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

From: Glenn Blank (glennblank@earthlink.net)
Date: Thu May 31 2001 - 01:54:00 EDT

>From: "Jeffrey B. Gibson" <jgibson000@home.com>
>Date: Wed, 30 May 2001 21:21:28 -0500
>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

OK. Granted.

In answer to my

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

Jeffrey wrote,
>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
>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
>wilderness experience and how no faithful Israelite is to put God to the

I would be interested in reading your 93 article. Actually, the Matthean
and Lukan connection to the Israelites in the wilderness I had not noted
before, but all three quotations are from Deut 6-8, as you say.
In answer to my,
>> 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.

You wrote,

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

I would contend that yes, enticement is mentioned, at least in Matthew. Is
not Satan seeking to entice Jesus to use his power for satisfying his own
desires and to worship Satan? Is he not also presenting an enticement to do
so: that is, the promise to give Jesus all the Kingdoms of the earth?

Whether or not God is the ultimate author of the testing, or to what extent
He directs Satan as opposed to merely permitting Satan is not clear from the
text (I suppose at issue here would be whether the infinitive PEIRASQHNAI in
Matthew 4:1 is purposive). What is explicit in the text is that Satan is
presented as the agent of PEIRAZAMENOS (hUPO SATANA), and from Matthew and
Luke we learn that the PEIRASMOS involved enticement to do evil. That seems
to me to be the definition of "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)

I am still a bit obtuse as to whether enticement to sin is necessarily more
subjective than "testing through suffering."

> 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
>"temptation" is an adequate translation of the terms in question.

Mark 1:13 seems to me an example of PEIRAZW actually being used to mean
"tempt," with the context indicating that useage rather than an a priori
basis. But of course, it is clear from this discussion that we are not in
agreement on that point. Granted, I have not done the exhaustive survey of
occurences of PEIRA- that you have done in your thesis or for your
Dictionary of NT Backgrounds -- certainly *not* the research in
extra-Biblical useages. Finding that the vast majority of occurrences
clearly indicate "testing" would certainly make the passages that seem to
indicate "tempting" suspect, and tend to color them in the direction of
"testing." I have enjoyed "trying on" the insights you have presented, and
will keep them in mind in my future encounters with PEIRA-

I also am looking forward to investigating E. Lovestamm's "This Generation
in the Teaching of Jesus." It is an intriguing concept.

glenn blank
Pensacola FL

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