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.
2. Contextual Repetition
Cultivated beliefs about the Son of Man’s near future experience and activity and his parousaic identity and activity receive further augmentation through distinct repeated contexts. The previously noted predictions (8,31-32a; 9,30-32; 10,32-34) relate the Son of Man (8,31; 9,31; 10,33), kill (a)poktei/nw, 8,31; 9,31a.31b; 10,34), after three days (meta_ trei=j h(me/raj, 8,31; 9,31; 10,34), and rise (a)ni/stamai, 8,31; 9,31; 10,34). The initial occurrence of this context (8,31-32a) introduces this content that contradicts the authorial audience’s pre-existing beliefs, relates this content to suffer (pa/sxw, 8,31) and the divine necessity (dei=, 8,31), and specifies and evaluates negatively the elders, chief priests, and scribes as those who reject the Son of Man. The second prediction (9,30-32) introduces hand over (paradi/dwmi) and specifies that the Son of Man will be handed over into the hands of human beings who will kill him (9,31), relates paradi/dwmi to the previously noted vocabulary and human beings to the previously noted opponents, and evaluates these opponents negatively. The third prediction (10,32-34) repeats hand over (10,33a.33b), contributes condemn (katakri/nw, 10,33), death (qa/natoj, 10,33), ridicule (e)mpai/zw, 10,34), spit on (e)mptu/w, 10,34), and whip (mastigo/w, 10,34), specifies the chief priests and scribes as those who hand over Jesus and condemn him to death (10,33) and the Gentiles as those who ridicule, spit on, whip, and kill him, relates this vocabulary to previous vocabulary and these opponents to previous opponents, and evaluates these opponents negatively. Since this repeated context progressively augments the contradictory content of 8,31-32a with coherent content in 9,30-32 and 10,32-34, repetition of this context is deemed a deconstructive rhetorical strategy.
The second repeated context, 8,38–9,1, 13,24-27, and 14,60-65 relates see (o(ra/w, 9,1; 13,26; 14,62), Son of Man (8,38; 13,26; 14,62), come (e!rxomai, 8,38; 13,26; 14,62), and power (du/namij, 9,1; 13,26, cf. 13,25 for "powers"; 14,62). The first relates glory (do/ca, 8,38), angels (a!ggeloi, 8,38), and death (qa/natoj, 9,1) to this content; the second repeats glory (13,26) and angels (13,27) and contributes clouds (nefe/lai, 13,26) and heaven / sky (ou)rano/j, 13,27); and the third repeats clouds (14,62), heaven / sky (14,62), and death (14,64). Since straightforward references to the scriptures in each context indicate a pre-existing familiarity with this content, repetition of this context is deemed a sophisticating rhetorical strategy.