Mark 1:1-15

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Garrett Tyson
Posts: 23
Joined: July 14th, 2018, 6:54 pm

Mark 1:1-15

Post by Garrett Tyson » July 26th, 2018, 1:32 pm

Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ χριστοῦ,
2 Καθὼς γέγραπται ἐν τῷ Ἠσαΐᾳ τῷ προφήτῃ•
Ἰδοὺ ἀποστέλλω τὸν ἄγγελόν μου πρὸ προσώπου σου,
ὃς κατασκευάσει τὴν ὁδόν σου•
3 φωνὴ βοῶντος ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ•
Ἑτοιμάσατε τὴν ὁδὸν κυρίου,
εὐθείας ποιεῖτε τὰς τρίβους αὐτοῦ,

4 ἐγένετο Ἰωάννης
βαπτίζων ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ
κηρύσσων βάπτισμα μετανοίας εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.
5 καὶ ἐξεπορεύετο πρὸς αὐτὸν πᾶσα ἡ Ἰουδαία χώρα καὶ οἱ Ἱεροσολυμῖται πάντες,
καὶ ἐβαπτίζοντο ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ ἐν τῷ Ἰορδάνῃ ποταμῷ
ἐξομολογούμενοι τὰς ἁμαρτίας αὐτῶν.
6 καὶ ἦν ὁ Ἰωάννης
ἐνδεδυμένος τρίχας καμήλου καὶ ζώνην δερματίνην περὶ τὴν ὀσφὺν αὐτοῦ,
καὶ ἔσθων ἀκρίδας καὶ μέλι ἄγριον.
7 καὶ ἐκήρυσσεν λέγων•
Ἔρχεται ὁ ἰσχυρότερός μου ὀπίσω μου,
οὗ οὐκ εἰμὶ ἱκανὸς κύψας λῦσαι τὸν ἱμάντα τῶν ὑποδημάτων αὐτοῦ•
8 ἐγὼ ἐβάπτισα ὑμᾶς ὕδατι,
αὐτὸς δὲ βαπτίσει ὑμᾶς ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ.


9 Καὶ ἐγένετο ἐν ἐκείναις ταῖς ἡμέραις ἦλθεν Ἰησοῦς ἀπὸ Ναζαρὲτ τῆς Γαλιλαίας
καὶ ἐβαπτίσθη εἰς τὸν Ἰορδάνην ὑπὸ Ἰωάννου.
10 καὶ εὐθὺς ἀναβαίνων ἐκ τοῦ ὕδατος
εἶδεν σχιζομένους τοὺς οὐρανοὺς
καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα ὡς περιστερὰν καταβαῖνον εἰς αὐτόν•
11 καὶ φωνὴ ἐγένετο ἐκ τῶν οὐρανῶν•
Σὺ εἶ ὁ υἱός μου ὁ ἀγαπητός,
ἐν σοὶ εὐδόκησα.
12 Καὶ εὐθὺς τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτὸν ἐκβάλλει εἰς τὴν ἔρημον.
13 καὶ ἦν ἐν τῇ ἐρήμῳ τεσσεράκοντα ἡμέρας
πειραζόμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ Σατανᾶ,
καὶ ἦν μετὰ τῶν θηρίων,
καὶ οἱ ἄγγελοι διηκόνουν αὐτῷ.


14 Καὶ μετὰ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην ἦλθεν ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἰς τὴν Γαλιλαίαν
κηρύσσων τὸ εὐαγγέλιον τοῦ θεοῦ
15 καὶ λέγων ὅτι Πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρὸς καὶ ἤγγικεν ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ θεοῦ•
μετανοεῖτε καὶ πιστεύετε ἐν τῷ εὐαγγελίῳ.


My understanding, after reading Decker/Porter/Black, is aorists are the verbs that carries the story line. Present tenses draw attention to something, either a new development to start a new section, or to something Mark thinks is important. Like he's waving a flag over a key point.
Imperfect verbs are background information. Mark pauses his story, giving us offline information that's helpful to the reader, before resuming his story with a string of aorists. So in verse 4, John "came," doing 2 things (baptizing, preaching). In verses 4-8, Mark tells us about John using imperfects. Then in verse 9, Mark returns to using an aorist, letting us know he's picking the story back up. He's transitioning from talking about John to Jesus. In verse 12, Mark uses a present tense to draw attention to the Holy Spirit driving Jesus into the wilderness. This is a big deal to him, important for the story. Mark then uses imperfects again to describe Jesus' time in the wilderness. In verse 14, Mark then changes back to aorists, pushing the story forward again. The story thus divides like this: 1:1-3, 4-8, 9-13, 14-15. Intro, John came (elaboration), Jesus came (elaboration), Jesus preached. But the constant Καὶ encourages us to keep reading. There are no sharp breaks. And actually, part of what messes up readers is they break it up to much. Few commentators read 1:16ff as a straight continuation of v. 15 (maybe because it gets hard to teach that much in one sitting in the U.S.; people get antsy).

My questions in this passage, I think, are these: (1) Does all of this sound basically right? (2) When Mark uses imperfects, is the entire clause/sentence often/usually backgrounded? (3) Why does Mark use the infinitive in verse 14? Because it's an easy way to show the relationship in time between Jesus and John, using μετὰ?
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Stephen Carlson
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Re: Mark 1:1-15

Post by Stephen Carlson » July 26th, 2018, 8:49 pm

Garrett Tyson wrote:
July 26th, 2018, 1:32 pm
My understanding, after reading Decker/Porter/Black, is aorists are the verbs that carries the story line. Present tenses draw attention to something, either a new development to start a new section, or to something Mark thinks is important.
Not just these folks, but there's an old grammarian adage, so old that it's in Latin: perfecto procedit, imperfecto insistit oratio ("the telling advances with the perfect and pauses with imperfect"). I think it is a long-recognized basic principle.
Garrett Tyson wrote:
July 26th, 2018, 1:32 pm
My questions in this passage, I think, are these: (1) Does all of this sound basically right? (2) When Mark uses imperfects, is the entire clause/sentence often/usually backgrounded? (3) Why does Mark use the infinitive in verse 14? Because it's an easy way to show the relationship in time between Jesus and John, using μετὰ?
I guess it's basically OK. (I'm not sure what you mean by "backgrounded," especially in the same context of mentioning Porter, since Porter has a norotiously opposite definition of the term. Also participles do a certain kind of backgrounding as well.) I would not recommend thinking in syntactic constituents like clauses/sentences per se, but rather in terms of the states of affair being described. A story is a course of events and the various grammatical and lexical devices are clues to reconstructing this course of events.

But in general, yes, aorists are going to progress the narrative and imperfects are going to be descriptive. It gets interesting when the author uses one form to imply the other effect. For example, we just had a discussion of "inceptive imperfects," where a description that Jesus is teaching after opening his mouth or a man is walking around after standing implied that these states of affair began on the main time-line. Another way to put it is that authors can use an EFFECT for CAUSE metonymy to entail an event on the main time-line by merely describing its effects.

As for the infinitive in 1:14, I haven't done a study of its use in Mark. It is more explicit about the temporal setting than a genitive absolute, which Mark seems to dis-prefer relative to Matthew and Mark anyway.
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Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D.
Melbourne, Australia

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