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The Gospel of Mark. Telling the Story of the Good News About Jesus the Messiah Session 1 . Photo by Nicholas Laughlin. Opening Prayer. Father, Begin now with us here in the wilderness, Don’t abandon us to the wild animal spirits of the market place, but

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The Gospel of Mark

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The Gospel of Mark

Telling the Story of the Good News About Jesus the Messiah

Session 1

Photo by Nicholas Laughlin


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Opening Prayer

Father,

Begin now with us here in the wilderness,

Don’t abandon us to the wild animal spirits of the market place, but

Prepare us to hear the message of your kingdom.

Heal our blind spots so we can see where we need to change our minds.

Teach us to rely on the good news that your kingdom is near.

We ask these things in the name of your faithful servant, Jesus.

Amen.


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Series based onThe Gospel of Mark

By Donald H. Juel

1999

Abingdon Press


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Earliest Info on Mark

  • Eusebius (4th century historian) quotes Papias (2nd century bishop)

    Mark was the interpreter of Peter. He wrote down accurately, but without form what he remembered of the things said and done by the Lord. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow him, but later on, as I said, Peter – who fashioned the teachings according to the needs of the moment, but not as though he were drawing up a connected account of the Lord’s sayings. Thus Mark made no mistake in so recording some things as he remembered them. For he had one thing in mind, namely to omit nothing of the things he had heard and to falsify nothing among them. (Juel’s translation, p.18)


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Other Opinions on Mark

  • Augustine (4th to 5th century)

    • Thought 4 gospels too many

    • Mark abridged Matthew

  • Karl Lachmann (1835)

    • Argued that Mark was first gospel written

    • Based on the order of events in the 3 synoptic gospels

  • William Wrede (1901)

    • First to think of Mark as creator of a new literary form – a gospel

    • Central theme of Mark – the Messianic Secret


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Scholarship on Mark’s Gospel

  • Source criticism (19th to early 20th century)

    • Seeks to identify all the sources

    • Mark a mosaic of bits of tradition, stories, parables

  • Form criticism

    • Grew out of oral literature studies

    • Identified “easy to memorize” units

      • Controversy stories

      • Miracle stories

      • Wisdom sayings

  • Redaction criticism


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New Scholarship on Mark

  • Looks at the gospel as a complete unit

  • Uses literary analysis

  • Gospel of Mark

    • Bracketing or sandwich structure

    • Use of irony

  • Juel favors rhetorical analysis

    • …the task of biblical scholars is to help a contemporary audience understand the Bible, and …the task of a contemporary audience is to experience the force of the narrative’s argument in the present. (pp. 31-32)


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Rhetorical Approach to Mark

  • Focuses attention on

    • The implied author / actual narrative voice in Mark

      • Tells the story from the perspective of a believer

      • Tells the story in “street Greek”, not translation Greek

      • The story reflects a knowledge of Hebrew Bible in its Greek translation, the Septuagint

      • The story reflects a knowledge of Jewish customs and beliefs


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Rhetorical Approach to Mark

  • Focuses attention on

    • The implied audience (reader) / actual reader (audience)

      • Mark’s audience knew a lot of middle eastern geography, historical people, Jewish scripture & ritual

      • Mixed evidence for a predominantly Jewish audience with some Greek converts

      • A Greek speaking audience

    • Actual reader is placed in position of privileged knowledge

Mark 1:1 The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

Mark 1:23-25 Just then there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit, 24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." 25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, "Be silent, and come out of him!"


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Rhetorical Approach to Mark

  • Focuses attention on

    • The text itself

      • Mark is not a psychological character study, rather Jesus is important as one who changes the face of the world (Juel, p. 40)

      • Until recently, Mark notable primarily for its flaws

      • Duplicate material viewed differently once Gospel of Mark performances became popular

      • Contemporary readers are more appreciative of narratives with loose ends


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A Very Brief History of the Text of Mark

  • Readers who consult both the KJV and a contemporary text will notice differences

  • Text we read is a translation from Greek

  • Greek text used has been “constructed” from multiple ancient manuscripts

    • Rules that guide this construction process

      • The most difficult text is preferred

      • Shortest text is preferred


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Mark 1:1-15

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way;

3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"

4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.“

Matthew 3:14-15

John would have prevented him, saying, "I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?" 15 But Jesus answered him, "Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness." Then he consented.


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Mark 15:33-41

When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34 At three o'clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which means, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, "Listen, he is calling for Elijah." 36 And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down." 37 Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was God's Son!" 40 There were also women looking on from a distance; among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. 41 These used to follow him and provided for him when he was in Galilee; and there were many other women who had come up with him to Jerusalem.


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Mark 1:1-15

The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2 As it is written in the prophet Isaiah,

"See, I am sending my messenger ahead of you,

who will prepare your way;

3 the voice of one crying out in the wilderness:

'Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight,'"

4 John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5 And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. 6 Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7 He proclaimed, "The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8 I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit."

9 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." 12 And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. 13 He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him. 14 Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.“


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Bibliography

  • Juel, Donald H., The Gospel of Mark, Nashville : Abingdon Press, 1999.

  • Laughlin, Nicholas, “Pax Lion”, July 5, 2008, photo used by permission under Creative Commons license.


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