Elizabeth Struthers Malbon: The Silence of the Women

Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, In the Company of Jesus: Characters in Mark’s Gospel (Westminster John Knox Press, 2000), 64-65.

Perhaps one’s initial impression is of a certain irony to the women’s silence: throughout the narrative Jesus asks various characters to be silent and they rarely are; here the “young man” who speaks for Jesus asks the women not to be silent and they are. But the closest Markan comparison with oudeni ouden eipan in Mark 16:8 is mēdeni mēden eipēs at 1:44, and the earlier passage may help clarify the later one. At 1:44 Jesus charges the healed leper to “say nothing to anyone (mēdeni mēden eipēs); but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer for your cleansing what Moses commanded, for a proof to the people.” Surely in showing himself to the priest the former leper would say something to the priest; the priest, however, would not be just any one, but the very one the leper was instructed to inform. At the close of Mark, the disciples and Peter are not just “any one,” but the very ones the women are instructed to tell. Thus oudeni ouden eipan, like mēdeni mēden eipēs, may mean “said nothing to any one else” or “to any one in general.” Who but a disciple, a follower, of Jesus would be able to accept and understand the women’s story? And the story of Jesus’ resurrection, like the story of Jesus’ healing of the leper (1:45), does seem to have gotten out.

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