Divine Christology in Mark’s Gospel?

Kevin Brown, on his blog Diglotting, has posted part one and part two of a series about the Christology of the Gospel of Mark. Kevin does a great job of highlighting what the text does – and does not – say, and in the process suggests that some common interpretations read things into the text that aren’t there.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know.  In my opinion, Ken kinda flubs the Mark 1:2-3
    interpretation – he has Jesus preparing the way in the wilderness.  I
    just don’t see how you can hold to that in light of the very next
    passage introducing John as coming from the “wilderness” and proclaiming
    one who will “follow”. Sounds an awful lot like someone fulfilling the
    way preparation role to me.

    I’m hoping this doesn’t color my reception of his series.

    • http://diglotting.com/ Kevin

      Scott, thanks for pointing that out. I just reread over what I wrote and realized that I had screwed up what I was trying to say. I left a comment on the blog post in an attempt at trying to explain it better.

    • http://diglotting.com/ Kevin

       And I added an additional paragraph to the original post in order to clarify.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    Do you think gentile Christians are using word play when it comes to LORD? Paul I think did the same thing, I’m not sure they were thinking “this is a cipher for Gods personal name”. It is like the line from psalms about David talking to his lord, intended as God but interpreted as the messiah. So in some Old Testament passages they are interpreting LORD not as a reference to Yahweh but to a authority which could be applied to Jesus. Note that Jesus is called lord without any attempt to say this is a circumlocution for his holy personal name.

    • Howard Mazzaferro

      @facebook-1355591760:disqus The problem is that no early Greek manuscripts technically call Jesus Lord (kurios). The term used was the nomina sacra KS with an over bar. And yes, usually nomina sacra are meant as contractions of the full word, but this might not be the case with KS/kurios. The reason for this is because we find the contraction KS in the LXX where the name YHWH was suppose to be. Now the usual logic is something like this. When the LXX was made, the translator(s) used kurios in place of YHWH, and then later someone contracted kurios to KS. Sounds logical, but it does not have one shred of evidence.

      1. There are no known LXX manuscripts that use the full spelling kurios for which to make a contraction from.

      2. There are no known Pre-Christian Jewish LXX manuscripts that use either kurios or KS. The 70 some preserved pre-Christian occurrences of where we would find either the name or a substitution, we find a form of the name in all occurrences.

      3. Basically, there is no evidence to support a theory that KS when used for YHWH in the LXX is based on a prior full form of the word. It might have happened like that, but there is no evidence to support it at present.

      Actually, the current evidence suggest that the name YHWH continued to be used in both the Hebrew and the LXX until the end of the first century. It appears that early Christians incorporated the nomina sacra KS in the LXX to replace YHWH with no intermediary form of kurios. If this is true, can we say for certain that they did not do this in the NT as well. After all, we know for a fact that at some point, nearly 7,000 occurrences of the name YHWH were changed in the LXX, is it possible that a few hundred occurrences of the name were changed to KS in the NT? Finally, it is of interest to note that the Scripture you mention, Ps 110:1 refers to Jesus as adon, and not adonay, YHWH exclusive form of the word. The word adon is typically used for humans.

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  • http://www.patheos.com/community/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

    Just as a clarification, the distinction between Adonai and Adoni is one of pointing alone and not anything in the consonantal text. And so this is presumably a distinction the Massoretes introduced to distinguish address to God from more mundane usage. So the claim that the terms themselves in the text make this distinction is incorrect.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    Although you are basically correct concerning the plural aspect which is found in the vowel points, adon(a)i, the possessive aspect adona(i) is found in the consonantal text.

    Adon = lord
    Adoni = my lord
    Adonai = my lords

    So yes, in the consonantal text ‘DWY (my lord) is used for both men and YHWH, however, in translation ‘DWY is always translated “my lord” with reference to men, but ‘DWY YHWH is never translated as “my Lord Yahweh” but simply “Lord Yahweh” Why is that? Is there something in the grammatical construction of the consonantal text that indicates that we should not translate this as a possessive?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Michael-Wilson/1355591760 Michael Wilson

    Howard, I’m ignorent of Greek, and I’m a little confused. Does the evidence sugest Paul calls Jesus YHWH and that was changed to KS or are you saying KS is a circumlocation for YHWH that Paul used. If Paul refered to Jesus not as kurios but as YHWH, that would be a major point in concidering Paul’s idea of Christ.

