Re: Mark ch 15, v. 2

From: Ben Crick (
Date: Wed Jun 03 1998 - 01:46:09 EDT

On Tue 2 Jun 98 (09:40:11), wrote:
> Though I am sympathetic to this interpretation of SU LEGEIS, I still
> have two questions:
> 1. How do we know that SU LEGEIS is "legalese"? - an expression drawn
> from the world of the court, let alone that "in legalese" it had the
> meaning you attribute to it? Is there independent evidence to support
> the claim that the phrase SU LEGEIS is known legal terminology and means
> (to quote A.L. Weber in _JC Superstar, Your words, not mine"? That is to
> say, do we find the expression used in, say, transcripts of trials or in
> stories of court proceedings other than Mk. 15 *and* with the meaning
> ascribed to them here?

 Dear Jeffrey

 We *don't* know that SU LEGEIS is legalese. That's my deduction from the
 context. In my earlier life I was an army officer, and had to sit as a
 member of Courts Martial. This meant studying Military Law and the Rules
 of Procedure and the Rules of Evidence. So it just "seems obvious" to me.
 /Jesus Christ Superstar/ was written by Timothy Rice; the music was written
 by Andrew (now Sir Andrew) Lloyd-Webber. Andrew and his brother Julian, the
 distinguished virtuoso cellist, were brought up in the Methodist Central
 Hall, Westminster, where their father Dr Lloyd-Webber was Organist and
 Director of Music. So the boys heard many sermons from fiery preachers like
 Revd Donald (now Lord) Soper. The "Superstar" theology did not come from the
 Methodist background of the composer of the music, but from the agnostic
 background of the writer of the words! However, "Your words, not mine"
 hits it off to a "T".
> 2. Is there not a confusion here, assuming that Jesus himself actually
> said these words, between the meaning the expression might/would have
> had in its original historical setting and what it has in Mark? It would
> seem to me that within the context of Mark, the expression is laden with
> irony and cannot be tied down to having one meaning. After all, Pilate
> (however reluctantly) takes the answer as an affirmation. And certainly
> Mark assumes that Jesus *is* King of the Jews. Moreover, can we really
> assume, if these are indeed the words of Jesus and that they were given
> in answer to what Mark reports Pilate asked, that Jesus himself was
> *not* being ironic?

 It would be nice to think that Peter's account of the pericope, relayed to
 us via Mark, were the ipsissima verba Christi. In Mark's Gospel, only 285 of
 the 678 verses in the KJV (42%) contain reported Words of Christ: compared
 with 664 out of 1071 verses (62%) with Words of Christ in Matthew. LOGIA

 Pilate believed Jesus was King of the Jews; but he also realised that Jesus'
 kingdom was not of this world (John 18:36-37). So he wrote the title to that
 effect, and stood by it: hO GEGRAFA GEGRAFA (John 19:22).

 There are many examples of Jesus using irony, especially when getting the
 better of the Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees. Jesus only directly "fessed
 up" to being the Messiah, when not adjured under oath, to the woman at the
 well (John 4:26) and to the man born blind (John 9:37). No, I don't think
 Jesus was being ironic to Pilate. He gave Pilate full and straight answers
 in private audience (John's Gospel); whereas he answered "that fox" Herod
 not a word. "Walk across my swimming pool" (Timothy Rice, /Jesus Christ
 Superstar/). No private demonstrations either.

 This is off-List.
 Yours ever,

 Revd Ben Crick, BA CF
 232 Canterbury Road, Birchington, Kent, CT7 9TD (UK)

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:47 EDT