"It Was Out of Envy
That They Handed Jesus Over" (Mark 15:10):
The Anatomy of Envy and the Gospel of Mark

Anselm C. Hagedorn and Jerome H. Neyrey

Mark narrates how Pilate perceived that "it was out of envy that they handed Jesus over" (15:10). What did Pilate see that most New Testament commentators fail to notice? One writer has gone so far as to claim that ". . . envy is not a topic of any significance in ... the New Testament."(1) Yet Mark states that envy was the reason why certain people "handed Jesus over" to be killed.(2)

To interpret Pilate's perception of a situation of envy, we turn to two sources. Anthropological studies can provide a comprehensive "anatomy of envy" which describes who envies whom, what is envied, why people envy, how one envies or avoids envy. Foster, for example, offers not only an analysis of individual aspects of envy, but a systematic explanation of its complex structure.(3) Second, we possess a significant data on envy from the ancients themselves. These native informants tell us things about their world which give concrete illustration of Foster's more generalized study. Thus they verify the accuracy of Foster's modern study for the ancient world as well as provide suitable adaptation of it for that historical period. Rarely did the ancients offer us a systematic treatment of envy as Foster does, although we find the beginnings of such in Aristotle, Basil and Cyprian.(4) With both an accurate anthropological model and input from ancient informants, we have a useful tool for assessing the envy against Jesus described in Mark's gospel.

We argue that Mark presents Jesus in terms of the pivotal cultural values of his day, honor and shame. His rhetorical strategy is to praise Jesus as worthy Messiah and Son of God. Yet in acknowledging this honor, Mark knows that the success Jesus enjoys will only earn him bitter envy from his peers. Honor provokes envy, which issues in conflict and hostility. Yet, even the portrayal of the envy of Pharisees, scribes and chief priests toward Jesus contributes to his honor, for it implies Jesus' superiority. Mark, we contend, knew as only natives knew the full social dynamic of honor and envy. His hero was crucified in shame, which demands an explanation; and he offers us a culturally plausible one narrating how Pilate "perceived that it was out of envy that they handed Jesus over" (15:10).

I. Thinking about Envy: A Systemic Approach

Writing about envy in James 3:13-4:10, Johnson describes it in terms of a topos, which for all its value is limited by the nature of his inquiry.(5) Operating out of the traditional scholarly paradigm with which he is familiar, Johnson is content to label envy as a vice according to Hellenistic moral philosophy.(6) This paradigm ignores the important consideration of envy in terms of a cultural system of values. Anthropological studies of envy, however, provide us with a sophisticated analysis which takes us beyond the labeling of it as a vice. In particular, we turn to Foster's analysis, "The Anatomy of Envy: A Study in Symbolic Behavior,"(7) which examines envy as a symbolic form of behavior. As Foster's title indicates, he provides us with a systematic model, an "anatomy" of envy, which analyzes it comprehensively and situates it within a study of complex social relations.(8) Thus we hope to take readers beyond the traditional analysis of envy as a vice and examine it in terms of the complex social relations it expresses.

A. Definition of Envy

In his catalogue of emotions to which an orator might appeal, Aristotle succinctly defines envy as " a certain kind of distress at apparent success on the part of one's peers in attaining the good things that have been mentioned, not that a person may get anything for himself but because of those who have it" (Rhet. 2.10.1).(9) Envy basically consists of pain or distress caused by another's success. The modern world defines envy in the same way: "to feel displeasure and ill will at the superiority of another person in happiness, success, reputation or the possession of anything desirable."(10) Furthermore, Aristotle distinguishes envy () from emulation (). While both are "distress" at the success of another, envy attacks a successful person and seeks to level him without spurring the envier to achieve anything on his own. In contrast, emulation does not seek to harm the successful person, but spurs on the less accomplished person to seek parity of honor by noble actions. Hence Aristotle understands emulation:

. . .a kind of distress at the apparent presence among others like him by nature, of things honored and possible for a person to acquire, [with the distress arising] not from the fact that another has them but that the emulator does not (thus emulation is a good thing and characteristic of good people, while envy is bad and characteristic of the bad; for the former [person], through emulation ( ), is making an effort to attain good things for himself, while the latter, through envy ( ) tries to prevent his neighbor from having them) (Rhet. 2.11.1).

Thus, whereas envy is censured because it seeks to harm another, emulation is praiseed because it encourages a person to attain excellence on his own merits.(11)

The issue is still not as clear as it needs to be, for we must distinguish envy from "jealousy." People may be defensive of their own achievements and assets, and so act suspiciously of the envy of others and defend themselves from harm.(12) The OED defines "jealousy" as: "the state of mind arising from the suspicion, aggression or knowledge of rivalry".(13) Hence, we should distinguish three things:(14)

envy () = distress at another's success (evil)

emulation () = incentive to match the success of another (good)

jealousy () = defense of one's family, property or reputation (good).

Hence envy attacks the person who possesses much, whereas jealousy defends what is possessed (wife, children, house, etc.). Have nots are envious of those who have; those who have are jealous of what they have.

Although the ancients regularly distinguished envy, emulation, and jealousy,(15) they did not always exercise terminological exactness in expressing this. Envy () and jealousy () are occasionally used as synonyms; and can mean both attacking envy, good emulation and defensive jealousy.(16) When Pilate observed that it was "out of envy" that Jesus was handed over, this refers to the pain felt by Jesus' rivals over his fame and prestige.

B. Socioeconomic and Psychological Conditions that Breed Envy.

Three elements need to be considered: (1) the image of "limited good," (2) the agonistic nature of peasant society, and (3) the values of honor and shame. Foster himself originated discussion of "limited good" in his model of envy.(17) In treating interpersonal relationships among peasants, he commented on the agonistic nature of their intercourse,(18) linking it to the notion of "limited good." Our study of the ancient world can supplement Foster's model with culturally specific notions of the ancient passion for honor and with consideration of its modal personality as a group-oriented person..

1. Limited Good. Foster describes how peasants perceive that all good things in the world exist in limited supply.(19)

By "Image of Limited Good" I mean that broad areas of peasant behavior are patterned in such a fashion as to suggest that peasants view their social, economic, and natural universes--their total environment--as one in which all of the desired things in life such as land, wealth, health, friendship and love, manliness and honor, respect and status, power and influence, security and safety, exist in finite quantity and are always in short supply, as far as the peasant is concerned. Not only do these and all other "good things" exist in finite and limited quantities, but in addition there is no way directly within peasant power to increase the available quantities.(20)

He notes that "any advantage achieved by one individual or family is seen as a loss to others, and the person who makes what the Western world lauds as 'progress' is viewed as a threat to the stability of the entire community."(21) Why? If supply is thought to be radically limited, any person's gain must comes through loss by others. Two things happen when people view the world in this way: (1) they "are reluctant to advance beyond their peers because of the sanctions they know will be leveled against them"(22) and (2) the person "who is seen or known to acquire more becomes much more vulnerable to the envy of his neighbors."(23) Hence, if someone gains success, goods, honor or anything valued by a group, then others correspondingly perceive themselves losing worth, prestige and the like. Envy follows as surely as night follows day.

In the literature of antiquity we can readily observe this perception of "limited good" as part of that cultural world. The classical biblical instance(24) of this stands behind the exchange between John the Baptizer and his disciples over the rising success of Jesus. When John says, "He must increase, I must decrease" (John 3:30), he confirms the popular perception that Jesus' gain in reputation necessarily comes at his own expense. But John differs from his disciples in that he does not envy Jesus as they do. In the Greco-Roman world, the perception of limited good is aptly expressed in the remark of Iamblicus: "People do not find it pleasant to give honor () to someone else, for they suppose that they themselves are being deprived of something."(25) Similarly, Plutarch describes a person hearing an outstanding speaker and expressing envy at his success: "As though commendation were money, he feels that he is robbing himself of every bit that he bestows on another" (On Listening to Lectures 44B; see also Old Men in Public Affairs 787D). Finally Josephus reflects this when he describes the envy of John, son of Levi, at his own rise in fortune:

[John]. . .believing that my success involved his own ruin, gave way to immoderate envy. Hoping to check my good fortune by inspiring hatred of me in those under my command, he tried to induce the inhabitants of Tiberias, Sepphoris, and Gabara to abandon their allegiance to me and go over to him (Life 122-23).(26)

Therefore, the success, fame, and prestige of someone are popularly thought to come at the expense of others, who then surface as the most likely candidates to envy those of rising fortune.

2. Agonistic Nature of Society. Foster mentioned a phenomenon which we consider pivotal for understanding envy in antiquity, namely, the agonistic nature of certain societies. In his study of peasant relationships, Foster observed the "prevalence of conflict" and cites other ethnographers who confirm that "all the families quarrel with each other. Always the same squabbles, endless squabbles, passed down from generation to generation in endless lawsuits."(27) In his study of envy, he itemizes the "expressions of envy": "direct aggression and its functional equivalent, witchcraft," along with "gossip, backbiting and defamation."(28) Students of classical literature have long been aware of the agonistic nature of ancient Greece in which conflict abounded.(29) In his study of conflict in the law courts of Athens, Cohen surfaces a number of terms which indicate the prevalence of combativeness there. He describes that society as agonistic, drawing on the terms for combat, and cognates; it truly "loves fighting" () and celebrates rivalry and combat (), and so is in "love with victory or rivalry" (). A contentious society, it is always competing (). In fact, it rejoices in making enemies ().(30) Christopher Faraone, who examined binding spells in the Hellenistic world, classified them in terms of four "agonistic contexts": commercial curses, curses against athletes and public performers, amatory curses and judicial curses.(31)

Why this interminable and agonistic behavior? Foster's concept of "limited good" goes a long way toward explaining how success of others breeds envy. A winner's success comes at the expense of others. And as we examine "honor," we shall see that the ancient world constantly competed for fame, reknown and honor. The competitive quest for honor () leads to agonistic behavior to achieve this honor and envy by others at the honor of the successful.

3. Honor: the Ultimate "Limited Good." For what did they compete? Anthropologists and New Testament scholars call honor one of the pivotal values of the Mediterranean world, both ancient(32) and modern.(33) Honor most basically refers to one's worth, standing and reputation in the eyes of village or neighborhood.(34) It is one's social credit rating or social entitlement to respect and interaction. Since the ancients considered "love of honor" () as humankind's highest goal, it seems safe to say that they competed intensely for honor, which, like all other goods, exists in limited supply.

How does one get it? Individuals acquire honor in either of two ways: (1) honor and respect may be ascribed to him by others or (2) he achieves fame on his own merits. Honor, say the experts, is both one's claim to some worth and the public acknowledgment of that claim.(35) In the case of ascribed honor, the claim is made by others on behalf of someone. Since kinship was the most important institution in antiquity, one's birth into a "noble" family immediately meant ascribed worth in the eyes of the family's peers; the family itself makes claims to worth on behalf of its offspring which are most commonly expressed when marriages are arranged. Within that family, moreover, siblings have differing degrees of ascribed honor. Parents typically prized male children over female ones; and they valued their first-born male more than his siblings. In this case, the family ascribes worth to the son and makes claim of such before others.

In contrast, an individual by his own achievements may earn respect and fame. He might make a name for himself in any number of socially approved ways, such as benefaction, military prowess, athletic competition and excellence in drama and poetry. These avenues to success were open only to elites; non-elites, who made up at least 90% of the ancient population, could normally achieve prestige only through agonistic behavior which was socially sanctioned in the common game of push-and-shove labeled by the anthropologists as "challenge and riposte." Anyone in a village or neighborhood who claims special respect based on achievement was likely to be challenged by others because of the pervasive perception of "limited good," especially in regard to so valuable a commodity as honor.

We should attend to the ways in which people who love honor live primarily in a shame, not guilt, oriented society.(36) They take their clues from family and neighbors about what is valuable and how one should behave. In learning to compete, they keep a keen eye on how their behavior is perceived by others. Thus they participated in what Cohen calls the "politics of reputation,"(37) and were subject to strong social control by virtue of the opinions of others. All were socialized to compete for honor as well as to envy those who in fact succeed.

