Dialogic Exegesis


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This August 18, 2006 journal entry is an example of Dialogic Exegesis, a new interpretive method I am developing on the basis of Post Modern and Deconstructionist literary theory:

Mark 3:31 And his mother and his brothers came and standing outside, they sent to him, calling him. 32 And a crowd was sitting around him, and they said to him, “Look, your mother and your brothers [and your sisters, sic] are outside seeking after you. 33 And answering them, he said, “Who is [sic] my mother and my brothers?” 34 And casting a glance upon those sitting round him in a circle he says, “Look [at] my mother and brothers. 35 [For, sic] whoever would do the will of god, this one is my brother and sister and mother.”

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel begins at Mark 1.

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

On the question of morality and gay parenthood, Jesus himself renounced all ‘family’ in the sense of blood, or genetic definition, in favour of a definition of family in the spiritual sense; that ‘family’ are those who commune, communicate, associate in spirit. The lesson is that our family is not but a metaphor, a shadow, a foreshadowing of the family to come – the family we will come to when we are born anew [cf Jonn 3] and ultimately, when we are transformed in resurrection [ cf 1 Cor 15:48ff ]. Jesus not only redefines family, he dialogizes it. Jesus, in his great wisdom, opens the concept of family among a tribal people, in a tribal society, albeit a society undergoing a revolution in its consciousness of the individual and her relationship to society and family via the novelism of the Romans.

These people, Jesus’ audience, did not have a relativistic consciousness; they did not easily play with static, traditional, sacred (even political) institutions such as that of ‘family.’ Wars were fought over family issues. Israel was a family. Jesus was seriously confronting the tribal claim of Israel to the exclusive favour of god…to the exclusive alliance of god or any other fundamental, binding or controlling interest in the kingdom of god based on blood relation and/or any of the hierarchical, customary and even scientifically or biologically expedient facts about what is ‘family.’

The reason I am outlining this tenet so emphatically is that it is not generally recognized how unusual and disturbing this teaching would have been among the Israelites and even among the Romans of the time. Jesus was uttering seditious, treasonous, antisocial and really quite frightening notions in his milieu. For instance, under Augustus Caesar, it was one’s publicly decreed patriotic duty to marry and have children, and furthermore, this family-making was considered a literal reflection of god-like behaviour [think ‘Roman pantheon’]. Here is Jesus saying ‘anyone can be my brother or sister or mother…’ this is stunning enough to leave even a Roman speechless, let alone a Judean.

So when we make families, what model do we follow? …Jesus’ ‘loose,’ broadly defined, inclusive, combining, accepting family, or the socio-religio-political definition: closed, narrowly defined, exclusive, divisive, discriminating family?

Some may argue that Jesus was not here [in Mk 3] claiming to make a general or absolute moral statement in a ‘technical’ sense, i.e., that he was not making a commandment or legal statement per se becuase the context lends itself to a more casual or less weighty interpretation. However, this statement (Mk 3:31-35, above) appears in the midst of a set of conflict vignettes and especially, just following perhaps the most serious slander of Jesus’ identity, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, in response to his healing a man on the Sabbath. The entire chapters 2 and 3 of Mark are dedicated to asserting Jesus’ authority, as god, over the Law, and so the statement about family is pertinent and weighty.

Jesus is performing, from the Judean religious leadership’s point of view, nasty, irritating magic tricks on the Sabbath and then he is actually saying he can do what he wants because he knows better than they. So when Jesus redefines family, he is truly, radically and with the voice of god making a new law, a new family, a new model. He completely renounces the old covenant with Israel and demonstrates what he is doing by negating the foundation of Israel’s relationship with god, the father, a strong source of identity for Israel, the promise to Abraham, the family-nation. Jesus’ redefinition of family is his dialogization of the word ‘family’ to be ‘not family’ also, to include anyone allied with him and by implication: alliance with himself is tantamount to alliance with god: “whoever would do the will of god, this one is my brother and sister and mother.”

Jesus’ legal, political and religious model of family flows from the spiritual, not the other way around. Therefore, it appears that we are not invested, obligated or commanded by Jesus to make only one type of family.

Jesus was not about ‘law,’ Jesus was about intentions, for which there can be no law. Jesus was about acceptance and forgiveness and tolerance and loving kindness and freedom, even now, in this life. Jesus’ irony revealed the impotence of the law and its purpose – to condemn only. Jesus did what he wanted to do, he usurped the law – the family (of Israel) included – just as god, and only god, can do. This is the reason for the anger and disbelief of the synagogue leaders. Only god is able to redefine, or ‘judge’ the law, including that applying to family.

This example of Jesus’ assertion of his authority is equal to him calling himself god. How are we to follow his example? By Mark’s account, Jesus says, “Whoever does the will of god is my brother…” etc., i.e. the brother of god. How are we to know how to do the will of god? Apparently, Jesus taught that god will speak directly to you…you can hear his voice for yourself. Jesus’ example was not to listen to the religious leaders but only to the Father directly. This is infuriating to people, then and now. It’s infuriating because it’s impossible to prove someone hears god’s voice, and it’s impossible to disprove either.

