Mark 15:39

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And when the centurion, who stood by over against him, saw that he so gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God. (ASV)


What Did The Centurion Say at Jesus' Death?


Bart Ehrman points out in Jesus, Interrupted that the centurion says different things in different Gospels at Jesus' death:

Mark 15:39

And when the centurion, who stood by over against him, saw that he so gave up the ghost, he said, Truly this man was the Son of God.


Luke 23:47

And when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.


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JW: Oedipus Rex is considered a classic of the Greek Ironic Tragedy style. The "Hero" is "blind" to a Truth that the Audience can see. "Mark" also seems to be written in this style. The Anti-Hero "The Jews", and caretaker Kings, whose soul purpose and history has been to wait for the Jewish Messiah, fail to "see" the Messiah when he shows despite overwhelming evidence seen by the Audience. The justification is ...drama roll fulfill prophecy! (Tiresias - Look Out!).

In "Mark" plausibility is a slave to Ironic Contrivance. Check out the Ironic Contrast between "The Jewish Leaders" and the centurion:

The Jewish Leaders are looking for the messiah. The centurion is not.

The Jewish Leaders know the prophecies to determine the messiah. The centurion does not.

The Jewish Leaders are men of religion. The centurion is a man of war.

Jesus shows the Jewish Leaders astounding miracles and teachings. Jesus shows the centurion nothing.

Jesus tells the Jewish Leaders he is the messiah. Jesus tells the centurion nothing.

The Jewish Leaders are unconvinced by Jesus life. The centurion is convinced by Jesus' death.

Note that "Mark" gives no explicit reason as to why the centurion is convinced by Jesus' death. Compare to:

Matthew 27: (KJV as adjusted for lying) 51 "And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; 52 And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, 53 And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many. 54 Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was a Son of God."

Note that "Matthew" gives lots of explicit reasons. Now which is more Contrived and likely to be Original, Yuri, Bede, Buehler, someone, anyone?

--JoeWallack 10:13, 20 Jun 2006 (CDT)

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