C. What Is Envied?

As Aristotle said, "success" is what the envious attack (Rhet. 2.10.1).(38) Josephus, for example, regularly connects "success" () with envy. He states that "John, believing that my success () involved his ruin, gave way to immoderate envy ()" (Life 122). Alternately, describing the national scene, he remarks about John Hyrcanus, "The prosperous fortune () of John and his sons, however, provoked a sedition among his envious () countrymen" (War 1.67).(39) But what is "success" to the ancients?

As Cyprian remarked, the envious person becomes the enemy, not of the man, but of the honor he has acquired.(40) In regard to ascribed worth, since kinship was the most important institution in antiquity, one's birth into a noble family and one's birthplace among siblings was an immediate source of ascribed honor, but also of envy. The Hebrew Bible testifies to the incessant envy between siblings over ranking and inheritance, which are the signs of honor.(41) Comparably, a person who achieves success on his own merits, may, for example, enjoy wealth. Aristotle comments that the importance of wealth lies its use,(42) which might take the form of conspicuous consumption(43) or conspicuous expenditure, i.e., benefaction(44) and liturgies.(45) Wealth, then, might be the object of envy because it brings honor to someone. Furthermore, success through prowess in war, pan-Hellenic games(46) or contests of poetry and drama(47) will be envied because of the fame it brings someone. Thus "success" earns an honorable reputation, which becomes the object of envy.

D. The Enviers and The Envied

Foster identifies all players in the game of envy: (1) envy between equals, (2) envy between non-equals, and (3) envy of the gods or the dead. In regard to envy between equals, he observes that "every society designates those of its members who are deemed eligible to compete with each other for desired goals."(48) They are "conceptual equals": social peers and even kin or brothers. Similarly Aristotle in his discussion of envy begins with just this topic, who envies whom? Speaking first about enviers, he states: "Envy is defined as a kind of distress at apparent success on the part of one's peers ( )" (Rhet. 2.10.1). He clarifies this notion of peer envy by noting what they share in common: "I mean those like themselves in terms of birth, relationship, age, disposition, reputation, possessions" (2.10.2) He then discusses those who are envied: "It is evident, too, whom people envy. . .they envy those near to them in time and place and age and reputation, whence it has been said 'Kinship, too, knows how to envy'" (2.10.5). Most typically, then, envier and envied are social equals. Cicero echoes this commonplace when he says, "People are especially jealous (invident) of their equals, or of those once beneath them, when they feel themselves left behind and fret at the other's upward flight" (De Or. 2.52.209).

Equals and peers might well be persons of the same trade. Hesiod describes the work of Strife, daughter of Night, who stirs up conflict between non-elite artisans: "And potter is angry with potter, and craftsman with craftsman, and beggar is jealous of beggar, and minstrel of minstrel" (Works and Days 25-26). This remark was repeatedly quoted in antiquity as illustrative of the peer nature of envy.(49) Aristotle said the same: "Kinship (), too, knows how to envy" (Rhet. 2.10.5). Walcot's discussion of envy points out just such kinship or peer envy among sibling rivals such as Dionysius and Heracles in Aristophanes' Frogs(50) On this topic, Plutarch advised brothers to seek honor and distinction in different fields: "Since envy and jealousy of those who surpass them in repute and honour are implanted by nature chiefly in men of ambitious character, to guard against these vices it is highly expedient that brothers should not seek to acquire honours or power in the same field, but in different fields" (On Brotherly Love 486B). Similarly, the Hebrew scriptures narrate rivalry between brothers, which Christian writers on envy regularly cite as prime examples of envy.(51)

Most societies, however, do not allow certain people to compete. For example, Foster notes the universal taboo prohibiting a son to compete with his father for the possession of the mother-wife (see Deut 22:30); similarly, daughters may not compete with their mothers for the father-husband.(52) Moreover, in highly structured societies such as the ancient world, the disruptive effects of envy between have-nots and haves is strictly controlled by means of social distancing of the population into age groups or different social locations or caste systems. Slaves cannot compete with their masters, nor peasants and artisans with rulers and aristocratic elites. This does not preclude social conflict, since the superior party may well fear those below him, especially their use of the aggressive evil eye or some other form of witchcraft. This is only to say that, whereas the rivalry between "conceptual equals" or peers is socially approved, envy between socially distant people is not sanctioned competition.

Foster identifies a third case of envier and envied, namely, the envy of the gods and the dead.(53) While many peoples in world history fear the envy and jealousy of the gods, no instance of this is better documented than that of the ancient Greeks. Ranulf, in his extensive study of the topic, distinguishes three types of envy of mortals by the gods: (1) punishment by the gods of the guilty, (2) misfortune for no particular reason, and (3) misfortune as a result of divine envy.(54) In regard to the first type, Homer notes that certain of the gods resent being ignored or slighted by mortals and so take vengeance on the guilty.(55) The second type refers to a fatalistic sense that all lives contain successes and failures, as well as joys and disappointments. They come to mortals with no rhyme or reason and so seem capricious.(56) We are concerned particularly with the third type, namely, the nemesis of the gods for human behavior which exceeds the limits of honorable mortal actions. Throughout its history, Greek literature discourses on the fickleness of fortune; yet in many cases they interpret misfortune as a form of divine retribution on a person who tried to usurp what belongs to the gods, rose too high or sought to be like the gods.(57)

Foster himself interprets the envy from the gods as a psychological projection,(58) and goes on to describe the "moral indignation" contained in it as a kind of socially sanctioned form of envy. Non-elites cannot successfully challenge elites; but they can express their envy of them by an appeal to a theory of divine or disinterested punishment through civic law codes and beliefs that the gods punish in justice.(59) Similarly, since the envy of the gods was directed to the elites of society, Gouldner described it as an "order-inducing" element which acts to restrain the excesses of tyrants and autocrats:

... it encourages men at the top of the system to restraint in their relations with those beneath them, limiting the resentment they will provoke. While reality alone might be expected to induce prudence and restraint among those at the bottom of the system, the belief in the envy of the gods provides supernaturally sanctioned motives for restraint and moderation among those at the top who would otherwise be less controllable.(60)

This notion of envy will play a significant role when we take up the topics of avoiding envy by practicing moderation.

Envying down? "Except in very general and atypical senses," Foster argues, "it seems that one normally does not envy down."(61) Perhaps the examples from classical literature should be considered atypical, but they describe elites envying down in terms of hybris.(62) In Herodotus, a certain rebel, Otanes, advised the abolition of the monarchy because of its inevitable corruption; he portrays the hybristic behavior of monarchs in general, which exemplifies what it means to envy down:

The advantage which he holds breeds insolence (), and nature makes all men envious (). This double cause is the root of all evil in him; he will do many wicked deeds, some from the insolence () which is born of satiety, some from envy (). For whereas an absolute ruler, as having all that heart can desire, should rightly be envious of no man, yet it is contrariwise with him in dealing with his countrymen; he is envious of the safety of the good, and glad of the safety of the evil (3.80).(63)

The ancients expected rulers to act with hybris toward their subjects, especially toward those perceived as rivals. In this sense, then, royal "envy" is akin to "jealousy," namely, defensive behavior of what is one's own.(64) The ancients regularly told a stock story of how a monarch successfully dealt with the leading men of his kingdom. For example, Herodotus narrates that the Corinthian tyrant sent a messenger to the tyrant of Miletus to discover the right way to rule:

He sent a herald toThrasybulus and enquired how he should so order all matters as best to govern his city. Thrasybulus led the man who had come from Periander outside the town, and entered into a sown field; while he walked through the corn and plied the herald with still-repeated questions about his coming from Corinth, he would cut off the tallest that he saw of the stalks, and cast away what he cut off, till by so doing he had destroyed the best and richest of the crop. . .Periander perceived that Thrasybulus had counseled him to slay those of his townsmen who stood highest (Herodotus 5.92).(65)

Thus the ancients tell numerous stories of "envying down," that is, acts of hybris by kings to those below them, which seem like a jealous defense of tyrannical privilege. Our investigation, however, supports Foster's contention that envy normally arises between equals and peers.

E. How one envies:

Although Aristotle calls envy a "distress" (, Rhet. 2.10.1), it is a very dangerous phenomenon because it rarely stays at the level of an emotion, but seeks ways to achieve its purpose. Basil commented that the goal of the envier was "to behold the victim of his envy pass from happiness to misery, that he who is admired and emulated might become an object of pity."(66) Envy regularly metamorphosed into hostile action. Both Cyprian and Basil describe the primal act of human envy as Cain's murder of Abel;(67) they go so far as to call envy "the mother of homicide."(68) In what specific ways do enviers seek to reduce from honor to pity those envied? What forms of social interaction might the envious person employ?

Our investigation surfaced six different ways whereby enviers might reduce an admired person to pity: (1) ostracism, (2) gossip and slander, (3) feuding, (4) litigation, (5) the evil eye, and (6) homicide. By ostracism,(69) we mean the social mechanism developed in classical Athens whereby a person who gained too much prominence was banished from the city for a limited time.(70) Although allowed to return, the envied person was nevertheless out of the public's eye and unable to exercise "love of honor" in competition with others; thus ostracism necessarily resulted in a lowering of the honor and worth of the envied and banished person. Gossip is essentially "critical talk about absent third parties."(71) Plutarch provides the modern reader with a unique report by a native informant on the relationship of gossip and envy: "Since it is the searching out of troubles that the busybody [i.e., gossiper] desires, he is possessed by the affliction called 'malignancy,' a brother to envy and spite. For envy is pain at another's good, while malignancy is joy at another's sorrow" (Talkativeness 518C). Reputations are easily ruined by gossip. Feuding describes the persistent state of "enmity" () which existed between individuals or families in antiquity.(72) Those feuding often conducted their attacks through litigation.(73) Fifth, enviers might put a curse on those whom they envy or bewitching them, which is often described in terms of the evil eye.(74) The evil eye was important enough to warrant Plutarch's attention in his Table Talk ("Question 7" 680C-683B). Basil, too, describes how the evil gaze of an envious person causes harm:

Some think that envious persons bring bad luck merely by a glance, so that healthy persons in the full flower and vigor of their prime are made to pine away under their spell, suddenly losing all their plumpness which dwindles and wastes away under the gaze of the envious, as if washed away by a destructive flood.(75)

Finally, an envious person might resort to physical violence and even homicide to reduce the status of the person envied, as noted above in regard to Cain's murder of Abel and Saul's attempts to slay David. Thus, envy is no empty emotion.

F. Why One Envies? Love of Honor ()

Aristotle explained "for what reasons, and of whom, and in what frame of mind, men are envious" (Rhet. 2.10.1). The motive, he states, is "ambition" or "love of honor" ():

And the ambitious () are more envious than the unambitious (). And [those are envious] who are wise in their own conceit; for they are ambitious () for wisdom. And on the whole, those fond of fame () in some way are envious in that regard (Rhet. 2.10.2-3).

Aristotle presumes that we know what he and his world mean by "love of honor" (), a common term found throughout Greek literature..

"Love of honor" was a frequently mentioned and highly prized commodity from Homer to Augustine. For example, Xenophon described the Athenians as passionate for praise: "Athenians excel all others not so much in singing or in stature or in strength, as in love of honour (), which is the strongest incentive to deeds of honour and renown" (Mem. 3.3.13). Similarly, Augustine looks back on Rome and describes what seems to him the pivotal value which drove Romans in all their endeavors, the love of praise: "For the glory that the Romans burned to possess, be it noted, is the favourable judgment of men who think well of other men" (City of God 5.12). For love of praise, the Romans overcame vices common to other peoples: "He (God) granted supremacy to men who for the sake of honour, praise and glory served the country in which they were seeking their own glory, and did not hesitate to prefer her safety to their own. Thus for one vice, that is, love of praise, they overcame the love of money and many other vices" (5.13).(76) Xenophon valued "love of honor" so highly, he identified it as one of the chief things that distinguish not only humans from animals, but noble humans from ordinary folk.(77)

"Honor" for the ancients meant primarily renown and reputation. Hence they engaged in various competitions which bring victory and so fame. Competitions could be as innocent as rivalry at plays, dances and songs at festivals, or as deadly as quarreling, feuding and warring. Hence, it is not surprising that "love of honor" in competitive contexts is translated by scholars as "rivalry" or "aspiration" or simply "ambition." But at heart, it is a passionate quest for honor.

