The Rhetoric of the Characterization of Jesus as the Son of Man and Christ in Mark

Paul Danove

I. The Semantic and Narrative Rhetoric of Characterization

The semantic rhetoric becomes apparent whenever the narration cultivates specialized connotations for particular vocabulary used in characterization1. For example, although discuss (dialogi/zomai) may connote a positive, negative, or neutral action in general Koine usage, the narration of Mark realizes only the verb's negative potential by repeatedly contrasting those who discuss and the topic of discussion with Jesus and his teachings and actions2. Thus, the scribes discussing that Jesus is blaspheming (2,6.8a.8b) are countered by Jesus' statements and action (2,8-12); the disciples discussing that they have no bread (8,16; cf. 8,10) are depicted by Jesus as lacking understanding and having a hardened heart (8,17); the disciples (cf. 9,31) discussing who is greatest (9,33-34) are corrected in Jesus' teaching to the twelve about being last and servant of all (9,35); and the chief priests, scribes, and elders discussing the origins of John's baptism (11,31; cf. 11,27) are revealed as lacking faith and fearing the crowd (11,31-32) that esteems Jesus (11,18)3.

More detailed developments become possible when the same vocabulary repeatedly occurs within the same narrative contexts as in the contextual repetition and linkage of twelve (dw/deka), send (a)poste/llw), proclaim (khru/ssw), and cast out demons (daimo/nia e)kba/llw) within 3,13-19 and 6,6b-134. Two or more repeated contexts also may appear in the same structured sequence as in the structural repetition and linkage of passion and resurrection predictions concerning the Son of Man (8,31-32a; 9,30-32; 10,32-34), controversies involving disciples of Jesus (8,32b-33; 9,33-34; 10,35-41), and teachings by Jesus (8,349,1; 9,35-41; 10,42-45)5.

Cultivation of specialized connotations for vocabulary through verbal, contextual, and structural repetition is explained in terms of the evocation and modification of semantic frames that make available to interpreters (1) information about the words accommodated by the frame, (2) relationships among these words and references to other frames containing them, (3) perspectives for evaluating the function of the words, and (4) expectations concerning the content of communication6. In the example of "discuss", its initial occurrence (2,6) evokes pre-existing information, relationships, and perspectives for evaluation but realizes only specific content and the potential for the verb's negative interpretation. Repetition then realizes further information, relates this information, imposes negative evaluations on both those who discuss and the topic of discussion, and eventually cultivates an expectation for the continuing use of this negative connotation7. Repeated contexts and structures progressively augment this potential for specialized development by relating the semantic frames evoked by different words and realizing for them the same information, relationships, evaluations, and expectations. Thus, repetition functions rhetorically whenever it cultivates content for semantic frames redundantly along specific lines.

Repeated vocabulary, contexts, and structures also cultivate content that cannot be explained in terms of semantic frames. For example, recognition that the prediction controversy teaching sequence of 8,319,1 is being repeated in 9,30-41 indicates that the narration of 8,319,1 has cultivated an abstract conceptual model of this structured sequence and its parts, relationships among the parts, and perspectives for evaluating their content. The narration of 9,30-41 also has the potential to cultivate an expectation that, should another prediction appear (as in 10,32-34), it will be followed by a further controversy and teaching (as in 10,35-45). Again, formulation of a coherent portrait of a character, such as the Son of Man, presumes an integrative framework that makes available to interpreters a synthetic organization of the vast array of information about the Son of Man, that identifies this character with Jesus and relates this character to other characters in specific ways, evaluates this character positively, and presents expectations for his characterization along specific lines.

Cultivation of such abstract and synthetic content is explained in terms of the evocation and modification of narrative frames that accommodate narrative information, relationships, perspectives, and expectations in a manner that parallels the way the semantic frames accommodate semantic content8. The narrative frame, which may be evoked by any repeated context, structure, or character that can be abstracted from the narration, makes available to interpreters not only specifically narrative content but also the content of semantic frames evoked by the vocabulary that appears in contexts, structures, and characterization9.

The distinction between the pre-existent content of semantic and narrative frames that are initially evoked by the narration and the content of semantic and narrative frames cultivated by the narration permits a distinction of two constructs of the implied reader, the authorial audience and the narrative audience10. The authorial audience is the construct of the implied reader for which the pre-existent content of semantic and narrative frames or, hereafter, pre-existing beliefs is evoked; and the narrative audience is the construct of the implied reader for which the cultivated content of semantic and narrative frames or cultivated beliefs is evoked11. As such, the authorial audience is characterized by the pre-existing beliefs evoked by the narration; and the narrative audience is characterized by the beliefs cultivated by the narration12.

Repetition functions rhetorically when it cultivates beliefs for the narrative audience either by developing or by undercutting elements of pre-existing or previously cultivated beliefs. In this study, repetition that cultivates beliefs that cohere with pre-existing or previously cultivated beliefs is deemed a sophisticating rhetorical strategy; repetition that cultivates beliefs that contradict pre-existing or previously cultivated beliefs is deemed a deconstructive rhetorical strategy; and repetition that does not cultivate beliefs along specific lines is deemed a neutral rhetorical strategy13.

