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

From: Tolliver Family (
Date: Thu Mar 26 1998 - 21:20:13 EST

on the other hand the centurion might have been a native speaker of Latin,
a language which doesn't have articles, and in the excitement of the
moment, may have left it out

> From: Rod Decker <>
> To:
> Subject: Re: "a" or "the" ?? (Mark 15.39)
> Date: Thursday, March 26, 1998 3:25 PM
> In response to George's comment that:
> >>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!"
> Jim commented that:
> >Lets all be careful lest we assume that Mark is reporting actual
> >events. Otherwise soon we will have an entire apocryphal gospel on the
> >on the centurion's face and what color clothing he had on, as well as
> >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
> >apocryphal gospelists) goes against the very purpose of the Gospel.
> >
> >Interpretation should keep in mind such things as authorial intent or
> >text becomes subject rather than object.
> I have mixed feelings here. I agree heartily with Jim's discounting the
> "sneering" connotation suggested (I can't imagine how the lack of the
> article in itself could suggest that). But on the other hand, I an not
> what to make of a rejection of "actual historical events"--esp. when the
> same post pleads for "authorial intent." Is there any more indication
> Mark did NOT intend us to understand his record to be that of a
> event than there is indication of a sneer? I think not. It might be worth
> noting that Mark may have framed his gospel with two "theological
> re. the identity of Jesus, namely, 1:1, "Son of God" and 15:39, "Son of
> God." (I just noted Dale's comment that "context includes the whole of
> Mark's Gospel" and would concur heartily.) If Mark was writing for a
> audience (likely from my perspective), to introduce Jesus as "Son of God"
> in 1:1, develop that theme throughout, and then to close with the same
> affirmation on the lips of a Roman officer (official representative of
> those directly responsible for the crucifixion)--that would be a powerful
> statement. Perhaps that view is not far from Jim's point, the
> perhaps being only whether or not the man actually spoke those words.
> Rod
> ________________________________________________________________
> Rodney J. Decker Baptist Bible Seminary
> Asst. Prof./NT P O Box 800
> Clarks Summit PA 18411
> ________________________________________________________________

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