Yet, say Aristotle and many other ancient informants, this "love of honor" produces envy. Since the ancients were intensely desirous of fame and honor and thought that all things existed in limited supply, envy naturally follows love of honor. Hence, Aeschines remarks in one of his speeches how his client was put upon "by men who were envious () and wished to bring insult upon his honorable name" () (Embassy 111). Isocrates describes a famous Greek army which was filled with gods and the sons of the gods, "men who were not of the same temper as the majority of mankind nor on the same plane of thinking, but full of pride and passion and envy and ambition ( )" (Panathenaicus 81-82). Similarly, Plutarch describes how the envy which springs up in someone while listening to a lecture arises from "ambition" (): "Now while envy in other matters is engendered by certain untrained and evil dispositions of a man, the envy that is directed against a speaker is the offspring of an unseasonable desire for repute () and ambition ()" (Listening to Lectures 39E).(78) Among the ancients, then, desire for fame, glory and honor (, , cupido gloriae) not only spurred individuals to excellence but pricked others to envy their success.

G. How One Avoids Envy.

Foster lists "four distinct but intimately related" types of behavior by people who fear the envy of others and seek to reduce their own visibility and vulnerability: "(1) concealment, (2) denial, (3) the 'sop' (i.e., symbolic sharing) and (4) true sharing."(79) In regard to concealment, people in a world of conspicuous consumption, such as the honor-and-shame world of antiquity, are in a genuine bind: honor comes from displaying wealth or prowess, but such display leaves one vulnerable to envy. And privacy is very likely to invoke the curiosity of neighbors, who assume that people whose houses and lives are not totally open must be hiding something from them. Boasting, the opposite of concealment, openly invites envy. Denial might be the simple rejection of a compliment such as Jesus' rejection of the label "Good" when the rich man addressed him as "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (Mark 10:17-18). Sop refers to the forced sharing of something to placate those who lost out in competition for it. True sharing as in the case of potlatch, public liturgies(80) or lavish hospitality has a way of leveling wealth and thus reducing envy. Leitourgia, for example, might be costly for wealthy aristocrats, but they function to redistribute wealth; of them Isaeus remarks:

Our forefathers. . .performed every kind of choregic office, contributed large sums for your expenses in war, and never ceased acting as trierarchs. As evidence of all these services, they set up in the temples out of the remainder of their property, as a memorial of their civic worth, dedications, such as tripods which they had received as prizes for choregic victories in the temple of Dionysus, or in the shrine of Pythian Apollo. Furthermore, by dedicating on the Acropolis the first-fruits of their wealth, they have adorned the shrine with bronze and marble statues, numerous, indeed, to have been provided out of a private fortune (On the Estate of Dicaeogenes 5.41-42).(81)

In addition to these strategies for avoiding envy, the Greco-Roman world urged another, the practice of moderation. The entrance column at the temple at Delphi was engraved with three pithy sayings: "Know thyself" ( ), "Nothing overmuch" ( ), and "A pledge, and ruin is nigh."(82) The wise man who "knows himself" will avoid extremes and not go beyond the limits of what society thinks is appropriate to a person of his social location (Plutarch, Letter to Apollonius 116D-E). Nor will he allow others to praise him too much (Plutarch, Dinner of the Seven Wise Men 164C). For, as was popularly thought, "Fortune has a knack, when men vaunt themselves too highly, of laying them unexpectedly low and so teaching them to hope for 'nothing in excess' ( )" (Diodor of Sicily 15.33.3). The practice of moderation or "nothing to excess" was hallowed in Horace's ode on "golden mediocrity":

Better will you live, Licinius, by neither always pressing out to sea nor too closely hugging the dangerous shore in cautious fear of storms. Whoso cherishes the golden mean (auream mediocritatem), safely avoids the foulness of an ill-kept house and discreetly, too, avoids a hall exciting envy (invidenda). 'Tis oftener the tall pine that is shaken by the wind; 'tis the lofty towers that fall with the heavier crash, and 'tis the tops of the mountains that the lightning strikes (Ode 2.10.1-12).(83)

A person avoids provoking others to envy by moderating desires and behavior which manifest ambition and attract attention. It was part of ancient lore that lightning strikes the tallest tree or highest mountain.(84) Moderation cautions against striving to be that tall tree or high mountain.

We see, therefore, that envy implies a set of social values (honor and shame) and a social dynamic such as agonistic competition for fame. It operates out of a particular perspective of "limited good," which heightens public sensitivity to every rise in reputation and success of each person in village or city. We learned, moreover, who envies whom, for what reason, and how. Focussing on envy we are peering into the heart of the value system of the ancient world.

II. The Gospel of Mark and the Anatomy of Envy

Mark uses the term "envy" only once, indicating that Pilate discerned it as the cause for Jesus' arrest: ". . .it was out of envy ( ) that the chief priests had delivered him up" (Mark 15:10//Matt 27:18). While Mark's only use of the specific term, it implies a social game that has been going on constantly throughout the narrative. From our understanding of "the anatomy of envy," two things suggest themselves: (1) the mere presence of the term "envy" implies a larger and easily recognizable social process; and (2) the social process of envy may be narrated without mention of the term "envy." Thus we intend to examine Mark's narrative to see how pervasive are the social dynamics expressed by "envy" and how a formal knowledge of the "anatomy of envy" can aid readers in grasping the presence and importance of the phenomenon. The rationale for this interpretative strategy rests on an analogy with physical anthropology. When researchers find a bone, they know that it implies a complete skeleton, which they are increasingly adept at reconstructing by means of comparative anatomy. Moreover, skeletons belong to animals who live in specific social environments, have a certain kinds of locomotion, eat a particular diet, behave in predictable social ways, etc. One bone invites reconstruction not only of skeleton, but of social world. Similarly, the presence of "envy" in Mark 15:10 signals that it is an important bone which implies a skeleton of elements or, as Foster has called it, an "anatomy of envy." That one clear notice in Mark invites us to consider the phenomenon of envy occurring elsewhere in the gospel, the crowning moment of which is Mark 15:10.

A. Mark 15:10 and the Anatomy of Envy

Mark 15:10 will only be viewed accurately when seen against the backdrop of the events narrated in chs 11-15 and understood in terms of the "anatomy of envy." Mark accurately uses the term envy and not jealousy; for, the chief priests are distressed at Jesus' success and seek to destroy his prestige. Moreover, in terms of the social-psychological background implied here, the situation is clearly one of "limited good." Jesus not only invaded the physical space of the elite priests by entering the Temple, he challenged their priestly role in his critique of the way the Temple was run (11:15-19, 12:9 & 12, and 40-44). Thus he was increasing at their expense, or so they perceived it. Third, there can be no doubt of the agonistic nature of the relations between Jesus and the Jerusalem elite in chs 11-12, which climax in his arrest, trial and death. Fourth, the chief priests envy Jesus' honor, symbolized most dramatically by the Hosannah! of the crowd as he enters the city (11:9-10). Jesus occasioned this envy because of his miracles, but especially by his bold public actions, first in redefining the temple cultus (11:15-19)(85) and by giving an excellent riposte to the incessant challenges to him in 11:28-33 and 12:13-37. This honor was publicly acknowledged at least by the crowds at his entrance into the city, during the subsequent conflicts (12:12), and at their end (12:37). Fifth, Mark suggests that, by being envied, Jesus is the peer of the chief priests and deserving of both honor and envy. He only gains in stature by being envied. Finally, in terms of how the chief priests envy Jesus, initially they issue direct challenges (11:28-33), and follow up their defeats with surrogate attacks: "And 'they' [i.e., chief priests] sent to him some of the Pharisees and some of the Herodians to entrap him in his talk" (12:13). These attacks escalate with his arrest and trial (14:46 and 55-65) and culminate with their handing Jesus over to Pilate for execution (15:6-15). The motive for such envy would be understood as Jesus' gain in honor and their loss. Thus Pilate's perception that it was "out of envy" that Jesus was handed over is a striking clue which leads us to identify and connect seemingly disparate elements in the narrative into a coherent and plausible cultural scenario.(86) The narrative strategy in portraying Jesus envied seems to serve the basic rhetorical aim of the gospel, namely the praise of Jesus and the acknowledgment of him as Christ, Prophet and Lord -- that is, the Most Honorable person in the cosmos next to God.

B. Other Aspects of Envy in Mark.

Native Christian informants in antiquity, such as Basil ("Concerning Envy" ) and Cyprian ("Envy and Jealousy"), readily spot the reference to envy in Mark 15:10, and appreciate how it indicates much larger patterns of envy throughout the whole of the gospel. What do these native informants see? Using the "anatomy of envy" adapted from Foster, we classify their native observations as follows.

Why envied? Basil states that it was because of his miracles,(87) but a fuller social-science reading of his remarks tells us several things. Jesus achieved great honor by his actions; he earned the right to be called "Benefactor" and "Giver of Life" and "Judge," indications of very high status and thus of public worth and value. Although Basil does not say that the chief priests were "lovers of honor," that is surely the implication in his assessment of the motive for their envy, namely, that they were losing out in the intense competition for public regard and fame. How prevent envy? Cyprian saw in Jesus' exhortation to lowliness a way of forestalling envy, a point noted above in the anatomy of envy.(88) Cyprian sees him systematically proscribing the entire social dynamic of honor seeking. In addition, Basil notes several other important aspects of the anatomy of envy. For example, speaking of how an envier envies, Basil points to the use of gossip and slander to attack Jesus' reputation.(89) And in describing who envies, Basil identifies a characteristic of the envious person as a "hypocrite."(90) Although he does not identify any specific group or incidence of hypocritical attack on Jesus, it would not take much imagination to find numerous instances of this in the gospels. Thus our ancient informants observe envy occurring in diverse ways in the gospel narratives, even if the term appears but once. For natives of that cultural world, envy is a predictable, regular and important element of life.

C. A Full Inventory of Envy in Mark

We now list from Mark the following inventory of elements of envy which form a large and comprehensive "anatomy of envy": (1) growing fame and reputation; (2) growing attacks on Jesus; (3) envy begins at home; (4) envy of a rival exorcist; (5) envy among the disciples themselves; (6) shunning honor and avoiding envy; (7) secrecy and avoiding envy; (8) refusing compliments; and (9) the evil eye.

1. Growing Fame and Reputation: Envy Sure to be Attracted

Since lightning strikes the tallest trees, Jesus' growing public acclaim identifies him as a classic target of envy. It is a simple fact that Mark's narrative contains a consistent, dramatic rise in the positive public evaluation of Jesus, which constitutes an essential narrative element concerning him. The following list indicates this relentless dynamic:

- "At once his fame ( ) spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region

of Galilee" (1:28)

- "He [the cured leper] went out and began to talk freely about it, and to spread the news (

), so that Jesus could no longer openly enter a town, but was out int he country; and people came to him from every quarter" (1:45)

- "It was reported ( ) that he was at home. And many were gathered together, so that there was

no longer room for them" (2:1-2)

- "And all the crowd gathered about him" (2:13)

- "A great multitude from Galilee followed; also from Judea and Jerusalem and Idumea and from beyond

the Jordan and from about Tyre and Sidon" (3:7-8)

- "The crowd came together again, so that they could not even eat" (3:20)

- "A very large crowd gathered about him, so that he had to get into a boat" (4:1)

- "He went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him; and all men

marveled" (5:20)

- "Great crowds gathered about him" (5:21), see also requests for healing which depend on his reputation

being spread (5:22-23, 27-28); other requests presume a growing reputation (7:31; 8:22; 9:14ff; 10:46-47)

- "King Herod heard of it; for Jesus' name had become known" () (6:14)

- Crowds anticipate his arrival and gather, obviously having heard of his reputation (6:32-34)

- "The people recognized him, and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on

their pallets to any place where they heard he was. . ." (6:53-56)

- "He went away to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And he entered a house and would not have any one

know it; yet he could not be hid" (7:24-25)

- "When a great crowd had gathered . . ." (8:1)

- Jesus tests his reputation and fame by asking: "Who do men say that I am?" (8:27-30)

- "He went to the region of Judea and beyond the Jordan, and crowds gathered to him again" (10:1)

- "They came to Jericho, and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great crowd. . ." (10:46)

- A great crowd welcomed him upon his arrival at Jerusalem, indicating his fame and reputation (11:1-11)

- "All were astonished at his teaching" (11:18)

- "And a great throng heard him gladly" (12:37)

A person with such a positive reputation will indubitably be envied, since in a "limited good" world, Jesus' growing fame will be interpreted by some as their loss. Hence, in terms of the anatomy of envy, people will envy him because of his success and good reputation and they attack him for his honorable standing in the public's eye.

