This article observes the rarely-discussed phenomenon that the Marcan paying-the-tax scene
refers to tax in the singular, whilst the concluding saying uses the plural ‘the things of Caesar
and of God’. The article accounts for this phenomenon by means of developing traditions.
The section under the heading ‘Mark’s scene and saying about taxes (12:13–17)’ counters
the common claim that scene and saying originated as a unit from the historical Jesus. It
proposes that whilst the saying may have originated with Jesus, the scene as we have it did
not. The section under the heading ‘Social memory, orality, and a multi-referential saying?’
suggests some contexts that the saying about the things of Caesar addressed pre-Mark. And
under the section ‘Trauma and Mark’s scene’ it is argued that Mark created a unit comprising
scene and saying to negotiate the ‘trauma’ of the 66–70 war. The unit evaluates freshlyasserted
Roman power as idolatrous and blasphemous whilst simultaneously authorising
the continued involvement of Jesus-believers in imperial society.