[b-greek] Re: the intent of Mark 14:38

From: Jeffrey B. Gibson (jgibson000@home.com)
Date: Wed May 30 2001 - 22:21:28 EDT

Glenn Blank wrote:

> I don't see the connection of either of these passages to the generation of
> Israelites that tempted God in the wilderness. "Seeking proofs" does not
> echo what the wilderness generation did: there "tempting God" did not
> consist of "seeking proofs" but of "complaining."

Um, the Massah tradition explicitly says that the Israelites demanded proof of whether
God was among them or not. Moreover, the idea of "grumbling" is, as Gerhardsson has
ably shown, always associated with putting God to the test. See his discussion of this
in his _The Testing of God's Son_. So too Seesemann in his TDNT article on PEIRA, KTL.

> Granted, one might see
> parallels between Jesus' wilderness experience and the Israelites'
> wilderness experience, but seeing that as an intentional recapitulation by
> Mark is speculative at best.

You might want to check out my 1993 JSNT article on the Markan "temptation" story to
see how and why I would disagree with you on just how speculative this really is.
You will admit, I take it, that the presentation of Jesus as recapitulating the
Wilderness Generation's experience is clear in the Matthean and Lukan versions of that
that episode, especially since they are both intent to draw the quotations Jesus uses
to thwart his tester are from that section of Deuteronomy which recounts the
wilderness experience and how no faithful Israelite is to put God to the test.

> You had also written earlier,
> >> > Then there's the larger issue of whether PEIRASMOS **ever** means
> >> > "temptation". But B-Greek readers from long ago know where I stand on
> >> that one.
> It seems that Mark 1:13 is itself an example of PEIRAZW meaning to be
> tempted. Satan is doing the tempting, and his intent is not just to test
> Jesus but to entice Jesus to sin.

Is it? The testing is actually authored by God since it is the Spirit which forces
Jesus into the encounter. And the Stan is under God's directive to do what he does to
Jesus. Is any enticement mentioned?

> Or is your contention concerning
> PEIRASMOS that only in the noun form does it never mean "temptation"?

I would also argue, as I have in print in several places, the latest being the IVP's
_Dictionary of NT Backgrounds, _not only that PEIRAZW never means "enticement to sin"
(since the phenomenon denoted by the term and its cognates is always viewed in the
ancient world as an objective and not a subjective experience), but that it is a
religious and psychological apriori, not a solid grounding in an examination of how
the terms are actually used in NT and other texts that makes people think that
"temptation" is an adequate translation of the terms in question.


Jeffrey Gibson
Jeffrey B. Gibson, D.Phil. (Oxon.)
7423 N. Sheridan Road #2A
Chicago, Illinois 60626
e-mail jgibson000@home.com

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