New theme at Mk 9:42?

clayton stirling bartholomew c.s.bartholomew at
Wed Aug 9 15:37:07 EDT 2000

UBSGNT3 puts a new heading over Mk 9:42 which suggests a major break in the
semantic (thematic) structure of Mark. Is this correct? I don't think so and
neither did the late William L. Lane (Mark, NICNT 1974). Lane said that this
warning was directed at the disciples and specificly the action reported by
John in Mk 9:38. Lane (1974) could find only three scholars* who agreed with
him on this.

Turning now to our ongoing investigation of discourse issues what can be
discovered about this question by applying some of criteria for detecting
discourse boundries to Mk 9:42?

First of all Mk 9:42 is highly cohesive with the preceeding text. There is
continuity of agent, location, participants, action, and time. If we accept
Lane's analysis then we also have continuity of theme.

There is also a clear anaphoric link between:


What about the GAR and KAI?

Mk 9:41 hOS GAR AN POTISHi . . .
Mk 9:42 KAI hOS AN SKANDALISHi . . .

According to Levinshon** the discourse function of KAI in Mark is inclusive
of both KAI and DE as they are used in Matt. Luke and Acts. KAI in Mark can
be simply connective or developmental.  For this reason the presence of KAI
in Mk 9:42 is not very useful for our purpose of detecting the presence or
absence of a discourse boundry.

I would suggest that:

Mk 9:41 hOS GAR AN POTISHi . . .
Mk 9:42 KAI hOS AN SKANDALISHi . . .

form a contrastive parallelism. This is similar to what H.B. Swete says
about this. Swete breaks the thematic paragraph between Mk 9:40 & 41. Note
that this pattern appears in  Mk 9:37  hOS AN hEN TOIOUTWN PAIDIWN DEXHTAI.

Anyway this is a complicated problem since one also has to decide what to do
with   Mk 9:43-50. William lane makes Mk 9:43-50 a thematic paragraph but
there seems to be a real strong thematic link between Mk 9:41-42 and 43-50.

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

*A. Loisy, Les evangiles synoptiques II (Ceffonds, 1907), W. Grundmann, Das
Evangelium nach Markus (Berlin, 1962) and K. Tagawa, Miracles et Evangile
(Paris, 1966). 

** see page 80-81, Stephen  Levinsohn, Discourse Features of New Testament
Greek,  2nd Ed. SIL  2000.

More information about the B-Greek mailing list