to forget in what might be called the ordinary sense of the word. But it s : secondary
                Message 7 of 13 , Apr 7, 2004
                   

                  Maluflen@... wrote:

                  In a message dated 4/7/2004 3:30:14 PM Eastern Daylight Time, jgibson000@... writes:

                  << The verb translated as "forget" (EPILANQANOMAI) means "to willfully forget/neglect".  It has nothing to do with
                  inadvertence.>>

                  Jeffrey, I think you overstate the point here. The term occurs in the parallel account of Matthew, apparently without this negative connotation. One could argue, on the basis of context and overall interpretation of the pericope in Mark, that the author of the second Gospel intended the meaning you suggest. But this is a secondary and less frequent meaning of the Greek term in question. Cf. Lk 12:6.

                  I did not mean to deny that EPILANQANOMAI can and does mean "to forget" in what might be called the ordinary sense of the word.  But it's :"secondary" meaning is reasonably well attested in "secular" Greek, and it certainly is used in its secondary sense in most of its Biblical Greek instances. As I noted back in the late 80s:

                  EPILANQANOMAI is one of Mark's 'Septuagintal hapax legomena', that is, one of the approximately 50 words which appear only once in Mark's Gospel but which are also found in the LXX  [ Cf Swete, Mark, p. xliv.] A distinctive feature of these words is that when they are used by Mark, they are always employed with their most basic Septuagintal sense.

                  Cf., for instance, AGREUEIN which in classical literature usually means 'to take or catch by hunting or fishing, 'to snatch something away' (Hdt. 2.95), but which at Mk 12.13 is used, as in the LXX in the metaphorical sense of 'to ensnare someone' (cf Prov. 5.22; 6.25f ; job 10.16); or also SUNQLIBEIN which in secular Greek is used in descriptions of the compression of an object (cf Arist. Rh. 1361 b17), but at Mk 5.24, as in Sir. 34.14 (= 31.17) as part of the description of a crowd pressing on a person.


                  In the LXX EPILANQANOMAI is sometimes used to convey the idea of inadvertence (cf Gen. 41.51; Deut. 21.31; Wis. 2.4; 16.23; 19.20; Eccl. 2.16; 9.5; Sir. 13.10). But in more than 100 of its 122 appearances there (including the Apocrypha) the verb is used to mean 'to overlook consciously', 'to neglect willfully'.

                  Cf Deut. 8.11: 'Beware lest you forget MH EPILAQH the Lord your God in not keeping his commandments, his judgments, his statutes which I commanded you this day. Deut. 26.13: 'And you shall say before the Lord ... I have not transgressed any of your commandments, neither have I forgotten them OUK EPELAQOMHN)". Ps. 78.7: 'That they might set their hope in God, and not forget MH EPILANQANOU) the works of God, but keep his commandments'. Prov. 3.1: 'Forget not MH EPILANQANOU my law, but let your heart keep my commandments'. Jer. 18.15: 'My people have forgotten me (EPELAQENTO MOU), they have burned incense to vanity . . . ' Ezek 23.35: "Therefore says the Lord, because you have forgotten me (EPELAQOU MOU), and cast me behind your back...'

                  It should be noted that in the majority of these cases EPILANQANOMAI does not mean any sort of disobedience. It is part of the special vocabulary of either exhortations to, and exclamations of, covenant
                  faithfulness, or condemnations of covenant unfaithfulness, employed consistently as a synonym for 'to apostasize'.

                  It would be strange, then, had Mark wanted to say in Mk 8.14a that the disciples simply forgot to take extra loaves, that he would have employed a verb which possessed so fixed and different a meaning and which was so full of other associations. A far less ambiguous and far more Marcan way of conveying this idea (given that Mark has his own word for 'to recall, cf Mk 11.21; 14.72), would have been OUK ANEMNHSQESAN TOU
                  LABEIN ARTOUS.

                  According to Mark, then, the disciples take no more than one loaf with them on their journey because they refuse to do otherwise.
                   

                  Cf. D.H. Smith, 'An Exposition of Mk 8.14-21', ExpT 59 (1947-48), pp. 25-26
                  Jeffrey
                  --

                  Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)

                  1500 W. Pratt Blvd. #1
                  Chicago, IL 60626

                  jgibson000@...
                   

