Now it may be that the standard translation picks up the sense of this interpretative clause, even if it overstates it, but even there I am not sure. Could the person orally delivering Mark 7.18-19 have made this intelligible?:He says to them, "Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?", cleansing all foods.I am not convinced that we are reading Mark right here.
I on the other hand am tolerably convinced, actually, that the translations that make that terminal statement into an intelligible statement are on the right track.
The first thing to note about Jesus' longer statements is that they typically have an identifiable structure. This may consist of ABBA chiasms, but another preference is ABCABC structures, found, for example, in Mark 1:16-20, and in Mark 7:1-23. Here in Mark 7:18-19, Jesus' speech has a clearly identifiable parallel ABC ABC shape. First, let's lay out the structure of this short pericope. In Mark, the A brackets are chained together, and the A' bracket of the previous pericope is used as the A bracket of the following one, with few exceptions.
A And when he had entered the house, and left the people, his disciples asked him about the parable.
B And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding? Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?" (Thus he declared all foods clean.)
B' And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."
A' And from there he arose and went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon.
This short pericope has a definite ABC ABC shape. Note that the B' bracket contains three statements. First comes a statement.
A: And he said, "What comes out of a man is what defiles a man.
This is followed by a description that functions as a definition:
B: For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, fornication, theft, murder, adultery, coveting, wickedness, deceit, licentiousness, envy, slander, pride, foolishness.
and then a conclusion that is a complete thought:
C: All these evil things come from within, and they defile a man."
The final thought is a complete one. The parallelism here suggests that the B bracket should be some kind of stand-alone statement, a complete thought, for Goodacre's reading of cleansing all foods.
First comes the statement, in the form of a rhetorical question:
A: And he said to them, "Then are you also without understanding?
Then a definition follows:
B: Do you not see that whatever goes into a man from outside cannot defile him, since it enters, not his heart but his stomach, and so passes on?"
Since in the B' bracket A, B, and C are all complete thoughts, this suggests that in the B bracket C must also form a complete thought. It cannot be something as fragmented as cleansing all foods. It probably originally concluded the first thought (A) by following the writer of Mark's usual practice of using food as a metaphor for Jesus' teachings, and eating as absorbing and understanding them. I would bet good money that the original C statement was one of those hard-to-grasp Markan ambiguities, no doubt made worse by Mark's notoriously idiosyncratic Greek, and that it has been lost because no one could make sense of it. This verse is somewhat unstable in the manuscript tradition, perhaps indicating that the original must have required clarification.
[Christianity] [Gospel of Mark] [historical Jesus]