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Mark 16:2 & subsequent use of aorist participle

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Mark 16:2 & subsequent use of aorist participle

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Thu Feb 28, 2013 9:50 pm

There is an apparent contradiction within Mark 16:2 regarding what time of day the women arrived at the tomb where the body Jesus had been placed. This apparent internal contradiction is in addition to conflict with John 20:1. This problem has a grammatical aspect which is highlighted by the reading found in Codex Bezae (D).

The critical text (SBLGNT):

Mk 16:2 και λιαν πρωι ⸂τῃ μιᾳ των⸃ σαββατων ερχονται επι το μνημειον ανατειλαντος του ηλιου.

Mk 16:2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb.

Codex Bezae Mk 16:2
και ερχονται πρωι μιας σαββατου επι το μνημιον · ανατελλοντος του ηλιου

Mk 16:2 And early on the first day of the week, with the sun rising, they went to the tomb.

The apparent internal contradiction is λιαν πρωι very early vs. ανατειλαντος του ηλιου when the sun had risen. I’m not aware of any discussion of this specific text by S. E. Porter but his treatment of the subsequent use of aorist participle when it falls toward the end of the sentence [1] might be called on to alleviate the tension felt here by traditional grammar. However the history of the text seems to indicate that scribes had some problem with the subsequent use of the aorist participle. Codex Bezae makes two changes, the removal of λιαν and switch from the aorist ανατειλαντος to the present participle ανατελλοντος. It would appear at first glance that the person responsible for this reading thought the aorist participle was incompatible with λιαν πρωι very early (in the morning).

Codex Bezae Mk 16:2
και ερχονται πρωι μιας σαββατου επι το μνημιον · ανατελλοντος του ηλιου

The combination of these two changes make for a time contemporaneous with sunrise which still conflicts with John 20:1 πρωῒ σκοτίας; it was still dark.

John 20:1 Τῇ δὲ μιᾷ τῶν σαββάτων Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ ἔρχεται πρωῒ σκοτίας ἔτι οὔσης εἰς τὸ μνημεῖον καὶ βλέπει τὸν λίθον ἠρμένον ἐκ τοῦ μνημείου




Codex Bezae: Cambridge, University Library
Gospel Mk CH 16
http://epapers.bham.ac.uk/1663/1/Bezae% ... xml#B02K16

ο δε ϊωσηφ αγορασας σινδονα 
λαβων αυτον 
ενειλησεν εις την σινδονα 
και εθηκεν αυτον εν τω μνημειω
ο ην λελατομημενον εκ της πετρας 
και προσκυλισας λιθονεπι την θυραν του μνημιου και απηλθεν 
η δε μαρια μαγδαληνη · και μαρια ϊακωβου 
εθεασαντο τον τοπον οπου τεθειται
16:1
και πορευθεισαι ηγορασαν αρωματα
ϊνα αυτον αλιψωσιν 
και ερχονται πρωι μιας σαββατου
επι το μνημιον · ανατελλοντος του ηλιου 
και ελεγον προς εαυτους · τι σημιον αποκαλυψ[ει] 
τον λιθον απο της θυρας του μνημιουην γαρ μεγας σφοδρα



SBLGNT Michael W. Holmes
Mark 15:
46 και αγορασας ⸀σινδονα καθελων αυτον ενειλησεν τῃ σινδονι και ⸀εθηκεν αυτον εν ⸀μνημειῳ ο ην λελατομημενον εκ πετρας, και προσεκυλισεν λιθον επι την θυραν του μνημειου. 47 η δε Μαρια η Μαγδαληνη και Μαρια ⸂η Ιωσητος⸃ εθεωρουν που ⸀τεθειται.

Mark 16:
1 Και διαγενομενου του σαββατου ⸀Μαρια η Μαγδαληνη και Μαρια ⸂η του⸃ Ιακωβου και Σαλωμη ηγορασαν αρωματα ινα ελθουσαι αλειψωσιν αυτον. 2 και λιαν πρωι ⸂τῃ μιᾳ των⸃ σαββατων ερχονται επι το μνημειον ανατειλαντος του ηλιου. 3 και ελεγον προς εαυτας· Τις αποκυλισει ημιν τον λιθον ⸀εκ της θυρας του μνημειου; 4 και αναβλεψασαι θεωρουσιν οτι ⸀αποκεκυλισται ο λιθος, ην γαρ μεγας σφοδρα.

