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.
augment this potential for specialized development by relating the semantic frames evoked by different words and realizing for them the same information, relationships, evaluations, and expectations. Thus, repetition functions rhetorically whenever it cultivates content for semantic frames redundantly along specific lines.
Repeated vocabulary, contexts, and structures also cultivate content that cannot be explained in terms of semantic frames. For example, recognition that the prediction — controversy — teaching sequence of 8,31–9,1 is being repeated in 9,30-41 indicates that the narration of 8,31–9,1 has cultivated an abstract conceptual model of this structured sequence and its parts, relationships among the parts, and perspectives for evaluating their content. The narration of 9,30-41 also has the potential to cultivate an expectation that, should another prediction appear (as in 10,32-34), it will be followed by a further controversy and teaching (as in 10,35-45). Again, formulation of a coherent portrait of a character, such as the Son of Man, presumes an integrative framework that makes available to interpreters a synthetic organization of the vast array of information about the Son of Man, that identifies this character with Jesus and relates this character to other characters in specific ways, evaluates this character positively, and presents expectations for his characterization along specific lines.
Cultivation of such abstract and synthetic content is explained in terms of the evocation and modification of narrative frames that accommodate narrative information, relationships, perspectives, and expectations in a manner that parallels the way the semantic frames accommodate semantic content8. The narrative frame, which may be evoked by any repeated context, structure, or character that can be abstracted from the narration, makes available to interpreters not only specifically narrative content but also the content of semantic frames evoked by the vocabulary that appears in contexts, structures, and characterization9.