2. Growing Attacks on Jesus

We consider now how Jesus' enemies mount a sustained attack on him. From our knowledge of the anatomy of envy, we argue that all of these attacks are motivated by envy.

(a) Responsive Chreia and Honor Challenges. In terms of the literary and rhetorical level of Mark's gospel, there has been considerable work done in describing the pervasive form known as the "responsive chreia."(91) One ancient exponent of the chreia divided it into three main classes: (1) sayings-chreiai (), (2) action-chreiai () and (3) mixed chreiai ().(92) This rhetorician then divided the sayings chreia into two species: statement () and response (). We focus only on the "sayings" type of chreia in which the sage "responds" to a question or criticism.(93)

Responsive chreiai, according to Hock and O'Neil, are set in very agonistic situations, such as "chiding students, attacking vices, responding to critics, debating with one another and reflecting on the philosophical life."(94) Yet the chreia should not be left simply in the literary world, but given a proper social and cultural interpretation in terms of the competition for honor so characteristic of the agonistic world of antiquity. The very form of the responsive chreia, which begins with a hostile remark or a critical question, embodies what students of the anthropology of honor and shame regularly identify as the choreography of challenge and riposte. Because honor comprises both an individual's claim to worth and public acknowledgment of that claim, without that public approval, the claim remains empty and foolish. Besides being un-acknowledged, claims may in fact be challenged, which action demands a response.(95) Thus we typically find four steps in a challenge/riposte exchange: (1) claim, (2) challenge, (3) riposte, and (4) public verdict. Since honor is always a matter of public awards of reputation, the whole challenge-riposte exchange must take place in public so that the public sees the challenge, assesses whether a riposte is needed, and awards success or failure to the challenger. The responsive chreia begins with a challenge to the sage, either a criticism or a question, to which the sage responds in typical witty fashion. He thus maintains his reputation for wisdom and wit, which is evident in the fact that chreiai are told celebrating the his cleverness. As such, a responsive chreia encodes the fundamental social dynamic of the cultural world of antiquity: in a competition for honor, challenge = criticism or question, and riposte = witty reply.

In regards to Mark,(96) only rarely do we find a formal claim by Jesus or others on his behalf at the beginning of a chreia. It is generally implicit in some bold action of Jesus which elicits a challenge (2:5, 23; 6:2). Furthermore, Markan chreiai occasionally end with some sort of public verdict, generally in Jesus' favor (3:6; 12:12, 17, 32, 37). In contrast, the essential elements of the chreia (question/response) are always carefully stated, both the challenging question or criticism and the defensive riposte: 2:6/8-11; 2:16/17; 2:18/19-22; 2:24/25-28; 3:2/4-6; 3:22/23-30; 3:32/33-35; 6:2-3/4-5; 7:5/6-13; 8:11/12-13; 9:11/12-13; 10:2/3-9; 10:17/18-19; 11:28/29; 12:13-15/16-17; 12:18-23/24-28; and 12:28/29. Neither the ancient rhetorical sources nor the anthropology of honor and shame state that envy prompts the challenge; but neither do they find it repugnant. Within the framework of competition for honor in a limited good world, it would be a very safe assumption that a challenging question or strong criticism would be prompted by a desire to take down a peg or two the person with the reputation for prowess and success. Tall trees and mountains always attract lightning. But the point is: the dominant literary form in Mark, the responsive chreia, encodes both challenge and riposte, which are the basic social dynamics of honor challenges. In Mark, the responsive chreia occur as the agonistic reaction by the elites and their retainers to Jesus' growing reputation. In a word, envy!

(b) Slander and Gossip. Mark's single incidence of slanderous gossip illustrates in a culturally recognized way how an envier envies. Scribes presumably heard of Jesus' growing reputation, came from Jerusalem, and spread this slander: "He is possessed by Beelzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out demons" (3:22). Mark does not state why these scribes said this about Jesus. But the implicit reason in the narrative would seem to be Jesus' remarkable success at casting out demons, which elevates him above other local figures, especially the scribes: "He taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes" (1:22) and "With authority he commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey him" (1:27). As a result, "at once his fame spread everywhere throughout all the surrounding region of Galilee." With Jesus' sudden rise in reputation, the scribes lose their prestige; in a limited-good world, his success comes at their expense. Can envy be far behind?

(c) Arrest, Trial and Death. The evangelist summarily identifies all of the hostility against Jesus in Mark 14-15 as the result of envy. Earlier, we noted how in Athens the law courts were used as forums in which to stage rituals of status degradation of prominent people, especially one's rivals. The same thing appears to happen in Mark's account of Jesus' arrest and trial before the Judean assembly of elders.(97) Yet, in the case of Jesus, the enviers are not content with his being taken down a peg or two. They seek his total shaming, namely, his death. The narrative has already prepared its readers for this type of aggressive move; earlier, after Jesus successfully defended himself from envious challenges about his table fellowship (2:15-17), fasting (2:18-22), and Sabbath violations (2:23-28; 3:1-5), those who lost their honor challenges then took counsel "how to destroy him" (3:6).(98) Although Foster's analysis of the expressions of envy dealt mainly with the potent weapons of "gossip, backbiting and defamation,"(99) we saw from Basil and Cyprian that physical aggression and homicide are genuine ways of envying a rival in antiquity.

3. Envy Begins at Home: Rejection at Nazareth. All four gospels record that Jesus was denied "honor" at home, whether that home was Judea (John 4:43-44) or Nazareth in Galilee. Mark's version of this illustrates the dynamics of envy, even if the term is not formally used. In shape, the narrative contains the classic challenge/riposte exchange which characterizes all of Jesus' public appearances: (1) claim: not only does Jesus' reputation precede him, he assumes the socially important role of "teacher" in the synagogue, thus claiming special status (6:1-2a); (2) challenge: the people in the synagogue refuse to acknowledge his new role and status (6:2b-3); (3) riposte: Jesus cites the proverb, "A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house" (6:4), which dismisses the challenge by effectively exposing their envy. And his refusal to act as benefactor to them also serves as an apt riposte (6:5-6). (4) Public verdict: the "public" assembled in the local synagogue is both challenger and jury in this case; the narrative does not indicate that they withdrew their challenge and awarded Jesus his due in honor.(100)

The challenge-riposte form indicates that the sole issue is Jesus' "honor." Why should his village neighbors be so hostile to Jesus, a local boy who made good? In the world of "limited good," they would be understood as envious of his success; for, his rise in fame means a corresponding loss in honor for the rest of them. We are reminded of Basil and Cyprian's notice of endless sibling rivalry in the Bible, which brings the issues of honor, limited good and envy directly into the kinship circle. For from being improbable, it is to be expected.

4. Disciples Envious of a Rival Exorcist

A disciple in Jesus' inner circle reports how he acted loyally. John found a person outside their network, not only imitating Jesus' exorcisms, but performing them in his name: "We saw a man casting out demons in your name" (9:38).(101) John perceived this in terms of "limited good" and interpreted the rival exorcist's actions as a claim to fame which will diminish Jesus' reputation and thus of the disciples. Hence he rebuked this rival: "We forbade him." John's actions would normally be praiseworthy, for he showed loyalty to his patron-teacher, Jesus, by defending Jesus' special claim to precedence. But Jesus tells him not to challenge the rival exorcist, which is utterly surprising and quite untypical of the way people act in an honor/shame world (see Num 11:26-30).

More occurs than meets the eye. A principle is at stake, namely, Jesus' investment in the dynamics of gaining and maintaining honor. By foreswearing reactions in defense of his own honor, Jesus at this point steps apart from the native value system. When challenged, he offers no riposte. Thus Jesus declares that he himself does not act to acquire honor, will not be defensive of whatever worth he has, and will not participate in the game of envy.(102) Hence, he censures John's envy of a rival; for, disciples who take up their cross to follow Jesus and who lose the whole world of his sake (8:34-37) simply do not participate in the quest for honor as that is defined in his world. In terms of their ancient culture, they are very odd persons indeed.

5. Envy Among the Disciples

Later James and John approach Jesus to request high status in his kingdom: "Grant us to sit, one at your right hand and one at your left" (10:37).(103) They ask for nothing less than being second-in-command, far above the role or status to which other disciples might aspire. This unabashed quest for precedence naturally precipitates the usual challenge by the other disciples: "When the ten heard it, they began to be indignant at it" (10:41). They perceive the situation in terms of limited good: if James and John increase, there is significantly less prestige for them. Their "indignation" (), then, is an predictable reaction here.(104) Mark does not state that their motive is envy, but in our "anatomy of envy," we would surely be correct in interpreting their response as pain at the attempted success of their peers.

As in the case of the rival exorcist (9:38-41), Jesus responds by disengagement from the whole world of honor. He effectively calls off the game of envy and declares the entire pursuit of honor off limits for the members of his group. First, he describes elite figures in his cultural world such as "great ones" (), that is, people of the highest social value, whose status allows them to "lord it over" the rest. But Jesus rejects them as models for the disciples: "It shall not be so among you" (10:43). He mocks the fundamental notion of status hierarchy by reversing it. In his system, "Whoever would be great (), must be your servant (), and whoever would be first () must be slave of all ()" (10:43-44). In Jesus' world, no one would claim to be "servant" and "slave," which were most inferior statuses. Such statuses carry only shame, and so no one would be envious of them by thinking that "servants" and "slaves" had somehow increased at one's own expense. Jesus casts himself in just such an honor-less role: "The Son of man came not to be served but to serve" (10:45). Thus, according to Mark, Jesus once more steps apart from the world of honor, which Cyprian astutely interpreted as a prevention of envy.(105)

6. Shunning Honor and Avoiding Envy

After seeing how Jesus foreswore the pursuit of honor and thus precluded envy from his disciples, we turn to other passages in Mark in which Jesus critically engages the value of honor in his cultural world (8:31-9:1; 9:31-37). Although in these he does not explicitly act to avoid envy, the new values and behavior which he enjoins will perforce prevent it.(106) In the first instance, Jesus presents himself to his disciples in an apparently shameful status, as the rejected and slain Son of man (8:31) -- hardly an enviable position. But he demands of his disciples a comparable shameful status by taking up their crosses to follow him and losing their lives for his sake (8:34-37). Let us not think, however, that Jesus abandons the entire value world of honor and shame; rather, he is reversing its polarities, indicating that "shame" in the eyes of one's neighbors is "honor" in his and God's eyes. In any case, worth and value come from an evaluating public, either one's village and kin or Jesus and his Father. He goes so far as to declare "shameful" those who reject his reinterpretation of honor: "Whoever is ashamed of me and my words. . .of him will the Son of man be ashamed" (8:38). In this scheme of things, then, the criteria for honor as defined by the dominant culture are no longer operative; nor will his disciples compete for it; nor will there be envy at those who achieve "shame" for the sake of Jesus.