Each one of us has to make up his/her own mind what god is saying to you. You cannot rely on someone else to tell you. There is no magic formula, no scientific experiment, no one, specific thing or sequence of things that will guarantee knowing how to do the will of god. Conversely, there is no one thing specifically, except mistaking the Holy Spirit for the devil [technically, ‘the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit,’ cf Mk 3:22, 29] guaranteeing condemnation. If you know god, you will not commit the deadly sin by definition; you will recognize god’s spirit and not mistake it for anything or anyone else.

How to attain this unprovable thing – which means you cannot prove it, even to yourself?

Well, one condition is that you are never ‘certain’ in a logical, scientific, deductive, ‘in itself’ kind of way, but you can be certain in an experiential, evidential, hermeneutical, inductive ‘for myself’ kind of way. I can be certain enough, I can be very certain, conditionally certain, mostly certain. I can be more certain of something unseen (and unexplained), like gravity, than of something seen, like a picture of a model in a magazine. Anyway, in order to reach a measure, a weight of certainty, we cannot forget the element of uncertainty – it is the honest, scientific, rational approach. We cannot claim certainty but we can look for evidence, either supportive or not, either strong or weak, evidence which demonstrates in physical, predictable, repeatable, specific results that certain propositions are true; i.e., whether god speaks to people, whether he has a ‘voice’ of some kind, whether one can reliably discern such communication, whether one could show why it would be important for god to speak at any given time or why it would be beneficial to listen, as opposed to why god would not speak at some other time…in short, what difference, if any, would god speaking to someone make to anyone?

Well, to finish the argument that Christians have no basis for socio-politico-religious models, dictates, definitions, etc., Jesus himself did not engage in any family-making whatsoever – not marriage, not children, not ‘free love’ … not any engagement in any aspect of physical family duty-doing or heir-amassing. By example, Jesus revealed a humanity divorced from its apparently natural, certainly traditional imperatives. Jesus’ example is a total departure from what many would consider human. However, in this light, one finally realizes that ‘human’ is not what one has done or what one does, but that ‘human’ is what one believes, what one envisions, what one creates.

Jesus not only revealed to us the face of god, his human form, his true identity, he also revealed to us the face of man, his godlike form, his true identity.

Jesus revealed that while sexuality is not a curse, the bondage of sexual bodies is not a moral ground, and neither are sexual drives, instincts, etc., the least bit tempting, the least bit compelling, or the least bit necessary. Jesus did not declare celibacy superior but he, by example, revealed sex, marriage, family to be not a godlike quality, not a human (moral) imperative and by inference, he demonstrates a distinct, very clear and very shocking disdain for the family of Israel, for joining in its extension, for its laws, traditions and social strata. Jesus demonstrates that human is undefined in or of itself, but is only defined in relationship to god, and that something like family is also only defined in relationship to god. What a ‘family’ looks like in this sense is determined by one’s individual relationship with god.

Now, one could argue that the theme of Mark 2-3 is, “Who is it that does the will of god?”:

2:10 Now, in order that you should know that the son of man has power to forgive sins upon the earth,” he said to the paralytic, “to you I say, rise, take up your stretcher and go up into your house.” [Jesus demonstrates by authority that he is doing the will of god.]

2:23 And it befell him on the Sabbath to be going about through the grain fields and his disciples, making [their] way, were plucking the ears of corn. 24 And the Pharisees said to him, “Look, why are they doing to the Sabbath what is not lawful?” 25 And he says to them, “Have you never read what David did when he had need and he himself was hungry, and those with him? 26 How he went into the house of god while Abiathar [was] high priest and ate the bread of the presence, which was not lawful to eat except [for] the priests, and he gave also to those who were with him.” 27 And he was saying [or ‘used to say’] to them, “The Sabbath because of man was made and not man because of the Sabbath.” [Jesus cites scriptural evidence that his behaviour is in line with the will of god.]

3:4 And he says to them, “Is it lawful on the Sabbath to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?” But they were silent. [Jesus challenges his accusers to show that they know god’s will but they do not.]

3:14 And he made twelve [who also would be sent] sic, in order that they should be with him and in order that he mIght send them to preach 15 and to have authority to cast out demons… [Jesus’ miracles are evidence that he knows and is performing god’s will.]

These two chapters are a huge set-up for the quotation of Isaiah 6:9-10 in Mark 4:12, which throws down the premise that the religious establishment in Jerusalem did not recognize Jesus:

Seeing, they will see [βλεπω] but not see [ειδω, ‘recognize,’ ‘realize,’ ‘know’]
And hearing, they will hear but not perceive,
Lest they should ever turn themselves around
And I might forgive them.
[Isa 6:9-10]

So at the end of chapter 3, no one is asking what Jesus’ family did wrong or what the problem was or why Jesus didn’t go out to them…Jesus is making a point about family, not his particular family…that a family to which one wants to belong is one that does the will of god. So the question here is, what does he mean by ‘the will of god’?

It seems to me that Jesus is making this ‘one who does the will of god’ into the focus, the heart, of the question. One’s first response would be, well…as you said, it is ‘family.’ Jesus is rhetorically begging the question and thus presenting us with an in-your-face challenge of our own assumptions and a compact set of entendres relating to the law, family law, law as the will of god ergo family as the will of god, with the playful and puzzling contradictions about his own definition of family and, by association, it can be argued, his own definition also of ‘the one who does the will of god.’

