Here is an extract from the latest publication on the question of Simon of Cyrene, the one compelled to carry the cross of Jesus according to the synoptic gospel narrative. This post follows the train of
A “Playful” Ambiguity in the Gospel of Mark (14-07-2023)
It is from an article by Andreas Bedenbener in the latest issue of Texte und Kontexte:
But as far as Simon is concerned, the text’s [that is, the Gospel of Mark] great interest in him suddenly disappears the moment he takes up the cross. We don’t hear how he carries it to Golgotha, nor how he puts it down, nor what became of him afterwards. The text continues as follows:
22 They take him to the place Golgotha, which is translated: place of the skull.
23 They wanted to give him wine flavored with myrrh; but he did not take it.
24 And they crucified him
and divide his garments,
by casting lots over them to see who could take what.
Since the last text figure mentioned before arriving at Golgotha was Simon, it would be linguistically obvious to refer all of this, as well as what is said in the following verses, to him; The name “Jesus” only appears again in v. 34. This is either told extremely carelessly – which would be astonishing given the level of detail with which the text previously addressed Simon – or else the Gospel of Mark aims to to blur the line between Jesus and Simon for a while.The ambivalence of the phrase “his cross” fits with this second possibility: the cross that Simon takes up could be both the cross of Jesus and his own cross. If you understand the scene as a representation of reality, it is of course an either – or, but if you look at it from a literary perspective, the cross belongs as much to Jesus as it does to Simon.
(Translation, pp 15f)
- Bedenbender, Andreas. “Kein Helfer, sondern selbst ein Opfer. Die Rolle Simons Aus Kyrene in Mk 15,21 und im Gefüge des Markusevangeliums.” Texte & Kontexte, no. 169/170 (2022): 12-30.
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