In the second instance (9:31-37), Jesus again presents himself to his disciples as a shamed person (9:31), a status so foreign to the disciples' way of thinking that "they did not understand the saying" (9:32). In contrast, they continue their old ways and "discussed with one another who was the greatest" (9:34). The narrator thus has juxtaposed Jesus' redefinition of honor and shame with the disciples' continuation of the old code. To resolve the conflict, Mark narrates that Jesus both spoke directly to the issue and illustrated his words appropriately. First Jesus reversed the typical hierarchy of status which was the result of honor seeking: "If any one would be first (), he must be last of all () and servant of all ()" (9:35). This does not cancel the fundamental sense of ranking, but only challenges the current mode of evaluating which statuses are truly honorable in Jesus' eyes. Then Jesus took a child into his arms and made the outrageous statement that such a child had the same status as himself: "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me" (9:37). In Jesus' cultural world, young children(107) did not yet enjoy any particular social roles or status; in fact, their role is to obey and submit, which are hardly behaviors which gain honor. They do not serve as examples of "innocence" or "simplicity," which are modern notions of what children are like.(108) Rather, according to the ancient world, they were either selfish brats who needed disciplining or simply honorless people that others do not have to regard or defer to. Again, Jesus is not destroying the system of honor; he redefines what is honorable or shameful and he opts for "shame" or worthlessness. Thus Jesus precludes all agonistic competition for honor as well as envy at another's success.

7. Secrecy and Avoiding Envy

We have continually noted the bind in which people who love honor find themselves. On the one hand, they passionately pursue the socially accepted paths to prestige and fame. Yet in quest of this, they become vulnerable to envy, just as tall trees attract lightning and tall poppies get severed. Hence, it is not surprising that Foster described among his list of strategies for avoiding envy and the evil eye the practice of concealment. (109) The same topic may be more readily recognized as "secrecy," as in "the messianic secret."(110)

John Pilch's article on "Secrecy in the Mediterranean World" offers an apt introduction to the topic.(111) He explains how in the ancient world, people generally practiced a "formal, conscious, deliberate, and calculated concealment of information, activities, or relationship which outsiders can gain only by espionage."(112) Why? Information control registers distrust of how others will use the information, fears embarrassment or harm from its leakage, and tries to avoide envy. Pilch cites an anthropologist who defines secrecy in the competition for prestige as "the need to conceal results from conflict and competition over such valued and scarce resources as wealth, power and prestige."(113) Hence, people guard information about themselves, which might provoke envy, theft, or honor challengees.

On several occasions, after Jesus performed some healing which will surely gain him even greater fame, he commands the healed person to guard the secret (1:44; 7:36).(114) In light of Mark's presentation of a rising tide of fame and reputation for Jesus, we suggest that the commands not to spread the news are part of a persistent strategy of avoiding excessive attention which would result in envy from the scribes and Pharisees.(115) It is noteworthy, moreover, that Jesus' commands here are not obeyed, which in any other context would be shameful. The more Jesus protects himself from excessive fame by a strategy of secrecy, the more the word goes out: "He charged them to tell no one; but the more he charged them, the more zealously they proclaimed it" (7:36). Furthermore, the narrator certainly approves of the proclamation: "They were astonished beyond measure, saying, 'He has done all things well; he even makes the deaf hear and the dumb speak'" (7:38). This acknowledgment of Jesus' worth seems to be one of the main rhetorical aims of the gospel story. We maintain, moreover, that this "secrecy" is most naturally understood as a common strategy in the world of honor and shame. Jesus is portrayed as all the more honorable by practicing a strategy of secrecy to avoid envy. Nevertheless Mark always aims to secure honor and praise for Jesus by narrating how Jesus' commands to secrecy were not obeyed and how his fame and reputation constantly grew.

8. Refusing Compliments

Foster notes that people regularly reject compliments as another way of escaping an invidious glance.(116) One ancient informant tells us how dangerous praise could be. Aulus Gellius discourses on certain people who work spells by voice and tongue: "For if they should chance to bestow extravagant praise upon beautiful trees, plentiful crops, charming children, fine horses, flocks that are well fed and in good condition, suddently, for no other cause than this, all of these die" (Attic Nights 9.4.8, referring to Pliny the Elder, N.H. 7.16). Since praise, however desirable in an honor-shame culture, also kills, we would expect people to be wary of compliments and other marks of commendation. In this vein, Mark reports that a rich man came up and addressed Jesus, "Good Teacher, what must do to inherit eternal life?" (10:17). His polite remark c;ompliments Jesus but is curtly rejected: "Why do you call me 'good'? No one is good but God alone" (10:18).(117) This is a small point, but one utterly transparent when seen in terms of the anatomy of envy in antiquity. Jesus simply avoids envy by refusing this compliment.

9. The Evil Eye

Mark records that Jesus once listed vices that come from the heart. The narrative context juxtaposes Pharisaic concern for externals which pollute with Jesus' insistence that only internal things, such as vices, pollute.(118) Among the vices listed by Jesus is "the evil eye" ( ), which is generally translated as "envy." It is not clear from the Markan context whether mention of this particular vice is intended to expose the actions of Jesus' critics to ridicule.(119) Thus we cannot claim it as another instance of the "anatomy of envy" in the gospel. Nevertheless, its mere mention indicates Markan awareness of the pervasive cultural phenomenon of envy, especially this sort of strategy for harming the envied person. This mention of "evil eye" is not an oddity which stand all by itself; rather, it represents another obvious clue to the awareness of a full-blown pattern of envy in the gospel.

IV. Summary and Conclusions

We hope to have accomplished two things in this study: (1) to make modern readers aware of the full "anatomy of envy," and (2) to indicate how pervasive and culturally plausible envy is in a document of conflict such as Mark's gospel. In regard to the former point, we return to our major metaphor: if a bone called "envy" is discovered, it implies a complete skeleton of social values and interactions. It is hardly a linguistic orphan, independent of any cultural scenario; it evokes a full anatomy. But if "envy" does not itself always appear, the rest of the skeleton may nevertheless be in view, which only a reader culturally sensitive to the "anatomy of envy" will recognize. The "anatomy of envy," moreover, is particularly useful for interpretation in an age which tends to divide and isolate complex phenomena for purposes of analysis. Knowledge of the full "anatomy of envy" offers a systemic model of a common social phenomenon, a way of seeing the intrinsic relationships of various items and a pattern of integrating what might otherwise be fragmented. The mere mention of "envy" invites a culturally sensitive reader to investigate the full social and cultural implications of that single verbal clue.

In regard to Mark, it is surely presumptuous to claim that the evangelist consciously selected "envy of Jesus" as a rhetorical focus. He was hardly a social scientist. As we have seen, however, the "anatomy of envy" surfaces for careful study patterns of social interaction which are the bones and sinews of the narrative of the gospel. We prefer to claim that Mark was basically writing in praise of Jesus and honoring him as Christ, Son of God and Lord. But "praise" in his cultural world itself implies a complex system of values and social dynamics. It means recognition of fame and reputation as paramount values held by all (Cynics excluded). But such values are perceived by the ancients in terms of limited good, such that Jesus' gain in fame means a corresponding loss to others, in particular alternate teachers, sages and leaders. Their perceived loss prompts them, who are also motivated by love of honor (), naturally to feel distress at Jesus' success and so to envy him. Their envy takes shape according to recognized patterns typical of such a culture, patterns as applicable to the aristocrats of classical Athens as to comparable elites and their retainers in first-century Judea. Moreover, their envy of Jesus, finally identified as such in 15:10, has been an integral part of the story from the first controversy in 2:1-12. To tell a story of the honor of Jesus would necessarily entail consideration of envy of that honor, not simply a record of "conflict" or "controversy."

Yet why see this all too human and perhaps sordid side of the social dynamics in Mark's narrative? It highlights Jesus' exalted worth and status, for to be envied is a mark of honor. Walcot, commenting on the honor of being envied, cites Epicharmus: "Who would not wish to become envied, friends? It is clear that the man who is not envied is as nothing."(120) Jesus, of course, was hardly "as nothing" to Mark and the Jesus movement group. Furthermore, examining the narrative about Jesus in terms of his honor and the envy it provoked makes more salient the fundamental conflict which all of the gospels indicate was part of Jesus' public career from start to finish. As such, the "anatomy of envy" makes more culturally plausible why Jesus was handed over. He was envied unto death, the fate of tall trees and prominent people. Although reading the gospel in terms of honor and envy may not seem as theologically interesting as tracing themes such as "messianic secret" or "theology of the cross," it is culturally more accurate.


1. M. W. Dickie, "Envy," ABD 2.528. Yet Dickie is no worse off than the commentators on Mark 15:10 who simply ignore the mention of envy there.

2. Envy was credited by Judean and Christian authors as the cause of the primal sin: "Through the devil's envy () death entered the world" (Wisdom 2:24). Similarly Gregory of Nyssa says: "Envy is the passion which causes evil, the father of death, the first entrance of sin, the root of wickedness, the birth of sorrow, the mother of misfortune, the basis of disobedience, the beginning of shame. Envy banished us from Paradise, having become a serpent to oppose Eve. Envy walled us off from the tree of life, divested us of holy garments, and in shame led us away clothed with fig leaves" (Life of Moses 2.256, trans. Abraham Malherbe and Everett Ferguson, The Life of Moses [New York: Paulist Press, 1978] 120; S.C. 1, 282). See Andrew Louth, "Envy as the Chief Sin in Athanasius and Gregory of Nyssa," Studia Patristica 15 (Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1984) 458-60.

3. George M. Foster, "The Anatomy of Envy: A Study in Symbolic Behavior," Current Anthropology 13 (1972) 165-86.

4. Important classical and Christian discussions of envy include Plutarch, On Envy and Hate, Dio Chrysostom, Orations 67 & 68; Stobaeus, Ecl. 3.38; 1 Clem. 4; Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses, 2.256-59 (S.C. 1, 282-284), Or. cat. 6 (P.G. 45.28-29) and De beat. 7 (P.G. 44.1285-88); Cyprian "Jealousy and Envy" (CCSL 3A) and Basil, "Concerning Envy" (P.G. 31.372-86).

5. Luke T. Johnson, "James 3:13-4:10 and the Topos ," NovT 25 (1983) 327-47.

6. Johnson, "James 3:13-4:10," 334-38. For a philosophical treatment of envy, see E. Milobenski, Der Neid in der griechischen Philosophie (Wiesbaden: Otto Harrasowitz, 1964) and Theodoros Nikolaou, Der Neid bei Johannes Chrysostomus (Bonn: H. Bouvier, 1969). On envy in modern philosophy, see Gabriele Taylor, "Envy and Jealousy: Emotions and Vices," Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1988) 233-49 and Aaron Ben-Ze'ev, "Envy and Jealousy," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 20 (1990) 487-516.

7. George M. Foster, "The Anatomy of Envy," 165-86, who depends here on Helmut Schoeck, Envy. A Theory of Social Behaviour ( New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1969).

8. John H. Elliott ("Matthew 20:1-15: A Parable of Invidious Comparison and Evil Eye Accusation," BTB 22 [1992] 58-59) presented many of the elements of a model of envy, along with a collection of comments by the ancients on the topic. Whereas Elliott focussed primarily on the evil eye, we give our full attention to the larger model of envy.

9. The translation of Aristotle is by George A. Kennedy, Aristotle, On Rhetoric (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991); other Greek and Latin authors are cited from the Loeb Classical Library. Cicero defines envy as "distress incurred by reason of a neighbour's prosperity" (Tusc. Disp. 4.8.17); Basil echoed this commonplace, saying: "Envy is pain caused by our neighbor's prosperity" ("Concerning Envy," 1 [P.G. 31.377 (41)]); the translation used is that of M. Monica Wagner, St. Basil. Ascetical Works (New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1950) 463.