                • Maluflen@aol.com
                  In a message dated 4/7/2004 5:57:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time, jtb1@st-andrews.ac.uk writes:
                  Message 8 of 13 , Apr 7, 2004
                    In a message dated 4/7/2004 5:57:38 AM Eastern Daylight Time, jtb1@... writes:

                    << For example, Matthew could be a conservative Jewish-Christian response to Mark's position on Gentiles.>>

                    I have argued elsewhere that this is a theoretical possiblity, but doesn't work when one examines the actual evidence. Matthew is naively, not pointedly or polemically, Jewish, or anti-Gentile. "Naively" translates into primitively, = not as a reaction to an already exiting Gentile-oriented Gospel.

                    << So what do you do with 8:17b? How do you translate it and understand the syntax of PEPWRWMENHN ECETE THN KARDIAN hUMWN? Is it in any sense periphrastic? Is the hUMWN simply redundant? >>

                    Mark's expression is slightly baffling to me as well. I'm not sure whether this can be analyzed syntactically as a periphrasis. Perhaps so. And the hUMWN does seem to be pleonastic. Perhaps it indirectly alludes to the hardened hearts of the Pharisee opponents of Jesus (as in "are YOUR hearts [too] hardened"?).

                    As for this particular use of EXEIN, it does seem a bit strange, but it may be idiomatic for Mark. I haven't done a complete study, but 3:2 is certainly a close parallel (and note how Mark's expression here differs from the parallel expression in Matt!). This may repay some further study. As for your suggestion that the participle PEPWRWMENHN might be middle, I imagine this is possible -- but does a middle participle really work in conjunction with the main verb EXEIN with second pers.subj.?

                    Leonard Maluf
                    Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                    Weston, MA




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                  • J. Ted Blakley
                    J. Ted Blakley Wrote: In particular, I have been looking at the issue of the disciples hardness of heart (blindness, deafness, etc.) which crops up in 6:52
                    Message 9 of 13 , Apr 8, 2004
                      J. Ted Blakley Wrote:
                      In particular, I have been looking at the issue of the disciples' hardness of heart (blindness, deafness, etc.) which crops up in 6:52 and 8:17, and pursuing a couple of theses about how their hardness of heart relates to the hardness of heart of the Pharisees (3:5, 10:5) and to Jesus' mission to Gentiles which the disciples seem to be having a hard time with (Note the first, failed trip to Bethsaida in 6:45-52 and the disciples refusal to take 'extra loaves' with them on the second, successful trip to Bethsaida 8:14-21

                       
                      Rev. Charles Schwartz Responds:
                      I don't usually post,  I'm using this site to keep abreast of current thought on the Synoptics. But I am a bit confused about the premises cited here. In the first instance you refer to Mark 6,45-52 as a 'failed trip'. I have checked several translations, and the Greek text and can not see how you have determined that it was a failed trip. In the second instnace, Mark 8,14-21, you characterize the disciples as "refusing" to take extra loaves with them. Every translation and the Greek text says they 'forgot'. How did you jump from forgetting to refusing -- two very different ideas?


                      J. Ted Blakley Responds:
                      Jeffery has already responded to your question about 8:14-21 and the issue of the disciples' "forgetting/neglecting", which is appropriate since I was simply stating his thesis from his 1986 article (Jeffrey B. Gibson, "The Rebuke of the Disciples in Mark 8.14–21," JSNT 27 (1986): 31-47). It is an article I highly recommend because it challenges the prevailing assumption that the disciples in Mark are simply dull, just generally ignorant. When one sees that the disciples have purposefully neglected to bring bread, then the severity of Jesus' rebuke makes better sense. Moreover, this idea of purposeful neglect fits better with the question about their hardness of heart, an idiom that does not suggest mere ignorance or mere inability to believe or understand something but a willing refusal to believe, understand, or act in a certain way.

