I have consulted Turton's commentary on this pericope numerous times in my efforts to fully understand it. I agree with Brown here, and have made the case for the plausibility of Roman soldiers forcing a passerby to carry the stake if the prisoner himself can no longer do so. And I agree that this plausibility works equally well with an historical narrative and a fictional narrative that has been given touches of verisimilitude.JoeWallack wrote:JW:
When betting on Womens' Tennis I always bet against the heterosexual and when commenting on GMark I always consult with the Legendary Vorkosigan:
Historical Commentary on the Gospel of Mark Chapter 15
v21: Simon of Cyrene. There are a number of proposals for who he was. Brown (1994, p913-916) reviews some of the points. Simon is absent from the Gospel of Peter and from the Gospel of John. Roman practice, as described by ancient sources, was to force the prisoner to carry his own cross. Further, the writer presents Simon as "compelled" but it is unlikely, given Roman policy for respecting local law, that the Roman soldiers would have forced a Jew to work on a major holiday like Passover. Yet we are never told Simon was Jew. Simon is a Greek name, along with Alexander, while Rufus is a Roman one. Nor would the soldiers have ordered Simon to help out of pity, since they had just abused and mocked Jesus. Brown's position is that perhaps Simon was ordered to help because Jesus was so weak the soldiers feared he might die before he arrived at the execution site. This position is viable whether one views the narrative as history or fiction.
Good point. I recall making a similar one much earlier on this very thread; I believe I was defending a neutral or negative reading of Simon's actions against Peter Kirby's positive reading. There may well be something to the correspondence of Simon Peter fleeing (and therefore not taking up the cross) and Simon, some random Cyrenian, therefore being forced to take it up instead.For me the most interesting part is:
The painfully rare invocation of "stake" here for a religion that is largely created in its image connects with my observation that one of "Mark's" (author) literary techniques is to use key words sparingly so as to increase the connection between their areas of use.Helms also observes that 8:34 follows on 8:33, in which Jesus famously calls Simon Peter "Satan." Donald Senior (1987,p116) points out that the phrase "take up the cross" is the same in both passages. Is Simon of Cyrene a double for Simon Peter? Jesus says that whoever would follow him must first deny himself; Peter instead denies Jesus. Has the writer of Mark piled up irony here, showing a Simon denying himself to take up his cross, even as another Simon denies Jesus? Has he injected a historical figure into the passage? Or did these events occur as written? There's no way to know. One connection between 8:34 and 15:21 is that the mention of "cross" in 15:21 is the first time in the Gospel since 8:34. Jesus has managed to make 3 Passion predictions without mentioning the term even once.