Distinguishing between sophisticating and deconstructive repetition is straightforward when cultivated beliefs either cohere with previously clarified beliefs (sophisticating) or directly contradict previously clarified beliefs (deconstructive). When repetition cultivates content for pre-existing narrative frames whose content has not received prior clarification, however, the study makes recourse to the native characteristics of semantic and narrative frames to assist in distinguishing between strategies. Since frames are inherently resistant to modification, this resistance is assumed to be relatively greater when cultivating content that contradicts pre-existing or previously cultivated beliefs than it is when cultivating coherent content14. Thus, familiarity with pre-existing content would permit the sophisticating repetition of coherent content without previous narrative preparation or explanatory warrants. The greater resistance to contradictory content, however, would require that deconstructive repetition receive some narrative preparation to establish a convivial context for its introduction and warrants to ensure its viability. Finally, deconstructive repetition may be introduced "covertly" by cultivating content for one narrative frame and then repeatedly relating this narrative frame to another for which the cultivated content is contradictory.

II. Pre-existing Beliefs about Jesus as Christ and Son of Man

The narration presents no indication that deconstructive repetition cultivates beliefs directly about Jesus. Although deconstructive repetition cultivates beliefs about the Son of Man and Christ, such repetition never impacts their first occurrence. Thus, an examination of their first occurrence and of subsequent occurrences that appear in the context of straightforward narration permits a clarification of pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man and the Christ.

The initial coordination of Christ (Xristo/j) and Son of God (ui(o_j qeou=) in 1,1 indicates pre-existing beliefs that identify both designations with Jesus and that recognize Jesus' positive relationship as the Christ with God15. The context (1,2-15) presents further assertions concerning Jesus' positive relationship with God: God spoke through God's prophet about Jesus (1,2); God sends before Jesus [God] God's messenger who will prepare Jesus' [God's] way (1,2 [cf. Mal 3,1]); God's way and paths are Jesus' (1,3 [cf. Isa 40,3]); Jesus will baptize with God's holy spirit (1,8); God rends the sky at Jesus' baptism (1,10); God's spirit descends onto Jesus (1,10); God's voice addresses Jesus (1,11); Jesus is God's beloved son with whom God is pleased (1,11); God's spirit drives Jesus into the desert (1,12); God's messengers serve Jesus (1,13); and Jesus proclaims God's gospel (1,14) and the fulfillment of the time for God's reign (1,15)16. The straightforward narration of these assertions without extended narrative preparation or warrants indicates either that the pre-existing content of the narrative frame evoked by Christ accommodates this content or that this content coheres with pre-existing beliefs about Jesus as the Christ.

The narration provides less access to pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man (ui(o_j tou= a)nqrw/pou). Its initial occurrence (2,10) evokes pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man's present exercise of divine prerogatives in forgiving sins on earth and his positive alignment with God who forgives sins (2,7; cf. Ps 103,3; Isa 43,25). Subsequent straightforward narration evokes pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man's present exercise of divine prerogatives in regulating Sabbath practice (2,28) and his positive relationship with God who regulates Sabbath practice (e!cestin, 2,24) and about his parousaic identity and activity (8,38)17.

The fact that 1,1 bears the initial burden of asserting the narration's 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 previously cultivated beliefs are somehow deficient 19. Second, Jesus' command not to believe when others identify someone as the Christ (13,21) and warning that false christs and false prophets will give signs and wonders to mislead the elect (13,22) indicate that pre-existing beliefs about the Christ are erroneous in that they accommodate deceptions about the identity of the Christ and permit the authorial audience to be misled20.

IV. The Characterization of the Son of Man

The direct characterization of the Son of Man is most apparent in the verbal repetition of the designation, two repeated contexts, and one repeated structure.

1. Verbal Repetition

Son of Man appears fourteen times (2,10.28; 8,31.38; 9,9.12.31; 10,33.45; 13,26; 14,21a.21b.41.62). The first two occurrences evoke pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man's present exercise of divine prerogatives and positive relationship with God in forgiving sins on earth (2,10) and regulating Sabbath practice (2,28). These occurrences do not present vocabulary that subsequently is repeated in relation to the Son of Man.

Repetition relates the remaining occurrences of Son of Man to particular vocabulary and cultivates beliefs in two distinct areas21. The first concerns the Son of Man's near future experience and activity in being handed over (paradi/dwmi, 9,31; 10,33a.33b; 14,21.41; cf. 3,19; 14,10.11.18.42.44; 15,1.10.15 for Jesus), suffering (pa/sxw, 8,31; 9,12), being condemned (katakri/nw, 10,33; 14,64), being killed (a)poktei/nw, 8,31; 9,31a.31b; 10,34; cf. 14,1 for Jesus) or giving his life (di/dwmi th_n yuxh/n, 10,45), and rising (a)ni/sthmi, 8,31; 9,9.31; 10,34), which are governed by divine necessity (dei=, 8,31; cf. 9,12 /14,21 for pw=j / kaqw_j ge/graptai, "how / as is it written"). The Son of Man is identified with Jesus through paradi/dwmi and a)poktei/nw for which both serve as referent of the verb's patient argument (i.e., object in the active voice and subject in the passive)22. The occurrence of dei= and later appeals to scripture cultivate beliefs that relate the Son of Man positively to God23. Repetition also negatively relates the Son of Man to human beings (a)poktei/nw, 9,31a.31b) and the chief priests and scribes (paradi/dwmi, 10,33; a)poktei/nw, 10,34; katakri/nw, 10,33)24.

