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Mark 15:12

Thanks, Stephen. How about, for your possibility 1: ‘What then? Do you want me to make the one you are talking about King of the Jews?’.

The first citation in BAGD II 3. is Epict. 2, 19, 19:

τί Στωικὸν ἔλεγες σεαυτόν;

which perhaps is even closer to what would be needed for possibility 2?

A big advantage of the usual translation is that ‘Σταύρωσον αὐτόν’ is then a direct answer to the Pilate’s question, if such it is, ‘Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω τοῦτον/τούτῳ;’

To make sense of ‘ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων’, perhaps Jesus’s triumphal entry provides the context:

‘λέγοντες· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος βασιλεὺς ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου’ [Luke 19:38]

Andrew

Statistics: Posted by Andrew Chapman — December 6th, 2013, 1:03 pm


 

Andrew Chapman wrote:
On λέγειν BAGD has at II 3. call, name with double accusative, and quite a long section including active uses, eg:

    • τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; [Mark 10:18]
    • Δαυὶδ λέγει αὐτὸν κύριον [Mark 12:37]
    πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν θεόν [John 5:18]

 

Thanks for that. I suppose that is a different sense of “call” from what I was thinking – actually. Let me think my reactions to this out loud, so that you could criticise them more easily.

In regard to your first example – Mark 10:18, I can think of three different phrases in Greek with three quite different senses that could have been translated with the same “Why do you call me good?”:

    • (1) Using the Greek verb λέγειν as the text actually is seems to have the sense to make a claim or assert something for a particular instance “say that he is”, even “consider to be”, “hold and opinion and express it”, τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; “Why do you say that I am good?”. In English that sort of one-off claim is perhaps best expressed in the present continuous “Why are you calling me good?” “What gives you the idea that I’m good, so you would say that?”

 

    • (2) That is different from an appellation like ἐπικαλεῖν which if Mark 10:18

were

    • to have had that τί με *(ἐπι)καλεῖς* [this is not in the text of Mark] ἀγαθόν; “Why do you call me good?” would have perhaps had the effect that “henceforth Jesus was known as ‘good teacher’ “.

 

    • (3) The sense of λέγειν does not seem to overlap with ὀνομάζειν “get a single name by which someone can be called”, If the Greek had have read τί με ὀνομάζεις* [this is not in the text of Mark] ἀγαθόν; it could also have been translated as “Why do you call me ‘Good’?” (Hello Mr. Good – cf.

Roger Hargreaves’ Mr Men series

    ).

For your second example, Mark 12:37 Δαυὶδ λέγει αὐτὸν Kύριον, David is expressing his belief / conviction that Jesus is Lord. So here perhaps λέγειν is like a combination of both its internal and external senses – πιστεύειν “believe” and ἐξομολογεῖσθαι “confess”, in that way, it is used here like the other sense (not the one above) of ἐπικαλεῖν “call upon”.

Your third one πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν θεόν from John 5:18 “He called God his father in the specific sense of “father”, not just in the general way that we call him “Father” – like what Jacob and Ishmael could call Abraham rather than what we call Abraham.” “When he was saying God was his father, he meant it in the literal sense!” “He had more in mind when he said God was his father than he was letting on publically / than the majority of his hearers would have understood.” So again, the sense is “to think about something and then to express the idea” – the words are the tip of the thinking’s iceberg. In my mind, the translation “call” gives the impression that at some point he did not do that – which is not what I think the Greek means. “He was calling God his father.” was something that was coming from a deep conviction of Jesus’ – I think that the Jews are acknoledging that Jesus held a deep conviction (which they evidently disagreed with) – but the English strikes me as conveying their incredulity but the λέγειν conveys more of Jesus conviction. I think that ἴδιος here doesn’t mean, “in the literal sense of the word” but that is a good way to convey a good part of the sense of the overal statement.

There is an obvious pattern of usage there, don’t you think?

Andrew Chapman wrote:
I don’t understand the τί. Unless you make it a ‘why’, in which case we would have ‘Why do you want (that I should make) this one you are talking about the King of the Jews?’, which now makes grammatical sense to me, but on the face of it not much other sense.

Yes, τί is logically the next quandry. Familiarity (with the English word “What … ?”) is an opiate that dulls the senses here, I think, and the clear distinction in English between “What … ?” and “Why …?” blinkers one to prefering the τί = “What …?” fork of the road. The adverbial “what” of “What do you want me to do?” is quite different from the nominal/adjectival “what” of “What do they call you?”, but they are expressed by the same “what”. The Greek word τί covers an even broader interrogative sense, by covering the usage of what is expressed in English by “Why … ?”. Familiarity with English, could make one’s first thought go to the “What”, but as in the way that we naturally hold back from taking what as either adverbial or nominal/adjectival until we are a bit of a way into the sentence, so too with the Greek τί – so deciding how to take it “What”, “What”, or “Why” is dependent on what we have already been discussing.

