Re: More on Constituent Order

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun Jan 26 1997 - 22:39:10 EST

At 4:59 PM -0600 1/26/97, Micheal Palmer wrote:
>There is significant manuscript variation regarding the constituent order
>of a certain section of Mark 1:4. I would like to ask for the judgments of
>the more experience readers of Greek on this list regarding the difference
>of implication between the reading printed in UBS4 and the one found in D,
>Theta, 28. 700 the Latin (at least the Latin texts consulted for the
>production of UBS4 and Nestle Aland 27), and SyriacP.
>The reading in UBS4/Nestle Aland 27 is supported by Sinaiticus, L, Delta
>and a few others:
>In the variant which concerns me here, we find the following order:
>In these manuscripts EN THi ERHMWi is placed before the participle
>BAPTIZWN. What impact would this change of order have on your reading of
>the text?
>I would love to read responses discussing any difference in emphasis,
>focus, etc. caused by the reading in D, Theta, 28. 700 the latin, and

It seems to me that the fundamental feature here is the enhanced
highlighting of EN THi ERHMWi in the variant. I think it was Willi Marxsen
who first noted that this phrase, carried over from the passage from 2nd
Isaiah cited in v. 3, is what makes the intended link between JBpt and the
eschatological Elijah clear. I can't speak to the probabilities governing
the likelihood of this variant being original, but it does seem to me that
(a) this reading produces a rhetorically more effective word-order, and (b)
a shift of BAPTIZWN to the other side of EN THi ERHMWi along with addition
of an article might well be an alteration that could have taken place in
the interest of harmonizing Mark with later tradition which makes "the
Baptizer" an epithet of John, whereas here we have the sudden appearance of
John in the desert--just like Elijah in the legends of 1 Kings--and then
the two participles BAPTIZWN KAI KHRUSSWN together. I don't know whether
it's really likely to be original, but it seems to me a much more powerful

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

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