Friday, January 16, 2015

NT: Mark - Chapters 1-4

The Gospel according to Mark is **apparently** the first of the Gospels to be written, around 70 A.D, if scholarly consensus can be believed. It does not have the nice sermon-wise structure that Matthew has, so it may be a challenge. I’ll skim it quickly to see what structure I can discern.


I’m back! ;-D

A quick overview makes it appear that, for at least the first 8 chapters, each is situated at a named or described place. As noted several posts ago, there is a loose division into pre-Jerusalem ministry (through Chapter 8) and events in Jerusalem, ending in his capture, trial, and crucifixion. Finally, there is some post-crucifixion hijinks in Chapter 16 - for which there is a controversy:

Most scholars, following the approach of the textual critic Bruce Metzger, believe that verses 9-20 were not part of the original text.

...but let’s not worry about that now.

Chapter 1 bypasses all of the lineage and birth narrative that we found in the Book of Matthew, and gets right to Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist:

9 And it came to pass in those days, that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized of John in Jordan.
10 And straightway coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens opened, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon him:
11 And there came a voice from heaven, [saying], Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

A sparse and rather sudden beginning! Jesus then spends time in the wilderness,

13 And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

begins to assemble his Avengers avengers Assemble!... Errr ... Apostles, performs an exorcism, performs a healing and starts to become famous, all in 45 verses! Very efficient!

Where the opening chapter occurs in Jordan, Galilee, and Capernaum, Chapter 2 appears to occur completely in Capernaum, where Jesus immediately gets the hairy eyeball from the Pharisees, with whom he begins a dialogue on his preferred religious practices. He doles out a few sayings and parables.

Chapter 3 appears to begin in a synagogue in Capernaum, where he performs a healing on the Sabbath - a no-no - then spreads a few more parables. Rather brief, but we can bet that he continues to get the stink eye from the local elders.

Chapter 4 occurs at seaside, and is largely Jesus speaking in parables. At the end of the chapter, Jesus and disciples board a boat and set sail, where they encounter a gale. The disciples are afraid, Jesus commands the wind and the sea to be calm, which they do, and the disciples express their amazement.

Some late notes:

Bob Seidensticker points out why Why the Gospel of Mark Is Likely NOT an Eyewitness Account. Mark and Papias and Eusebius - oh my!

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