Re: Mark 1:23

From: S. M. Baugh (
Date: Tue Mar 04 1997 - 19:42:28 EST

Re: "a man EN an unclean spirit"

Rod Decker wrote:

>>Wouldn't it make better sense to understand this as "with an unclean spirit?


Wes Williams wrote:

>I agree that there are difficulties understanding this EN as locative. In recently researching the "EN + <a person>", I found that Zerwick proposes that this Mark 1:23 usage is a semitism. However, Zerwick did not show how it was a semitism.


>Does anyone have information showing why or how this may be a semitism?

Carl Conrad wrote:

Would it represent the Hebrew preposition B'? My sense for Semitisms as

such is not as keen as my scent for the un-Greek, but when checking on

usage of EN a few days ago I found it was already used in classical


(albeit not frequently) in an instrumental sense, and I do think that EN


instrumental usage.

SmBaugh now writes:

Well I have to confess that you have made me re-think the meaning of EN
in this example. Which I will do (but don't be surprised if my "wheels
grind slow"!). However, I am confused by your suggestions.

Rod's rendering a man "with" an unclean spirit certainly seems plausible
in English, yet "with" in English may mean "accompaniment." I'm not
familiar with any uses of EN (in place of META or SYN) with that
meaning. Perhaps Rod meant "with" as instrumental, in which case Wes and
Conrad's remarks now come into view as well as my confusion! How can EN
have an instrumental sense with the lead verb EIMI (HN in Mark 1:23)?
The prepositional phrase could not be adverbial and instrumental with
EIMI can it? (EIMI here states the presence of the man in a
synogogue--how can an instument.)

Perhaps you are reading in some instrumental meaning with the previous
EN clause: "Now straight off there was in [EN] their synagogue a man
(conveyed there) by an unclean spirit and he shouted out. . . ." Is that
what you meant by instrumental? Or were you taking it with ANEKRAXEN?
The former seems rather too subtle for Mark's normal usage,and the
latter seems to ignore the intervening KAI (which is semitic inspired W
and typical in Mark).
Well, I'll ponder some more . . .

S. M. Baugh
Westminster Theolgical Seminary in California

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