Andrew Chapman wrote:
, but on the face of it not much other sense.

I agree. The communication between Pilate and the Jewish leaders doesn’t seem to have been smooth. Even if we go with the understanding that is in all English translations, what I have designated as the second possibility, “whom you call (hold to be) the King of the Jews” then that doesn’t seem to make anymore than grammatical sense either.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 5th, 2013, 10:10 pm


Thanks, Stephen, the Mark 14:71 reference is useful to understand your option one, but then I don’t understand the τί. Unless you make it a ‘why’, in which case we would have ‘Why do you want (that I should make) this one you are talking about the King of the Jews?’, which now makes grammatical sense to me, but on the face of it not much other sense.

On λέγειν BAGD has at II 3. call, name with double accusative, and quite a long section including active uses, eg:

τί με λέγεις ἀγαθόν; [Mark 10:18]

Δαυὶδ λέγει αὐτὸν κύριον [Mark 12:37]

πατέρα ἴδιον ἔλεγεν τὸν θεόν [John 5:18]

Andrew

Statistics: Posted by Andrew Chapman — December 5th, 2013, 2:24 pm


Dear B-Greekers,

“O DE PILATOS PALIN APOKRIQEIS ELEGEN AUTOIS, TI OUN [QELETE] POIHSW [ON LEGETE] TON BASILEA TWN IOUDAIWN;” (Mark 15:12).

Instead of the accusative “TON BASILEA”, would the dative – for indirect object – not have been more natural?

Thankyou,

Andrew J. Birch.
Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Here’s my take on this. Mark 15:12 is as stated in the text essentially a repeat of the question in Mark 15:9. Pilate asks them, “θελετε απολυσω υμιν τον βασιλεα των ιουδαιων” (“do you will [that] I might release to you the king of the Jews?”), not because they actually referred to Jesus as “the king of the Jews” but because “εγινωσκεν οτι δια φθονον παραδεδωκεισαν αυτον οι αρχιερεις” (“he realized that because of envy the chief priests had delivered him up”), so he was perhaps trying to implicitly put forward the question: “What if Jesus is your king?”. When the chief priests made the crowds ask for Barabbas to be released instead, Pilate could not release Jesus in the way he probably wanted to, so he now asked again, “τι ουν θελετε ποιησω ον λεγετε βασιλεα των ιουδαιων” (“what then do you will [that] I might do to [him] whom you call king of the Jews?”). Again, it is not because the Jews actually call (consider) him their king, but it could be that Pilate was trying to get them to consider that possibility. I just checked and this agrees with the account given in Luke and John, where Luke explicitly says that Pilate wanted to release Jesus and John has an additional part where Pilate asks the Jews, “Shall I crucify your king?”, and the chief priests answer that only Caesar is their king. Perhaps my vague memory of the parallel accounts influenced my reading though… ;)

Even without the context, I think that “τι” would be easily understood as “what” because of “θελετε ποιησω (subjunctive) …”. “ποιειν” takes an accusative object which is provided by “ον λεγετε …”. I understand “λεγειν αυτον βασιλεα των ιουδαιων” to mean “call him (address him as) king (title) of the Jews”.

Statistics: Posted by David Lim — December 6th, 2013, 11:14 pm


 

Andrew Chapman wrote:
To make sense of ‘ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων’, perhaps Jesus’s triumphal entry provides the context:
‘λέγοντες· Εὐλογημένος ὁ ἐρχόμενος βασιλεὺς ἐν ὀνόματι κυρίου’ [Luke 19:38]

That’s an interesting point and not too long ago either. Perhaps the οὖν of Mark 15:12 is partly in response to that sentiment.

Andrew Chapman wrote:
How about, for your possibility 1: ‘What then? Do you want me to make the one you are talking about King of the Jews?’.

I suppose that works, but because the weight of learned opinion favours the other option, what we are discussing is in the realm of conjecture, rather than ground-breaking discovery.

Andrew Chapman wrote:

BAGD λέγειν II 3 wrote:

Epict. 2, 19, 19 wrote:τί Στωικὸν ἔλεγες σεαυτόν;

which perhaps is even closer to what would be needed for possibility 2?

Yes, that is the next logical step in dealing with τί. It can be treated as a question marker without specifically having an English translation – a type of question word which is untranslatable into English, like for example, the Polish “Czy” or the opening question mark “¿” in Spanish. With that in mind, the Τί of

Mark 15:12 wrote:
Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω ὃν λέγετε τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων;

would be just, “Do you therefore have the intention to see me make the one you are going on about King of the Jews?”. But then, having conjectured such a useage, we need to see whether the idea that τί can be used as an untranslatable question marker bourne out in the lexica?