                      I will respond to your question about the "failed" trip. You are right to ask because I didn't really say much about it. You will notice in 6:45 that Jesus "compels/forces" the disciples to get into the boat and go ahead of him to Bethsaida (which is on the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee and in Mark is in Gentile territory). But notice that in 6:53 they do not make it to Bethsaida but land at Gennesaret, a plain on the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and therefore Jewish territory. This has been one of those problematic issues in Mark and has lead many scholars to conclude that either Mark was not much interested in geography, or more likely didn't know is geography, or in this case had made a mistake in his redaction. That is, you will notice that the healing of the blind man in 8:22-26 takes place in Bethsaida, so they do eventually get there by boat. What has happened is that in the sources Mark used and redacted the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida followed on the heels of the feeding of the 5000. What Mark has done is rarranged some material and introduced some material so that quite a bit now happens between the feeding of the 5000 and the healing of the blind man (see Paul J. Achtemeier, "Toward the Isolation of Pre-Markan Miracle Catenae," JBL 89 (1970): 265-91). For some scholars then, Mark has forgotten (not purposefully neglected) to remove the Bethsaida in 6:45 (Note that Bethsaida is not present in Matthew's account and so there is no discrepancy. By the way, if Leonard reads this I will be interested in hearing how one might defend Matthean priority at this point.). My argument, which I haven't presented fully here, is that this is not a mistake on Mark's part but quite the opposite. Mark wants the listener/reader to see that the intended destination was not reached. This I think is fairly easy to defend. And note that one does not have to dismiss the argument that in Mark's original sources the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida immediately followed the feeding of the 5000. Mark has introduced intervening material between these two episodes, one of which is a failed sea crossing.
                          One of the issues I am working on is the nature of the failure. What is the cause of the failure? I won't go into all of the details right now, but will if someone wants to hear them, but I think the failure is the disciples refusal (narrated in terms of their difficulty in rowing) to go ahead of Jesus into Gentile territory and engage in some sort of Gentile mission, perhaps similar to the mission they were on in Galilee immediately prior to the feeding of the 5000. The twelve were called by Jesus to be with him and to be sent out, that is their vocation as apostles (Mark 3:13-15). They show both a willingness and a great success at being able to proclaim the kingdom, heal, and exorcise demons in their own Jewish land of Galilee, but when it comes to doing the same thing on the other side of the Sea, they are resistant. Not only must Jesus "force" them to get into the boat and go to the other side to Bethsaida (note the strength of the word HNAGKASEN) but they can't even make it across the sea (and at least a third of them are fisherman). Basically, the failure is the disciples refusal/inability to make it to the other side and Jesus cannot ultimately force them to do so. In Mark, Jesus has absolute authority over nonhuman elements (unclean spirits, demons, the sea, sickness, death) but does not have absolute authority over human agents. He can't force the Pharisees and scribes to understand/accept his vision of God's kingdom and his vision of those to whom God is offering salvation, he can't even get people whom he has healed to not talk about it, and neither can he get his disciples to engage in a Gentile mission if they are refusing to go. This explains why when Jesus gets into the boat and the wind dies down that they don't actually continue on to Bethsaida but land at Gennesaret. That they were blown off course does not make sense because Jesus has just calmed the sea. The disciples have failed to go ahead of Jesus to Bethsaida and so Jesus will have to lead them there. So after his debate with the Pharisees on what makes on ritually impure (the food issue that is one of the barriers between Jews associating with Gentiles), Jesus goes on a Gentile mission (7:24-8:26), leading the disciples. They may not be ready to be sent out but at least they are with him. I think a lot of this fits well with and confirms Jeffery's reading of 8:14-21, why Jesus' rebuke is so harsh and what is it that the disciples are not "understanding."
                    • J. Ted Blakley
                      J. Ted Blakley wrote:
                      Message 10 of 13 , Apr 8, 2004
                        J. Ted Blakley wrote:
                        << So what do you do with 8:17b? How do you translate it and understand the
                        syntax of PEPWRWMENHN ECETE THN KARDIAN hUMWN? Is it in any sense
                        periphrastic? Is the hUMWN simply redundant? >>

                        --------------------------
                        Leonard Maluf wrote:
                        <<Mark's expression is slightly baffling to me as well. I'm not sure whether
                        this can be analyzed syntactically as a periphrasis. Perhaps so. And the
                        hUMWN does seem to be pleonastic. Perhaps it indirectly alludes to the
                        hardened hearts of the Pharisee opponents of Jesus (as in "are YOUR hearts
                        [too] hardened"?).>>

                        Thank you for saying that you find Mark's expression slightly baffling. I
                        have sent this question to three lists and not received any responses on
                        this point and am comforted by the fact that at least one other person finds
                        it somewhat baffeling.

