Mark 8:12

Trevor Peterson 06PETERSON at cua.edu
Wed Jan 23 09:28:00 EST 2002


I don't know extrabiblical Greek well enough to comment on whether or not this 
would be a natural way to say things in Greek per se, but in Semitic languages 
it's fairly commonplace to use this sort of oath formula. You can think of it 
as half a condition--not so much sarcasm, but a negative oath: "If 
such-and-such happens, . . . [may I be struck dead, may my hair fall out, may 
the IRS audit me, etc.]" The consequence is somewhat superfluous, so it can be 
left out altogether, while the force of the oath formula remains intact.

Trevor Peterson
CUA/Semitics

>===== Original Message From Erik Westwig <ewestwig at palisade.com> =====
>I'm a beginner and I'm having some trouble with Mark 8:12.
>
>My USB 4th Edition (Revised) has the Greek text:
>KAI ANASTENAXAS TWi PNEUMATI AUTOU LEGEI, TI hH GENEA hAUTH ZHTEI SHMEION;
>AMHN LEGW hUMIN, EI DOQHSETAI TH GENEA TAUTH SHMEIOV.
>
>which my RSV translates as:
>And he sighed deeply in spirit, and said, "Why does this generation seek for
>a sign?
>Truly, I say to you, no sign shall be given to this generation."
>
>My trouble is with the second sentence.  I don't understand how they get
>their negation (no sign shall be given).  The only way I could see how this
>might work is if there is a sarcastic tone to this sentence.  "If a sign
>will be given to this generation..." with an implication of consequent
>surprise.  There is also a theological problem here, which I hesistate to
>mention, but it does bear on the Greek translation.  Jesus says that this
>generation will not get a sign, but he himself is about as big a sign as you
>could get from God.  Could this also play into the overall tone of sarcasm?
>
>Thanks for the help,
>ERIK
>
>Erik Westwig
>Software Engineer
>Palisade Corporation
>westwig at palisade.com
>
>
>
>
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