τοῖς σάββασιν in Mark

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

τοῖς σάββασιν in Mark

Post by Garrett Tyson » August 6th, 2018, 8:39 am

Mark 1:21: καὶ εὐθὺς τοῖς σάββασιν ἐδίδασκεν εἰς τὴν συναγωγήν.

Mark 2:23 Καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτὸν ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν παραπορεύεσθαι διὰ τῶν σπορίμων, καὶ οἱ μαθηταὶ αὐτοῦ ἤρξαντο ὁδὸν ποιεῖν τίλλοντες τοὺς στάχυας.

Mark 2:24: καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι ἔλεγον αὐτῷ· Ἴδε τί ποιοῦσιν τοῖς σάββασιν ὃ οὐκ ἔξεστιν;

Mark 3:2 καὶ παρετήρουν αὐτὸν εἰ τοῖς σάββασιν θεραπεύσει αὐτόν, ἵνα κατηγορήσωσιν αὐτοῦ.

Mark 3:3: Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι; οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων.

Why is Mark speaking of Sabbaths in the plural in 1:21, 2:23, 3:2?

In Mark 1:21, it seems like Mark is setting the stage (giving offline material) for the confrontation that follows. (Using an imperfect) Jesus was teaching in the synagogues on a regular basis, multiple Sabbaths, and on this one particular Sabbath, an unclean spirit....

In Mark 2:23, does Mark use the plural to smooth the transition to 2:24, where the Pharisees (again with an imperfect) ask why they do on the Sabbaths what isn't lawful? Again, this seems like offline/background material, using a slightly awkward plural, to prepare us for v. 24. The plural fits in vs. 24, but doesn't (probably?) fit vs. 23. Unless Mark is using more metaphorical language on some level, telling us that the disciples were preparing Jesus' road, in the same way John the Baptist did.

Then in 3:2, we have another imperfect with the plural, which again maybe smooths the transition to verse 3: Ἔξεστιν τοῖς σάββασιν ἀγαθοποιῆσαι ἢ κακοποιῆσαι, ψυχὴν σῶσαι ἢ ἀποκτεῖναι; οἱ δὲ ἐσιώπων. The plural in 3:3 fits; the one in 3:2 is awkward.

Basically, Mark is using these stories to make a broader point about Jesus' relationship to the Sabbath, and using the plural makes it easier for him to transition to the broader application to be drawn from the narrow/specific stories. Even if that plural is awkward.

In Luke 6:1, Luke cleans up 2:23 with a singular. Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν σαββάτῳ διαπορεύεσθαι αὐτὸν διὰ σπορίμων

In Luke 6:6-7, Luke cleans up the other one: Ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν ἑτέρῳ σαββάτῳ εἰσελθεῖν αὐτὸν εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν καὶ διδάσκειν· καὶ ἦν ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖ καὶ ἡ χεὶρ αὐτοῦ ἡ δεξιὰ ἦν ξηρά· 7 παρετηροῦντο δὲ οἱ γραμματεῖς καὶ οἱ Φαρισαῖοι εἰ ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ θεραπεύει, ἵνα εὕρωσιν κατηγορεῖν αὐτοῦ.


Are there other options/explanations here?
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Jonathan Robie
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Re: τοῖς σάββασιν in Mark

Post by Jonathan Robie » August 6th, 2018, 10:54 am

Garrett Tyson wrote:
August 6th, 2018, 8:39 am
Are there other options/explanations here?
I think ἐν τοῖς σάββασιν and ἐν τῷ σαββάτῳ can be synonymous, sometimes depending on stylistic preferences of the given writer. I don't have BDAG handy (getting ready to board a flight), Thayer's explains this with references to the older grammars.
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ἐξίσταντο δὲ πάντες καὶ διηποροῦντο, ἄλλος πρὸς ἄλλον λέγοντες, τί θέλει τοῦτο εἶναι;
http://jonathanrobie.biblicalhumanities.org/

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