Let us say his rhetoric lends itself to the argument that Jesus is refuting that simply following the law is the definition of doing god’s will. This is supported by the conflict sequence of this vignette, in which Jesus is accused of breaking the Sabbath (Mk 3:3). So it can be convincingly argued that Jesus is saying that the one who does god’s will is not necessarily the one who follows the written law.

So Jesus implies that there is another way to ascertain god’s will. Moreover, he asserts that he himself has ascertained god’s will by his healing of the man with the withered hand (Mk 3:5), for it is god’s will to save life, not kill, on the Sabbath and that he is doing god’s will. The implication is that the discernment and performance of god’s will is so assuredly and certainly possessed by him, Jesus, that he will raise the question himself to them regarding how he knows. If they knew the answer, they would have answered him back and said how one does god’s will but they do not, and the question hangs there.

Jesus is saying to them, ‘if you knew how to do god’s will, if you knew how to discover what is god’s will, I welcome you…you would be my family…you would understand how it is that I can redefine family…that what is really important is this ministry I’m doing here, these people I’m teaching.’

Jesus rhetorically demonstrates that his opponents, in his opinion, do not know how to do the will of god. He is playfully but definitely asserting that he does and they do not, and that the family is who he says it is…a serious undertone, a serious look at the birthright of Abraham, a serious display of authority…a serious redefinition of family.

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Mark 16

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@gamiliel on Instagram

Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel, which begins at Mark 1.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

16 1 And when the Sabbath was over Maria Magdalene and Maria the [wife of] Jacob and Salome brought aromatics in order to go to anoint him. 2 And very early the first [day after] Sabbath they came upon the tomb at sunrise. 3 And they were saying to each other, “Who will roll away for us the stone from the door of the tomb?” 4 And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back; for it was very large. 5 And going into the tomb they saw a young man sitting on the right enrobed in a white cloak, and they were amazed. 6 And he says to them, “Do not be afraid; you seek Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified; he was raised, he is not here; see the place where they placed him. 7 But go up, tell his disciples and Peter οτι, ‘He will escort you into Galilee;’ there you will see him, exactly as he told you.” 8 And they went out fleeing from the tomb, for they had fearful trembling and astonishment; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

[There is disagreement among the Mss at this point regarding the longer and shorter endings of Mark’s gospel. I have included them all here.]

9 And standing [‘arising’] early on [the] first [day] of Sabbath, he appeared first to Maria Magdalene, from whom had been cast seven demons. 10 That one took herself [and] bore message to those [who were] with him while they mourned and wept; 11 and they, hearing οτι, “He lives!” and he was seen by her, did not believe. 12 And after these things, two of them were walking [and] he appeared in a different form, walking into a field; 13 and those ones went up, bearing message to the rest; none of them believed.

14 [And, sic] Afterward, as the eleven were resting themselves he appeared and he castigated their unbelief and hardness of heart because they did not believe in those who saw him raised. 15 And he said to them, “Go into all the world proclaiming the good news to all creation. 16 The one who believes and is baptized will be saved but the one who does not believe will be condemned. 17 And signs for those who believe these things will follow; in my name demons will be cast out, they will speak new languages 18 [and with their hands, sic] they will pick up snakes and whatever deadly thing they should drink will not hurt them at all, upon the sick they will place [their] hands and they will be well.”

19 Then the Lord, after having spoken to them, was taken up into heaven and seated on the right side of God. 20 And those ones went out proclaiming everywhere, while the Lord worked with [them] and the word was confirmed by signs accompanying.

[Shorter ending, following v8:]

So all the instructions were reported directly [‘concisely,’ ‘briefly’] to those around Peter. And after these things Jesus himself, from sunrise to sunset [or ‘from East to West’] sent forth through them the hallowed and imperishable proclamation [‘public notice’] of eternal salvation. Amen.

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This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

Mark 15


@gamiliel on Instagram

Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel, which begins at Mark 1.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

15 1 And then in the morning the chief priests with the elders and scribes and the whole Sanhedron, preparing council, bound Jesus and led [him] [to be] handed over to Pilate. 2 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Judeans?” and answering him, he says, “What do you say?” 3 And the chief priests brought many accusations. 4 But Pilate again asked him, saying, “Do you not have any answer at all? Look, all are condemning you.” 5 But Jesus no longer would answer anything, so that Pilate was astounded [θαυμαζω, Pilate ‘wondered’].

6 During the [Passover] festival, he [Pilate] would release to them one prisoner for whom they would plead. 7 So there was one called Barabbas, who was incarcerated with the rebels, [those] who were in the faction that had committed murder. 8 And the crowd rising up began to ask exactly that he do [this] for them. 9 But Pilate answered them saying, “Do you wish I should release to you the King of the Judeans?” 10 For he knew that because of envy the chief priests were betraying him [or ‘handing him over’]. 11 So the chief priests leveraged the crowd so that more [would ask that] Barabbas be released to them.

