On aperi mentis is an interesting essay discussing several aspects of the canonical gospels:
Of particular interest is the detailed list of details that have given the Gospel of Mark its reputation for literary crudity. Being the first gospel and also in many respects being enigmatic it is tempting to view the gospel as the work of a genius. It may have been, but if we want to establish that point then it is only fair that we include a satisfactory explanation for the sorts of grammatical infelicities that have given its author the nickname “stumpy fingers”.
It is also tempting to rationalize Mark’s crudities as deliberate and even a further sign of his genius, as many do. But that theory runs into problems the closer we look:
To add weight to our suspicions, real mistakes and oddities do show up in the text of Mark belying any claims that his unrefined Greek was deliberate.
- In Mark 4:41 the singular form of “obey” (hypakoui) is used when the subject is plural.
- In Mark 5:10 when the demons are speaking, Mark says that ” he begged” (parekalei) when it should have been “they begged” (parekalesan).
- Mark often uses redundant words in his writing. In Mark 1:32 he says “when the evening came when the sun went down” (opsias de genomenês hote edy ho hêlios) but the equivalent story in Matthew 8:16 simply says “that evening” (opsias de genomenês) and in Luke says “when the sun went down” (dynontos de tou hêlio).
- In Mark 15:34 where Jesus says “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”. Matthew corrects the spelling to “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”.
One detail I question in the essay by Ste Richardsson is that Jesus is presented as a very human figure in the Gospel of Mark:
Mark is a very vivid and dramatic piece of prose which portrays Jesus as a human with thoughts, dreams and strong emotions.
Rather, the Jesus in the Gospel of Mark surely comes across as dark, mysterious, frightening even, certainly a being from, and still within, the world of the supernatural. He is not understood and makes no effort to help clarify anything — he thrives on being otherworldly, not understood. His anger seems uncalled for at times (the leper begging for healing, the fig-tree not bearing fruit out of season). Many follow him in ignorance, and other crowds send him away in great fear.
Another post of interest on the same blog:
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