                        <<As for this particular use of EXEIN, it does seem a bit strange, but it
                        may be idiomatic for Mark. I haven't done a complete study, but 3:2 is
                        certainly a close parallel (and note how Mark's expression here differs from
                        the parallel expression in Matt!). This may repay some further study. As for
                        your suggestion that the participle PEPWRWMENHN might be middle, I imagine
                        this is possible -- but does a middle participle really work in conjunction
                        with the main verb EXEIN with second pers.subj.?>>

                        I noticed the close parall in 3:1 (I'm assuming you meant 3:1 and not 3:2)
                        but haven't come to a conclusion on it yet. But as for your question about
                        the middle voice of the participle. When I mentioned the middle voice I was
                        no longer thinking of a periphrastic construction. Instead I would see the
                        participle as the verbal component of an object clause. That is, in Greek
                        you often have whole clauses that function as the direct object of the main
                        verb. Sometimes infinitives are used in the object clause and on other
                        occasions accusative participles are used. So in this sentence I would see
                        something like this" Do you have ______" where the blank is the object
                        clause. The object clause itself in the middle voice would be something like
                        "you have hardened your hearts." Putting them together you get the rough "Do
                        you have (you have hardened your hearts)" which doesn't make good sense in
                        English and so my attempt at an idiomatic translation of this would be "Have
                        you hardened your hearts?" Or maybe "Do you have hearts that have been
                        hardened by you" or "Do you have hearts that you yourselves have hardened."

                        Sincerely
                        Ted
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        --------------
                        J. Ted Blakley

                        Ph.D. Candidate
                        St Mary's College
                        University of St Andrews

                        jtb1@...
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                        -------------


                        Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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                      • Maluflen@aol.com
                        In a message dated 4/7/2004 1:55:21 PM Pacific Daylight Time, ... This is all interesting, but I remain somewhat skeptical of LXX influence here on Mark. On
                        Message 11 of 13 , Apr 8, 2004
                          In a message dated 4/7/2004 1:55:21 PM Pacific Daylight Time, jgibson000@... writes:


                          I did not mean to deny that EPILANQANOMAI can and does mean "to forget" in what might be called the ordinary sense of the word.  But it's :"secondary" meaning is reasonably well attested in "secular" Greek, and it certainly is used in its secondary sense in most of its Biblical Greek instances. As I noted back in the late 80s: EPILANQANOMAI is one of Mark's 'Septuagintal hapax legomena', that is, one of the approximately 50 words which appear only once in Mark's Gospel but which are also found in the LXX  [ Cf Swete, Mark, p. xliv.] A distinctive feature of these words is that when they are used by Mark, they are always employed with their most basic Septuagintal sense.
                          Cf., for instance, AGREUEIN which in classical literature usually means 'to take or catch by hunting or fishing, 'to snatch something away' (Hdt. 2.95), but which at Mk 12.13 is used, as in the LXX in the metaphorical sense of 'to ensnare someone' (cf Prov. 5.22; 6.25f ; job 10.16); or also SUNQLIBEIN which in secular Greek is used in descriptions of the compression of an object (cf Arist. Rh. 1361 b17), but at Mk 5.24, as in Sir. 34.14 (= 31.17) as part of the description of a crowd pressing on a person.



                          This is all interesting, but I remain somewhat skeptical of LXX influence here on Mark. On the basis of a couple of Proverbs texts and one in Job, I don't see how you can describe this as the word's "most basic Septuagintal sense", when the verb is used an almost equal number of times in its more literal sense in the LXX. The cited LXX texts are also not particularly close parallels to the Markan text, other than containing, like it, a metaphorical use of an originally concrete term -- which however could have arisen through anyone's native use of intelligence, and without dependence on book usage. More likely still, the metaphorical use was probably current in koine Greek, particularly as spoken in the Jewish quarters of Rome.



                          In the LXX EPILANQANOMAI is sometimes used to convey the idea of inadvertence (cf Gen. 41.51; Deut. 21.31; Wis. 2.4; 16.23; 19.20; Eccl. 2.16; 9.5; Sir. 13.10). But in more than 100 of its 122 appearances there (including the Apocrypha) the verb is used to mean 'to overlook consciously', 'to neglect willfully'.
                          Cf Deut. 8.11: 'Beware lest you forget MH EPILAQH the Lord your God in not keeping his commandments, his judgments, his statutes which I commanded you this day. Deut. 26.13: 'And you shall say before the Lord ... I have not transgressed any of your commandments, neither have I forgotten them OUK EPELAQOMHN)". Ps. 78.7: 'That they might set their hope in God, and not forget MH EPILANQANOU) the works of God, but keep his commandments'. Prov. 3.1: 'Forget not MH EPILANQANOU my law, but let your heart keep my commandments'. Jer. 18.15: 'My people have forgotten me (EPELAQENTO MOU), they have burned incense to vanity . . . ' Ezek 23.35: "Therefore says the Lord, because you have forgotten me (EPELAQOU MOU), and cast me behind your back...'