10. Oxford English Dictionary (2nd ed.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989) 5.316. Envy is often compared to rust which devours iron: "As oxide eats up iron, so is the envious devoured by this passion" (Antisthenes, Frag. 82); see Cyprian's treatment, "Jealousy and Envy," 7.119-21 (CCSL 3A, 78; the translation of Cyprian's homily is that of Roy J. Defarrari, St. Cyprian, Treatises [New York: Fathers of the Church, Inc., 1958] 298); Basil ("Concerning Envy," P.G. 31.379 [51]) expressed a similar idea in his description of the effects of envy which cause a person to be "consumed and to pine away." On the iconography of envy in ancient art, see Katherine M.D. Dunbabin and M.W. Dicke, "Invidia Rumpantur Pectora. The Iconography of Phthonos/Invidia in Graeco-Roman Art," JAC 26 (1983) 7-37.

11. In his treatment of envy, Foster distinguishes it from "jealousy," "The Anatomy of Envy," 167-68; see also Helmut Schoeck, Envy. A Theory of Social Behavior, 12-22. For a study of "jealousy" as emulation, see Richard H. Bell, Provoked to Jealousy. WUNT 63 (Tübingen: J.C.B Mohr [Paul Siebeck] 1994).

12. Precisely this distinction is clearly made in the entries on "envy" and "zeal/jealousy" in John J. Pilch and Bruce J. Malina, eds., Biblical Social Values and Their Meanings. A Handbook (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1993) 55-59 and 185-88. For modern linguistic study of the differences between envy and jealousy, see W. Gerrod Parrott and Richard H. Smith, "Distinguishing the Experiences of Envy and Jealousy," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 64 (1993) 906-20.

13. Oxford English Dictionary 8.207.

14. Cicero distinguishes envy (invidia), rivalry (aemulatio) and jealousy (obtrectatio): "Envy is distress incurred by reason of a neighbor's prosperity. . .rivalry is for its part used in a twofold way, so that it has both a good and a bad sense. For one thing, rivalry is used of the imitation of virtue (but this sense we make no use of here, for it is praiseworthy); and rivalry is distress, should another be in possession of the object desired and one has to go without it oneself. Jealousy on the other hand is what I understand to be the meaning of , distress arising from the fact that the thing one has coveted oneself is in the possession of the other man as well as one's own" (Tusc. Disp. 4.7.17).

15. Peter Walcot (Envy and the Greeks. A Study in Human Behaviour [Warminster: Aris and Phillips, Ltd., 1978] 8-10) notes how Hesiod describes two aspects of Strife, which correspond exactly to envy and emulation: "There was not one kind of Strife alone, but all over the earth there were two. As for the one, a man would praise her when he came to understand her; but the other is blameworthy: and they are wholly different in nature. For one fosters evil war and battle, being cruel: her no man loves; but perforce, through the will of the deathless gods, many pay harsh Strife her honour due. But the other is the elder daughter of dark Night, and the son of Cronos who sits above and dwells in the aether, set her in the roots of the earth; and she is far kinder to men. She stirs up even the shiftless to toil; for a man grows eager to work when he considers his neighbour, a rich man who hastens to plough and plant and put his house in good order; and neighbour vies with neighbour as he hurries after wealth. This Strife is wholesome for men" (Works and Days 11-24).

16. means evil, hostile action against someone in Acts 5:17; 7:9; 13:45; Rom 13:13; 1 Cor 3:3; 13:4; 2 Cor 12:20; Gal 5:20; Jas 3:14, 16, but positive, defensive protection in John 2:17. Within the same language set, , and mean good, competitive emulation in Rom 10:19; 11:11 & 14; 1 Cor 12:31; 13:39, and defensiveness in 1 Cor 10:22 and 2 Cor 11:2. See Albrecht Stumpff, "," TDNT 2.877-88.

17. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 168-69.

18. Foster, "Interpersonal Relations in Peasant Society," Human Organization 19 (1960) 175-177.

19. George M. Foster, "Peasant Society and the Image of Limited Good," American Anthropologist 67 (1965) 293-315); see his "Interpersonal Relations in Peasant Society," Human Organization 19 (1960) 177 and "Cultural Responses to Expressions of Envy in Tzintzuntzan," Southwestern Journal of Anthropology 21 (1965) 24-35. Foster's concept was subsequently debated in the anthropological literature; see "Brief Communications" in American Anthropologist 68 (1966) 202-14 and Steven Piker, "'The Image of Limited Good': Comments on an Exercise in Description and Interpretation," American Anthropologist 68 (1966) 1202-25.

20. Foster, "Image of Limited Good," 296; on the application of this notion to aspects of ancient Greek culture, see Walcot, Envy and the Greeks 22; David Cohen, Law, Sexuality, and Society: The Enforcement of Morals in Classical Athens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991) 183-98 and Law, Violence and Community in Classical Athens (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995) 26, 63-70; J. Elster, "Norms of Revenge," Ethics 100 (1990) 862-85 and John J. Winkler, "Laying Down the Law: The Oversight of Men's Sexual Behavior in Classical Athens," Before Sexuality. The Construction of Erotic Experience in the Ancient Greek World (David M. Halperin, John J. Winkler, Froma I. Zeitlin, eds.; Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1990) 174.

21. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 169.

22. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 169.

23. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 169.

24. Students of the Hebrew Scriptures might consider Judges 7:2 equally classic: "The Lord said to Gideon, 'The people with you are too many for me to give the Midianites into their hand, lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, 'My own hand has delivered me.'" Thus even God is said to see things in terms of limited good. Similarly, Philo explains the error of polytheism in terms of limited good: the more honor and regard given to deified mortals, the less there is for the true Deity (Ebr 110; see Josephus, Ant. 4.32).

25. Anonymus Iamblici in H. Diels, Die Fragmente der Vorsokratiker (5th edition; ed., W. Kranz; Berlin: Weidmannsche Buchhandlung, 1935) 2.400.

26. Josephus reflects a sense of "limited good" in his account of Herod's decree for the honoring of his sons: "...let the honours you award them be neither undeserved nor unequal, but proportioned to the rank of each; for in paying deference to any beyond the deserts of his age, you gratify him less than you grieve the one whom you slight" (B.J. 1.459).

27. Foster, "Interpersonal Relations in Peasant Society," 174-78; he cites Ignazio Silone, Fontamara (New York: McLeod, 1934) ix.

28. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 172.

29. See, for example, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Myth and Society in Ancient Greece (New York: Zone Books, 1988) 29-56; Peter Walcot, Envy and the Greeks, 52-76; and Alvin W. Gouldner, Enter Plato: Classical Greece and the Origins of Social Theory (New York: Basic Books, 1965) 41-77.

30. Cohen, Law, Violence, and Community in Classical Athens, 70-75, 90-101, 128.

31. Christopher A. Faraone, "The Agonistic Context of Early Greek Binding Spells," Magika Hiera. Ancient Greek Magic (C.A. Faraone and Dirk Obbink, eds.; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991) 10-17.

32. See Malina, The New Testament World, 28-62; from the side of classical scholarship, see Arthur W.H. Adkins, Merit and Responsibility. A Study of Greek Values (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960); Douglas L. Cairns, Aidos. The Psychology and Ethics of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greek Literature (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993); K.J. Dover, "Honor and Shame," Greek Popular Morality in the Time of Plato and Aristotle.(Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975) 226-46; A. Klose, "Altrömische Wertbegriffe (honos und dignitas)," Neue Jahrbücher für Antike und deutsche Bildung 1 (1938) 268-78; Peter Walcot,"The Concepts of Shame and Honour," Greek Peasants, Ancient and Modern. A Comparison of Social and Moral Values. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1970) 57-76

33. See J.K. Campbell, Honour, Family, and Patronage (Oxford: Oxford University Press) ; J.G. Peristiany, ed., Honor and Shame. The Values of Mediterranean Society (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966); Julian Pitt-Rivers, The People of the Sierra (2nd edition; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1971) and The Fate of Shechem or The Politics of Sex (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1977; and David D. Gilmore, ed., Honor and Shame and the Unity of the Mediterranean (Washington, D.C.: American Anthropological Association, 1987).

34. See Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, "Honor and Shame in Luke-Acts: Pivotal Values of the Mediterranean World," in J.H. Neyrey, ed., The Social World of Luke-Acts. Models for Interpretation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1991) 26-28; Cohen, Law, Sexuality, and Society, 36-37, 78-83.

35. Pitt-Rivers, The Fate of Shechem, 1.

36. E.R. Dodds (The Greeks and the Irrational [Boston: Beacon Press, 1957] 16-18, 28-34) argued that a shift took place in the Hellenistic period from "shame" to "guilt"; for recent discussion of shame and guilt societies, see Douglas L. Cairns, Aidôs (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993) 27-47. All cultures have both same and guilt, but one predominates; see David W. Augsburger, Pastoral Counseling Across Cultures (Philadelphia: Westminster, 1986). For an excellent example of a shame-based culture, see Lyn M. Bechtel, "Shame as a Sanction of Social Control in Biblical Israel: Judicial, Political, and Social Shaming," JSOT 49 (1991) 47-76.

37. Cohen, Law, Sexuality, and Society, 48-51, 54-69.

38. Isocrates describes how envy attacks success: "When I was indicted, I pondered these matters, as any one of you would have done, and I reviewed my life and my actions, dwelling longest on the things for which I thought I deserved approbation. But one of my associates, hearing me, made bold to urge an objection which was amazing in the extreme; he stated that while my life as I described it was worthy of emulation ( ), yet he himself greatly feared that my story would irritate many of my hearers. 'Some men,' he said, 'have been so brutalized by envy ( ) and are so hostile that they wage war, not on depravity, but on prosperity; they hate not only the best men but the noblest pursuits; and, in addition to their other faults, they take sides with wrong-doers and are in sympathy with them, while the destroy, whenever they have the power, those whom they have cause to envy (). They do these things, not because they are ignorant of the issues on which they are to vote, but because they intend to inflict injury and do not expect to be found out'" (Antidosis 141-142). Sallust, speaking of the initial good fortunes of Rome, states the truism: "As is usual with mortal affairs, prosperity gave birth to envy (invidia). As a result, neighboring kings and peoples made war upon them" (War with Cataline 6.3).

39. The pattern of success breeding envy runs throughout Josephus' works; see Ant. 2.10, 254; 5.230; 6.213; 13.288; Life 189.

40. Cyprian, "Jealousy and Envy," 6.116-17 (CCSL 3A, 78).

41. Several early Christian writers commented on sibling rivalry as prime examples of envy in the Scriptures; see Cyprian, "Jealousy and Envy," 5.67-80 (CCSL 3A, 77) and Basil,"Concerning Envy," 3 and 4 (P.G. 31.376 [45] and 377 [48]); Gregory of Nyssa, Life of Moses 2.257 (S.C.1, 282). Plutarch advises brothers to seek honor in different fields as a way of preventing sibling envy (On Brotherly Love 486B).

42. "The parts of wealth are abundance of cash, land, possession of tracts distinguished by number and size and beauty and so possession of implements and slaves and cattle distinguished by number and beauty. . .All in all wealth consists more in use than in possession" (Rhet. 1.5.7).

43. Plutarch provides an apt illustration of the ancient practice of conspicuous consumption: "With no one to look on, wealth becomes sightless indeed and bereft of radiance. For when the rich man dines with his wife or intimates he lets his tables of citrus-wood and golden beakers rest in peace and uses common furnishings, and his wife attends it without her gold and purple and dressed in plain attire. But when a banquet -- that is, a spectacle and a show -- is got up and the drama of wealth brought on, "out of the ships he fetches the urns and tripods," (Il. 23.259) the repositories of the lamps are given no rest, the cups are changed, the cup-bearers are made to put on new attire, nothing is left undisturbed, gold, silver, or jewelled plate, the owners thus confessing that their wealth is for others" (On Love of Wealth 528B).

44. See Frederick F. Danker, Benefactor: Epigraphic Study of a Graeco-Roman and New Testament Semantic Field (St. Louis: Clayton Publishing House, 1982).

45. Isaeus describes the "liturgies" or public works which honor-seekers were expected to perform. "Our forefathers, who acquired and bequeathed this property, performed every kind of choregic office, contributed large sums for your expenses in war, and never ceased acting as trierarchs" (On the Estate of Dicaeogenes 5.41); see also Daniel J. Geagan, "Notes on the Agonistic Institutions of Roman Corinth," GRBS 9 (1968) 69-80).

