Mark Chapter 10:32-45

Chapter 10 continues.

32 ησαν δὲ ἐν τῇ ὁδῷ ἀναβαίνοντες εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ἦν προάγων αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς, καὶ ἐθαμβοῦντο, οἱ δὲ ἀκολουθοῦντες ἐφοβοῦντο. καὶ παραλαβὼν πάλιν τοὺς δώδεκα ἤρξατο αὐτοῖς λέγειν τὰ μέλλοντα αὐτῷ συμβαίνειν,

They were on the road going up to Jerusalem and Jesus was the leader, and they were amazed, but those hearing were afraid and again taking aside the Twelve he began to speak to them the things intended (= ‘to befall’) to him (Jesus).

The Greek: the prefix << ἀνα >> has the sense of ‘up’, which is why I translated this as ‘up to Jerusalem’. And the verb here, <<ἀναβαίνώ>> is the basis for the title of the book The Anabasis, by Xenophon. It has been rendered as “The March Up Country”.

Going to Jerusalem: this is the final journey Jesus will make. The QHJ people make a big deal about Jesus’ reason for going to Jerusalem. One (at least) has said that this was intended as a final showdown between Jesus and the religious authorities. I don’t know, but I think it’s more likely that they were going to celebrate Passover. In the three Synoptics, this last trip is the only time Jesus went to Jerusalem; John, however, has Jesus making more than one. This is one of the few instances where I think John might be more historically accurate than the other three. Mark’s tone here is very casual. They’re going to Jerusalem. No big deal. Nor does he feel the need to explain why, almost as if that would be understood: of course, they were going for Passover. This was the biggest festival of the year, and Jews from all over came to Jerusalem. So of course, they were going for Passover.

Note: one good objection to ‘everyone would assume it was for Passover’ theory is that Mark may have been writing for non-Jews. There is a lot of contention about this, a lot of it probably artificial. Much of it is due to the idea that “Mark” = “John Mark”, companion of Peter, and that the gospel was written in Rome. While I agree that this gospel was not written for a Judean audience, I’m not sure the evidence for Rome is all that compelling. We have noted that Mark feels compelled to translate Aramaic words, and that his geography is (supposedly; I can’t verify) a bit off, but ‘outside Judea/Galilee’ is not equal to ‘Rome’. It is at least as possible that he was writing for an audience that could have been significantly, if not predominantly Jewish, but that did not speak Aramaic. However, this is one of those arguments that will never end, because there is no real evidence; just inference and supposition. Like I’m doing.

Aside from that, note that Jesus ‘took aside the Twelve’. This would imply that there was a larger crowd accompanying him. Otherwise, he would not need to take them aside. But why are those hearing afraid? What is Jesus discussing? His coming demise? But Mark doesn’t say this was the topic until he takes them aside. Most likely, IMO, this a bit of journalist compression: Mark, for once, doesn’t repeat that Jesus was talking about his coming demise in this verse, but intends the announcement of topic in the next to do double duty.

 32 Erant autem in via ascendentes in Hierosolymam, et praecedebat illos Iesus, et stupebant; illi autem sequentes timebant. Et assumens iterum Duodecim coepit illis dicere, quae essent ei eventura:

33 ὅτι Ἰδοὺ ἀναβαίνομεν εἰς Ἱεροσόλυμα, καὶ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου παραδοθήσεται τοῖς ἀρχιερεῦσιν καὶ τοῖς γραμματεῦσιν, καὶ κατακρινοῦσιν αὐτὸν θανάτῳ καὶ παραδώσουσιν αὐτὸν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν

(he said, cont’d from prev verse) “Look, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the son of man will be handed over to the high priests and scribes, and they will condemn him to death, and he will be handed over to the peoples (usu trans: Gentiles)”,

This is the third or fourth time we’ve heard this now.

33 “Ecce ascendimus in Hierosolymam; et Filius hominis tradetur principibus sacerdotum et scribis, et damnabunt eum morte et tradent eum gentibus

34 καὶ ἐμπαίξουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ ἐμπτύσουσιν αὐτῷ καὶ μαστιγώσουσιν αὐτὸν καὶ ἀποκτενοῦσιν, καὶ μετὰ τρεῖς ἡμέρας ἀναστήσεται.

(cont’d from prev verse) “and they will make sport of him and  spit on him and flog him and kill him, and after three days, he will rise.”

