The Mystery of the “Amazing” Jesus in the Gospel of Mark

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by Neil Godfrey

Set the Gospels of Matthew and Mark side by side in their accounts of Jesus’ grand public entrance to his mission and something very odd emerges. Mark presents Jesus as having the power of presence, just from a word, that instils in hearers the same sort of awe that overcame those who heard the voice of God at Mount Sinai — except that Jesus does it without the thunder and lightning and earth-shaking and booming-voice effects.

Matthew rejects Mark’s account and replaces it with a more plausible narrative. Here is how Mark begins Jesus’ public career. Notice what it is that “amazes” his audience and starts the rumours flying “over the whole region of Galilee”:

1:21 They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. 22 The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. 23 Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, 24 “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”

25 “Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” 26 The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

Luke 4:36 significantly changes the public reaction in Mark 1:27 so that the people are solely amazed at Jesus’ authority over the demon; in Mark the power over the demon is only one instance of something much bigger that awes them all.

27 The people were all so amazed that they asked each other, “What is this? A new teaching—and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.” 28 News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

All the focus is on how the crowd are so awed by Jesus’ authority. He teaches with an “amazing” authority. There is clearly here more to be imagined than a bombastic orator who shouts like he knows better than anyone else. Such a person does not “amaze” anyone. No, Jesus’ “authority” is clearly meant to be understood as unique. It follows on from the scene where Jesus’ authority evidently “amazes” four disciples so that they simply drop everything, leave family and means of income, and follow him at his command:

16 As Jesus walked beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. 17 “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” 18 At once they left their nets and followed him.

19 When he had gone a little farther, he saw James son of Zebedee and his brother John in a boat, preparing their nets. 20 Without delay he called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired men and followed him.

The people in the synagogue witness that same authority over a demon and are amazed. But before that display they were amazed merely at his words, the way he spoke.

It is not the content of the teaching that amazes them. It is the authority with which he speaks and which gives the teaching itself an “amazing” quality.

In other words, the relation of Jesus to those who hear him is unnatural, it is nothing like anything “normative” in this world. Fishermen immediately drop all and follow him; he speaks, and crowds are amazed; only later is the crowd further amazed at his power over evil spirits. We are not reading history or biography. We are reading about a divine figure who remains a mystery to those who hear him.

Later when asked they express confusion: he is a prophet, they say. That’s a clearly inadequate response. It is evident to the reader that he is far more than a prophet or even a resurrected John the Baptist. He is a divine presence and the crowd’s failure to come to that obvious conclusion is as great a miracle as is the “authority” of Jesus itself.

Contrast Matthew’s gospel. Matthew does not even try to rewrite the scene. He leaves it out entirely and replaces it with the following far more plausible account. At least it’s plausible to anyone who believes in “normal” miracles:

4: 23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. 24 News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed; and he healed them. 25 Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

In Mark, Jesus’ first healing is done away from the public gaze, in an upper room, and he does not even speak to effect it. He simply takes Peter’s mother-in-law’s hand and the fever leaves her. As later with the haemorraging woman power comes out of his body and clothes. The crowds nonetheless flock to Jesus for healing entirely on the report of how he taught and commanded with authority in the synagogue.

That’s more “reasonable”, isn’t it? Jesus’ fame spreads because of the reputation he was building up as a healer. Later in Mark we read the same thing but that’s not how in Mark Jesus’ fame begins. In Mark we read that his reputation went out because of his authority, his “amazing” authority. What followed was that people from far and wide brought sick and demon possessed for him to cure.

In Matthew it is the other way around. It is the more plausible mission of preaching a particular message accompanied by healing miracles that attracts followers.

In Mark we are introduced to a mysterious figure that crowds cannot identify even though they hear demons call out is name and role. The actors in Mark’s drama remain deaf to the voice from heaven and the demons declaring who Jesus is. But the actors are as awed and overwhelmed by the mere presence of a word from Jesus as were, say, the multitudes at Sinai hearing the voice of God direct from heaven.

