Re: More questions on Mark

From: Larry W. Hurtado (
Date: Mon Sep 25 1995 - 17:49:06 EDT

On Mon, 25 Sep 1995, Kenneth Litwak wrote:

> Can someone tell me the difference in meaning or significance of the
> use of the periphrastic participle, such as the periphrastic pluperfect
> in Mark 6:52, compares to a simpler form, like just a pluperfect passive
> verb? Also, in this episode of walking on the water, Jesus announces
> to the disciples "egw eimi". I don't really expect at this point Jesus
> meant to be telling his discplies he was Yahweh, and even if he had,
> from their reaction, they clearly would not have accepteD THAT.
> I'm wondering therefore if there are other examples outside the NT of
> the use of ego eimi without any modifiers, and what it probably means
> in those passages. Thanks.

Ken, In approaching Mark 6:52, we have to recognize that what we have is
a _Markan episode_, not a photographic account of something Jesus did or
said. In understanding the sense of the account, therefore, the first
question is "What is it likely that *Mark* is doing with the account?"
and not "What is it likely that *Jesus* means here?" Thus, the lst
question with regard to the "ego eimi" here is "What is it likely that
*Mark* intends in putting this statement on Jesus' lips?" To offer an
answer, in light of the rather numinous qualities Mark gives to Jesus
here and elsewhere, I suggest that the "ego eimi" is intended on two
levels--both as a straightforward self-identification ("It's me!"), but
also as an echo/hint of OT divine self-identification language which =
Jesus here is speaking like Yhwh, reflecting Jesus' divine-like status
and powers. This, I suggest, is Mark's probable intentions in the
passage. It's altogether another question as to what things Jesus may or
may not have actually said and intended.

Larry Hurtado, Religion, Univ. of Manitoba

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