12 But Pilate again answered, saying to them, “What then should I do to the King of the Judeans?” 13 So they again shouted. “Crucify him!” 14 But Pilate said to them, “For what evil did he do?” But they shouted more loudly, “Crucify him!” 15 So Pilate, intending to make satisfaction to the crowd, released to them Barabbas, and he gave Jesus over, being whipped, to be crucified.

16 And the soldiers led him out of the court, which is a judgement hall, and they summoned the whole army. 17 And they began to chant to him, “Farewell, King of the Judeans!” 19 and struck his head with a reed [whip] and they spit on him and they laid children [or young animals, ‘offspring’] prostrate before him [‘worshipping’]. 20 And when they had mocked him, they disrobed him of the purple [garment, cf. John 19:2] and enrobed him in his garment. And they took him out in order that they might crucify him.

21 And they forced a passerby, a certain Simon Kuranaion, who came from the country, the father of Alexander and Rouphus, in order that he should take up his cross. 22 And they bore him up to the Golgothan place, which is, being interpreted, “Skull Place.” 23 And they gave him myrrhed wine; but which he did not take.

24 And they crucified him

and they divided his clothes
casting a lot for them, who should take it. [Ps 22:18]

25 And it was third hour and they crucified him. 26 And the epigraph of his guilt was written, “The King of the Judeans.” 27 And with him were crucified two robbers, one on the right and one on his left. [א omits v28: And the writing was fulfilled which says, ‘Also with criminals he was counted.’ Is 53:12] 29 And those walking by blasphemed him, shaking their heads and saying, “Woe to the one who would destroy the temple and build [it] in three days, 30 save yourself, descend from the cross!” 31 And likewise, the chief priests sported with one another, saying with the scribes, “He saved others but is not able to save himself; Messiah, King of Israel, descend now from the cross so that we might see and believe!” And the ones being crucified with him insulted him.

33 And when the sixth hour came, darkness came [‘it became dark’] over the whole earth [γην, also, ‘land’] until the ninth hour. 34 And in the ninth hour Jesus shouted [‘roared,’ ‘thundered’] in a loud voice [as in grief, βοη], “Eloi, eloi, lema sabachthani?” which is interpreted, “My god, my god, why have you forsaken me?” [Ps 22:1] 35 and some of those standing around hearing, were saying, “Look, he calls Elijah.”

36 And running, someone filled a sponge with vinegar, putting [it] on a lance, he gave it to him to drink, saying, “Let us see if Elijah takes him down.” 37 But Jesus breathed a great sigh, letting it out. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 And the centurion standing opposite him, beholding that he breathed out thus, said, “Truly this man was a son of god.” 40 But the women also were watching from far off, among whom were Maria Magdalene and Maria the [wife of] Jacob the younger and mother of Josetos and Salome, 41 who were in Galilee when they followed him and took care of him, and many others who came up together with him into Jerusalem.

42 And as evening was already starting, since it was ‘preparation,’ which is ‘before-Sabbath,’ 43 Joseph [who] came from Arimathaias as a respected councilor, who also himself was waiting patiently for [‘expecting’] the kingdom of god, courageously went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. 44 And Pilate wondered whether he had already died, and summoning the centurion, he asked him if he was dead yet; 45 and knowing from the centurion, he presented the corpse [‘fallen’] to Joseph. 46 And buying a muslin cloth, taking him down he wrapped [him] in the cloth and placed him in the tomb which was having been cut out of stone and he rolled a stone upon the door of the tomb. 47 And Maria Magdalene and Maria the [mother of] Jostos saw where he had been placed.


@gamiliel on Instagram

This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

Mark 14


@gamiliel on Instagram

Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel, which begins at Mark 1.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

14 1 And it was the Passover and the feast of unleavened bread after two days. And the chief priests and the scribes were figuring out how, by false [‘counterfeit,’ ‘entrapment’] proclamation they might kill him, 2 for they were saying, “Not in the festival, lest there should be a riot of the people.”

3 And when he was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, while he was relaxing [at table] a woman came, having an alabastron of pure nardic myrrh of great value, [and] breaking the alabastron, she poured [it] on his head. 4 Now there were some who felt vexed [saying] to themselves, “Why [εις τι] has this myrrh [been] wasted?” 5 For this myrrh could be sold for more than three-hundred denarii and [the money] given to the poor; and they snorted with arrogant rage at her. 6 But Jesus said, “Leave her alone [αφιημι, ‘forgive her’]; why are you holding a grudge against her? She has done a good work for me [‘an act of charity,’ ‘a kindness’]. 7 For always you have the poor with you, and when you wish you can do something good for them, but me you do not always have. 8 What she had, she did; she has helped [προσλαμβανω, ‘to give over and above’] to anoint my body for burial. 9 Listen carefully, whenever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she did will also be told in memory of her.”

10 So Judas Iskarioth [א*], who [was] one of the twelve, went up to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. 11 And those who heard were pleased and promised to give him cash. So he was looking for a good way to betray him.

12 And on the third day of the feast of unleavened bread, when the lamb was sacrificed, his disciples said to him, “Where do you wish us to go and prepare in order to eat the Passover sacrifice?” 13 And he sent two of his disciples and says to them, “Go up into the city and a man carrying a vessel of water will meet you; follow him 14 and when he comes along you will say to the ruler of the house οτι, “The Teacher says, ‘Where is my lodging where I may eat the Passover sacrifice with my disciples?’ 15 and he will show you a large upper room [which will be] strewn in preparation; and there you will prepare for us.” 16 So the disciples went out and went into the city and they found exactly what he told them and they prepared the Passover feast. 17 And when evening came he went with the twelve.

