Paul Danove, «The Rhetoric of the Characterization of Jesus as the Son of Man and Christ in Mark», Vol. 84 (2003) 16-34
This article investigates the semantic and narrative rhetoric of Mark’s characterization of the Son of Man and the Christ and the contribution of the portrayal of the Son of Man to the portrayal of the Christ. An introductory discussion considers the role of repetition in characterization, the nature of semantic and narrative frames and their implications for describing the implied reader of Mark, and the rhetorical strategies apparent in characterization. The study of characterization investigates the manner in which the semantic and narrative rhetoric introduces and reinforces frequently discordant content concerning the Son of Man and Christ and then relates developments concerning the Son of Man to the Christ. The study concludes with a consideration of the narrative function of the characterizations of the Son of Man and Christ.
I. The Semantic and Narrative Rhetoric of Characterization
The semantic rhetoric becomes apparent whenever the narration cultivates specialized connotations for particular vocabulary used in characterization1. For example, although discuss (dialogi/zomai) may connote a positive, negative, or neutral action in general Koine usage, the narration of Mark realizes only the verb’s negative potential by repeatedly contrasting those who discuss and the topic of discussion with Jesus and his teachings and actions2. Thus, the scribes discussing that Jesus is blaspheming (2,6.8a.8b) are countered by Jesus’ statements and action (2,8-12); the disciples discussing that they have no bread (8,16; cf. 8,10) are depicted by Jesus as lacking understanding and having a hardened heart (8,17); the disciples (cf. 9,31) discussing who is greatest (9,33-34) are corrected in Jesus’ teaching to the twelve about being last and servant of all (9,35); and the chief priests, scribes, and elders discussing the origins of John’s baptism (11,31; cf. 11,27) are revealed as lacking faith and fearing the crowd (11,31-32) that esteems Jesus (11,18)3.