46. In one chariot race at Olympia, Alcibiades won first, second and fourth places; Thucydides tells of the envy which this success occasioned: "...I [Alcibiades] entered seven chariots, a number that no private citizen had ever entered before, and won the first prize and the second and the fourth, and provided everything else in a style worthy of my victory. . .whatever display I made in the city, by providing choruses or in any other way, naturally causes envy () among my townsmen. . ." (6.16.2-3; see Isocrates, Team of Horses 16.32-34; Plutarch, Alcibiades 11.1-2, where an ode by Euripides celebrates the victory).

47. On the competition in drama, see Arthur Pickard-Cambridge, The Dramatic Festivals of Athens (2nd edition; Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988) 40-42, 79-84 and 97-99. And Peter Walcot, Greek Drama in Its Theatrical and Social Context (Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 1976) 2-3, 64-65. See the discussion of the antiquity of poetry competition in Plutarch's Table Talk 5.1 674D-675D.

48. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 170.

49. See Aristotle, Rhet 2.10.6; also 2.4.21.

50. Walcot (Envy among the Greeks, 26-27) calls attention to family crises at the distribution of the father's estate; John Davis (People of the Mediterranean. An Essay in Comparative Social Anthropology [London: Routledge and Kegan Paul], 1977) remarked ". . .sons are invariably reported as seeking equality of division of the patrimony: this is partly a matter of basic bilateral ideology; partly -- and more directly -- a matter of jealousy if one brother should have a better start in life than another" (179-80).

51. See Cyprian, "Jealousy and Envy," 5.66-87 (CCSL 3A, 77); Basil, "Concerning Envy," 3-4 (P.G. 31.376 (45) - 377 (48).

52. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 170.

53. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 170-71.

54. Svend Ranulf, The Jealousy of the Gods and Criminal Law at Athens. A Contribution to the Sociology of Moral Indignation (London: Williams and Norgate, 1933) 1.90-91.

55. Walcot (Envy and the Greeks, 25) cites Poseidon's fury in building a safety wall without paying him his due sacrifice (Il. 7.446-53) and Artemis' anger at being neglected in Oeneus' sacrifice (9.533-36) and Teucer's failure to promise Apollo his appropriate offering (23.863ff). See also Herodotus 1.8-13.

56. Writing on Tyche, G.J.D. Aalders ("The Hellenistic Concept of the Enviousness of Fate," Studies in Hellenistic Religion [M.J. Vermaseren, ed.; Leiden: Brill, 1979] 2-3) described this capricious mixture of good and evil as "compensation." His study of the topic indicates how widespread in the time and across social levels was this idea in the Hellenistic world and early Christianity.

57. Ranulf, The Jealousy of the Gods, 63-84; see Walcot, Envy Among the Greeks, 22-5; see . N.R.E. Fisher, Hybris. A Study in the Values of Honour and Shame in Ancient Greece (Warminster: Aris and Phillips, 1992) 2.

58. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 171.

59. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 174, citing Ranulf, The Jealousy of the Gods, I.159. See also E.R. Dodds, The Greeks and the Irrational (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1963) 28-31).

60. Gouldner, Enter Plato, 28. See also Ranulf, The Jealousy of the Gods 1.111-12; and Erwin Rohde, Kleine Schriften (Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr, 1901) II, 329.

61. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 171.

62. Fisher (Hybris, 1) defines hybris as: "Hybris is essentially the serious assault on the honour of another, which is likely to cause shame, and lead to anger and attempts at revenge. Hybris is often, but by no means necessarily, an act of violence; it is essentially deliberate activity, and the typical motive for such infliction of dishonour is the pleasure of expressing a sense of superiority, rather than compulsion, need or desire for wealth. Hybris is often seen to be characteristic of the young, and/or of the rich and/or upper classes."

63. In explaining Saul's corruption, Josephus describes how monarchs slide into hybris: "But when they attain to power and sovereignty, then, stripping off all those qualities and laying aside their habits and ways as if they were stage masks, they assume in their place audacity, recklessness, contempt for things human and divine; and at the moment when they most need piety and righteousness, being now within closest reach to envy (). . .They first envy them the honours which they have conferred; and, after promoting men to high distinction, they deprive them not only of this, but on its very account, of life itself, on malicious charges which their extravagance renders incredible" (Ant 6.264-265, 267).

64. Plutarch says: "In states, the men who are not lovers of what is noble, but merely who are lovers of honours and of office, do not afford young men opportunities for public activities, but through envy ( ) repress them and, to speak figuratively, wither them up by depriving them of glory, their natural nourishment" (Precepts of Statecraft 806E).

65. See Livy 1.54.6-10 and Diodor of Sicily 10.26.1.

66. Basil, "Concerning Envy," 2 (P.G. 31.374 [45]). On the relationship of envy and pity, see Edward B. Stephens, "Some Attic Commonplaces on Pity," AJP 65 (1944) 1-25 and "Envy and Pity in Greek Philosophy," AJP 69 (1948) 171-89.

67. Cyprian, "Jealousy and Envy," 5.67-68 (CCSL 3A, 77) and 11.187-88 (CCSL 3A, 80); Basil, "Concerning Envy," 3 (P.G. 31.375 [45]).

68. Basil, "Concerning Envy," 3 (P.G. 31.376 [45]); other examples are the attempts by Saul to kill David: Cyprian, "Jealousy and Envy," 5.80-87 (CCSL 3A, 77) and Basil, "Concerning Envy," 3 (P.G 31.376 [46-47]).

69. Rudolf Hirzel, Themis, Dike and Verwandtes (Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1966) 299-301; Walcot, Envy and the Greeks, 52-58; see also D. Kagan, "The Origin and Purposes of Ostracism," Hesperia 30 (1961) 393-401; E. Vanderpool, "Ostracism at Athens," in Lectures in Honor of Louise Taft Semple, 2nd series, 1966-70 (Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press, 1973) 215-70; Rudi Thomsen, The Origin of Ostracism: A Synthesis (Gyldendal: Copenhagen, 1972).

70. Aristotle aptly described the process: "If there be some one person, or more than one, although not enough to make up the full complement of the state, whose virtue is so pre-eminent that the virtues or the political capacity of all the rest admit no comparison with his or theirs, he or they can be no longer be regarded as part of a state. . .And for this reason democratic states have instituted ostracism; equality is above all things their aim, and therefore they ostracized and banished from the city for a time those who seemed to predominate too much through their wealth, or the number of their friends, or through any other political influence" (Pol. 3.13 1284a). For a Jewish example, see Josephus, B.J. 1.31.

71. David D. Gilmore, "Varieties of Gossip in a Spanish Rural Community," Ethnology 17 (1978) 92. On gossip, see John K. Campbell, Honour, Family and Patronage: A Study of Institutions and Moral Values in a Greek Mountain Community (Oxford: Clarendon, 1964) 291-92, 312-15; Max Gluckman, "Gossip and Scandal," Current Anthropology 4 (1963) 307-16; Don Handelman, "Gossip in Encounters: The Transmission of Information in a Bounded Social Setting," Man 8 (1973) 210-27; Robert Paine, "What is Gossip? An Alternative Hypothesis," Man 2 (1967) 278-85; "Gossip and Transaction," Man 3 (1968) 305-308; "Informal Communication and Information Management," Canadian Review Social Anthropology 7 (1970) 172-88; Sofka Zinovieff, "Inside Out and Outside In: Gossip, Hospitality and the Greek Character," Journal of Mediterranean Studies 1 (1991) 120-34); Richard L. Rohrbaugh, "Gossip in the New Testament," unpublished paper, delivered at the 1996 meeting of the Context Group, March 15, 1996.

72. See David Cohen, Law, Violence and Community in Classical Athens, 70-86. The classic study of feuding remains that of Jacob Black-Michaud, Cohesive Force. Feud in the Mediterranean and the Middle East (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1975).

73. Cohen (Law, Violence and Community, 87-118) exposes the pervasive use of the Athenian law courts as forums to conduct endless feuding; he is very careful, moreover, to indicate how so much of this feuding was motivated by envy.

74. On the anthropology of the evil eye, see Clarence Maloney, ed., The Evil Eye (New York: Columbia University Press, 1976); on its prevalence in antiquity, see D. Noy, "Evil Eye," Encyclopedia Judaica (New York: Macmillan Co, 1972) 3.997-1000; Marie-Louise Thomsen, "The Evil Eye in Mesopotamia," JNES 51 (1992) 19-32; foremost among biblical scholars who research this is John Elliott, "The Fear of the Leer, The Evil Eye from the Bible to Li'l Abner," Forum 4/4 (1988) 42-71; "Paul, Galatians, and the Evil Eye," CurTM 17 (1990) 262-73; "The Evil Eye and the Sermon on the Mount," Biblical Interpretation 2 (1994) 51-84 and "Matthew 20:1-15: A Parable of Invidious Comparison and Evil Eye Accusation," 52-56.

75. Basil, "Concerning Envy," 4 (Ascetical Works , 469-70; P.G. 31.380 [53-55]). See Vasiliki Limberis, "The Eyes Infected by Evil: Basil of Caesarea's Homily, On Envy," HTR 84 (1991) 163-84.

76. Augustine (City of God 5.13) traces the love of praise through the writers who articulated the great code of honor at Rome. Cicero, he noted, could not hide the fact that Romans loved praise, "For in the books which he wrote On the Commonwealth, when he spoke about training the leader of the state, he says that he should be nurtured on glory" (Rep.5.7.9). See Cicero, Tusc. Disp. 1.2.4.

77. "It seems to me, Hiero, that in this man differs from other animals -- I mean, in this craving for honour. In meat and drink and sleep and sex all creatures alike seem to take pleasure; but love of honor () is rooted neither in the brute beasts nor in every human being. But they in whom is implanted a passion for honour and praise, these are they who differ most from the beasts of the field, these are accounted men and not mere human beings" (Xenophon, Hiero 7.3).

78. See also Plutarch, Precepts of Statecraft 805F and Old Men in Public 788E.

79. Foster, "The Anatomy of Envy," 175-82.

80. See Friedrich Oertel, Die Liturgie. Studien zur ptolemäischen und kaiserlichen Verwaltung Ägyptens (Leipzig: Teubner, 1917); N. Lewis, The Compulsory Public Services of Roman Egypt (Florence: Edizioni Gonnelli, 1983); S.R. Llewelyn, "The Development of the System of Liturgies," New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity 7 (1994) 93-111; David Whitehead, "Competitive Outlay and Community Profit: in Democratic Athens," Classica et Mediaevalia 34 (1985) 55-74.

81. Concerning public liturgies, Aristotle constantly inveighed against requiring the wealthy to "undertake expensive and useless public services" (Pol. 5.8; see 5.4); see also Geagan, "Notes on the Agonistic Institutions of Roman Corinth,"69-80.

82. Diodor of Sicily, 9.10.1-4; Plutarch, Letter to Apollonius 116D-E, Dinner of the Seven Wise Men 164B-C, Talkativeness 511A-B; see Helen North, Sophrosyne. Self-Knowledge and Self-Restraint in Greek Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1966).

83. R.G.M. Nisbet, and Margaret Hubbard, A Commentary on Horace: Odes. Book II (Oxford: Clarendon, 1978) 160-61. See also Kurt Scheidle, Modus Optumum. Die Bedeutung des "Rechten Masses" in der römischen Literatur (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 1993).

84. For example, see Aeschylus, Agamemnon 456-58 and Herodotus, 7.10.

85. To our knowledge, only U. Sommer (Die Passionsgeschichte des Markusevangeliums [WUNT II/58; Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1993] 169) has both identified the reaction to Jesus in 11:18 as envy and linked it to the plottings of the chief priests.