Although straightforward narration indicates pre-existing beliefs that Jesus is the Son of Man (2,10) and that Jesus was handed over (3,19) and killed (14,1; cf. 12,5-8), the repeated relationship of this content to the Son of Man is deemed a deconstructive rhetorical strategy for three reasons. First, the narrative rhetoric prepares for the initial statement of the Son of Man's suffering, being killed, and rising by casting it as a response to Peter's appropriate but apparently rejected designation of Jesus as the Christ (8,27-30; cf. 1,1). Second, the assertion of divine necessity (dei=, 8,31) as a warrant prior to the statement of the Son of Man's near future experience and activity encourages acceptance of this content in a way that forestalls potential objection. Since the narration generally introduces some aspect of the content prior to dei=, the divergent Markan style of 8,31 suggests that the authorial audience is resistant to this content25. Third, the noted content does not cohere with pre-existing beliefs that emphasize the Son of Man's present exercise of divine prerogatives and parousaic identity and activity26. In contrast, repetition ensures that this contradictory content is central to the narrative audience's cultivated beliefs about the Son of Man.

The second area of development repeatedly relates the Son of Man as agent of come (e!rxomai) to content concerning his parousaic identity and activity. The Son of Man will come in the Father's glory with the holy angels (8,38; cf. Dan 7,13-14), in clouds with great power and glory, sending angels who gather his elect (13,26; cf. Dan 7,13-14), and with the clouds of heaven (14,62; cf. Dan 7,13). Repetition also relates this content to glory (do/ca, 8,38; 13,26), angels (a!ggeloi, 8,38; 13,27), and clouds (nefe/lai, 13,26; 14,62). Repetition positively relates the parousaic Son of Man to God who as Lord of the Vineyard similarly will come (e!rxomai, 12,9), at whose right the Son of Man will sit (14,62; cf. Ps 110,1), and in whose glory the Son of Man will come (8,38)27. Evocation of scriptural precedents in each passage indicates that this repetition constitutes a sophisticating rhetorical strategy.

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, 8,389,1, 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.

3. Structural Repetition

Structural repetition of 8,319,1, 9,30-41, and 10,32-45, links the repeated predictions (8,31-32a; 9,30-32; 10,32-34), controversies (8,32b-33; 9,33-34; 10,35-41), and teachings (8,349,1; 9,35-41; 10,42-45). This repeated structure relates cultivated beliefs about the Son of Man's near future experience and activity and his parousaic identity and activity in two ways. First, the initial and third teachings coordinate and relate statements about the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity in coming in his father's glory with the holy angels (8,38) and his near future experience and activity in not being served but serving (diakone/w) and giving his life as a ransom for many (10,45). Second, the initial occurrence of this structure relates the Son of Man's near future experience and activity (prediction) to his parousaic identity and activity (teaching) in such a manner that the Son of Man who suffers, is rejected, is killed, and rises (8,31) is precisely the Son of Man who comes in his father's glory (8,38). Structural repetition then ensures that all of the progressively augmented contradictory content of the predictions is related to the parousaic identity and activity of the Son of Man. The fact that 8,389,1 constitutes the initial occurrence of 8,389,1, 13,24-27, and 14,60-65 also ensures that the totality of the contradictory content about the Son of Man's near future experience and activity is related to the totality of the sophisticated content about his parousaic identity and activity.

