Mark 6:12-13 [was 'do participles govern whole sentence or just next main verb?']

Carl W. Conrad cwconrad at
Thu Jul 22 08:21:34 EDT 1999

At 12:31 PM +0100 7/22/99, Jonathan Ryder wrote:
>"Carl W. Conrad" wrote:
>> Jonathan Ryder wrote:
>> >Dear B-Greek
>> >
>> >Consider the following sentence (Mark 6:12-13):
>> >
>> >
>> >My question:
>> >
>> >Does the participle EXELQONTES 'govern' just EKHRUXAN or all 4 verbs
>> I think my answer to this question would be: "Yes."
>Are you saying yes to the first part or yes to both parts?

I was trying to be funny (usually doesn't work), but I did, in fact, mean
that I thought it might with some justification be answered affirmatively
either way.
>> >What I'm really trying to get at is whether the 4 main verbs in this
>> >are all at the same 'level' in the discourse or whether the participle
>> >with the
>> >1st verb marks it out as different etc.
>> I think it can be read both ways, but I think the fact that the first
>> finite verb is aorist makes it a bit easier to link the participle
>> primarily with EKHRUXAN. As I read it, KAI EXELQONTES ... METANOWSIN make
>> the main statement, and then the clauses with the imperfect verbs
>> EXEBALLON, HLEIFON, and EQERAPEUON proceed to spell out the normal
>> activities that accompany the basic activity of proclamation.
>Thanks for pointing out that 1st vb is aorist overagainst the rest - it
>convinces me that there is a distinction of level of sorts. Is this the main
>reason why you take the following clauses as virtually subordinate, or
>does the
>presence of the participle have a bearing on this?

That's the main reason why I take it that way, yes, although I wouldn't
speak of those clauses as "virtually subordinate." What I was really trying
to point out with my English version was that how we structure the elements
in a discourse like this is something that differs radically from one
language to another and is the reason why literal translation is so often a
distortion of intended sense.

>> >In other words would it be natural to understand sentence as:
>> >
>> >and having gone out they preached (pause) and cast out demons and
>>anointed and
>> >healed
>> >
>> >or:
>> >
>> >and having gone out they preached and cast out and anointed and healed?
>> I think that "more normal" English would be, "And they went out and
>> preached a gospel of repentance, proceeding to cast out many demons and
>> anoint many with oil and heal them." This is an interpretation, of course,
>> but I think this nicely illustrates characteristic patterns of Mark's Greek
>> and more ordinary English parataxis and hypotaxis. This nicely illustrates
>> the usage of those terms in the current thread with header, "Re Para-what?"
>> Carl W. Conrad
>I'm not sure yet whether I buy the interpretive decision to see the casting
>out/anointing to heal as proceeding from (or as content of?) the preaching,
>although I might buy it more easily as one complex of activities in which the
>preaching was the predominant activity, with the others supporting.
>However I'm
>most interested in what the Greek actually says, and what it can *and* cannot
>support in terms of interpretation. Am I right in thinking that you see
>EXEBALLON  etc as hypotactically related to EKHRUXAN, if not explicitly in
>then at least implicitly so as to warrant expression as such in translation.

What I was offering was essentially an interpretation of what I
understood--from the text--to be Mark's perspective on the characteristic
actions comprised in Jesus' proclamatory activity. This is not just an
interpretation of the Greek but an interpretation of Mark's gospel; if you
want significant evidence, you might look at the extraordinary
demonstration of Jesus' understanding of the interrelation of forgiveness
of sins and healing in the first three pericopae of the Controversy
Sequence (Mk 2:1ff.).

>A further question reagrding the rest of the sentence:
>Would it be legitimate to distinguish different 'levels' between the verbs
>ie might EXEBALLON be on the same level as HLEIFON, whereas EQERAPEUON is
>subordinate to or as a result of HLEIFON (or both EXEBALLON and HLEIFON as one
>who experiences exorcism would be deemed 'healed') or coordinate in some sense
>such as seeing the disciples engaged in 2 rather than 3 activities ie 'casting
>out' and 'anointing and healing' rather than 'casting out', 'anointing',

I don't think so; in fact, I think it would be a misinterpretation to
differentiate 'levels' between these verbs. I think the fact that they are
ALL set in the imperfect means that Mark wants us to see ALL these actions
as belonging regularly to the proclamatory activity of Jesus. It should be
noted that even when Jesus sends out the disciples on their preaching
mission he simultaneously gives them power over DAIMONIA--and I don't think
we should differentiate between healing and exorcism in this regard.

>PS Looking forward to hearing from some of you discourse junkies out there!

Yes, I'm pretty sure that most of what I'm suggesting here has been worked
out in detail by the specialists in Discourse Analysis, to which I have
hardly ever been formally introduced.

Carl W. Conrad
Department of Classics, Washington University
Summer: 1647 Grindstaff Road/Burnsville, NC 28714/(828) 675-4243
cwconrad at

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