Mark 15:46:

• σινδονα WH Treg NIV ] + και RP
• εθηκεν WH Treg NIV ] κατεθηκεν RP
• μνημειῳ Treg NIV RP ] μνηματι WH

Mark 15:47:

• η Ιωσητος WH Treg NIV ] Ιωση RP
• τεθειται WH Treg NIV ] τιθεται RP

Mark 16:1:

• Μαρια Treg NIV RP ] η Μαρια WH
• η του WH Treg NIV ] – RP

Mark 16:2:

• τῃ μιᾳ των WH NIV ] μιᾳ των Treg; της μιας RP

ESV (source e-sword)
Mark 15:
46 And Joseph bought a linen shroud, and taking him down, wrapped him in the linen shroud and laid him in a tomb that had been cut out of the rock. And he rolled a stone against the entrance of the tomb. 47 Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses saw where he was laid.

Mark 16:
1 , When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. 2 And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. 3 And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back—it was very large.


[1] S. E. Porter Idioms NT Greek 1994, p.189
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Re: Mark 16:2 & subsequent use of aorist participle

Postby Markos » Fri Mar 01, 2013 8:33 pm

You raise some good points Clayton.

I agree that a natural way to take the aorist ανατειλαντος του ηλιου is that the sun had already risen when they arrived at the tomb. I’m not sure, though, how much of a contradiction that is with the statement that it was “very” early. I know there were different (Roman, Greek, Jewish) ways of dividing up the days and nights, and I know that even today different people will use “early” and “very early” to refer to different times of the day.

But beyond that, I think it is perfectly possible that, despite the aorist, Mark meant to say that the women arrived WHILE the sun was rising. (KJB: “at the rising of the sun.”) This would then not conflict with John, as it would still be somewhat dark. I’m not inclined to look right now, but I’m pretty there are plenty of instances of aorist genitive absolutes referring to actions simultaneous with the main verb.

BTW, what do you mean by "subsequent use?"
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Re: Mark 16:2 & subsequent use of aorist participle

Postby C. S. Bartholomew » Fri Mar 01, 2013 10:01 pm

Markos wrote:
I agree that a natural way to take the aorist ανατειλαντος του ηλιου is that the sun had already risen when they arrived at the tomb. I’m not sure, though, how much of a contradiction that is with the statement that it was “very” early. I know there were different (Roman, Greek, Jewish) ways of dividing up the days and nights, and I know that even today different people will use “early” and “very early” to refer to different times of the day.

But beyond that, I think it is perfectly possible that, despite the aorist, Mark meant to say that the women arrived WHILE the sun was rising. (KJB: “at the rising of the sun.”) This would then not conflict with John, as it would still be somewhat dark. I’m not inclined to look right now, but I’m pretty there are plenty of instances of aorist genitive absolutes referring to actions simultaneous with the main verb.

BTW, what do you mean by "subsequent use?"


Subsequent use is Porter's[1] term for an aorist participle where the action referred to in the participle occurs subsequent to the action of the main verb.

[1]S. E. Porter Idioms NT Greek 2nd Ed.1994, p.189

I don't have any problem with the text as it stands. The revision in Codex Bezae seems to indicate some discomfort with the wording in the vorlage. Gotta keep in mind that Bezae isn't just a manuscript, more like a recension. Gives us a window into how the text was understood when it was produced. If Bezae decides to clean things up and remove possible misunderstandings then we probably have a genuine exegetical difficulty perceived as such in the early centuries of the christian era. All of this is subject to the normal trainload full of scholarly hedging which is why its risky to even bring this up for discussion.

Mark 16:1 SBLGNT Και διαγενομενου του σαββατου ⸀Μαρια η Μαγδαληνη και Μαρια ⸂η του⸃ Ιακωβου και Σαλωμη ηγορασαν αρωματα ινα ελθουσαι αλειψωσιν αυτον. 2 και λιαν πρωι ⸂τῃ μιᾳ των⸃ σαββατων ερχονται επι το μνημειον ανατειλαντος του ηλιου.

The question at hand is the evidential value of the Codex Bezae at Mark 16:2 in regard to subsequent use an aorist participle. It doesn't look like the scribe(s) for Bezae were thinking ανατειλαντος του ηλιου occurred subsequent to ερχονται επι το μνημειον. To avoid what was an apparent internal contradiction λιαν was removed and ανατειλαντος was changed to ανατελλοντος the present tense .
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