This repeated structure simultaneously cultivates beliefs concerning the relationship between the Son of Man and those who would be disciples of Jesus. The fulcrum of this development is Jesus' statement, "For whoever is ashamed of me and my words...the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in the glory of his father with the holy angels" (8,38). The structural linkage of the first prediction (8,31-32a), whose content contradicts pre-existing beliefs, to the first controversy (8,32b-33), which presents Peter's apparent rejection of this content, and their linkage to the first teaching (8,349,1) interprets the Son of Man's near future experience and activity as the content of Jesus' words and identifies Peter's rejection of this content as an instance of being ashamed of Jesus and his words. The first teaching also relates the coming of the Son of Man and the coming of God's reign (9,1) and interprets the Son of Man's being ashamed in terms of failing to see God's reign come in power. The linked beliefs concerning the Son of Man's near future experience and activity and his parousaic identity and activity constitutes a strong warrant for accepting the contradictory content about the Son of Man; for only such acceptance establishes the potential to be a beneficiary of the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity. The fact that Jesus' words also reference his "hard" teachings about discipleship (8,34-37) indicates that not being ashamed of Jesus and his words requires that one who wishes to be Jesus' disciple deny oneself, take up one's cross, and follow him (8,34) and relates saving life (8,35) to seeing the reign of God come in power (9,1). The second teaching contrasts the one who prevents another from casting out demons in Jesus' name with the one who gives a drink of water in Jesus' name because they are of Christ and who does not destroy one's reward (9,38-41)28. The third contrasts the one who wants to become great or be first on the pattern of gentile rulers and great ones with the one who is great or first by being servant (dia/konoj) and slave on the pattern of the Son of Man who serves (diakone/w) and gives his life (10,43-45). By relating the disciple's required actions of losing one's life (8,37) and being servant and slave (10,43-44) to the Son of Man's necessary giving of his life and serving (10,45), this repeated structure clarifies that only accepting the contradictory content about the Son of Man and acting on it permit the disciple to become the beneficiary of the Son of Man's serving and giving his life as a ransom (10,45).

 

V. The Characterizations of the Christ and Son of Man

The structural repetition of 8,279,1, 13,21-27, and 14,60-65 links the repeated context that asserts that pre-existing beliefs about the Christ are deficient or erroneous (8,27-30; 13,21-23; 14,60-61) to the repeated context that sophisticates beliefs about the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity (8,389,1; 13,24-27; 14,62-65), with the addition of 8,31-37 to 8,389,1. The initial occurrence of this structure links a recognition of deficiencies in the authorial audience's beliefs about the Christ both to the contradictory content about the Son of Man's near future experience and activity and to pre-existing content about his parousaic identity and activity. This linkage cultivates beliefs that recognize that acceptance of the newly related content about both the Christ and the Son of Man is required for one who would be a disciple of Jesus, save one's life, and become a potential beneficiary of the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity.

The second occurrence (13,21-27) links a recognition that pre-existing beliefs that identify the Christ by signs and wonders are erroneous to sophisticated beliefs that identify the Christ by the parousaic Son of Man's glory and deeds. This linkage cultivates beliefs that recognize the implications of the parousaic Son of Man's actions and identity for the ultimate disposition of his elect (13,27). The second context also evokes 8,389,1 and, through its linkage to the former repeated structure, the totality of beliefs cultivated in 8,319,1, 9,30-41, and 10,32-45 and links these beliefs to the Christ.

The third occurrence (14,60-65) links Jesus as Christ and Son of the Blessed (14,61) to Jesus' teachings about the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity (14,62) and his near future (now present!) experience and activity in being condemned as worthy of death (14,64). The first context (14,60-61) concludes with the chief priest's ironic question whether Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Blessed (14,61), which identifies the chief priest's beliefs about the Christ as erroneous. The second context (14,62-65), which begins with Jesus' response, 'I am' (14,62), grammatically introduces the Christ through the elliptically omitted predicate nominative; but no explicit assertion about the Christ is forthcoming. Instead, Jesus again narrates content about the parousaic Son of Man; and the chief priest and the whole sanhedrin (cf. 14,55) respond to Jesus as Christ, Son of the Blessed, and Son of Man by condemning him as worthy of death (14,64) and spitting on him (14,65). The latter vocabulary evokes and verifies the content of Jesus' third prediction (10,32-34); and 14,62-65 again evokes the totality of beliefs cultivated in 8,319,1, 9,30-41, and 10,32-45 and links these beliefs to the Christ29 This occurrence, which rounds out the contribution of content about the Son of Man to the Christ, cultivates beliefs that recognize that erroneous thinking about the Christ and Son of Man directly aligns one with the chief priest and the whole sanhedrin in the moment of their most harshly negative evaluation when they condemn Jesus as worthy of death.

This structure's three-fold linkage of Christ to teachings about the Son of Man is deemed a deconstructive rhetorical strategy. Deconstructive contextual repetition of the first context (8,27-30; 13,21-23; 14,60-61) identifies pre-existing and previously cultivated beliefs about the Christ as deficient and, in some instances, erroneous. Although the contextual repetition of 8,389,1, 13,24-27, and 14,62-65 only sophisticates pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity, the addition of 8,31-37 to 8,389,1 in the first occurrence links the parousaic Son of Man to the contradictory content cultivated in the former repeated structure. Thus, both linked contexts in their first occurrence assert content that contradicts the authorial audience's pre-existing beliefs. Subsequent occurrences of the second context then sophisticate beliefs about the parousaic Son of Man even as they evoke the former repeated structure's contradictory beliefs. Deconstructive repetition of this structure fills the void engendered by the repetition of its first context which establishes only that pre-existing beliefs about the Christ are either deficient or erroneous by relating contradictory and sophisticated beliefs about the Son of Man to the Christ.