                          It should be noted that in the majority of these cases EPILANQANOMAI does not mean any sort of disobedience. It is part of the special vocabulary of either exhortations to, and exclamations of, covenant
                          faithfulness, or condemnations of covenant unfaithfulness, employed consistently as a synonym for 'to apostasize'.
                          It would be strange, then, had Mark wanted to say in Mk 8.14a that the disciples simply forgot to take extra loaves, that he would have employed a verb which possessed so fixed and different a meaning and which was so full of other associations. A far less ambiguous and far more Marcan way of conveying this idea (given that Mark has his own word for 'to recall, cf Mk 11.21; 14.72), would have been OUK ANEMNHSQESAN TOU
                          LABEIN ARTOUS.


                          Again, I think this conclusion is exaggerated. And again your cited LXX texts are not particularly close parallels to the Markan text. EPILANQANW is a perfectly normal Greek way to speak about [mere] "forgetting", and in point of fact, I would reverse my earlier hasty judgment on the influence of the Markan context. I don't see how this context moves one in the direction of supporting a secondary meaning for the verb, in the sense of deliberate negligence. In the story, the absence of the loaves, which the disciples forgot to bring along, seems to function precisely as a red herring, and not as the main point of the story. In verse 17, Jesus even wonders aloud why the disciples are thinking about these absent loaves when he is trying to say something else. Nor is there any apparent way in which Jesus' words can be construed as a rebuke to the disciples for deliberately not bringing more bread with them (or for what this purposeful negligence would presumably imply) -- a rebuke which would seem to be required by the meaning you are trying to give to the passage, in dependence on a secondary meaning of EPILANQANW.

                          Leonard Maluf
                          Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                          Weston, MA
                        • Maluflen@aol.com
                          In a message dated 4/8/2004 2:47:29 AM Pacific Daylight Time, ... Yes, of course, thanks for the correction! ... Yes, I think your last two attempts are close
                          Message 12 of 13 , Apr 8, 2004
                            In a message dated 4/8/2004 2:47:29 AM Pacific Daylight Time, jtb1@... writes:


                            I noticed the close parallel in 3:1 (I'm assuming you meant 3:1 and not 3:2)
                            but haven't come to a conclusion on it yet.


                            Yes, of course, thanks for the correction!


                            But as for your question about the middle voice of the participle. When I mentioned the middle voice I was no longer thinking of a periphrastic construction. Instead I would see the participle as the verbal component of an object clause. That is, in Greek you often have whole clauses that function as the direct object of the main
                            verb. Sometimes infinitives are used in the object clause and on other
                            occasions accusative participles are used. So in this sentence I would see
                            something like this" Do you have ______" where the blank is the object
                            clause. The object clause itself in the middle voice would be something like
                            "you have hardened your hearts." Putting them together you get the rough "Do
                            you have (you have hardened your hearts)" which doesn't make good sense in
                            English and so my attempt at an idiomatic translation of this would be "Have
                            you hardened your hearts?" Or maybe "Do you have hearts that have been
                            hardened by you" or "Do you have hearts that you yourselves have hardened."



                            Yes, I think your last two attempts are close to the meaning intended. At least at the moment I can think of nothing better. And the expression still seems a bit strange in Greek.

                            Leonard Maluf
                            Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                            Weston, MA
                          • Maluflen@aol.com
                            In a message dated 4/8/2004 2:28:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time, jtb1@st-andrews.ac.uk writes: (Note that Bethsaida is not present in Matthew s account and so
                            Message 13 of 13 , Apr 8, 2004
                              In a message dated 4/8/2004 2:28:07 AM Pacific Daylight Time, jtb1@... writes:

                              (Note that Bethsaida is not present in Matthew's account and so there is no
                              discrepancy. By the way, if Leonard reads this I will be interested in hearing how one might defend Matthean priority at this point.).


                              Matthean priority is my default position and I don't feel the need to defend it until it is laid out for me how the total evidence, in a given case, specifically contradicts it, or at least renders it problematical. (Of course my ultimate position on the Synoptic source question will then depend on whether this happens convincingly in a majority of cases, or only rarely, and on how often, by comparison, the relevant evidence is problematical for Markan priority). I do not immediately see how the evidence, in this particular case, is threatening to Matthean priority, but perhaps you could lay out the evidence for me?

                              Leonard Maluf
                              Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
                              Weston, MA
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