Date: Fri Aug 11 2000 - 12:13:15 EDT
Date: Fri, 11 Aug 2000 12:08:52 EDT
Subject: Re: [b-greek] Re: New theme at Mk 9:42?
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In a message dated 8/10/00 3:09:15 PM Mountain Daylight Time,
Meanwhile, I am still a little befuddled about Mk 9:43-50. It looks to me
like Mark is using words like SKANDALIZW, PUR and ALS to tie together
otherwise unrelated material. There seem to be real thematic/semantic breaks
at 9:42/43 and 9:48/49 and 9:49/50. Mark appears to be using word play to
tie these segments into a chain. Here are the breaks and the words used to
span the breaks:
The segment 9:48-50 is particularly tricky where the thematic/semantic
transitions are very rapid. This may be a similar idea to 'hook words." Not
sure since I have not read A. Vanhoye. I would agree that SKANDALIZW does
not "determine" a boundary, that is it is not a boundary marker. However in
9:42/43 I think there is a boundary of some sort and SKANDALIZW is being
used to provide some level of apparent thematic cohesion.
First, A. Vanhoye is considered the foremost expert on the structure of
Hebrews, based on Literary Criticism. I don't know that his theories will
hold up over time, and his theory of "hook words" describe a garden-variety
cohesion device. His approach is complex, and according to most responses
inscrutable to the majority of mortals like the ways of God (I think that D.
Black said something like his critics have problems because they don't/can't
Concerning the relationship of Mark 9:(47)48-50, I agree with your
observations again. There is unmistakable formal lexical cohesion links
formed by PUR, ALAS/ALIZW, but it looks like word association without
This really reveals a hole in my library--I have virtually no commentaries on
Mark to even give me a clue about the discussion on problem. I do have
Barclay, and I'll bet that his conclusions are going to be echoed in the top
levels of scholarship: "These three verses are amongst the most difficult in
the NT....we have three quite seperate sayings of Jesus which have nothing to
do with each other. They came together in the compiler's mind and stuck
there together in this order because they all contain the word salt."
(Barclay, Mark, p. 233-234).
So we have a passage with a reasonably high level of formal cohesion that
seems to lack semantic cohesion--it isn't coherent to us. My presuppositions
involve theories about competent communicators being relevant and relatively
coherent (and I assume that the writer of Mark had a degree of
competence--the rest of the gospel looks that way), so I'm tagging this
passage as being a good one to explore. I do know that in 'real language'
there are many examples of linked sentences that don't track unless your an
'insider' who shares relevant information with the author/speaker--and the
author speaker takes into account the shared information, and only writes as
much as is necessary for effective communication.
PhD Student Roehampton
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