18 And while they were reclining [‘relaxing’] and eating, Jesus said, “Listen carefully οτι, one of you will betray me, one who is eating with me.” 19 They began to protest and say to him, one after another, “It is not I, is it?” 20 But he said to them, “One of the twelve, the one who dips with me into the bowl. 21 Because the son of man will go up exactly as it is written concerning him, but woe to that man by whom the son of man is betrayed; better for him if that man were not born.”

22 And while they were eating, he took bread, blessing and breaking [it] and he gave [it] to them and said, “Take, this is my body.” 23 And taking a cup [of wine], giving thanks, he gave [it] to them, and they all drank from it. 24 And he said to them, “This is my blood for the covenant being shed in behalf of many. 25 Listen carefully οτι, I will not drink of the vine ‘get’ [γενηματος] until that day when I drink anew in the kingdom of God.” 26 And singing, they went out upon the Mount of Olives.

27 And Jesus says to them οτι, “All of you will be scandalized [‘tripped up,’ ‘seduced’] because it is written,

I will strike the shepherd
and the sheep will be scattered
[Zech 13:7]

28 but after my resurrection I will go before you into Galilee.” 29 But Peter said to him, “All [the others] might be scandalized but not me!” 30 So Jesus says to him, “Listen carefully οτι, you, today this night before the cock crows twice, you will deny me thrice.” [πριν η δις αλεκτορα φωνησαι τρις με απαρνηση, playful, dramatic rhyme-iness.]

31 But with way overmuch affect [εκπερισσως, ‘more exceedingly’] he was saying, “[Even] If I must die with you, no way will I deny you!” And also, likewise all [of them] were saying.

32 And they went into a garden which was named Gethsemane, and he says to his disciples, “Rest here until I offer prayer.” And he took Peter and Jacob and John with him and he began to be agitated and to be anguished, 34 so he says to them, “Exceedingly sorrowful is my life, right up to death; remain here and keep watch.”

35 And going forward a little way, he fell upon the ground and offered prayer to the effect that [ινα] if it is possible the hour might pass by him, 36 and he was saying, “Abba, father, all things [‘anything,’ ‘everything’] are possible for you; deflect [‘turn away’] this cup away from me; however, not what I wish but what you [wish].”

37 And he went and found them sleeping, and he says to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Are you not strong [enough] to keep watch for one hour? 38 Keep watch and pray, so that you do not come into temptation, the spirit [is] earnest [‘willing’] but the body [is] weak.” 39 And again, going out he prayed saying the same thing [‘word’]. 40 And again going [back] he found them sleeping, for their eyes were heavy [‘weary’], and they did not know what they should answer him. 41 And he went a third [time] and says to them, “Sleep the remainder [of the night] and be rested [‘regain strength’]; it is done [απεχω, ‘full’]; the hour has come, look [ιδου], the son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise up, let us go; look [ιδου], the one who betrays me is near.”

43 And then, while he was yet speaking, Judas, one of the twelve, arrived and with him a crowd with swords [or, ‘daggers’] and clubs, with the chief priests and scribes and elders. 44 And the one who betrayed him gave a signal to them saying, “He is the one whom I will kiss; seize him and take him away securely [‘firmly,’ ‘under guard’].” 45 And then going up to him he says, “Rabbi,” and he kissed him; 46 so they placed their hands upon him and took him into custody. 47 And one of the ones standing around [him], drawing the sword attacked the servant of the chief priests and cut off his ear. 48 But Jesus answering said to him, “As against a robber you came out, with swords and clubs to arrest me? 49 During [κατα] the day I was with you teaching in the temple and you did not apprehend me; however, the writings [scriptures] must be fulfilled [ινα πληρωθωσιν].” 50 And forsaking him, they all fled.

51 And a certain young man followed him, throwing round [himself] a garment [of fine Indian cloth] over [his] tunic, and they seized him; 52 but abandoning the fine garment, he fled, lightly clad [or, ‘naked’]. 53 And they led Jesus up to the high priest, and all the chief priests and elders and scribes gathered together. 54 And Peter from a distance followed him until [he was] in the courtyard of the chief priests and he was met by the servants and [was] warming [himself] by the fire light.

55 And the chief priests and the whole Sanhedron were seeking a witness [or ‘testimony’] against Jesus to the end that [εις το] they might kill him, but they could not find [any]; 56 for many bore false witness against him, but the testimonies were not the same. 57 And some standing [against him] bore false witness against him, saying οτι, “We heard him saying 58 οτι, ‘I will terminate [‘destroy,’ ‘cancel,’ ‘dissolve,’ καταλυω] this temple made with hands and after three days I will build another [temple] not hand-made,'” 59 but neither thus agreed [ιση] was their testimony. 60 And standing up in the midst [‘middle’], the chief priests asked Jesus saying, “Will you not give any answer to these things [which] they testify against you?” 61 But he was silent and did not give any answer whatsoever. Again the chief priest asked him and says to him, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the blessing?” 62 and Jesus said, “I am,

and you will see the son of man
seated on the right hand of the powerful [one]
and coming with the clouds of heaven.”
[Ps 110:1; Dn 7:13]

63 And the chief priest, tearing his cloak, says, “Why do we yet have need of testimony? 44 Listen to the blasphemy! What will you decide?” And they all condemned him [as] liable to be [put to] death.

