Gospel of mark second lecture
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Gospel of Mark – second lecture. 1) The narrative agon of the gospel 2) Various ways of manifesting the “Kingdom”. 3) Who is Jesus, and what is messiahship?. The narrative agon of Mark. The unfolding (or exploding?) “kingdom of God vs. established order (Scribes and Pharisees, others).

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Gospel of Mark – second lecture

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Gospel of mark second lecture

Gospel of Mark – second lecture

1) The narrative agon of the gospel

2) Various ways of manifesting the “Kingdom”.

3) Who is Jesus, and what is messiahship?


The narrative agon of mark

The narrative agon of Mark

  • The unfolding (or exploding?) “kingdom of God vs. established order (Scribes and Pharisees, others).

  • Kingdom (and Jesus) vs. “unclean spirits,” demons.

  • Kingdom vs. political order (Saducees, Romans).

  • But also understanding vs. misunderstanding.

  • The “inner circle” (Peter, James, and John) over against readers.


John and herod 6 14 29

John and Herod: 6: 14-29

  • Herod’s opinion: “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”

  • Does Jesus replace John?

  • Backstory: Herod and Herodias. More “pollution”?

  • John’s martyrdom.

  • Prolepsis (Prolepsis = narrative anticipation.): does this forecast Jesus’ death?

  • What is John’s relation to Jesus?


Two feedings and the question of the gentiles

Two feedings -- and the question of the gentiles

  • Seemingly doubled story: 6: 34-44 feeding of 5,000; 8: 1-10: feeding of 4,000.

  • The first happens in Galilee, Jewish territory. How many baskets left over?

  • At 7: 24: Jesus to the Syro-phoenician woman: “let the children be fed first” – don’t give their food to the dogs!

  • But she completes Jesus’ trope: even the dogs get the crumbs!

  • And Jesus appreciates this! Her daughter is cured.

  • Then the second miraculous feeding in the Decapolis, gentile country. Seven loaves.

  • And how many baskets left over?

  • But do the disciples get it? 8: 14-21.

  • Ehrman suggests the blind man of 8: 22-26 is Peter, who sees, but initially only imperfectly. Perhaps analogous to Peter?


Who do men say that i am 8 27 33

“Who do men say that I am?” 8:27-33

  • John the Baptist? This was Herod’s answer.

  • Elijah or another of the prophets? Not a bad guess: Elijah was to return to herald the messianic age.

  • Peter’s answer: messiah.

  • But “immejately” a very strange, dark, unexpected sort of messiahship: rejection, suffering, death, and “rising again” after three days.

  • And Peter’s response to this – and rebuke.

  • Sayings about losing and saving life.


Transfiguration raphael s rendering

Transfiguration: Raphael’s rendering


At very center of gospel

At very center of gospel

  • Robinson sees this as originally a post-Resurrection appearance “retrojected” into the narrative of Jesus’ career.

  • Whatever the case, it’s the very center of Mark’s text.

  • Moses and Elijah may suggest “the Law and the prophets,” the two portions of the Hebrew scriptures (as understood in J’s time.)

  • What does Peter’s suggestion of “three tents” mean? Misunderstanding?

  • But then the second voice indicating “my Son, the beloved one” – then only Jesus there.

  • Puzzling teaching about Elijah. Is John meant?


Lower half of raphael s transfiguration 9 14 29

Lower half of Raphael’s Transfiguration: 9: 14-29


The cure of the boy

The cure of the boy

  • Does it coordinate with the episode of Jairus’ daughter? The gesture of v. 27.

  • Jesus’ anger at the “faithless generation,” including the disciples.

  • The boy’s spirit -- that makes him rigid, unable to hear or speak -- sounds symbolic. Who is this boy?

  • Again, seeming death becomes life.

  • Proleptic?

  • Immediate reiteration of prophecy of death and resurrection.


The darkening of gospel in second half

The darkening of gospel in second half

  • The reiterated prophecies of death in relation to messiahship: 8:31, 9:30, 10:32-34.

  • The increasing cluelessness of disciples.

  • The irony of the request of sons of Zebedee: 10:35-45.

  • Contrasted to Bar Timaeus, 10: 46ff?

  • Messianic entry into Jerusalem: ch. 11.

  • Immediately undercut by the allegory of the fig tree. Strange: do fig trees bear fruit in spring?

  • And the pollution, cleansing of the Temple.

  • (In all likelihood, this event was the historical trigger for Jesus’ execution; he had taken a side in a dispute over Temple authority.)


Teaching in jerusalem

Teaching in Jerusalem

  • Interestingly, it’s Jesus’ cleverness that emerges here.

  • He parries the question about his authority by the question about John’s authority: 11: 27ff.

  • The parable of the vineyard: 12:1-12.

  • The response to the question about taxes to Caesar: 12: 13-17.

  • Response to the Saducees over resurrection of dead: 12: 18-27.

  • Response to question of the “greatest commandment”: 12:28-34

  • The issue of specifically Davidic messiahship. This is very important to Matthew and Luke. But Mark has Jesus rejecting the necessity. 12: 35-37.

  • (In Mark Jesus is emphatically a Galilean – no connection with Judea, Bethlehem, Jerusalem.)


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