From: Carl W. Conrad (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 07:44:05 EST
At 5:48 AM -0600 3/26/98, Mark Goodacre wrote:
>If one reads hUIOS QEOU in 1.1, as many do, then this might incline
>the benefit of the doubt in favour of taking it as '*the* Son of
>God', in which case 15.39 forms something of an inclusio with 1.1.
>Other relevant texts are 1.11 (hO hUIOS MOU hO AGAPHTOS), 1.24 (hO
>hAGIOS TOU QEOU), 3.11 (SU EI hO hUIOS TOU QEOU), 9.7 (hOUTOS ESTIN
>hO hUIOS MOU hO AGAPHTOS) and 12.6 (EICEN hUION AGAPHTON).
>In the light of these, I would suggest that there is no doubt that
>the narrator thinks of Jesus as "the Son of God" and that this might
>therefore be a legitimate way of translating 15.39.
>But the really interesting issue with 15.39 is how are we expected to
>take it as readers? Is the centurion being sarcastic? I think so.
>Look at the context in Mark; we need to get John Wayne in *The
>Greatest Story Ever Told* out of our minds. Jesus has just died in
>agony, uttering a last, despairing cry and the centurion looking on
>shrugs his shoulders and says "Huh, truly *this* is the son of God".
>The dramatic irony is that the reader knows that he is indeed the son
>of God, for the reader has been allowed to see TO KATAPETASMA TOU
>NAOU ESCISQH EIS DUO . . . (15.38), something the centurion cannot
>In this way, the centurion's so-called "confession" is in line with
>other elements of irony and dark humour in Mark's Passion narrative,
>a crown of thorns, the charge to "Prophesy!", "he saved others; he
>cannot save himself" and so on.
Personally I like this way of reading the text: as deliberately ambiguous
and leaving the reader to make his/her own response to the text. It is
consistent also with one of the ways (one that I share, I confess) of
reading the Empty Tomb narrative of Mk 16:1-8 as an appeal to faith and a
pointing toward future event rather than as an unambiguous attestation of
Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics/Washington University
One Brookings Drive/St. Louis, MO, USA 63130/(314) 935-4018
Home: 7222 Colgate Ave./St. Louis, MO 63130/(314) 726-5649
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