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Fwd: Re: Fwd: Re: [Synoptic-L] The Gospel of Mark and Paul

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  • Chuck Jones
    Rick and all, I inadvertantly left off of my ad hoc list what I consider to be a major point: 7. Mark s purpose is to demonstrate that Jesus is the long
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 11, 2005
      Rick and all,

      I inadvertantly left off of my ad hoc list what I consider to be a major point:

      7. Mark's purpose is to demonstrate that Jesus is the long awaited Jewish Messiah and to establish that his apocalyptic deliverance of Israel will take place only after suffering, death and resurrection. On the other hand Paul could hardly be less interested in Jesus as the Jewish Messiah. Paul converted "the Messiah" into a title "the Christ" or even a name "Christ," and almost never defines "Christ" in terms of Jewish history and expectation, or future apocalyptic deliverance.

      (Paul's repurposing of "the Messiah" into "Christ" is well-documented. The gap between this and Mk's presentation is what I'm underlining here. It's a chasm.)


      Chuck Jones wrote:
      Staying with broad brush strokes and major themes, here is what is striking to me in thinking about Mark and Paul:

      1. In Paul, mystical union with Christ is the defining characteristic of being a Xn. The idea is absent in Mk (present with different vocabulary in Jn).

      2. In Paul the gift of the Holy Spirit is also a defining characteristic. Heavy emphasis in Lk, but nothing remarkable in Mk.

      3. Ethical living is an emphasis in Paul, an emphasis in Mt but nothing in Mk.

      4. And of course the atoning death of Jesus is a (the?) major focus in Paul. There are only two references in Mk to Jesus' death on behalf of others, Mk 10:45, "'For the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many,’" and 14:24, "‘This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.'"

      5. On the other hand, Mk's story focuses on what Jesus *did.* There are only two chapters focused on teachings from Jesus (4 and 13). Overwhelmingly Mk is "the Acts of Jesus." Paul's writings are silent on the life of Jesus, evidently because, as he said in I Cor. 5:16, he had no interest in Jesus' "human" life prior to the death, burial and resurrection. (Paul was a proclaimer of the Divine Christ, not particularly of the human Jesus.)

      6. And finally (in this off the cuff, somewhat random list), eschatology in Mark is purely apocalyptic, with no hints of realized eschatology or the spiritualizing of the messianic kingdom into the church (implied by Mt's focus on earthly ethics and overtly present in Lk/Acts). While Paul tipped his hat to apocalyptism in I Thess., his first letter, as his writings progress he says less about the second coming and more about god's "already" kindgom in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

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