Re: "a" or "the" ?? (Mark 15.39)

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 11:46:34 EST

At 10:30 AM -0600 3/26/98, Jim West wrote:
>At 08:09 AM 3/26/98 -0800, you wrote:
>>This is a marvelous discussion. Did the centurion consider Jesus to
>>be A, or B? And the answer might be NEITHER!! The lack of an article
>>does indeed seem to argue for the sarcastic 'neither' view, which then
>>makes the 'debate' so evenly balanced. He would then be saying in
>>English idiom a scathing "Son of God indeed!"
>>George Blaisdell
>Lets all be careful lest we assume that Mark is reporting actual historical
>events. Otherwise soon we will have an entire apocryphal gospel on the look
>on the centurion's face and what color clothing he had on, as well as what
>he had for breakfast. His tone of voice is immaterial, for Mark is not
>interested in the Roman, only in what he says. That Mark would have him
>say, in an insulting way, that Jesus was "son of god" (sneer supplied by our
>apocryphal gospelists) goes against the very purpose of the Gospel.
>Interpretation should keep in mind such things as authorial intent or the
>text becomes subject rather than object.

May I suggest even further that it would be best of all not to venture out
into the murky realm of speculation as to what any ambiguity in this text
MAY POSSIBLY mean (to be sure, I did so earlier this morning myself, but
tentatively, I think, and clearly granting that, as Jim himself noted in
his first response, there will NOT be a consensus on this question of
exactly what the centurion's statement means). The question is what are the
limits within which a grammatically intelligible understanding of that text
must lie.
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 OR

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