Anyway, what would be the difference in meaning for Epictatus’ τί Στωικὸν ἔλεγες σεαυτόν; understood in the sense of “Do you call yourself a Stoic?”, “Why do you call yourself a Stoic?”, “On what basis do you call yourself a Stoic?”. Not very much really, I think – His status as a Stoic is called into question either way.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 6th, 2013, 7:30 pm


 

Andrew Chapman wrote:

Stephen Hughes wrote:Make the one you are talking about king of the Jews, and after that he would be king.

But Pilate is the subject of ποιήσω; the Jews are the subject of λέγετε. I didn’t really understand your ‘first possibility’ above, in which you seem to have in view Pilate making Jesus the King of the Jews, as well presumably as the Jews calling Jesus the King of the Jews.

Ha ha. :lol: What a conincidence… To be honest, I have trouble with the option that I have called the second possibility (followed by all the English translations) where λέγετε is given the standard translation “called” (or something like that). I don’t find that sense in the word λέγειν. It’s not something I am comfortable, but since a lot of other people who know Greek better than I do have found it, I’ll take their word for it, and accept it on that basis until I can either see λέγειν used in that way for myself or until I have a solid reason (other than my own ineptitude) for disprefering it. :)

The basis of my ill-formed thinkinging is that it’s sort of logical to assign that meaning of “called” to the active here, but apart from these instances, I would say that that meaning “called”, “said to be” is a meaning for the mediopassive of λέγειν not the active – but that’s just my hunch.

You have trouble understanding my second option, and I’m not particularly taken with what I have called the first option above either, but anyway, here’s how it works, look at the ὃν λέγετε which Peter asserts in Mark 14:71 before the rooster crows;

Οὐκ οἶδα τὸν ἄνθρωπον τοῦτον ὃν λέγετε

“I don’t know this man, who you are talking about“.

Reading the ὃν λέγετε in Mark 15:12 in the same way, they would both refer to Jesus, ie. ὃν λέγετε = Ἰησοῦν. To paraphrase Mark 15:12, then, would give us Τί οὖν θέλετε ποιήσω {Ἰησοῦν* – the guy they are talking about ὃν λέγετε} τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων; In this case τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἰουδαίων is what (the Lord) Jesus would be made to become, if Pilate were to give the order. (And if you will pardon a flight of fancy, the ὃν λέγετε that we see, was possibly in contradistinction to the insurrectionist Jesus – who is referred to in most variants as “Barabbas” – who had presumably wanted to make himself King of the Jews by force).

[Also… It is not a very interesting point, but I assume that translators, as educated and cultivated individuals in a quiet environment, would go with what I have called the first possibility and see Pilate’s question as answered by the Σταύρωσον αὐτόν “Crucify him!” of the following verse and so translate Τί with the ποιήσω {τοῦτον / τούτῳ} “What should I do with him?”. But they were perhaps less than rational, and more like a mob of sports fans, who illogically gvae their same answer to the next question too. It is probably that assumption of underlying logicity in the “dialogue” that has obscured the second possibility that the Greek text holds, which shows us it is important to grapple with the Word of God in the original Greek, so as to at least see the possibilites.]

[To understand ποιῆσαι in what I have called the second option; perhaps :?: this little parallel is helpful even though I only mentioned it very recently; ποιῆσαι is to γίνεσθαι as βαλεῖν is to κεῖσθαι]

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 5th, 2013, 1:31 pm


 

Stephen Hughes wrote:
Make the one you are talking about king of the Jews, and after that he would be king.

But Pilate is the subject of ποιήσω; the Jews are the subject of λέγετε. I didn’t really understand your ‘first possibility’ above, in which you seem to have in view Pilate making Jesus the King of the Jews, as well presumably as the Jews calling Jesus the King of the Jews.

Andrew

Statistics: Posted by Andrew Chapman — December 5th, 2013, 8:54 am


 

Andrew Chapman wrote:
I remain curious as to why Swete would write on this verse:

For the construction ποιεῖν τινά τι se Blass, Gr. p. 90; the more usual phrase is ποιεῖν τινι (ἔν τινι, μέτα τινος) τι.

How does he know it’s accusative if it’s not there?

In the language ποιεῖν serves as a way to add something (characteristic or feature) to a noun.

Make the car red, and after that it is a red car. Make the one you are talking about king of the Jews, and after that he would be king. τι could be an adjective or a noun.

Statistics: Posted by Stephen Hughes — December 5th, 2013, 8:24 am


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