[B-Greek] Mark 7:18-19

Albert Pietersma albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Sat Oct 31 20:44:54 EDT 2009

On Oct 31, 2009, at 5:14 PM, Carl Conrad wrote:
> As much sense as it may make that the KOILIA should be purged/
> cleansed, does it not even so seem odd to no one that we're talking
> NOT about "purging the stomach" but rather abut "purging/purifying all
> foods." That remains for me the stickler that renders the reading
> KAQARIZON insupportable.
Carl's astute observation tempts me to break my rule of not commenting  
on the NT unless the LXX is involved. As he notes, the object of  
KAQARIZW/ON is not KOILIA but PANTA TA BRWMATA. Thus the text is not  
about purging the abdomen but about purifying all the foodstuffs.   
 From that perspective one might then suggest that KAQARIZW (= class.  
KAQAIRW) has to do not with purging or ritual purification but rather  
with a separating of what is useful from what is waste. So, for  
example, LSJ (sub KAQAIRW) cites an instance (albeit from ii AD) of  
winnowing grain, i.e., separating the kernels from the chaff. Like  
winnowing the human digestive tract might be said to separate the  
nutrients from the waste (left-over). Both enter the KOILIA but only  
the latter is excreted.

Why the masculine participle (KAQARIZWN)? While the dash in my NT text  
reflects, of course, an editorial decision, it seems nonetheless  
appropriate, given the syntactic interruption. Since ANQRWPOS is  
clearly the thematic subject of the passage, might ANQRWPOS therefore  
account for the masculine participle? It is thus ANQWRWPOS, or rather  
his digestive process that "purifies," i.e., separates the waste from  
the nutrients.

To be sure, the comment is an aside (an editorial comment on Jesus'  
words), and not strictly a propos the contrast between what goes into  
the KOILIA in distinction from what comes out of the KARDIA. Yet,  
without the aside, might the text be read to suggest that what a  
person eats simply enters the mouth, passes through the bowels, and is  
then excreted? Surely the ancients knew better than that!
One might thus gloss KAQARIZWN PANTA TA BRWMATA as:  "---- seeing that  
he (ANQRWPOS) purifies (purges?) all foodstuffs."
Anyway, my two farthings

> Carl W. Conrad
> Department of Classics, Washington University (Retired)
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Albert Pietersma PhD
21 Cross Street,
Weston ON Canada M9N 2B8
Email: albert.pietersma at sympatico.ca
Homepage: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~pietersm

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