Daily Archives: 2012-05-17 17:12:46 GMT+0000

McGrath’s “Missing Ending”: What Was Mark’s Story? — Part 2

[This post continues my review of “Mark’s Missing Ending: Clues from the Gospel of John and the Gospel of Peter,” by Dr. James F. McGrath. You can find Part 1 here.]

Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish, in the...
Jesus and the miraculous catch of fish, in the Sea of Galilee, by Raphael (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why might Mark’s original audience not have thought the Short Ending was problematic?

Last time we discussed why the Short Ending (SE) of Mark is considered problematic. Now we’re going to look at the possibility that ancient audiences might not have felt the same way we do, i.e. wondering: “Where’s the rest of it?”

Why might they have reacted differently? Why might things be not so bleak as they seem? McGrath offers two reasons:

  1. The disciples could have stumbled back home to Galilee on their own, “leaving open the possibility of their fulfilling Jesus’ command inadvertently.
  2. [G]iven the primarily oral cultural context of early Christianity, it is appropriate to reflect on the significance of the fact that Mark was presumably telling a story which his readers already knew, and thus the end of his written Gospel need not have represented, either for him or for them, the end of the story.

For McGrath, the written Gospel of Mark is simply one recording of many possible live performances. He imagines that tradents in the Christian community (probably centered in Galilee) performed the gospel from memory. Presumably, each time they recounted the “story” they changed it to fit the audience, responding to feedback. read more »

If Human Rights Aren’t Your Highest Priority, What Does That Say about You?

The Bush Junior years — 2000 to 2008 — were interesting times, politically, here in the U.S. When Dubya’s positive polling percentage hit 29%, some of my conservative friends came out of the closet, so to speak. “Tim,” they told me, “I’m really more of a libertarian than a conservative or a Republican.”

“Don’t lump me in with those Neocons.”

Of course the realization that they no longer identified with the national G.O.P. (Grand Old Party) had more to do with the disenchantment with the Neocons than anything else. Specifically, it had become apparent that the Iraq War had been a tragic mistake — what kind of mistake exactly depends on whom you ask. Was it ill-conceived from the beginning and based on fabricated intelligence, or was it simply poorly executed? Either way, lots of weary Republicans all over the country were distancing themselves from a very unpopular president.

So now when I read news stories about the ballot initiative against gay marriage in North Carolina last week, or yesterday’s disgusting vote in the Virginia House of Delegates, I wonder what all those self-styled libertarians think. I know many libertarian-leaning people are appalled by government intrusion into citizens’ personal lives, and I wouldn’t doubt most Republicans I have known (the ones with university degrees and most of their teeth) aren’t homophobic. Will they distance themselves from this madness, too? read more »