[b-greek] Agency&Passive, Mk 14:57-59 False testimony

From: c stirling bartholomew (cc.constantine@worldnet.att.net)
Date: Tue Jun 05 2001 - 17:27:11 EDT

Marius Reiser* in an extended discussion of the so called "divine passive"
points out that when the agent of a true passive constituent is left
unspecified, it is not exegeitically sound parctice to make assumptions or
draw conclusions about the agent, since the intention of the author was to
downplay the issue of agency.

Reiser points out that in Mk 2:5 we see Jesus use the passive:


and even though the agent is not specified the scribes concluded that Jesus
was claiming to be the agent. Hold that thought.

Now if we take at the false testimony in Mk 14:57-59 and test that testimony
against Jesus statement in Mk 13:2:


We can begin to see how this false testimony might have been based on a
misunderstanding (either intentional or not) of what Jesus had said. Jesus
leaves the question of agency open in MK 13:2, which is in fact fairly
standard practice in prophetic and apocalyptic texts when destruction is
the topic. The false wittnesses at his trial take advantage of this and fill
in the agency slot with Jesus just like the scribes did in Mk 2:6.

Anyway, this illustrates Marius Reiser's point that agentless passive
constituents are left agentless on purpose and that attemts to fill the
agent slot, even when it is more or less obvious who should fill it, will
lead to exegitical results which are at cross purposes with the authors

Clayton Stirling Bartholomew
Three Tree Point
P.O. Box 255 Seahurst WA 98062

*Mariuse Reiser, Jesus & Judgment, Fortress 1997, pages 266-73

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