RE: Mark ch 15, v. 2

From: Pete Phillips (
Date: Tue Jun 02 1998 - 10:30:51 EDT

So proof at last that the Logos is hypostasised and not just a figment of John's imagination and object of the Jesus Seminar's nightmares...

Pete Phillips,
Lecturer in NT,
Cliff College, Calver, Derbyshire, UK
Tel: 01246 582321
Fax: 01246 583739

-----Original Message-----
From: Carl W. Conrad []
Sent: Tuesday, June 02, 1998 2:28 PM
Subject: Re: Mark ch 15, v. 2

Dear Ben: I just wanted to say how pleasant it is to find myself on the
same side of an interpretative issue with you--for a change. On this one I
think that you and I are in the minority. That doesn't bother me so much,
as I think I'm usually in a minority!

At 10:25 PM -0400 6/01/98, Ben Crick wrote:
>On Sat 30 May 98 (22:56:19), wrote:
>> Regarding Jesus' answer to Pilate's question, "Are you the king of the
>> Jews," which answer was, SU LEGEIS, does anyone know of any Greek
>> grammar or authority which indicates that this was an affirmative
>> answer? I have heard people all my life say that this is some kind of
>> Greek idiom making the effect affirmative, but have been unable to
>> verify this.
> Since several who responded to this request did so on b-greek, it seemed to
> me that the List might want to see my reply, which was direct to the
> questioner.
> Dear hO LOGOS
> SU LEGEIS is a legal response to a leading question from the prosecution,
> which amounts to a prosecution demand for Jesus to confess or admit the
> charge. Actually it is the Judge hO PILATOS who puts the leading question,
> SU EI hO BASILEUS TWN IOUDAIWN; "Are you the King of the Jews?"
> To this the only "neutral" response is to say "That is what you are alleging;
> that is what you have to prove". SU LEGEIS: "That is what you are saying".
> PERI EMOU; (John 18:34).
> To translate "You said it!" as if agreeing with the charge is to forget the
> Courtroom scenario of the pericope.

Here's what I wrote privately to hO LOGOS (I still really don't like the
use of pseudonyms!):

"As for the question itself--regarding the meaning of Jesus' response in Mk
15:2, I've heard/read the same comment again and again, to the effect that
Jesus is saying, as you put it, "Yes!" But personally I've never felt
CONVINCED that this was right, however plausible it may be. I find it just
as plausible to understand Jesus' response in the sense: "YOU're the one
who is making that assertion about me"--with the implication that Jesus
himself is not making any claim at all. I don't say that I find this latter
reading MORE plausible than the other; rather, I've never felt that there's
really a preponderance of evidence for one way of looking at the passage
over the other. I might add that this is not the only passage of the sort
whereof I think our efforts to interpret are reduced to conjecture. I'd
just rather honestly admit that I don't feel fully satisfied by the
arguments I've heard/read. And that (rather than because of the multiple
addressees and the pseudonymous sender--is why I didn't respond to the
question myself."

I also appreciate your "IMHO"--I'm getting more and more disturbed by the
sorts of dogmatic or ex cathedra type statements we've been reading on BG

Regards, cwc

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

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