Re: Mark 2:23b

From: Carlton Winbery (
Date: Mon Jun 15 1998 - 08:11:25 EDT

Carl Conrad wrote;

>I've found this thread especially interesting for the very same reasons
>David Palmer has just stated; the phrasing in Mark seems strange and the
>traditional versions of this passage seem to reflect the parallel versions
>of Luke and Matthew better than they do the Marcan text. I will note that
>the synoptic parallels in this pericope are extraordinarily interesting, to
>me at least; I find it definitely easier to assume that Mark's phrasing is
>earliest and that it is improved upon by both Luke and Matthew.
>I really don't find Vincent's explanation of hODON POIEIN as a Latinism =
>ITER FACERE at all convincing; rather it seems to me more like "blaze a
>trail" or "tread a path"--which makes most sense, as has been pointed out,
>if one understands that there were no ordered rows in a Palestinian
>grainfield where the seed is broadcast prior to plowing (that at any rate
>is what I've read from commentaries on the Parable of the Sower), and that
>therefore the disciples as they go through the grainfields to pluck the
>ears are in fact trampling a path as they go.
>And yes, I think that hODON POIEIN must refer to something altogether
>different from PARAPOREUESQAI, which rather appears to be a verb parallel
>to Mark's recurrent PARAGEIN for "go on further" in a sort of aimless
>circuit journey--and indeed in the sequence of Mark 2:1-3:6, a
>tightly-constructed sequence of controversy-stories, the PARAPOREUESQAI
>seems to function as a minimal transitional phrase.
>It is a very interesting passage in an interesting pericope in an
>interesting sequence.
We should take note of the fact that "the way" is a motif in Mark. It
starts in 1:2 with quotations from Malichi and Isaiah that both include
"the way of the Lord." Use a concordance to find the many "excuses" Mark
finds to use "the way." Every thing happens while they are on the way.
Blind Bartimaeus receives his sight and follows him "into the way." The
disciples were "in the way" arguing about who were the greatest in the
kingdom. Finally the enemies in Jerusalem, trying to trick him, speak the
truth when they say, "we know that you truly teach the way of the Lord." I
think that in 2:23, Mark has found another way (no pun) introduce the word
hODON into the text again. TILLONTES could also be an instrumental ptc.
"by plucking the grain" they were making a way . . .

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

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