VI. The Narrative Rhetoric of the Characterizations f the Christ and Son of Man

Within the narrative communication between the real author and the real audience of Mark, the authorial audience is the construct of the implied reader characterized by pre-existing beliefs assumed for the original real audience; and the narrative audience is the construct of the implied reader characterized by cultivated beliefs proposed by the narration. Since the narrative frames evoked by Christ and Son of Man are inherently resistant to the cultivation of the contradictory content about these characters, their characterizations have the potential to challenge the authorial (and real) audience's pre-existing beliefs and so the reliability of the narration to such a degree that this audience may be inclined to reject this content. The following discussion examines the manner in which the narrative rhetoric attempts to forestall rejection of contradictory content about the Son of Man and to accommodate the greater challenge posed by the cultivation of contradictory beliefs about the Christ.

1. The Narrative Rhetoric of the Characterization of the Son of Man

The initial statement concerning the Son of Man's necessary suffering, being rejected, being killed, and rising with the Son of Man as subject of these verbs directly assaults the authorial (and real) audience's pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man. Introduction of this content by dei= (8,31) forestalls its outright rejection through a warrant asserting divine necessity, and the narrative rhetoric then attempts to ensure its viability in five ways. First, the structural linkage of 8,31 and 8,38 identifies the Son of Man who suffers, is rejected, is killed, and rises with the Son of Man who comes in the glory of his Father and relates the contradictory content to pre-existing content in such a manner that rejection of the former requires rejection of the latter. Second, the initial occurrence of the structure indicates that rejecting the contradictory content aligns one with Satan and constitutes erroneous thinking (frone/w) that places one in opposition to Jesus (8,33). Third, the initial teaching asserts the potential for one who accepts this content to become beneficiary of the Son of Man's parousaic identity and activity and to see the reign of God come in power. Fourth, the initial teaching also combines appeals to the disciple's self interest in statements employing want (qe/lw) with warnings about the consequences of rejecting this content: one wanting to be Jesus' disciple (8,34) and to save one's life (8,35) must accept this contradictory content; and one rejecting this content will lose one's life (8,35), and the Son of Man will be ashamed of that one when he comes (8,38). Fifth, subsequent teachings continue to combine appeals (qe/lw, 9,35; 10,35.36) with warnings (9,39; 10,43) and to clarify potential benefits for one accepting this content (9,41; 10,45).

2. Reasserting the Reliability of the Narration

Even if the narrative rhetoric forestalls rejection of the contradictory content and ensures its viability, the authorial (and real) audience's resistance to the content of the former repeated structure (8,319,1; 9,30-41; 10,32-45) will undermine the narration's reliability to a significant degree. The narrative rhetoric then reasserts reliability through an almost exclusive reliance on the evocation of pre-existing beliefs and their sophistication with coherent content within Mark 11 and 12. This newly reasserted reliability then provides a convivial context for evocation and further development of contradictory content in later occurrences of the second repeated structure (13,21-27; 14,60-65).

3. The Narrative Rhetoric of the Characterization of the Christ

Whereas the narrative rhetoric introduces contradictory content about the Son of Man overtly by relating this designation to particular vocabulary, cultivation of contradictory content about the Christ occurs only covertly by structurally linking the contexts in which this designation appears to developments concerning the Son of Man in other contexts. This covert linkage is grounded in the narration of 8,27-33 which links the context concerning the Christ (8,27-30) to developments concerning the Son of Man (8,31-33). The former context presents Jesus' question to the disciples, "But, who do you say that I am"? (8,29a) and Peter's response, "You are the Christ" (8,29b). Jesus' rebuke (e)pitima/w) of Peter and the other disciples and order that they not speak to anyone about him (8,30) negatively evaluates the disciples and, especially, Peter by directly aligning them with unclean spirits (1,25; 3,12; cf. 9,25) and the wind (4,39) which previously were rebuked.

Jesus' transition to a statement about the Son of Man's necessary suffering, being rejected, being killed, and rising in 8,31 then frustrates the narrative audience's cultivated expectation that the disciples' negative evaluation in 8,30 will find its justification either within the preceding narrative context (8,27-29) or in an immediately following explanation30. This frustration leaves the closure of 8,27-30 unresolved until such a justification is forthcoming. Peter's response with a rebuke (e)pitima/w, 8,32) of Jesus imposes a very negative evaluation on Peter insofar as its assertion of Jesus' alignment with unclean spirits and the wind contradicts both pre-existing and previously cultivated beliefs about Jesus. Peter's response also recalls his previous negative evaluation in 8,30 and continues the suspension of the closure of 8,27-30. Jesus' rebuke (e)pitima/w, 8,33) of Peter, which intensifies Peter's negative evaluation, receives explanation through the o#ti (for) clause that identifies Peter's erroneous thinking as the cause of his negative evaluation. Repetition of e)pitima/w with Jesus as agent in 8,30 and 8,33 and the focus on Peter in both contexts link Jesus' two rebukes and so resolve the narrative development of 8,27-30 by identifying erroneous thinking about the Christ as the cause of the negative evaluation of the disciples and Peter in 8,30. The delay of closure until 8,33, however, insinuates into the narrative frame evoked by Christ both the contradictory content about the Son of Man (8,31) and beliefs that recognize that one who rejects this contradictory content vilifies and is opposed to Jesus, is identified with Satan, and receives harshly negative evaluation (8,32b-33). Structural linkage of the first prediction and controversy to the first teaching and their subsequent repetition relates to the Christ the cultivated content discussed in the study of the former repeated structure. Subsequent occurrences of the second repeated structure then evoke its first occurrence and its precedent for insinuating the contradictory and sophisticated content about the Son of Man into the narrative frame evoked by Christ.

