Mark 15:45

and, on learning from the officer that it was so, he gave the corpse to Joseph.

if he’s dead he’s dead
his use to me is done
let his bones be eaten
or grave stone engraved
it makes no difference

it’s your choice
follow me in walking away
or your own bleeding heart
as for me and mine
we’ve got better things to do

y’all are strange birds
always playing both sides
first hurry me to judge
I consider the case closed
and now an appeal for respect

the time/fun ratio
was pretty close
the first time
now at its widest
put it to rest begone

We often talk about death in euphemistic terms. This is a magical protective shield concerned with not drawing the attention of “Death” to our current setting.

It would be helpful to have more words that would better describe various perspectives on “dead”. To this end, LaVerdiere2314 helps us hear some of the nuances that would otherwise be missed if Mark is only read in English.

When the centurion confirmed that Jesus had died, Pilate gave the body (ptoma) to Joseph. Joseph had asked for the body (soma) of Jesus. The word soma which is normally associated with a living person, evokes Jesus as a living person. The word ptoma, associated with something that had once been alive, emphasizes that Jesus, now lifeless, was really dead, and ready for burial.

This distinction can be further drawn as we find the word soma used in relation to Jesus’ body that a woman anointed (14:8) and Jesus uses soma to connect bread with his body (14:22). These associations with a living body as seen by others and by Jesus himself contrast, in an ironic fashion, with Pilate and the centurion so used to and limited by their dealing with corpses. A lack of distinction between bodies in English is one reason the Bible doesn’t connect with lived experience.

One reason Mark emphasizes ptoma is to refute the rumors and accusations already present in his time that Jesus had not died but had a body double on the cross or had his body stolen by his followers so they could make up a story about an empty tomb. Mark uses the authority of the state to confirm that Jesus was completely dead.

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