[b-greek] Re: Discontinuities in Mk 9:28-29

From: CWestf5155@aol.com
Date: Thu Jul 27 2000 - 11:22:31 EDT

In a message dated 7/24/00 12:29:18 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
c.s.bartholomew@worldnet.att.net writes:

<< Looking at Mk 9:28-29 we see several discontinuities with the immediately
 preceding context. In Mk 9:28-29 We move from a public to a private
 location, the participants have been reduced significantly. The mute child
 and father are gone (are they?). The crowds are gone. It is just Jesus and
 the disciples talking together. The type of action has changed as well.
 Jesus is answering questions not asking them, and there is no casting out of
 KWFON PNEUMA or any other kind mighty work taking place.
 There is however one major point of continuity. The disciples question is
 about their inability to EKBALEIN KWFON PNEUMA. So we might say there is
 continuity of topic. So there is some cohesion between 9:28 and the
 preceding events.
 Keeping all of this in mind it seems like we have a "point of departure" in
 We have what amounts to a new "scene**" (but not a new episode) starting in
 9:28. It seems like a new scene should be marked off somehow visually in the
 text. These visual cues in the printed text will aid those who have not yet
 learned the rudiments of Discourse Analysis to see the breaks in the
 discourse structure.
 UBSGNT3 does not break the paragraph at 9:28 but NA26 along with Hodges &
 Farstad do put a break here. This may represent nothing more than just an
 editorial policy about paragraphs, since Hodges & Farstad break out a new
 paragraph every time there is a change in speaker which is contrary to the
 policy in UBSGNT3. It seems to me like NA26 got it right since they break
 out 9:28-29 but do not break out each change in speaker in dialog
 Anyway, I have once again employed some intentional polysemy in my use of
 the term "point of departure" so I will now await confirmation or
 disapproval from two mountain ranges* east of here.
 Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
 Three Tree Point
 P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062
 *I live between the Olympic and Cascade ranges. If you count ranges going
 east the Rockies are two ranges removed from Puget Sound.
 **The word "scene" is not being used as it would be in drama. More like a
 movement of the camera in cinema.

Dear Clay,

Sorry to have such a delayed response! When I read intriguing posts (often
yours) late, I always wonder about the advisability of responding, and
usually don't.

I think that you have nailed the continuity-discontinuity between the units
(Mk. 9:14-27 & 9:28-29). You are asking a translation question about the
'visual cues' of paragraph breaks, but I think that it is a decent
consideration, since I believe our margins and headings are meant to
translate some of the untranslatable dynamics, etc.

What I think we see here is something like what Longacre refers to as sort of
a peak in the discourse--in this case at the episode level (see RE Longacre,
The Grammar of Discourse, 'Monologue Discourse:Plot and Peak', pp. 33-51).
We have a continuity in topic, but a change in scene and a concentration of
participants (this can go either way--reduction or all the actors on stage).
So, the material is marked with this discontinuity.

I admit, calling this a peak is a bit uncomfortable, since 9:26 looks like
the episode climax, but I think you have the author calling attention to the
resolution of the problem in 9:18 (which makes it even more prominent with
its back referencing), and it concludes the episode.

Placing a visual break here would have the effect of 'making' the material
prominent--I guess that the call would also depend on how or whether one used
headings to mark episodes/sections.

So, there is a 'point of departure' in the geographical shift--and Mark seems
to really like to use spatial deixis as his points of departure in narrative
(not surprising). The question that has to be asked is what is the domain of
the point of departure (paragraph/section/chapter/????--and these labels are
problematic)--and that would have to be answered at least in part by weighing
such factors of continuity and discontinuity that you have brought up.

This illustrates the phenomena that this kind of prominence will occur both
in the point of departure of a unit, and in the destination/conclusion of the
unit--and the prominence can be signalled by exactly the same kind of
linguistic features.

Since this episode conclusion would follow a number of other paragraph breaks
within the story, I think that I would consider a margin here.

Cindy Westfall
PhD Student, Roehampton
Resident of Denver, CO :)

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