VII. The Narrative Function of the Characterizationsof the Son of Man and Christ

Whereas pre-existing beliefs grant primacy to the designation, Christ, and a more peripheral status to the designation, Son of Man, the narrative rhetoric foregrounds the Son of Man's characterization. The narrative audience's extensive cultivated beliefs concerning the Son of Man incorporate and relate pre-existing beliefs about his present exercise of divine prerogatives, sophisticated beliefs about his parousaic identity and activity (verbal and contextual repetition), and contradictory beliefs about his near future experience and activity (verbal and contextual repetition). Deconstructive repetition of the former structure highlights, relates, and places under divine necessity the Son of Man's near future suffering, being killed and rising and his parousaic coming, negatively evaluates those who are ashamed of Jesus and his words, and reserves positive evaluation for those who accept these newly cultivated beliefs. Thus, the characterization of the Son of Man functions to encourage the rejection of the authorial (and real) audience's pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man, which are deficient from the perspective of the narrative audience, and acceptance of the narrative audience's cultivated beliefs, which alone offer the prospect of seeing the reign of God come in power, of not destroying one's reward, and of being among the many for whom the Son of Man gives his life.

The more circumscribed characterization of the Christ, in contrast, explicitly cultivates for the narrative audience beliefs that recognize Jesus' identity as the Christ (verbal repetition) and the deficiency or error of the pre-existing beliefs on which this identification is based (contextual repetition). Deconstructive repetition of the second structure insinuates both the contradictory and the sophisticated content about the Son of Man into the narrative frame evoked by Christ, directly aligns one not characterized by these newly cultivated beliefs about the Son of Man and Christ with Satan and with those who condemn Jesus as deserving death, and reserves positive evaluation for those who accept these newly cultivated beliefs31. Thus, the characterization of the Christ functions to encourage the rejection of the authorial (and real) audience's deficient and at times erroneous pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man and the Christ and acceptance of the narrative audience's cultivated beliefs which alone ensure positive alignment with the Son of Man who will send angels to gather the elect (13,27).

NOTES

1 This study's focus on the rhetoric of characterization precludes a direct address of the possible role of the Son of Man in proposing a corrective christology for Mark: cf. T. WEEDEN, Mark. Traditions in Conflict (Philadelphia 1971); and N. PERRIN, "The Christology of Mark: A Study in Methodology", JR 51 (1971) 173-187. The study does, however, identify particular rhetorical emphases of the characterization of the Christ that may contribute to this discussion.

2 G. SCHRENK, "dialogi/zomai", TDNT II, 95-96. Various other contributions of repetition to narrative development receive attention in N.R. LEROUX, "Repetition, Progression, and Persuasion in Scripture", Neotest. 29.1 (1995) 8-10, B.M.F. VAN IERSEL, "Locality, Structure, and Meaning in Mark", LB 55 (1983) 45-54, P.J. RABINOWITZ, Before Reading. Narrative Conventions and the Politics of Interpretation (Ithaca 1987) 53, D. RHOADS D. MICHIE, Mark as Story. An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel (Philadelphia 1982) 46-47, M. STERNBERG, The Poetics of Biblical Narrative. Ideological Literature and the Drama of Reading (Bloomington, IN 1985) 365-440, and R.C. TANNEHILL, The Sword of His Mouth (Philadelphia 1975) 39-51.

3 P. DANOVE, "The Narrative Rhetoric of Mark's Ambiguous Characterization of the Disciples", JSNT 70 (1998) 30, presents further observations concerning this verb's contribution to characterization in Mark.

4 Contextual repetition receives development in R. ALTER, The Pleasures of Reading in an Ideological Age (New York 1989) 39, who discusses how the near conjunction of the words, "womb", "darkness", "light", and "hedge", in Job 38 evokes the scene of Job 3 where these words similarly were joined to produce a certain effect.

5 Narrative units used in this study are similar to those proposed by M.A. TOLBERT, Sowing the Gospel. Mark's World in Literary-Historical Perspective (Minneapolis 1989) 312-313, and B.M.F. VAN IERSEL, Mark. A Reader-Response Commentary (trans. W.H. Bisscheroux) (JSNT.S 164; Sheffield 1998) 278-338.

6 C.J. FILLMORE, "The Need for Frame Semantics Within Linguistics", Statistical Methods in Linguistics (1976) 5-29; cf. T. VAN DIJK, "Semantic Macro-Structures and Knowledge Frames in Discourse Comprehension", Cognitive Processes in Comprehension (eds. M.A. JUST P.A. CARPENTER) (Hillsdale, NY 1977) 3-32.

