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

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Fri Mar 27 1998 - 08:09:08 EST

Jim West Wrtoe;
>But how can we know irony unless we can see their faces and hear their tone
>of voice? the whole tack that approaches the gospels in this way weems to
>me to be eisegetical rather than exegetical. For, quite simply, there is
>absolutely no way to demonstrate such irony except by a reading into the
>text something that is not necessarily there.
Mark Goodacre has given a good response to this. I decided at first not to
answer the above, but I would like to add to Mark's good statement the fact
that the intent of those who questioned Jesus according to Mark 12:13 was
to "trap" him in his speech. Mark makes it clear that their intent was not
to witness to the claim that Jesus taught the way of the Lord. Yet one of
Mark's themes is the way of the Lord. Whether Mark was thinking irony or
not, my senses tells me that this is a situation that is ironic.

Now if you want an example of eisegesis go back and read ">Lets all be
careful >lest we assume that Mark is reporting actual historical events.<
That certainly assumes an attitude by Mark that is nowhere indicated in the
text. I agree with Ernst Best when he says, "Mark appears to deal with
traditions that come to him rather conservatively." I do not take that to
mean that every word is historical, but surely there is an historical
kernel there somewhere. I will say no more in this string lest we go too
far afield. Irony, though, is clearly part of Marks witness to Jesus and
does affect his language.

Carlton L. Winbery
Fogleman Professor of Religion
Louisiana College
Pineville, LA 71359

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