86. Very few commentators even bother to note Mark's mention of envy; see E.P. Gould, The Gospel According to Mark (ICC; Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1897) 286; Lohmeyer (Das Evangeliums des Markus [MeyerK I/2; 11th ed.; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, 1951) 337-38) says that envy, presumably the very word , is not found elsewhere in Mark, although he recognizes the phenomenon in John 12:19, even when the term "envy" is not present. Rudolf Pesch (Das Markusevangelium [HTK.NT II/2; Freiburg: Herder, 1977] 465) draws parallels with T.Sim 2:1 and 1 Clem 5:2-5, but he inflates the cultural commonplace of envy into a "martyriologisches Motiv." Most simply ignore the mention of envy, either because they do not appreciate this pervasive aspect of ancient culture or think it as irrelevant to a theological interpretation of Jesus' death;. Some interpret it in terms of conflict between Jews and Christians; J. Schreiber (Die Markuspassion -- eine redaktionsgeschichtliche Untersuchung [BZNW 68; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1993] 178) mentions parallels with conflictual situations in Acts 6:9-14; 7:57; 9:23, 29; 13;45, 50; 14:2; 21:18-36; 22:22; 23:12-22, 27-29; 24:1-9; 25:7; 28:22-28.

87. "Why did they envy Him? -- because of His miracles. And what were these miraculous works? -- the salvation of the needy. The poor were fed and war was declared against him who fed them. The dead were restored to life and He who gave them life was the object of envy. Devils were driven out and He who commanded them to depart was the victim of treachery. Lepers were cleansed, the lame walked, the deaf heard, the blind saw and their Benefactor was cast out. Finally, they awarded death to the generous Giver of Life as His recompense. . .So all-pervading is the malice of envy" (Basil, "Concerning Envy," 4 [Ascetical Works, 468; P.G. 31.377 (48)]).

88. "The Lord. . .when the disciples asked him who among them was the greatest, said: 'He who will be the least among you, this one shall be the greatest' (Luke 9:48). He cut off all envy by His reply; He eradicated and tore away every cause and basis for envy. It is not permitted him to be envious" (Cyprian, "Jealousy and Envy," 10.167-69 [CCSL 3A, 80]).

89. "If anything should go amiss, they publish it abroad and desire that this mistake may become as a brand upon those who committed it. They are like incompetent painters who show the identity of the figures in their drawings by a twisted nose, or a scar, or some deformity due to nature or accident. Envious persons are skilled in making what is praiseworthy seem despicable by means of unflattering distortions and in slandering virtue through the vice that is neighbor to it" (Basil, "Concerning Envy," 5 [Ascetical Works, 470-71; P.G. 31.381 [57-58]).

90. See Basil, "Concerning Envy," 6 (Ascetical Works, 474; P.G. 31.385 [73]).

91. For ancient rhetorical documents about chreia, see Ronald F. Hock and Edward N. O'Neil, The Chreia in ancient Rhetoric. Volume I. The Progymnasmata (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1986); on Markan chreia, see Burton L. Mack and Vernon K. Robbins, Patterns of Persuasion in the Gospels (Sonoma, CA: Polebridge Press, 1989). Both Mack and Robbins have contributed individual essays on the chreia: Burton Mack, Anecdotes and Arguments: The Chreia in Antiquity and Early Christianity (Occasional Papers 10. Claremont, CA: Institute for Antiquity and Christianity, 1987); Vernon Robbins, "The Chreia," Greco-Roman Literature and the New Testament (ed., David E. Aune; SBLSBS 21; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1988) 1-23 and "Pronouncement Stories and Jesus' Blessing of the Children," Semeia 29 (1983) 43-74.

92. Aelius Theon 3.23; the text cited is that edited by James R. Butts, The Progymnasmata of Theon. A New Text with Translation and Commentary (unpublished dissertation: Claremont, 1986) 188.

93. "Chreia" is the new and more precise term for the literary genre identified earlier as apothegm or pronouncement story; see Klaus Berger, "Hellenistische Gattungen im Neuen Testament," ANRW II 25.2 1092-1110 and Vernon K. Robbins, "Chreia and Pronouncement Story in Synoptic Studies," Patterns of Persuasion in the Gospels (Sonoma, CA: Polebridge Press, 1989) 1-29.

94. Hock and O'Neil, The Chreia in Ancient Rhetoric, 4; in regard to rabbinic literature, David Daube (The New Testament and Rabbinic Judaism [New York: Arno Press, 1973]141-69) described a similar form in which the scenario is initiated by a hostile question.

95. See Pierre Bourdieu, "The Sentiment of Honour in Kabyle Society," Honour and Shame. The Values of Mediterranean Society (J.G. Peristiany, ed.; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966) 191-241); his material was adapted for analysis of gospel chreia by Bruce J. Malina and Jerome H. Neyrey, "Honor and Shame in Luke-Acts: Pivotal Values of the Mediterranean World," 29-32, 49-52; see also Arland J. Hultgren, Jesus and His Adversaries (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1979) 52-59.

96. See my article forthcoming from CBQ, "Questions, Chreiai and Honor Challenges: The Interface of Rhetoric and Culture in Mark's Gospel."

97. In his account of the fate of the early disciples in Acts, Luke first narrates the great success of the apostles, both in the signs and wonders they performed and in the great public acclaim they enjoyed in the "portico of Solomon" (5:12); as a result "the people held them in high honor" (). As a result, the high priests and their retainers were immediately "filled with envy" () and arrested the apostles and put them in prison (5:27-28) until they could bring them to trial, which is essentially a status degradation ritual. Not surprisingly, all of the formal elements of envy which we identify in Mark 11-15 are likewise salient here.

98. On the literary craft of these stories, see Joanna Dewey, "The Literary Structure of the Controversy Stories in Mark 2:1-3:6," JBL 92 (1973) 394-401; yet she had nothing to say about the reasons for the controversy because she asked literary, not social questions.

99. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 172-74.

100. Erich Grässer ("Jesus in Nazareth (Mark VI.1-6a)," NTS 16 [1969] 1-23) explains the motivation for hostility to Jesus as "the ways of this world: people do not readily acknowledge as an exceptional being one whom they have known from the days of his childhood" (pp. 4-5). For a more culturally sensitive reading, see Bruce J. Malina and Richard Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992) 213-14; and Richard Rohrbaugh, "Legitimating Sonship -- A Test of Honour. A Social-Scientific Reading of Luke 4:1-30," Modelling Early Christianity. Social-Scientific Studies of the New Testament in Its Context (ed., Philip F. Esler; London: Routledge, 1995) 183-97.

101. For a recent treatment of this passage, see Graham H. Twelftree, Jesus the Exorcist (WUNT 2.54; Tübingen: J.C.B. Mohr [Paul Siebeck], 1993) 40-43; focussing exclusively on the historical Jesus, Twelftree investigated background materials, but not the social meaning of fear of rivalry.

102. Compare Mark 9:38-41 with John 3:25-30.

103. Oddly, commentators never think of this episode in terms of envy and rivalry; rather they focus on either links between discipleship and suffering (e.g., David Hill, "Request of Zebedee's Sons and the Johannine Doxa Theme [Mk 10:35ff]," NTS 13 [1967] 281-85) or service and Jesus' vicarious death (e.g., D.E. Nineham, St. Mark [Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963] 280-81).

104. Not every instance of connotes envy; but when one finds "indignation" expressed in situations where honor and reputation are at stake, then it probably should be considered a synonym of . See 2 Clem. 19:2 and Isocrates, The Team of Horses 16.49.

105. Apropos of Mark 10:43-44, Cyprian remarked: "He cut off all jealousy by His reply; He eradicated and tore away every cause and basis for envy. It is not permitted him to be envious. There can be no contention among us for exaltation" ("Jealousy and Envy," 10.166-73 [Treatises, 300-301; CCSL 3A, 80]).

106. While commentaries talk readily about discipleship and suffering, they do not discuss the social implications of Jesus' demands, namely a loss of honor and status which precludes envy; see J. Duncan M. Derrett, "Taking Up the Cross and Turning the Cheek ," Alternative Approaches to New Testament Study (ed., A. E. Harvey; London: SPCK, 1985) 61-78.

107. On the cultural meaning of "child" in antiquity, see Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992) 237-38.

108. John Pilch ("'Beat His Ribs While He is Young' [Sir 30:12]. A Window on the Mediterranean World," BTB 23 [1993] 101-13) described the ancient Mediterranean style of parenting which presumed a selfish streak in children which demands as much satisfaction and gratification as it can wrest from its parents; their task, then, is to be ever vigilant in controlling and disciplining it.

109. Foster, "Anatomy of Envy," 175-176; see also Glenn W. Most, "The Stranger's Stratagem: Self-Disclosure and Self-Sufficiency in Greek Culture," JHS 109 (1989) 125 and 130.

110. Discussions of the "messianic secret" are unaware of the common cultural phenomenon of "secrecy" in the ancient world. Since Wrede, attempts to explain "secrecy" follow either theological, historical or literary paths; see Christopher Tuckett, The Messianic Secret (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1983). Even as he dismantles the scholarly myth of a "messianic secret," H. Räisänen (The Messianic Secret [Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1990] ) keeps the discussion on the level of theological ideology and pays no attention to cultural patterns of secrecy; likewise, Gerd Theissen, "Die Pragmatische Bedeutung der Geheimnismotive im Markusevangelium. Ein Wissenssoziologischer Versuch," Secrecy and Concealment. Studies in the History of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Religions (Hans Kippenberg and Guy Strousma, eds.; SHR 56; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995) 225-45.

111. John J. Pilch, "Secrecy in the Mediterranean World: An Anthropological Perspective," BTB 24 (1994) 151-57.

112. Pilch, "Secrecy in the Mediterranean World," 153, paraphrasing Stanton K. Tefft, Secrecy: A Cross Cultural Perspective (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1980) pp. 14 and 320.

113. Pilch, "Secrecy in the Mediterranean World," 153.

114. See Räisänen, The Messianic Secret, 144-56. We must distinguish the command not to spread the news from the silencing of demons (1:25, 34; 4:39). Since the latter is an act of power to reduce an opponent to silence, silence is of itself honor producing. Appeals to an apotropaic reason have been shown to be ill advised; see Räisänen, The Messianic Secret, 170.

115. David Rhoads and Donald Michie (Mark as Story. An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982] 57, 75, 85) identify this as a literary strategy to avoid conflict.

116. Foster ("Anatomy of Envy," 176-77) quotes an anthropologist writing about the Arab world: "Successful people greatly fear the vicious eye and often rich people denounce the reality of their fortune to keep away the bad influence of envious eyes" (Sania Hamady, Temperament and Character of the Arabs [New York: Twayne, 1960] 172).

117. The discussion of "good teacher" has been shaped by the early work of Wilhelm Wagner, "In welchem Sinne hat Jesus das Prädikat C von sich abgewiesen?" ZNW 8 (1907) 143-61; he analyzed the remark in terms of its theological content. Some commentators point out how common it was in antiquity to address someonw as or (e.g., C.B.E. Cranfield, The Gospel According to St. Mark [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1959] 326); others note how rare it is (e.g., Rolf Busemann, Die Jüngergemeinde nach Markus 10 [Bonn: Peter Hanstein, 1983] 91). But none think of it in terms of compliments or flattery; see M.J. Lagrange, Évangile selon Saint Marc (Paris: J. Gabalda, 1929) 264 and Ulrich Luck, "Die Frage nach dem guten: Zu Mt 19,16-30 und Par. [Mk 10:17-22; Lk 18:18-23]," Studien zum Text und zur Ethik des Neuen Testaments (Festschrift Heinrich Greeven; BZNW 47; ed. W. Schrage; Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1986) 282-97.

118. For an extended analysis of the cultural background of the conflict in Mark 7, see Jerome H. Neyrey, "A Symbolic Approach to Mark 7," Forum 4/3 (1988) 63-92.

119. See Elliott, "Matthew 20:1-15: A Parable of Invidious Comparison and Evil Eye Accusation," 61.

120. Walcot, Envy and the Greeks, 39, citing Stobaeus 3.38.21.

Return to A Selection of Jerome H. Neyrey's Articles

Return to Jerome H. Neyrey's HomePage

Jerome H. Neyrey