Re: inconcinnities

Mike Phillips (
Wed, 25 Sep 1996 03:32:38 -0700

> From: "Carl W. Conrad" <>, on 9/24/96 10:43 PM:
> I'm still not quite sure what inconcinnity is being referred to as a
> feature of Marcan style, but one of the things that has struck me as
> characteristic of Mark at some points is that the seams between what is
> probably tradition and what is probably redaction are readily visible. For
> instance, in the story of the Healing of the Paralytic (2:1-11) we have
> LEGEI TWi PARALUTIKWi followed by an exhortation of Jesus to the paralytic
> twice: at the end of vs 5a and again at the end of vs. 10. It looks
> probable to me that vs. 5a was originally followed by vs. 11 and that Mark
> (or his source in oral tradition, just possibly) has inserted the sequence
> 5b-10a in order to make the linkage between healing and forgiveness, themes
> also linked in the pericope that follows immediately upon this. The
> sandwiching of one narrative within another is a not uncommon Marcan
> device, but the seams here seem glaring; the strange thing is that I cannot
> help but think that the artificiality is deliberate--that Mark is out to
> shock his audience by putting the unexpected exhortation to the paralytic
> with the first LEGEI, then repeating the LEGEI with the original and
> expected exhortation so that it wins new contextual profundity in the
> equation of wholeness and forgiveness of sins. Is that the "inconcinnity"
> being referred to? I don't know. Mike will have to enlighten us from the
> commentary on Mark and how it actually uses the word.
> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University
> One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
> (314) 935-4018
> OR
> WWW:

From context, I would say Gundry is saying that all efforts to approach
Mark with an eye to early vs. late tradition, i.e., historical Jesus vs. Christ
of faith or 'pre-Markan' strains with Markan or 'post-Markan' redactor (hence,
inconcinnities) in the text are needless (though he doesn't say they are
entirely without merit). I believe he argues that we have Mark as we have it,
that it is the work of John Mark, following the eyewitness account of Peter,
and that most inconcinnities can be understood in ways that need not assume
reworking (including, I think, the last portion of Chapter 16, if I'm reading
his intro correctly). Thanks to Stephen, Carl, (and others who I have yet to
read) for help in this regard, as both posts were eminently illuminating (to
include the shortcomings of my on-line Webster's and my Lexical monster which
is bigger than my 'Great Scott' and not as complete as Stephen's 9th collegiate
(or did I trust too much to my internet source and not look following the
parenetic episode?).
By the way, Gundry's use of parenetic was contra Christological, i.e.,
he holds that Mark's gospel has one goal -- to present Jesus as Christ and
account for the shameful (in hellenistic context) way in which he died, hence,
his title "An Apology for the Cross." I received this book free while working
at a book store at seminary and I'm using it to work through the greek text of
Mark (Gundry is very conservative and I tend to be heretical, and I'm hoping he
will prevent me from being stupid and heretical <wink> (since I don't hold the
two terms to be mutually exclusive).

Mike Phillips

A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanging;
it is the skin of living thought and changes from day
to day as does the air around us. - Oliver Wendell Holmes

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