Re: "a" or "the" ??

From: Wes Williams (
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 12:18:09 EST

>Dear Fellow B-Greekers,
>I have just completed an assignment for my Mark class, and am
>interested to know what other people think of this question. We were
>asked to write a brief paper discussing whether the centurion
>considered Jesus to be THE son of God, or A son of God in Mark 15:39.
>There is no definite article preceding hUIOS so that is wherein lies
>the diffciulty.
>We had to present the options, and then make a decision for ourselves
>based on what we studied. I have made my decision, but I would love to
>know what the general concensus would be concerning this (if there is

Dear Allison,

A reference you may wish to read is "Qualitative Anarthrous Predicate Nouns:
Mark 15:39 and John 1:1," published in Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol.
92, Philadelphia, 1973, c. p. 85, by Philip B. Harner. Harner examines
Mark's usage of pre-copulative predicate nominatives both with and without
the article and presents some fine points. He then turns and examines what
the Army officer _may_ (he is not dogmatic) have then concluded about Jesus
after observing the divine phenomena surrounding his death. You may agree or
disagree with his conclusions, but he does have some good observations.

While Jesus is both "a son" and "the son" of God, Harner views the matter
from what the Roman Army officer would have concluded about Jesus and
suggests that a fine translation is one that shows a qualitative emphasis,
namely, "God's Son." In other words, the visible effects that he observed
resulted from one who was a/the son of God. But there is much more detail
than I can present here.

Wes Williams

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