From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (
Date: Thu Sep 03 1998 - 12:09:09 EDT

Jonathan Robie wrote:
> To me, the English phrase "their heart was hardened" implies a wilful
> steeling of the heart to avoid being open to receiving something, but in
> Mark 6:52, it seems to mean only that "they didn't get it".
> Various sources I look at disagree whether this "hardening of the heart"
> involves wilful refusal; i.e. is it a wilful blindness, or just a blindness?
> In Job 17:7, Job says PEPWRONTAI GAR APO ORGHS hOI OFQALMOI MOU, his eyes
> have grown dim because of grief. In context, I don't think this implies any
> wilfulness on Job's part.
> Now I know that "there are none so blind as those who will not see", but
> does the phrase ALL HN AUTWN hH KARDIA PEPWRWMENH itself imply wilful
> blindness, or just blindness?

Must it be a case of either/or. In light of Jesus' use of language in
8:14-21 of the disciples which is drawn from Mk. 4 (where it is used of
those who have willfully set themselves against Jesus), it seems that
the disciples are both chosing to move to the side of the opponents
whose hearts are hardenened as well as being seduced somewhat against
their will. Also, we need to take into consideration that within the
story line of GMark, the "hardening" experienced by the disciples is
what underlies their *refusal* (cf. Mk. 8:27-31, where, I think, Peter
stands in for all of the disciples) to accept that the Messiah is to
walk a path that leads to his demise.

This probably does not clarify much, but I think it is important to
consider: for the theme of "hardening" must be understood not just from
the way it is set out in texts outside of Mark, but by the "use" to
which Mark puts it. (Call me Wittegenstein).


> ---

Jeffrey B. Gibson
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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