The habit of Jesus of speaking in the third person has sometimes led to the suggestion that he was actually talking about another who would come after. I’m not sure how much support this idea really has, but I don’t think it is worthy of serious consideration.  And again, the detailed accuracy of all this provides all the earmarks of a prophecy after the fact. And, since Mark was writing forty years later, well, it makes sense.

Now, the thing about this is that Paul really has no details about Jesus’ death; simply that he was crucified. However the site Early Christian Writings ( http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ ) indicates that a Passion narrative had begun to circulate fairly early on. This is certainly possible, but the early date doesn’t necessarily indicate accuracy. Still, I find it entirely credible that such a narrative came into being quickly; the movie “The Passion Of The Christ” demonstrates the universal interest in lurid details. Some of what Mark recorded is, possibly accurate, in some degree, but a lot of it was, I suspect, filled in later.

34 et illudent ei et conspuent eum et flagellabunt eum et interficient eum, et post tres dies resurget ”.

35 Καὶ προσπορεύονται αὐτῷ Ἰάκωβος καὶ Ἰωάννης οἱ υἱοὶ Ζεβεδαίου λέγοντες αὐτῷ, Διδάσκαλε, θέλομεν ἵνα ὃ ἐὰν αἰτήσωμέν σε ποιήσῃς ἡμῖν.

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him, saying, “Teacher, we wish in order to ask you to do something for us.”

35 Et accedunt ad eum Iacobus et Ioannes filii Zebedaei dicentes ei: “ Magister, volumus, ut quodcumque petierimus a te, facias nobis”.

36 ὁ δὲ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τί θέλετέ [με] ποιήσω ὑμῖν;

And he (Jesus) said to them, “What do you want me to do for you?”

36 At ille dixit eis: “Quid vultis, ut faciam vobis?”.

37 οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Δὸς ἡμῖν ἵνα εἷς σου ἐκ δεξιῶν καὶ εἷς ἐξ ἀριστερῶν καθίσωμεν ἐν τῇ δόξῃ σου.

They said to him, “Give us in order that on your right and on your left we will sit (when you are) in your glory.”

This is interesting for two reasons. First, that they asked in the first place. We recently got the lesson about the first being last, and yet here they go asking to be placed in positions of prominence. 

The second thing is the bit about ‘in your glory’. This picks up on the cite in 8:38/9:1 (actually part of the same passage) about the son of man coming in glory, but it’s the glory of the father in 8:38.  So at first glance, this may seem to be a bit of a different twist on the theme; a second glance, however, indicates something more. IMO, this represents another layer added on, a further step in the deification of Jesus that culminated some 25 or so years later with “in the beginning was the Word”.

37 Illi autem dixerunt ei: “Da nobis, ut unus ad dexteram tuam et alius ad sinistram sedeamus in gloria tua”.

38 ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Οὐκ οἴδατε τί αἰτεῖσθε. δύνασθε πιεῖν τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω, ἢ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼβαπτίζομαι βαπτισθῆναι;

But Jesus said to them, “You do not know what you ask. Are you able to drink the drink that I drink, or to be baptised in the baptism   (in which) I will be baptised?”

Note that Jesus is trying to dissuade them, but he doesn’t throw the last/first thing at them. Why not? And, it’s interesting because tradition has it that John was the only Apostle to die peacefully of old age; the others were martyred. So how will John be subjecting himself to what Jesus will suffer? Of course, this doesn’t actually say he will suffer, but that he’s willing to do so. Still, it’s a bit odd.   

38 Iesus autem ait eis: “Nescitis quid petatis. Potestis bibere calicem, quem ego bibo, aut baptismum, quo ego baptizor, baptizari?”.

39 οἱ δὲ εἶπαν αὐτῷ, Δυνάμεθα. ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν αὐτοῖς, Τὸ ποτήριον ὃ ἐγὼ πίνω πίεσθε καὶ τὸ βάπτισμα ὃ ἐγὼ βαπτίζομαι βαπτισθήσεσθε,

“They said to him, “We are able.” Jesus said to them, “The drink which I drink you will drink, and the baptism in which I am baptised you will be baptised, 

39 At illi dixerunt ei: “Possumus”. Iesus autem ait eis:“ Calicem quidem, quem ego bibo, bibetis et baptismum, quo ego baptizor, baptizabimini;

40 τὸ δὲ καθίσαι ἐκ δεξιῶν μου ἢ ἐξεὐωνύμων οὐκ ἔστιν ἐμὸν δοῦναι, ἀλλ’ οἷς ἡτοίμασται.

(cont’d from prev verse), but the sitting at my right or my left is not mine to give, but for those who ave been prepared.”
 
