Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Testament Translation Question

(Let's not use the word "feminist" today.) Let's (instead) focus precisely on the Greek text of the New Testament. Let me make a suggestion that I've made before, and then ask a question. Here's that suggestion:
that Mark is translating Jesus to give a pluralistic hermeneutic when he has him saying and asking:
Καὶ λέγει αὐτοῖς, Οὐκ οἴδατε τὴν παραβολὴν ταύτην; Καὶ πῶς πάσας τὰς παραβολὰς γνώσεσθε;

And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables?
The entire parable and this whole pericopic episode seem to get at interpretive difficulties and ways of being and repentance and subjectivities against pretended objectivity and the like. Yes, I know I'm exegeting isogetically - but isn't that some the point here in Mark 4? To keep outsiders out and insiders in and to multiply statements and so forth?
So the question:
How differently would you read this story of this parable if it started, really and textually, in Mark 3:31? With Jesus being challenged about his ostensible inattention to his mother and his brothers. Yes, I know the manuscripts and therefore the text critics go bananas here in verse 33. But Mark has Jesus turning the whole question of precise definition back to those challenging him:
Καὶ ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς λέγων [ἀποκριθεὶς αὐτοῖς λέγει], Τίς ἐστιν ἡ μήτηρ μου [ἢ οἱ] [καὶ οἱ] [ἀδελφοί μου] ἀδελφοί [μου].

And he answered them, saying, Who is my mother, or my brethren?
Then he goes even further, and Mark does as well with his Greek:
34 Καὶ περιβλεψάμενος κύκλῳ τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν [τοὺς περὶ αὐτὸν κύκλῳ] καθημένους, λέγει, Ἴδε, ἡ μήτηρ μου καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοί μου

Ὃς γὰρ ἂν ποιήσῃ τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ, οὗτος ἀδελφός μου καὶ ἀδελφή [μου] καὶ μήτηρ ἐστίν.

34 And he looked round about on them which sat about him, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!

35 For whosoever shall do the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.
Do you see how bold this interpretation? How additional to the text this marked detail? Is this a set up for the story of a sower sowing? Does gender matter? Embodiment in interpretationS? Wordplay in Texts?
In the words of Jesus: What does the text say? How do you read it?

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