3 nuggets to enrich your reading of Mark’s Gospel. Are they golden?


Note: From 1999-2003 Stan Hirsch facilitated the Sunday Morning Forum. He collected a wealth of information. To my delight he archived the material. In the weeks to come we’ll mine this archived material for Supplemental information on our work in the Year B Lectionary. Since space is not restricted, I may add to the original material from time to time. I encourage you to follow the links when given. Come back often, go exploring, keep learning. ~dan

Nugget 1. Rend, rent, rending … consider this:

“…‘O that you would rend the heavens and come down!’ These words of Isaiah 64:1 may have influenced Mark’s choice of language here: Jesus ‘saw the heavens rent open’ (1:10). This a very graphic way of doing christology. In Jesus there is a meeting of the God sphere and the human sphere…”

“First Thoughts on Year B Gospel Passages in the Lectionary: The Baptism of Jesus,”  by William Loader, Murdoch University, Uniting Church in Australia, 1999. http://wwwstaff.murdoch.edu.au/~loader/MkBaptism.htm (Checked 7 Jan 2012)

Nugget 2. A literary device used by the author of Mark?
“The Heavenly Veil Torn: Mark’s Cosmic ‘Inclusio’ ”

Mark did indeed imagine a link between the tearing of the heavens and the tearing of the temple veil– since we can now see that in fact in both cases the heavens were torn–and that he intentionally inserted the motif of the “tearing of the heavenly veil” at both the precise beginning and at the precise end of the earthly career of Jesus, in order to create a powerful and intriguing symbolic inclusio…”

by David Ulansey. [Originally published in Journal of Biblical Literature 110:1 (Spring 1991) pp. 123-25] http://www.well.com/user/davidu/veil.html (Updated 7 Jan 2012)

Nugget 3. One answer (disputed, we’re Episcopalians after all) to the question of the authorship of the Gospel according to Mark (the Gospel account of Year B in the Revised Common Lectionary)

Note: Eusebius wrote c. 320-330 CE. Scholars writing today have to take into account this work from our church history. Agreeing or disagreeing, they must account for this testimony of Eusebius (who is quoting the Presbyter John and Papias and more on that in a later post).

Quote . . .Papias gives also in his own work other accounts of the words of the Lord on the authority of Aristion who was mentioned above, and traditions as handed down by the presbyter John; to which we refer those who are fond of learning. …

“This also the presbyter said: Mark having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error while he thus wrote some things as he remembered them. For he was careful of one thing, not to omit any of the things which he had heard, and not to state any of them falsely.” These things are related by Papias concerning Mark.

The Church History of Eusebius. Fourth Century Book III Chapter XXXIX nn 14-15. The Writings of Papias. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/npnf201.iii.viii.xxxix.html (Updated 7 Jan 2012)

 Image: From the internet–http://travelerstrails.com

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

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