40 sedere autem ad dexteram meam vel ad sinistram non est meum dare, sed quibus paratum est”.

Guess I should have left my comment about John here. Jesus seems to be saying that John will experience what Jesus did, but later tradition says otherwise. This is, perhaps, an indication that the tradition went off on its own track, with its own momentum, not necessarily keeping all that had been written firmly in mind. This is, it seems, another indication of how fragmented the traditions became, which meant it was difficult to round them all back into an ‘orthodox’ position.

41 Καὶ ἀκούσαντες οἱ δέκα ἤρξαντο ἀγανακτεῖν περὶ Ἰακώβου καὶ Ἰωάννου.

And hearing, the ten began to become indignant about James and John.

41 Et audientes decem coeperunt indignari de Iacobo et Ioanne.

42 καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος αὐτοὺς ὁ Ἰησοῦς λέγει αὐτοῖς, Οἴδατε ὅτι οἱδοκοῦντες ἄρχειν τῶν ἐθνῶν κατακυριεύουσιν αὐτῶν καὶ οἱ μεγάλοι αὐτῶν κατεξουσιάζουσιν αὐτῶν.

And calling them, Jesus said to them, “Uou know that those of the peoples ( = Gentiles/pagans) appearing to rule lord it over them (the others) and the great of them have power over them (them = the others).

42 Et vocans eos Iesus ait illis:“Scitis quia hi, qui videntur principari gentibus, dominantur eis, et principes eorum potestatem habent ipsorum.

43 οὐχ οὕτως δέ ἐστιν ἐν ὑμῖν: ἀλλ’ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ μέγας γενέσθαι ἐν ὑμῖν, ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος,

“Do not be like this among you. Rather, the one who wishes to be great among you will be the minister of you.

Note that the word here is ‘diak0nos’. The deacon.

43 Non ita est autem in vobis, sed quicumque voluerit fieri maior inter vos, erit vester minister;

44 καὶ ὃς ἂν θέλῃ ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι πρῶτος, ἔσται πάντων δοῦλος:

“And he who wishes to be first among you, let him be the slave of all.

While here the word is ‘doulos’. The slave. Now, there may not be as much difference in these words as we would find in our modern usages, but I still have to wonder if the choice had to do with more than rhetorical/literary reasons: not wanting to be redundant, for example.

And I still want to know why James and John didn’t get this speech.

44 et, quicumque voluerit in vobis primus esse, erit omnium servus;

45 καὶ γὰρ ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἦλθεν διακονηθῆναι ἀλλὰ διακονῆσαι καὶ δοῦναι τὴν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ λύτρον ἀντὶ πολλῶν.

For the son of man did not come to be ministered to, but to minister, and to give his life as ransom for all.”

45 nam et Filius hominis non venit, ut ministraretur ei, sed ut ministraret et daret animam suam redemptionem pro multis”.

This really steps into a big theological debate: what was the meaning of Jesus’ sacrifice. The base root of the Greek word, << λύτρον >> is ‘ransom’, but the meaning can also be as neutral as recompense for labor. In between is the sense of being the price of manumission for a slave. Now, if Jesus was ransom, to whom was it paid? The Devil? But then, does this not imply that the Devil had some sort of hold over God, so that God has to send his son to pay off the Devil? That is what ‘ransom’ means. And this isn’t much changed if we prefer ‘price of manumission’, because we still have to ask to whom this price was paid, and we are presented with mostly the same choice(s).

There is much, much more to this discussion. Norman Cantor, in his most highly excellent “Medieval History” has a terrific discussion of the main points of this debate, but handled as an historian, so it doesn’t get too bogged down in the minutiae of the theology. Suffice it to say that, really, this issue has never been settled conclusively, to anyone’s full satisfaction. As for Cantor’s book, I’ve read the first edition probably a dozen times, and it’s easily on my ‘favourite books’ list. I have also read the second edition, but only once. I prefer the first.

Advertisements

About James, brother of Jesus

I have a BA from the University of Toronto in Greek and Roman History. For this, I had to learn classical Greek and Latin. In seminar-style classes, we discussed both the meaning of the text and the language. U of T has a great Classics Dept. One of the professors I took a Senior Seminar with is now at Harvard. I started reading the New Testament as a way to brush up on my Greek, and the process grew into this. I plan to comment on as much of the NT as possible, starting with some of Paul's letters. After that, I'll start in on the Gospels, starting with Mark.

Posted on May 27, 2013, in gospel commentary, gospels, mark's gospel and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: