Jesus’ Supposed Blasphemy (Mark 14:61b–64) -- By: Robert H. Gundry
BBR 18:1 (2008) p. 131
Jesus’ Supposed Blasphemy (Mark 14:61b–64)
Historically, Jesus’ supposed blasphemy before the Sanhedrin consisted in the claim that he would sit at God’s right hand and come with the clouds of heaven, a divine mode of transport. Though replaced with “the Power” in public reporting, “Yahweh” in Jesus’ actual quotation of Ps 110:1 made the supposed blasphemy deserving of death in agreement with m. Sanh. 7:5.
Key Words: blasphemy, tetragrammaton
Darrell L. Bock’s article, “Blasphemy and the Jewish Examination of Jesus” (BBR 17  53-114) contains very much of value. I happily agree with his defending the historicity of Mark 14:53-72, especially vv. 61b–64, and would like to strengthen that defense.
Bock notes my view that “Jesus pronounced the divine Name [‘Yahweh’] in violation of m. Sanh. 7:5 when he alluded to Ps 110:1”; that “this citation was suppressed in the public reports of the scene, including Mark’s, so as not to repeat the blasphemy and compound the offense [this suppression in conformity with m. Sanh. 7:5]”; and that “only an utterance repeating the divine Name could count for a charge of capital blasphemy, just as the Mishnah says.”1 This observation does well so far as it goes. Then Bock writes that his own “goal [in Blasphemy and Exaltation in Judaism and the Final Examination of Jesus2] was simply to suggest that a pronunciation of the divine Name alone cannot explain the charge [of capital blasphemy].”3 This statement seems to imply that I think a pronunciation of the divine Name alone could explain the charge of capital blasphemy. Bock writes again, “Gundry … raises an objection against the conceptual view,”4
BBR 18:1 (2008) p. 132
and ranges my view against his conceptual view, which is that Jesus’ supposed blasphemy consisted primarily in his claiming for himself a seat at God’s right hand so as to share the very authority of God himself and thus “evaporat[e] the distance between himself and God.”5
Well before the publication of Bock’s Blasphemy and Exaltation, however, I wrote in my Mark commentary (which Bock cites in other respects) that “though capital...
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