Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Mark 1:41 at International SBL

I'm grateful to the chairs of the Working with Manuscripts section of the International SBL that my paper proposal has been accepted for the meeting in London next July. The abstract is below:

The case for 'filled with compassion' in Mark 1:41

The reading ὀργισθείς 'becoming angry' has become very popular amongst commentators and has received recent impetus through adoption in the SBL Greek New Testament and in the 2011 edition of the NIV. Despite the fact that external attestation is considerably stronger for σπλαγχνισθείς 'filled with compassion', scholars have tended to be swayed by the consideration that they cannot imagine how any scribe might change the text towards the allegedly 'harder' reading ὀργισθείς. However, this paper will argue that it is far easier to conceive of someone replacing σπλαγχνισθείς by ὀργισθείς than the reverse for a range of reasons, including the currency of the term ὀργισθείς in contrast to the rarity of the term σπλαγχνισθείς. Considerations of morphologically related terms suggests that if σπλαγχνισθείς were to be corrupted by accident, the form ending is -ισθεις that it would be most likely to become is none other than ὀργισθείς. Moreover, if ὀργισθείς were the authorial text, the existence of such a convenient substitute as σπλαγχνισθείς is hard to account for by mere appeal to chance. This paper also considers methodological double standards which are sometimes applied in the advocacy of ὀργισθείς.


  1. I think the point most commentator's make nowadays is that it is a deliberate change, whichever way it went, not an accidental plunder one way or the other. I'm interested to know how you explain the "why" it was changed.

  2. This is a difficult variant.
    Please read the online commentary to the passage:


    If I'm pressed I would say that ὀργισθεὶς is secondary.

  3. I hope to bring out some new arguments for why it is highly problematic to suggest that the text was deliberately changed from 'anger' to 'mercy'. You find the key of the front door of your house is bent, so it won't open. So you ask a passer by for a key and it fits perfectly ... A likely story. But the detail will have to wait.

  4. Thank You Dr. Willker,

    Far more extensive than Comfort.

    Looking forward to Dr. Williams novel paradigm.

  5. I hope nobody becomes angry with Pete.

  6. I'm interested in reading this, when will copies be available for those not able to attend the meeting?

  7. Tommy, with Pete's paper in hand, everyone will feel pity :)

  8. > Tommy, with Pete's paper in hand,
    > everyone will feel pity :)

    Except the person with the smudge paper, who will fill pretty...

  9. Whether you feel angry or pity, my answer to Ryan is that I hope to put this in a journal.

  10. To argue that a variant could not have arisen because we know of no mechanism by which it could have happened--isn't that just an appeal to ignorance?