Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oral traits of Mark's gospel

Its ironic that the NRSV translation of Mark steadfastly retains instances of "euthus" in chapter one by translating them as "immediately" (v.23, "Just then" and v.28 "At once" are exceptions) but takes the opposite course when it comes to "kai," thus making it hard to recognize two oral traits of Mark's gospel. 1:6 for example has four instances of "kai" rendered by "Now" in the first case, "with" in the second and "and" in the third and fourth case. "Kai" is omitted from the translation of the beginning of vv.7, 9, 13, 16,19,21,22,23,27,28,29,31,35,37,38,40,41,42,43,44 where it plays a syndetic function. There's a lot to be said for Tyndale's version (below with verse divisions inserted--click the link for full text) and the KJV translation when trying to identify oral traits of Mark 1!

Chapter 1
1 The beginnynge of the Gospell of Iesu Christ the sonne of God
2 as yt is wrytten in the Prophetes: beholde I sende my messenger before thy face which shall prepared thy waye before ye.
3 The voyce of a cryer in the wildernes: prepare ye the waye of the Lorde make his paches streyght.
4 Iohn dyd baptise in the wyldernes and preche the baptyme of repentauce for the remission of synnes.
5 And all the londe of Iurie and they of Ierusalem went out vnto him and were all baptised of him in the ryver Iordan confessynge their synnes.
6 Iohn was clothed with cammylles heer and with a gerdyll of a skyn a bout hys loynes. And he dyd eate locustes and wylde hony
7 and preached sayinge: a stronger then I commeth after me whose shue latchet I am not worthy to stoupe doune and vnlose.
8 I have baptised you with water: but he shall baptise you with the holy goost.
9 And yt came to passe in those dayes that Iesus cam from Nazareth a cyte of Galile: and was baptised of Iohn in Iordan.
10 And assone as he was come out of the water Iohn sawe heaven open and the holy goost descendinge vpon him lyke a dove.
11 And ther came a voyce from heaven: Thou arte my dere sonne in whom I delyte.
12 And immediatly the sprete drave him into wildernes:
13 and he was there in the wildernes xl dayes and was tempted of Satan and was with wilde beestes. And the aungels ministred vnto him.
14 After Iohn was taken Iesus came in to Galile preachinge the gospell of the kyngdome of God
15 and sayinge: the tyme is come and the kyngdome of God is at honde repent and beleve the gospell.
16 As he walked by the see of Galile he sawe Simon and Andrew his brother castinge nettes into ye see for they were fysshers.
17 And Iesus sayde vnto them: folowe me and I will make you fisshers of men.
18 And strayght waye they forsoke their nettes and folowed him.
19 And when he had gone a lytell further thence he sawe Iames the sonne of zebede and Ihon his brother even as they were in the shyppe mendinge their nettes.
20 And anone he called them. And they leeft their father zebede in the shippe with his hyred servauntes and went their waye after him.
21 And they entred into Capernau: and streight waye on ye Saboth dayes he entred in to ye synagoge and taught.
22 And they merveled at his learninge. For he taught them as one that had power with him and not as the Scribes.
23 And there was in their synagoge a ma vexed wt an vnclene spirite yt cried
24 sayinge: let be: what have we to do with the thou Iesus of Nazareth? Arte thou come to destroye vs? I knowe the what thou arte eue that holy of god.
25 And Iesus rebuked him sayinge: hoolde thy peace and come out of him.
26 And ye vnclene spirite tare him and cryed with a loude voyce and came out of him.
27 And they were all amased in so moche that they demaunded one of another amoge them selves saying: what thinge is this? what newe doctryne is this? For he comaundeth the foule spirites with power and they obeye him.
28 And immediatly his fame spreed abroade throughoute all the region borderinge on Galile.
29 And forth with as sone as they were come out of the synagoge they entred into ye housse of Symon and Andrew with Iames and Ihon.
30 And Symons mother in lawe lay sicke of a fever. And anone they tolde him of her.
31 And he came and toke her by the honde and lifte her vp: and the fever forsoke hir by and by: and she ministred vnto them.
32 And at even when the sunne was downe they brought to him all that were diseased and them that were possessed with devyls.
33 And all the cite gaddred to gedder at the dore
34 and he healed many yt were sicke of divers deseases. And he cast out many devyls and suffred not ye devyls to speake because they knewe him.
35 And in the morninge very erly Iesus arose and went out into a solitary place and there prayed.
36 And Simon and they that were with him folowed after him.
37 And when they had founde him they sayde vnto him: all men seke for the.
38 And he sayd vnto them: let vs go into the next tounes that I maye preache there also: for truly I cam out for that purpose.
39 And he preached in their synagoges throughout all Galile and cast the devyls out.
40 And there came a leper to him besechinge him and kneled doune vnto him and sayde to him: yf thou wilt thou canest make me clene.
41 And Iesus had copassion on him and put forth his honde touched him and sayde to him: I will be thou clene.
42 And assone as he had spoke immediatly ye leprosy departed fro him and was clensed.
43 And he charged him and sent him awaye forthwith
44 and sayd vnto him: Se thou saye no thinge to any man: but get the hence and shewe thy silfe to ye preste and offer for thy clensinge those thinges which Moses comaunded for a testimoniall vnto them.
45 But he (assone as he was departed) beganne to tell many thinges and to publyshe the dede: in so moche that Iesus coulde no more opely entre in to the cite but was with out in desert places. And they came to him fro every quarter.


Jared said...

I have been working on some of the oral (or performative) aspects of The Thunder: Perfect Mind, in which I have found that the Coptic conjunctive (auw) performs a similar oral function, and, in fact, can be used to lay out the organization of the entire poem, which, in turn, allows larger poetic and thematic patterns to emerge.

Country Parson (Steven Woolley) said...

OK, I've been thinking about this since yesterday and need more help in understanding why kai points toward the oral traits of Mark. It's what happens when you allow the ignorant to read your stuff.

Deirdre said...

Thanks for the question!

"Kai" by itself would not necessarily demonstrate Mark's oral qualities. When taken together with other features including "immediately," "idou," (Behold!), development of themes like "hodos" (way, road) and repeated verbs like "Listen!" at the beginning and end of the Parable of the Sower, plus threefold repetition of e.g. passion prediction in 8-10, kai suggests oral delivery of the gospel--lack of subordinate clauses.

Mark's instances of kai are far higher than any of the other gospels, btw, so this is a way to explain a distinctive trait (this chart may not come through).

Matthew 1194 54.01(hits per 1000 words)

Mark 1100 80.63

Luke 1483 63.31

John 868 46.26

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