7 The number of repetitions required to cultivate this expectation depends in large part on the interpreter's pre-existing familiarity with and understanding of stories in which the verb appears.

8 The narrative frame receives development in M. PERRY, "Literary Dynamics: How the Order of a Text Creates Its Meaning", Poetics Today 1.1-2 (1970) 35-64, 311-361, and U. ECO, The Role of the Reader. Explorations in the Semiotics of Texts (Bloomington, IN 1979) 20-21, 37. Words and phrases have only a potential to evoke semantic and narrative frames, and their actual evocation depends on a number of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. This study assumes that the frames that receive investigation would be evoked in a close reading of Mark.

9 The evocation of narrative frames receives consideration in ALTER, Pleasures of Reading, 112-132. Particular words and phrases that receive extended and specialized narrative development, such as reign of God (basilei/a tou= qeou=), also may evoke narrative frames.

10 The original proposal of these two audiences appears in P.J. RABINOWITZ, "Truth in Fiction: A Reexamination of Audiences", Critical Inquiry 4 (1974) 121-141. Rabinowitz's treatment of a third construct of the implied reader, the ideal narrative audience, which arises in the context of unreliable narration (127-128), is omitted; for there is significant consensus that the narrator of Mark is reliable: cf. R.C. TANNEHILL, "Disciples in Mark: The Function of a Narrative Role", JR 57 (1977) 386-405; N. PETERSEN, "'Point of View' in Mark's Narrative", Semeia 12 (1978) 97-121; R. FOWLER, Loaves and Fishes. The Function of the Feeding Stories in the Gospel of Mark (SBLDS 54; Chico, CA 1981), 229; and RHOADS MICHIE, Mark as Story, 39.

11 M. BAL, "The Laughing Mice or: On Focalization", Poetics Today 2.2 (1981) 209-210, notes that "the implied author...is not a pragmatic but a semantic category...which we construct from the semantic content of the text". Bal's use of "semantic" incorporates elements which this discussion attributes to the narrative rhetoric. Discussion of the authorial audience's pre-existing beliefs appear in E. BEST, "Mark's Readers: A Profile", The Four Gospels (eds. F. Van SEGBROECK et. al.) (Leuven 1992) II, 839-855; and B.M.F. VAN IERSEL, "The Reader of Mark as Operator of a System of Connotations", Semeia 48 (1989) 83-114. Their significance for interpretation is developed in W.C. BOOTH, The Rhetoric of Fiction (Chicago 1983) 157, 177, and in ECO, Role of the Reader, 7-8.

12 The proposed description of the authorial and narrative audiences relies solely on the content of the semantic and narrative frames evoked or cultivated by the narration and does not require recourse to particular historical presuppositions or appeals to authorial intent.

13 For example, the repetition of particular common verbs of motion, go (poreu/omai), enter (ei)se/rxomai), and depart (e)ce/rxomai), which cultivates no coherent group of agents of the actions, no consistent relationships among them, no overarching perspective for evaluating these actions, and no narratively specific expectations for content, is deemed rhetorically neutral.

14 According to PERRY, "Literary Dynamics", 37, "The frame serves as a guiding norm in the encounter with the text, as a negative defining principle, so that deviation from it becomes perceptible and requires motivation by another frame or principle": cf. P.H. WINSTON, Artificial Intelligence (Reading, MA 1977) 180.

15 B.M. METZGER, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament (Stuttgart 1975) 73, reviews the textual witnesses to Son of God in 1,1. Contextual linkage of Christ (1,1) to Beloved Son (1,11) within 1,1-15 also may indicate pre-existing beliefs relating these designations.

16 Further development of these assertions appears in P. DANOVE, "The Narrative Rhetoric of Mark's Characterization of God", NT XLIII (2001) 12-30.

17 W. FOERSTER "e!cestin", TDNT II, 560-561, interprets the NT usage of this verb in terms of the demands of God's will. Potential pre-existing beliefs about the Son of Man receive development in J.J. COLLINS, "The Son of Man in First-Century Judaisms", NTS 38 (1992) 448-466, and T.B. SLATER, "One Like a Son of Man in First-Century CE Judaism", NTS 41 (1995) 183-198.

18 Christ also is related to the designations, Son of God (1,1), Son / Lord of David (12,35 / 12,37), Son of the Blessed (14,61), and King of Israel (15,32).

19 J.D. KINGSBURY, Conflict in Mark. Jesus, Authorities, Disciples (Minneapolis 1989) 43-45, provides further explication of these pre-existing and cultivated deficiencies in terms of Jesus' identity and destiny.

20 R.M. FOWLER, Let the Reader Understand. Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark (Minneapolis, MN 1991), 85 notes that the apocalyptic discourse of Mark 13 is directed primarily "to Mark's extranarrative audience". H.M. HUMPHREY, He Is Risen! A New Reading of Mark's Gospel (New York 1992) 116-120, contributes a discussion of the function of the second person plural verb forms in Mark 13 and the manner in which these address Mark's community. Such direct addresses of the real audience are made through its narratively immanent representative, the authorial audience.