Mark’s Jesus is not at all “human” in any way, which is to say he is the opposite of the “most human” figure that some critics declare is found in that earliest gospel. Rather, Mark’s Jesus is far more like the Jesus in the Gospel of John. Recall John 19:

4 Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, “Who is it you want?”

5 “Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied.

I am he,” Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) 6 When Jesus said, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground.

That’s the same overpowering Jesus we read of in the Gospel of Mark. People are amazed at his word. He speaks, and they follow; they are astonished; they flee from the temple; they fall over backwards. Even demons and the wild, raging storm obey him.

I think one has to avoid a close reading of the Gospel of Mark if one wants to treat it as presenting “the most human” figure of Jesus. The Gospel of Matthew is the one that begins to present him as a more plausible, a more ‘natural’ figure.

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Neil Godfrey

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43 thoughts on “The Mystery of the “Amazing” Jesus in the Gospel of Mark”

  1. Yes, this early episode is the Bath Kol of the OT…

    “Set the Gospels of Matthew and Mark side by side in their accounts of Jesus’ grand public entrance to his mission and something very odd emerges. Mark presents Jesus as having the power of presence, just from a word, that instils in hearers the same sort of awe that overcame those who heard the voice of God at Mount Sinai — except that Jesus does it without the thunder and lightning and earth-shaking and booming-voice effects.”

    The presence of “the voice” is prominent… highly influential language…and so quite interesting… All from some interpretive tradition that would like to to draw on what at supports their own position while many others disagree…

    Two things struck me when I was translating Mark… that both Jesus “appeared” (ginomai) out of no-where and then shows up out of nowhere in the GMk. and then John does something similar and parallels it in Greek that “John” appeared (ginomai)… out of nowhere!!! You must be able to read Greek,,not word studies or such… You must enter that context through language.. as we do today.. You will have a lot more fun journeying through any Gospel if you share their language to a certain degree…!!

    Now this is story-telling and enchanting readers vis their secret readings.. etc.:)

    JB appeared out of nowhere as well.. Characters are being picked out of OT texts…. without having to tell is readers all the time like Matt. does…. It is written… etc.

    this is coming to be… ginomai… coming to be, evern being manufactured… etd.

    All these continuing conversational communications between this and and that scribe of the OT or NT….not much of it, if any of it, can be verified…

    I am so sad about the present state of NT scholarship and has in many ways not caught up with OT scholarship and its implications for NT studies…

    I will never forget what one of my former professors told all of us in that first class.. in 1975…

    You cannot understand the NT without really knowing the OT/// and especially in its original Hebrew language… …

    I heard and took to heart all that Dr. Daniel Block told me,, though he might be sad that I am no longer of his faith positions.. He was and probably still a current writing and speaking scholar… he is a great homiletician too!

    And you never went away from his sermons being superstitious in your thougts and actions.!!!

  2. On demons:

    It’s interesting trying to figure out those demons in Mark and I suppose elsewhere in the NT, what their exact role was supposed to be in reality in general and what and how exactly the demons thought of Jesus. Was that demon supposed to have recognized him as a deity instantly or as a special supreme angel/demon, or wasn’t well-equipped enough to know precisely? Mark perhaps doesn’t say exactly in order to keep up the suspense.

    Being naive to the topic, I suppose I have always had in the back of my mind the question whether the gospels, besides altering people’s understanding of the world by adding Jesus, in any significant way altered people’s understanding of demons. I suppose not.

    Tough job being a demon around J.C. though. No union I imagine, and Satan probably didn’t offer J.C. – related disability or overtime benefits to low level demons.