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    @facebook-1355591760:disqus No, the problem is that in the earliest manuscripts of the NT that we possess Jesus and the references to the OT God YHWH both use the exact same term, the nomina sacra KS. If these are really two distinct individuals, it seems inconsistent and confusing to identify them both by the same term. There are a number of Scriptures where it makes it very difficult to know which one is meant. If Paul and the other Bible writers introduced the nomina sacra in their original compositions, then they created the ambiguity, which I personally do not believe. What I do believe is that the NT writers used a form of God’s name in their original writings, and they used the full form of the word kurios when referring to Jesus as Lord. Then in the late first or early second century, gentile Christians replaced God’s name with the nomina sacra KS and leaving Jesus title of kurios remain so there was a distinction between the two. Then later as Jesus was beginning to be viewed as God, there was no longer any reason to make a distinction between the two and all occurrences of Lord, God, Christ, and Jesus were made into nomina sacra. Still later as the real reason for using nomina sacra became unknown, more words were added to this list. What we find in the manuscripts are scribal alterations of the real term that was used by Paul. Since we have no NT manuscripts from before 150- 200 C.E. to test this hypothesis, it remains only a theory. But any claim that the NT authors used kurios for God’s name is equally a theory, we simply do not know what happened with the texts which culminated in the use of nomina sacra from 50-150 C.E.  Therefore, in many places we are taking large assumptions when equating Jesus with YHWH because we do not know which term was originally there. For example, the NT quote of Joel 2:32, did it originally contain the name as in its source, or did it contain a substitute for God’s name, or was it Jesus’ title that was meant?

  • Howard Mazzaferro

    @facebook-1355591760:disqus No, the problem is that in the earliest manuscripts of the NT that we possess Jesus and the references to the OT God YHWH both use the exact same term, the nomina sacra KS. If these are really two distinct individuals, it seems inconsistent and confusing to identify them both by the same term. There are a number of Scriptures where it makes it very difficult to know which one is meant. If Paul and the other Bible writers introduced the nomina sacra in their original compositions, then they created the ambiguity, which I personally do not believe. What I do believe is that the NT writers used a form of God’s name in their original writings, and they used the full form of the word kurios when referring to Jesus as Lord. Then in the late first or early second century, gentile Christians replaced God’s name with the nomina sacra KS and leaving Jesus title of kurios remain so there was a distinction between the two. Then later as Jesus was beginning to be viewed as God, there was no longer any reason to make a distinction between the two and all occurrences of Lord, God, Christ, and Jesus were made into nomina sacra. Still later as the real reason for using nomina sacra became unknown, more words were added to this list. What we find in the manuscripts are scribal alterations of the real term that was used by Paul. Since we have no NT manuscripts from before 150- 200 C.E. to test this hypothesis, it remains only a theory. But any claim that the NT authors used kurios for God’s name is equally a theory, we simply do not know what happened with the texts which culminated in the use of nomina sacra from 50-150 C.E.  Therefore, in many places we are taking large assumptions when equating Jesus with YHWH because we do not know which term was originally there. For example, the NT quote of Joel 2:32, did it originally contain the name as in its source, or did it contain a substitute for God’s name, or was it Jesus’ title that was meant?

  • http://www.mactonweb.com web development bangalore

     If these are really two distinct individuals, it seems inconsistent and confusing to identify them both by the same term. 

  • http://www.mactonweb.com Web design London

     It appears that early Christians incorporated the nomina sacra KS in the LXX to replace YHWH with no intermediary form of kurios. If this is true, can we say for certain that they did not do this in the NT as well. 

  • http://www.mactonweb.com/ Web design london

    It is like the line from psalms about David talking to his lord, intended as God but interpreted as the messiah. So in some Old Testament passages they are interpreting LORD not as a reference to Yahweh but to a authority which could be applied to Jesus.  

  • http://twitter.com/yhwhyeshua Julie Pruitt

    I believe use of Joel 2:32 in Acts by Peter was said exactly as it was initially given. Would Peter deny HIS name?!


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