Chiasm in Mark 7:24-31

Rothon, Philip Maxwell (2002-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: My provisional identification of chiasm in Mark 7:24-31 initiated this multidisciplinary study of the literary shape of this interesting text. New Testament scholars tend to agree that the genre (form, content and function) of the Gospel of Mark exhibits the literary characteristics typical of ancient, first century AD, Greco-Roman biography thereby evidencing, in a broad sense, Greco-Roman form and function, and Jewish content. As a result, the New Testament Gospels have been described as a "tertium quid'. However, until fairly recently, few scholars appear to have taken the possibility of finding Jewish rhetorical form, in the shape of chiasm, into account in their examination of New Testament texts and have almost exclusively tended to focus on classical Greek rhetorical forms. As a result, this study opens itself to the possibility of finding both Jewish and Greco- Roman literary forms in the text, thereby attempting to obtain a greater presence of understanding of what the implied author was doing with the text. This study therefore endeavours to understand, not only what the implied author intended to communicate through the literary form of the text to the implied reader but also, at the level of discourse, the "how" of that communication within the literary context of the Gospel as a whole. In the light of the aforegoing, the research questions appear as follows. (1) What, on a balance of probability, is the literary form or structure of Mark 7:24- 3 1 within its literary context? If the form of the text is found, on a balance of probability, to exhibit the characteristics of chiasm: (2) What implied effect would this have on an implied reader when understood and interpreted within the context of Greco-Roman biography? And, (3) what effect would the answers to (1) and (2) above have on a modern (present) reader of the Gospel of Mark? After a brief overview of the socio-historical and cultural setting to the Gospel of Mark that serves as essential background material necessary for an understanding of the text, this study proceeds to consider the ancient roots of chiasm with regard to the literature of the Ancient Near East and briefly traces its prevalence from the ancient past through to the period of the New Testament. Because chiasm is a particular form of parallelism, the importance of understanding Biblical parallelisms in the Hebrew literature in general and its significance with regard to the New Testament and Mark's Gospel in particular is considered. A discussion of various definitions of chiasm follows. After considering the Gospel of Mark and the literary context of the subject text, its literary form is examined in the light of known ancient literary conventions, including Biblical narrative and the various forms evidenced in the exchange of dialogue are considered and the text examined for further correspondences. Thereafter the text is reviewed within its literary context and, what follows, is an explanation of how the form of the text may function within its literary location.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: My voorlopige identifiesering van chiasme in Markus 7:24-31 inisieer 'n multidimensionele studie van die literêre vorm van dié interessante teks. Nuwe-Testamentici neig om saam te stem dat die genre (vorm, inhoud en funksie) van die evangelie volgens Markus die literêre kenmerke toon, tipies van antieke, eerste eeuse (AD) Grieks-Romeinse biografie en stel so, in 'n breë sin, Grieks-Romeinse vorm en funksie sowel as Joodse inhoud ten toon. As 'n resultaat is die Nuwe Testamentiese Evangelies beskryf as 'n "tertium quid." Tog, tot redelik onlangs het weinig Nuwe-Testamentici die moontlikheid in ag geneem om Joodse retoriese vorm, in die vorm van giasme, te vind in hulle ondersoek van Nuwe Testamentiese tekste en het geneig om bykans uitsluitlik te fokus op klassieke Griekse retoriese vorme. As 'n gevolg open hierdie studie ditself tot die moontlikheid om Joodse, sowel as Grieks-Romeinse literêre vorme binne die teks te vind en sodoende 'n groter begrip mee te bring van wat die geïmpliseerde outeur met die teks gemaak het. Die studie onderneem dus om nie net aan te dui wat die geïmpliseerde outeur beoog het om te kommunikeer d.m.v. die literêre vorm van die teks aan die geïmpliseerde gehoor nie, maar ook op die vlak van diskoers, die "hoe" van die kommunikasie binne die literêre konteks van die evangelie as geheel. In die lig van die voorafgaande kan die ondersoekvrae as volg geformuleer word. (1) Wat is die literêre vorm of struktuur van Markus 7:24-31 binne die bepaalde literêre konteks? lndien die vorm van die teks die kenmerke van chiasme vertoon: (2) Watter geïmpliseerde effek sal dit hê op 'n geïmpliseerde gehoor indien die teks verstaan en geïnterpreteer word binne die konteks van Grieks-Romeinse biografie? En (3) watter effek sal die antwoorde tot vrae (1) en (2) hê op die moderne (eietydse) leser van die Evangelie volgens Markus? Na 'n kort oorsig oor die sosio-historiese en kulturele plasing van die Evangelie volgens Markus wat dien as noodsaaklike agtergrond materiaal, noodsaaklik vir 'n verstaan van die teks, gaan die studie voort om die antieke wortels van chiasme te oorweeg, met inagneming die literatuur van die ou Nabye Ooste en gaan kortliks die belang hiervan na, vanaf die antieke tye tot en met die Nuwe Testamentiese tydperk. Aangesien chiasme 'n spesifieke vorm van parallelisme is, word die belang van die verstaan van Bybelse parallelisme binne die Hebreeuse literatuur in die algemeen en die belang daarvan rakende die Nuwe Testament en die Evangelie volgens Markus in besonder, oorweeg. 'n Bespreking van verskeie definisies van chiasme volg. Na 'n bespreking van die Evangelie volgens Markus, sowel as die literêre konteks van die bepaalde perikoop, word die literêre vorm ondersoek in die lig van bekende antieke literêre konvensies, insluitende Bybelse narratief en verskeie vorme wat, waarneembaar binne die uitruil van dialoog ondesoek, en word die teks ondersoek vir verdere ooreenstemminge. Om hiedie rede word die teks oorweeg binne die literêre konteks en wat daarop volg is 'n verduideliking van hoe die vorm van die teks kan funksioneer binne die literêre plasing daarvan.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/52731
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