[Synoptic-L] Re: Mark's Introduction, what does it tell us
- Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Rick Richmond. I am trained in both classical and New Testament Greek. I am new to this list. My primary interest is in the Gospel of Mark as it has ben the focus of my research for the last 10 years. Having said that I have found the list that addresses Mark specifically, to be quite biased against new ideas and almost unfriendly, especially to ideas that break with traditional scholastic opinion. .
It is my cunclusion from my research that the Gospel of Mark offers internal evidence concerning the synoptic problem. It is first necessary, however, to clear up some abiguities of translation in the text of Mark to correctly see the infereces related to the transmission of the story of Jesuss. I will also address how Matthew and Luke approaced Mark. I would like to begin but giving a brief example of the difficulties that have arisen from Mark's introduction.
The task of translating the Gospel of Mark as I see it:
I think it is helpful here to spell out what I understand to be the task when translating the Gospel of Mark. I am not really interested in debating with exegetical rhetoric. I don't really want to cite the gurus of the discipline, so much as to understand the text that is before us. I want to know what was actually written and then what the writing meant. That is to say what did the writer/compiler mean by what he wrote. I think this task is more than enough to start with. So here we go :)
1 arch tou euaggeliou ihsou cristou uiou qeou
the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ son of God
kaqws gegraptai en tw hsaia tw profhth
just as it stands written in Isaiah the prophet
break here completed statement
Idou apostellw ton aggelon mou pro proswpou sou os kataskeuasei thn
behold I send the messenger of me before face of you, he will prepare
the way of you
To my knowledge there is not a single English translation of Mark that seperates the line of text beginning with Idou from the reference to Isaiah. From the time of the Anti Nicean Fathers until today, sholars have struggled because of the erroneous conclussion that Mark means to say that the "Behold I send my messenger" sentence is a quotation, when it is in point of fact, intended to be direct address to the reader. I believe the problem goes back even farther. Scribes have changed the text to read simply the prophets in place of Isaiah the prophet, all in the attempt to resolve the problem of reference to Isaiah which they understood to be a mistaken reference.
Idou, Behold is 2pr sin imperative meaning to look intently, or to preceive. Mark's use of the present tense will be an issue that will come up again but at this point I think its use is most appropriate as he is writing the introductory address. We might say he is requesting in the present that his audience treat the document as word of God. In the narrative the Marken Jesus will make a strong point using the distinction between the Greek verbs for seeing and perceiving. Mark is quite consistant in that regard. Note that Idou is 2nd person sing. Mark is aware that only one person will actually be reading the document alloud in the hearing of the intended congregation.
Perhaps a quick look at the passage that Mark is suppose to have mis-referenced
would be helpfull here:
Septuagint, remember this is a translation into Greek from Hebrew.
idou ego ekapostello ton aggelon mou kai epiblepetai odon pro proswpou mou
behold I send out the messenger of me who shall see the way before the face of me
the best rendering of the Hebrew seems to be
See, I will send my messenger to prepare the way before me
No possesive pronoun in the Old Testamen examples but two of them in Mark's text.
Look at marks next line:
After looking at the Mark passage and reading dozens of criticisms, I simply cannot accept any other explanation for the text myself, than the one I have suggested at the outset. Mark did not make a mistake and site Isaiah followed by a qoutation
from Malachai, the argument is untenable. In this instance he wrote what he meant and he meant exactly what he wrote. There simply is no better explanation for his imperative statement, that includes glaring divergences from Malachai in both the Hebrew M.T. and the Septuagint. He may have thought of the Malachai passage and probably did, but he did not intend to quote it nor did he mistake if for a passage from Isaiah. He uses Isaiah over and over and I think it is clear that he knew the difference. Using the scientific approach we have three scenarios to examine.
1: Mark made a glaring mistake both in his reference to Isaiah and in the integrity of his quotation.
2: Mark was conflating two quotaions while only giving reference to the last one.
3. Mark intended his reader to understand that the Gospel of Jesus Christ began as far back as the prophesy of Isaiah.
Occum's razor would demand that we accept the last eplanation as the simplest and most likely to be correct. I personally would have to agree. To further butress add to this argument, the rest of the alledged quotation is also in the present tence indicating that it continues the though and also refers to the author's present situation.
fwnh bowntov en th erhmw
A voice cries out in the desert,
etoimasate thn odon kuriou
prepare the way of the Lord
euyeias poieite tav tribouv autou
straight make you (pl) the paths of him
More to come.
Respectfully Submitted by