In my study of the gospel of Mark, as I try to uncover Mark's intent in various passages, I rely heavily on the literary device of repeated words. Specifically, I assume that if a Greek word only appears in a few passages within the entire text, then it is plausible that Mark intends to connect ideas he is developing in those passages. To be concrete, here are a few examples:

  • schizo (to cleave, split) in Mark 1:10 and Mark 15:38
  • neaniskos (a young man, a youth) in Mark 14:51 and Mark 16:5
  • euonumos (left) in Mark 10:40 and Mark 15:27
  • leukos (bright, white) in Mark 9:3 and Mark 16:5

In each of these instances, I believe Mark's intended meaning in one of the individual passages is fully developed by considering its parallel passage as determined by the repeated word. This feels intuitive to me, and perhaps to some it is obvious, but I want to make sure that my belief is justified.

Is this an accepted hermeneutic technique? Was the use of repeated words in this way a common literary device employed in other literature at the time the gospels were written, so it is safe to assume that Mark (along with other biblical authors) employs it in his gospel? If so, is there a name or keyword associated with this technique?

  • "If so, is there a name or keyword associated with this technique?" - Perhaps, allusion. Aug 23, 2019 at 4:12
  • @DerÜbermensch: Yes, I guess allusion would be a broad way of categorizing this phenomenon, but it seems I'm describing a very particular type of allusion. Specifically the author is alluding to a different part of that very same work, and the allusion is achieved by one keyword.
    – Jared
    Aug 24, 2019 at 0:18
  • Sorry, but I'm not able to grasp what you intend here for 'repeated words'. For example, what means 'repeated words' as regards the two Mark's passages? Granted, the verb schizo is present in both the cited passages, but, what's this? Feb 14, 2020 at 11:49
  • Also Luke used this verb twice (Luk 5:36 and 23:45; Act 14:4 and 23:7), John made the same (19:24 and 21:11). But, also in this cases, what's this? Feb 14, 2020 at 11:51
  • Corrige: The first sentence of my first comment is (corrected): "... I'm not able to grasp what you mean here for...". I apologize. Feb 14, 2020 at 13:47

1 Answer 1


I reviewed a number of articles in two different research databases (JSTOR) and (ATLA Religion Database) through my seminary library system. I could not find any "official" name for the word linkage. Many articles on the connections between Mark 14:51 and 16:5 but nothing conclusive among scholars.

The first one in your list - according to David Ulansey's article here http://www.mysterium.com/veil.html - is an example of an "inclusio" which are quite common in both the Old and New Testament.

The others don't look as if they fit the "inclusio" model of bracketing a topic to capture the overall meaning.

Wordplay and word-connections are quite common though! So you're on the right track!

  • Paul's writing employed that word connecting most often. I am also looking for a name of it.
    – Michael16
    Aug 11, 2021 at 5:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.