65 And some began to spit on him and to wrap a covering around his face and to cuff him and to say to him, “Make a prophesy!” and the [inferior] officers slapped him [as they] took [him].

66 And meanwhile, as Peter [was] outside in the courtyard, one of the slaves of the chief priests came 67and when she saw Peter warming himself, she looked him right in the face saying, “You also were with the Nazarene, Jesus.” 68 But he denied, saying, “I really do not know what you are talking about.” [lit., ‘I neither know nor understand what you are saying’]. And he went out into the forecourt [א omits, ‘and a cock crowed’]. 69 But the slave, seeing him, began again to say to those standing around, “This is one of them.” 70 But again he denied. And after a little while, again those standing around were saying to Peter, “For sure [‘truly’] you are one of them, for you are also Galilean.” 71 But he began to curse and swear [by oath] that, “I do not know this man of whom you speak.” 72 And then [א] the rooster crowed. And Peter remembered the word which Jesus said to him οτι, “Before the rooster crows [א omits ‘twice’], thrice you will deny me;” and falling down, he wept.


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This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

Mark 13


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Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel, which begins at Mark 1.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

13 1 And when he went out of the temple, one of his disciples says to him, “Teacher, look how the stones [are] and how the buildings [are].” 2 And Jesus said to him, “You see these great buildings? Not any stone will be left upon stone which will not be taken down.”

3 And when he was resting on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter and Jacob and John and Andrew asked him privately, 4 “Tell us when these things will be and what [will be] the sign when all these things will be accomplished [‘finished together’]?” 5 So Jesus began to tell them, “Watch out [that] none of you are deceived; 6 many will come in my name saying οτι, ‘I am he,’ and many will be deceived. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of war, do not be afraid; it is necessary that it happen, but [it is] not yet the end. 8 For nation will rise up against nation and kingdom against kingdom; there will be earthquakes in [some] places, there will be famines; [this is the] beginning of these birth pains. 9 But be careful [lit., ‘watch yourselves’]; they will betray you to the Sanhedron and you will be beaten [‘thrashed,’ ‘flayed’ (severely)] and you will be stood before executors and kings for my sake [in order] to witness [‘testify’] to them. 10 And to all the nations first it is necessary to proclaim the good news [‘gospel’]. 11 And when they lead you [to be] handed over, do not premeditate what you will say, but whatever shall be given to you at that time [‘in that hour’], say that; for you are not the ones speaking but [it is] the holy spirit [who is speaking]. 12 And brother will betray brother unto death, and father [will betray] child, and children will stand against parents and they will put them to death; 13 and you will be hated by all because of my name. But the one who perseveres to the end, this one will be kept safe.

14 And when you see the abominably desolate [idol] [ερημωσεως’the desert,’ sugg. Idol worship as in the desert, cf. the snake in Jn 3:14] standing where it should not be, the one reading let him understand, then those in Judea will flee to the mountain, 15 [and] he upon the rooftop will not go down, neither enter in to take anything out of his house, 16 and he in the field will not return to what he left behind, [even] his coat. 17 And woe to those who are pregnant and those nursing in those days – 18 but pray that it will not happen in winter; 19 for there will be in those days such oppression [‘affliction,’ ‘pressure’] as has not been since the beginning of creation, which God created, up to now and will never be [again]. 20 And unless the Lord would cut short the days, all flesh would not be saved; however, because of the heirs whom he has chosen, he will cut short the days [i.e., the number of days].

21 And then if some [one] should say to you, ‘Behold, here [is] the Messiah, see [he is] there,’ do not believe [it]; 22 for false Christs will be raised up and false prophets, and they will give signs [σημεν] and omens [τερατα – ‘tricks,’ ‘strange sights,’ ‘quackery,’ ‘constellations,’ ‘meteors,’ etc.], intending [προς] deception [αποπλαναν, ‘lead astray’], if possible, of the [true] heirs [of God’s kingdom], 23 but you must watch out, I have foretold these things to you.

24 However, in those days after that horrible oppression [‘affliction’],

the sun will be darkened
and the moon will not give her brightness
25 and the stars will be falling from the heavens
and the powers which [are] in the heavens will be shaken [‘to totter’].
[Is 13:10; 34:4; Ez 32:7-8; Jl 2:10, 31; 3:15]

26 And then they will see the son of man arriving on clouds [Dn 7:13-14] with great power and glory. 27 And then he will send the angels and he will collect the heirs [‘elect,’ ‘chosen’] from the four winds, from the bounds of earth up to the bounds of heaven.

28 Now learn the illustration [‘comparison,’ ‘parable’] of the fig tree: when her branch becomes soft and puts forth leaves, you will know that the summer is near; 29 so also for you, when you see these things beginning, you will know that it is nearly at the door. 30 Listen carefully, this generation will not pass on until all these things happen. 31 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.

