Re: Mark 2:23b

Date: Tue Jun 16 1998 - 17:32:48 EDT

Carlton Winbery is exactly on target about this strange phrase in Mark.

He wrote:--------->>>>>>

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 . . .

<<<<<<<---------- end of quotation

I can't improve on what Carlton has written; but let me make a broader
point about Mark, using this as an example.

Mark writes with remarkable attention to his wording! He is often accused
of writing poor Greek, and/or of woodenly reproducing his sources. On the
contrary, IMHO, he builds theme after theme upon careful choice of words,
a characteristic which is usually missed. The commonest reason for missing
it, I believe, is that most readers today know Mark in their own language
(English or whatever), and then when they read Mark in Greek, are
constantly "translating" in their minds, missing the distinctive features
of his Greek text. One aspect of this arises from the fact that few of
us grow up reading the LXX as our OT--we read it in English, and then
some of us learn Hebrew and read it in that language, but ignore the OT in
the language used by Mark. Hence, we seldom catch the frequent-in-Mark
quotations, allusions, and hints of the OT text, all of which are essential
to understand his full meaning.

In my own case, I found many years ago that I had to keep my Hatch &
Redpath concordance to LXX open CONSTANTLY in order to read Mark. Then
after coming to Harvard, I had frequent contacts with Bishop Demetrios
(now Metropolitan, back in Greece), who knew the OT first in Greek--and
suddenly, it was like talking to one of Mark's earliest readers!
(Demetrios was/is a New Testament scholar, by the way, with his Ph.D. from

I know I'm pointing out the obvious, but I can't resist reminding everyone
(re: Carlton's post) that Luke tells us that the Christian movement was
called hH hODOS. Only after some in Antioch were called CRISTIANOI
did the older term begin to be replaced, apparently.

Edward Hobbs
Wellesley College

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