21 E.K. BROADHEAD, Teaching with Authority. Miracles and Christology in the Gospel of Mark (JSNT.S 74; Sheffield 1992) 213-215, reaches similar results through a narrative analysis of the Markan miracle stories.

22 The same vocabulary relates other designations to Son of Man: the Teacher eats (14,14) with the one handing over (paradi/dwmi) the Son of Man (14,21); Jesus is addressed as Rabbi (14,45) by the one handing him over (14,44; cf. 9,31; 10,33a.33b; 14,21.41 for the Son of Man); and Jesus as Christ and Son of the Blessed is condemned (katakri/nw) as deserving death (qa/natoj, 14,64; cf. 10,33 for Son of Man).

23 If God is the implied agent who hands over the Son of Man in 14,21, then repetition of paradi/dwmi without a narrated agent in 9,31 and 10,33 also may assert the Son of Man's positive relationship with God: cf. E. LAVERDIERE, The Beginning of the Gospel. Introducing the Gospel According to Mark (Collegeville, MN 1999) II, 110, who deems all passive voice occurrences of paradi/dwmi to imply divine agency.

24 Negatively related to the Son of Man on one occasion are the chief priests, scribes, and elders (a)poktei/nw, 8,31), gentiles (a)poktei/nw , 10,34; cf. 10,33), that human being (paradi/dwmi, 14,21), and the chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin (katakri/nw, 14,64; cf. 14,55). The only other designation for Jesus that receives repeated linkage to particular vocabulary, King of the Jews (basileu_j tw=n )Ioudai/wn), presents a parallel development through the repetition of crucify (stauro/w, 15,13.14.20.27) which identifies the King of the Jews and Jesus the Nazarene (16,6) with Jesus (15,15.24.25) and asserts the negative relationship of the King of the Jews with the agents of stauro/w, Pilate (15,13.14) and his soldiers (15,20.27). Cross (stauro/j, 15,32) links the Son of Man to the Christ and, through crucify (stauro/w), to the King of Israel.

25 Among the five remaining occurrences of dei= (9,11; 13,7.10.14; 14,31), four appear after the explicit (9,11; 13,10) or contextual (13,7.14) introduction of the content; and the fifth 14,31), which presents no explicit introduction of the content but does receive narrative preparation for this content (14,29), similarly relates Jesus (and Peter) to death (sunapoqnh/|skw):
  dei=  to_n ui(o_n tou= a)nqrw/pou... (8,31)
  )Hli/an dei=  e)lqei=n prw=ton;  (9,11)
[pole/mouj kai_ a)koa/j...]  dei=  gene/sqai   (13,7)
ei)j pa/nta ta_ e!qnh...  dei=  khruxqh=nai   (13,10)
[to_ bde/lugma...e(sthko/ta]  dei=     (13,14)
  de/h|  me sunapoqanei=n...  (14,31)

26 E.J. PRYKE, Redactional Style in the Marcan Gospel. A Study of Syntax and Vocabulary as Guides to Redaction in Mark (Cambridge 1978) 17-22, attributes to Markan redaction all such statements (8,31; 9,12.31; 10,33-34.45; 14,21a.21b.41).

27 The Son of Man / the Beloved Son are related through the repetition of heavens (14,62 / 1,11) and cloud (13,26; 14,62 / 9,7) and the Son of Man / the Son are related through the repetition of father (8,38 / 13,32; cf. 14,36 for Jesus).

28 Consideration of the teachings' contrasts and their further development appear in N.F. SANTOS, "Jesus' Paradoxical Thinking in Mark 8:35; 9:35; and 10:43-44", BSac 157 (2000) 15-25.

29 Repeated vocabulary also contributes to evocation of the former structure: Son of Man (8,31.38; 9,31; 10,33.45 / 14,62); see (9,1 / 14,62); come (8,38; 9,1 / 14,62); power (9,1 / 14,62); chief priest[s] (8,31; 10,33 / 14,60.61.63); condemn (10,33 / 14,64); death (10,33 / 14,64); and spit on (10,34 / 14,65).

30 When offered by the narrator, these explanations generally appear in ga/r (for) clauses: cf. T.E. BOOMERSHINE G.L. BARTHOLOMEW, "The Narrative Technique of Mark 16:8", JBL 100 (1981) 213-223; FOWLER, Loaves and Fishes, 157-175; and RHOADS MICHIE, Mark as Story, 45-51. Negative evaluations explained through such clauses previously occurred in the portrayal of Jesus' disciples (6,50.52), the Pharisees or scribes (7,3), and Herod (6,17.18.20).

31 These considerations indicate that an adequate statement of Mark's christology will grant equal status to the contribution of both the contradictory content about the Son of Man's near future experience and activity and the sophisticated content about his parousaic identity and activity and recognize that the viability of the former content depends on its continuing linkage to the latter.