32 And concerning that day or the hour, no one knows, neither the angels in heaven nor the son, [no one] except the father. 33 Keep watch, be alert; for you do not know when the time will be. 34 As a man going abroad leaves his house and gives his servants the authority over his own work and to the doorkeeper he commands that he should be watchful, 35 thus you should be watchful; for you do not know when the master of the house will return, whether [in the] evening or midnight or at cock crow or at first light, 36 let him not arrive suddenly, finding you asleep. 37 I’m telling you, [regarding] everything I am saying, keep watch.”


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This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

Mark 12


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Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel, which begins at Mark 1.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

12 1 And he began to speak to them in parables,

“A man planted a vineyard and placed around [it] a hedge [‘fence’] and dug a vat [under the winepress] and built a tower and let it out to gardeners [‘husbandmen’] and went abroad. 2 And he sent to the gardeners a new servant so that from the gardeners he might receive from the fruit of the vineyard; 3 and taking him, they thrashed [him] and sent [him] away empty [handed]. 4 So again he sent to them another servant; and that one they smote on the head [or ‘shaved his head’] and insulted [‘shamed’] [him]. 5 And he sent another; and that one they killed, and many others, some of whom they thrashed and some whom they killed. 6 He still had one beloved son; he sent him last to them, saying οτι, “They will respect my son.” 7 But those gardeners said to themselves οτι, “This is the heir; come, let us kill him and we will be the heir[s].” 8 And taking [him] they killed him and threw him out of the vineyard. 9 What will the master of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the gardeners and give the vineyard to others. 10 Do you not recall the scripture:

The stone which the builders rejected,
this is become the primary corner[stone];
11 It was instituted by the Lord
and it is a wondrous sight in our eyes
[Ps 118:22-23]?”

12 So they sought to apprehend him, but they were afraid of the crowd, for they [the crowd] knew that he told the parable about them [or, ‘the parable was directed at them’ – the priests, the scribes and the elders, cf. Mk 11:27]. So leaving him, they went away.

13 And they sent to him some of the Pharisees and the Herodians in order that they might trap [‘hunt’] him by word. 14 And arriving, they said to him, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful and there is no partiality with you concerning anyone; for you do not look at the appearance [‘countenance’] of men, rather, by the true way of god you teach; is it legal to give census [κηνσον, ‘poll-tax’] to Caesar or not?” 15 But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you attacking me [‘putting me on trial’]? Give me a denarion, let me see.” 16 So they brought [one]. and he says to them, “Whose image [is] this and what is written [on it]?” And they said to him, “Caesar.” 17 So Jesus said to them, “Return to Caesar the things from Caesar and the things of God to God.” And they were intimidated [‘frightened’] by him.

18 And Sadducees came to him, those who say there is no resurrection, and challenged him saying, 19 “Teacher, Moses wrote to us οτι, “If someone’s brother should die and leaves a wife and does not leave children, that the brother should take the wife and raise up children [‘seed’] for his brother [Gn 38:8; Dt 25:5]. 20 There were seven brothers; and the eldest took a wife and when he died he did not leave seed; 21 and the second took her and died not leaving seed; and the third likewise; 22 even the seventh did not leave a child. Last of all the woman died. 23 In the resurrection [follow א] whose wife will she be? For the seven had her as wife.”

24 Jesus said to them, “Is it not because of this you are misled, knowing neither the scriptures nor the power of god? 25 For when they are raised from death [there is] neither marriage nor giving in marriage; rather, they are like angels in heaven. 26 And concerning whether the dead are raised [lit., ‘concerning the dead, that they are raised’], do you not remember in the book of Moses about the bush, how god spoke to him saying, “I am the god of Abraam and [the] god of Isaac and [the] god of Jacob”[sic] [Ex 3:6, 15, 16]? 27 He is not god of the dead but of the living! You are greatly deceived.”

28 And coming up one of the scribes heard them disputing; seeing that he answered them well, he challenged him, “What is the first [‘most important’] commandment of all?” 27 Jesus answered οτι, “First is, ‘Listen, Israel, the lord your god is one, 30 and you will love the lord your god with your whole heart and with your whole life [ψυχης, ‘psyche’] and with your whole mind [διανοιας] and with your whole strength.’ [Dt 6:4-5; Jos 22:5] 31 Second [is] this, ‘You will love your neighbor as yourself’ [Lv 19:18]. There is no other commandment greater than these.”

32 And the scribe said to him, “Correct, teacher, by truth you say οτι, ‘He is one and there is no other but him;’ [Dt 4:35; 6:4; Is 45:21] 33 and ‘to love him with the whole heart and the whole consciousness [συνεσεως, ‘insight,’ ‘discernment’] and the whole strength [Dt 6:5; Jos 22:5] and to love the neighbor as yourself [Lv 19:18] is greater than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And Jesus, seeing that he answered intelligently, said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of god.” And no one any longer dared challenge him.

