Re: Mark 1:21

Carl W. Conrad (
Wed, 2 Oct 1996 08:25:18 -0500

At 9:29 AM -0500 10/2/96, Mike Phillips wrote:
>I have some questions here in terms of rendering:
>tois sabbasin (locative dative of time?)

Yes, I think so.

> why plural -- on the sabbaths, and why do most render it in the
>singular, on the sabbath?

I recall there was some discussion on this matter a few months back, but I
don't recall whether there was any definitive answer. I do know that I
suggested the possibility that the plural is a function of regular Greek
designation of festivals and feast days with a neuter plural (e.g.
ELEUSINIA, DIONUSIA; for that matter, a common term for the sex act is
AFRODISIA, "rites of Aphrodite").

>eiselqwn (aorist active participle nom s masc)
> given the imperfect aspect of edidasken, would this be rendered WHEN or
>AFTER or something else?
>edidasken (imperfect 3rd sing)
> most render this as taught, whereas I tend to read the whole line as
>(And) They enter (or come to) Capernaum, and straightway when entering the
>assembly on the sabbaths he was teaching.
> This suggests a habit rather than a singular event. I welcome more
>insightful commentary.

In view of the fact that the pericope continues to detail happenings that
appear to be distinct to a single time and place, I would suppose that Mark
intends us to understand this as a single sequence from 1:21-28. I would
relate the aorist participle to the imperfect indicative as indicating
priority of entrance and inception of the teaching; the next verse
indicates growing astonishment at Jesus' teaching, so it seems to me that
inception and progression of the teaching are implied.

I'd translate freely but inclusive of the sense, I think: "And right away,
as the day was a Sabbath, he went into the synagogue and proceeded to
teach. ..."

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
One Brookings Drive, St. Louis, MO, USA 63130
(314) 935-4018 OR