Thursday, October 14, 2010

Non-Occurrence of "Lord" in the Four Gospels

The Four Evangelists
an Aachen Gospel, 820
(Image from Wikipedia)

In a post the other day when I was looking at "Yahweh" (יְהוָה, Yahweh) as the unexpressed Name of the "Son" in the Gospel of John, I noticed an intriguing point: The word "Lord," which in Greek is κύριος (Kyrios), does not occur from John 15:20 to 20:2 (and not clearly to Jesus from 14:22).

I decided to check the other gospels and discovered much the same ( with John having, arguably, the longest non-occurrence, though Mark is in some ways even more surprising):
Matthew: from 26:22 to 28:6 (except for 27:10 and 28:2, where they do not refer to Jesus)

Mark: from 13:35 to 16:20 (and with clear reference to Jesus, not from 11:3 to 16:20, but this would bear more examination, for "Lord" with clear reference to Jesus is surprisingly rare in Mark generally)

Luke: from 22:61 to 24:3 (though Luke differs in using the term with clear reference to Jesus in the passion narrative)
I'm not entirely sure what to make of this other than a passing notice that the term "Lord" (κύριος, Kyrios) is missing or rare in the passion narrative of all four gospels, possibly because Jesus is not generally being addressed by those who respect him, though this isn't the full answer since the narrator could have referred to him as "Lord" anyway, as in Mark 15:5, where it could have replaced "Jesus" quite easily:
But Jesus yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.

ὁ δὲ Ἰησοῦς οὐκέτι οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίθη ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν Πιλᾶτον.

But the Lord yet answered nothing; so that Pilate marvelled.

ὁ δὲ κύριος οὐκέτι οὐδὲν ἀπεκρίθη ὥστε θαυμάζειν τὸν Πιλᾶτον
Luke, for instance, uses "Lord" twice in 22:61, a passage from the trial scene:
And the Lord turned, and looked upon Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said unto him, Before the cock crow, thou shalt deny me thrice.

καὶ στραφεὶς ὁ κύριος ἐνέβλεψεν τῷ Πέτρῳ καὶ ὑπεμνήσθη ὁ Πέτρος τοῦ λόγου τοῦ κυρίου ὡς εἶπεν αὐτῷ ὅτι Πρὶν ἀλέκτορα φωνῆσαι ἀπαρνήσῃ με τρίς
Otherwise, the term is largely missing from the passion narratives. Scholars must have noticed this before and offered explanations.

I'll have to look into this another time since I have another batch of grading now . . .

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At 4:36 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

Just suggesting a non-achademic view. Maybe the non-occurrence depends on the Commandment:

You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain

since the Holy Spirit, who inspired the Bible, "already knew" that the crucified Jesus would be turned into an "idol" (that's what the phrase "in vain" refers to in the Old Testament)

At 4:53 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

But the term "Lord" appears fairly often elsewhere in the gospels (though Mark is somewhat different, a point to be investigated).

Jeffery Hodges

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At 5:58 AM, Anonymous dhr said...

Elsewhere it does, but the one who is exhibited as an "idol" is precisely the Christ during the Passion.

I sort of believe that his own aim was to avoid right that, shocking the observers as a "horror" (see Isaiah 52.14). And, for some half millennium it worked, since no one dared show him bleeding, crucified. Afterward, however...

At 6:32 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Or perhaps the Passion is the oldest strata of the gospels and reflects a time when Jesus wasn't called Lord so automatically?

Jeffery Hodges

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At 3:06 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

That would be the "normal" explanation, the kind I carefully avoid.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Well, it's something to look into more deeply, anyway.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 6:06 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

"Forward" stuffs are better than "deep" ones.


At 6:30 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Forward into deeper waters . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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At 7:28 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

Right. Without forgetting what Nietzsche said:

"Skinniness. All profound men have their happiness in imitating the flying-fish at times, and playing on the crests of the waves; they think that what is best of all in things is their surface: their skinniness, sit venia verbo."

Gay Science, 256 web source

At 8:21 PM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Skinniness? Odd word in this context.

Jeffery Hodges

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At 10:00 PM, Anonymous dhr said...

Skinniness? Odd word

these translatoroids should be banned from the civilized community

btw, the most funny & interesting words I ever found are the one you gotta type in the Word Verification

dictionary folly n. 3: the Galeno Prize, sort of a Nobel for new medicines, has just been awarded to a drug called Rivaroxaban

At 4:18 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

I also think that water buffalos ought to be banned . . .

Jeffery Hodges

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