35 And Jesus used to answer [sic], saying while teaching in the temple, “How [is it that] the scribes are saying οτι, “The Messiah is the son of David? David himself said by the holy spirit,

The lord said to my lord,
“Sit on my right-hand side,
until I place [‘dedicate,’ ‘lay a sacrifice’]
your enemies beneath your feet.
[Ps 110:1]

37 David himself says he [is] lord, so how is he his son?” And the great crowd heard him gladly.

38 And in his teaching he said, “Look out for the scribes who wish to go about in long cloaks [στολαις, also ‘as a group’] and who greet [’embrace’] in the marketplace 39 and who take the prominent seats in the synagogue and who take the head seats at the feasts, 40 who gorge [themselves] in the homes of widows and who, for the sake of appearance make long prayers; these will receive greater judgement [κριμα, ‘condemnation’].”

41 And sitting opposite the treasury he was watching how the people cast copper [coins] into the treasury. And many rich people were casting a lot of [money]; 42 and one widow coming [who was] poor cast [in] two little [λειπα, coins], which is a quarter [κοδραντης]. 43 And summoning his disciples, he said to them, “Listen carefully οτι, this poor widow cast more than all of those casting into the treasury; 44 for they all cast out of their riches, but she out of her need [‘lack,’ ‘deficiency’] cast all she had, her whole life.”


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This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.

Mark 11


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Excerpt from my 2004 translation of Mark’s gospel, which begins at Mark 1.

My 2012 translation of John’s first epistle begins at John A.

My 2015 translation of John’s second epistle begins at John B.

My 2015 translation of John’s third epistle begins at John Γ.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, which begins at To The Thessalonians A.

My 2015 translation of Paul’s letter to The Romans begins at To the Romans.

My 2004 translation of Paul’s first letter to the Korinthians begins at And Now For Something Completely Different….

My 2004 translation of John’s gospel begins at Start With John, along with a brief explanation of my interpretive approach.

11 1 And then they were near Jerusalem, to Bethphage and to Bethany at the Mount of Olives, [and] he sent two of his disciples 2 and he says to them, “Go up into the town opposite you and when you enter it you will find a colt tied, upon which no man yet has ridden [‘sat’]; release him and bring [him here]. 3 And if someone should say to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Master has need of him and will send him back here again consequently.'” 4 So they went up and found a colt tied to a door outside on the street, and they untied him. 5 And some of those who were standing there said to them, “What are you doing releasing the colt?” 6 So they replied as Jesus said, and they permitted them. 7 And they took the colt to Jesus and they cast upon him their tunics, and he sat upon him. 8 And many [people] spread their tunics [‘coats,’ ‘outer garments’] in the road, and others [spread] rushes cut from the fields. 9 And those going before and those following shouted:

Hosanna!
Blessed [be] the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
Blessed [is] the coming kingdom of our father, David!
Hosanna in the highest heavens!

11 And he went into Jerusalem, into the temple and looking around at all [of them], [it] being already evening hour, he went out to Bethany with the twelve.

12 And the next day, as they were coming out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 And seeing a fig tree from afar, having leaves, he went [to see] if upon it he might find anything, and coming up to it, he found nothing except leaves; for it was not the season for figs. 14 And answering, he said to it [the tree], “No longer ever from your fruit will anyone eat.” And his disciples heard.

15 And he went into Jerusalem. And entering into the temple, he began to throw out the sellers and the buyers in the temple, and the tables of the loan sharks and the seats of the pigeon sellers he overturned, 16 and he would not allow that anyone should carry equipment [‘implements,’ ‘gear’] through the temple. 17 And he was teaching and saying to them, “Is it not written οτι,

My house will be called a house of prayer among all nations; [Isa 56:7]
but you have made it a pit [cave] of robbers!

18 And the chief priests and the scribes heard, and they sought how they might destroy him; for they feared him, for all the crowd were reacting strongly [‘astonished,’ ‘frightened out of their wits’] by his teaching.

19 And when evening came, they went out of the city. 20 And going along ahead he saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 And Peter, remembering, says to him, “Rabbi, behold the fig tree which you cursed is withered.” 22 And answering, Jesus says to them, “Have faith in God. 23 Listen carefully, οτι whoever should say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and cast into the sea, and shall not doubt in his heart but should believe that what he says will happen, it will be so for him; 24 because of this I say to you, everything which you might pray and ask, believe that you have received [it] and it will be to you. 25 And whenever you should stand praying, forgive whatever you have against anyone, so that your father who [is] in heaven will forgive your ‘steppings over’ [‘transgressions’].

27 And he went again into Jerusalem. And while he was going about in the temple, the chief priests and the scribes and the elders came to him 28 and they were saying to him, “By what authority are you doing these things? 29 So Jesus said to them, “Let me ask you one thing and you answer me, and [then] I will tell you by what authority I do these things; 30 was John’s baptism from heaven or from men? Answer me!” 31 And they discussed with each other, saying, “If we should say, ‘From heaven,’ he will say, ‘Why then did you not believe him,’ 32 but [if] we say, ‘From men’…” – they feared the crowd; for all were holding that John was a prophet. 33 And they answered Jesus saying, “We do not know.” So Jesus said to them, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.”


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This translation was taken from The Greek New Testament, Kurt Aland, et. al. eds., Third Edition (corrected), United Bible Societies, (in cooperation with the Institute for New Testament Textual Research, Münster/Westphalia, Printed in West Germany by Biblia-Druck GmbH Stuttgart),1983.