Re: EUQUS in Mark

From: Carl W. Conrad (
Date: Sun May 10 1998 - 08:34:55 EDT

At 6:36 AM -0400 5/09/98, MikeBzley wrote:
>In a message dated 08/05/98 20:08:17 GMT, Jim wrote in reply to Jonathan:
>> Basically, the theory is that Mark was written for Roman folk. With their
>> militaristic view of life, orders, and obediences, some suggest that the
>> word had special purpose in Mark by demonstrating that Jesus is a great
>> leader (as well as other things, obviously) who is INSTANTLY obeyed, and
>> does things PURPOSEFULLY- both of which are denoted by "euthus".
>Dear Jim, Jonathan and fellow B-Greekers,
>Speaking as amilitary man myself, I think Jim has hit the nail firmly on the
>head. Mark remains very popular in military Christian circles, and is
>commonly used to introduce the Gospel to military people, precisely because
>they feel at home with its usage and form.

There have been several helpful responses to this question; Mark Goodacre
even pointed to one book concentrating on redactional issues in Mark. It
ought perhaps to be stated openly then that one standard answer to the
original question in "the guild" (ever since Willi Marxsen's epoch-making
late 1940's book, _Mark the Evangelist_) is that EUQUS as a transitional
marker in Mark's gospel is part of a style suited to the eschatological
urgency governing the whole book, along with the vivid historical presents
of narrative episodes, the theme of the "messianic secret," the heavy irony
in the representation of disciples who do not seem to understand anything
that they are taught, and a tight dramatic construction of the whole as a
presentation of the now-unfolding final act in salation history. Granted,
not everyone buys this representation of Mark's gospel, but it has played a
major role in Marcan criticism over the course of the last
half-century--and the recognition of the consistent and recurrent use of
EUQUS as a transitional device in Mark's re-casting of oral tradition has
always been one element in it.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243

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