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.
reliability, that Christ is the first designation applied to Jesus in support of asserting this reliability, and that Christ evokes or at least coheres with such extensive pre-existing beliefs indicates that the narrative frame evoked by Christ makes available a nexus of information, relationships, perspectives, and expectations that is integral to the authorial audience’s understanding of Jesus. In contrast, the limited pre-existing beliefs evoked about the Son of Man indicate that this narrative frame plays a more peripheral role in the authorial audience’s pre-existing beliefs about Jesus. Finally, this investigation identifies no pre-existing beliefs that directly relate the designations, Christ and Son of Man.
III. The Characterization of the Christ
The direct cultivation of beliefs about the Christ is limited to verbal repetition of the designation and to one repeated context.
1. Verbal Repetition
Repetition of Christ (1,1; 8,29; 9,41; 12,35; 13,21; 14,61; 15,32) emphasizes the identity of Jesus as the Christ through apposition (1,1) and a statement (8,29) and question (14,61) that relate a pronoun referencing Jesus to Christ with the verb, be18. Since pre-existing beliefs recognize that Jesus is the Christ (1,1), this repetition is deemed a sophisticating rhetorical strategy.
2. Contextual Repetition
The repeated context, 8,27-30, 13,21-23, and 14,60-61, links say (le/gw, 8,29; 13,21; 14,61) and statements about the Christ by characters portrayed in opposition to Jesus: Peter (and the other disciples) whom Jesus rebukes (8,30); someone who is not to be believed (13,21); and the chief priest at the trial of Jesus (14,60). Repetition of this context is deemed a deconstructive rhetorical strategy for two reasons. First, although Peter’s assertion that Jesus is the Christ (8,29) coheres with both the pre-existing beliefs evoked in 1,1 and the beliefs evoked or cultivated in 1,2-15, Jesus’ apparent rejection of Peter’s assertion indicates that these pre-existing and