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The So-Called Passivum Divinum in Mark’s Gospel

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Abstract Looking at a number of passive verbs that have been labeled divine passives in Markan scholarship, this essay will demonstrate that Mark does not always record passives to score theological points about divine activity. At times, while the passive voice assumes that God is the initiator, the action is in fact carried out by other agency, while other times passive forms can have intransitive meaning without any implication of another agent involved. Passive verbs are also employed to emphasize certain actions and to suppress the identity of the responsible agents when they are irrelevant in the unfolding narrative. In the miracle tradition there is little indication of divine passives in operation, and the passive voice is used to express Jesus’ actions.

Affiliations: 1: Cambridge


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