  3. apologies for going tangentially, off the topic, by focusing on demons. Not entirely off the topic in that in Mark it seems as if the demons, though presumably deranged and otherwise severely impaired, are more with it than the apostles and in some ways closer to Jesus’s world (or more appreciative of his other-than-this-worldliness). Certainly in the opening scenes the humans verge on being semi-oblivious bystanders. JC conscious; demons somewhat conscious albeit in their low-life fashion; humans, “amazed’ (bewildered, maybe; thus perhaps only barely conscious).

    1. Wrede (messianic secret) had a lot right when he saw that the author was playing with contradictions, irreconcilable in any real world, but they mattered not to him.

    2. Non-expert here. Is it not the case that ‘demons’ were widely believed to control what happened down here on earth? The same ‘demons’ that ‘Paul’ thought had killed Jesus somewhere in the celestial regime? Might be an indication of what they are doing in GMark, especially if ‘Mark’ really did nick a lot of his material from ‘Paul’.

  4. The first thing this article brought to mind was the idea that Mark was, or was based on, a passion play. Perhaps the author, instead of writing powerful and wise words for Jesus to amaze the audience, decided to have the chorus be awed and amazed for them in order to convey the same idea.

    This way the dialog is much shorter, the feelings are conveyed and the author is able to move us quickly from scene to scene.

      1. The Liberated Gospel: A Comparison of the Gospel of Mark and Greek Tragedy

        The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark

        The Gospel of Mark as Tragedy – MacSphere (https://macsphere.mcmaster.ca/bitstream/11375/19659/1/Wright_Adam_Z._2015Apr_Ph.D..pdf) PhD Dissertation

        A Divine Tragedy: Some Observations on the Dramatic Structure of Mark’s Gospel
        Stephen H. Smith (https://www.jstor.org/stable/1561221?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents)

        Egyptian “passion” plays(http://www.theatrehistory.com/origins/egypt001.html)

  5. It was long presumed that all four gospels were independent accounts. We now know this is not so. Do, we have, from th eorder of their writing, a firm grasp of the intentions of each author, that they brought to their writing? Surely they had motives in rewriting what was considered sacred or quasi-sacred writings. Is there any agreement of that those intentions were?

    1. Divining intentions when we don’t know who or when or where? Can we do anything more than analyse the different theological perspectives of each? I like to think the final author of Luke-Acts was drawing upon the other three canonical gospels and a couple of noncanonical ones, too, in order to establish a founding myth for a Rome-led church that put Marcion in his place. I think that view explains a lot but I don’t think I can ever prove it.

    2. Yes..Steve…thanks for the impetus to note here..

      We know that L uke is using many “polloi” sources to write Luke-Acts (Luke 1:1-4) and in my perception of what Luke is saying and highly selectively using his sources or ways of interpreting his sources…. according to his heilsgeschicte his theology of “salavation history”, not salvation history… Bornkamm, etc.

      and Luke doesn’t come across a lot of times as really showing he knows the sources and his readings of the sources (both Jewish and Graeco-Roman) but changes them quite drastically

      … that is what makes him an unreliable writer of prior texts and issues and topics…and pushing his catholic agendas….etc ie. he is distinct but his stuff is full of ideology or various forms of his theology garbled with the other synoptic gospels theologies

      so he picks and chooses what he wants and exorcises them or adds to them because he doesn’t think they have any “veracity””” (one of his key words.)……

      It has nothing to do with showing he is aware of “real” historical characters….and places…. so what?
      All apologists use Sherwin White but have never read him… I read White for the first time in 1980.!!!

      Historical fiction folks! Well,,, they do contain references to real historical characters despite they show up in texts which do show in other ways that they are fictions.

    1. This is interesting as the normal position is that Jesus starts out as less divine and becomes more so as one gets to the Gospel we call John. Fascinating!

  6. Regarding the four first disciples of Jesus, I am too suspicious of its historical plausibility. Around the last week I thought about this and posted on Facebook. The account of the calling of the first two disciples of Jesus, for instance, doesn’t leave room for second interpretations: they really suddenly abandon their job and follow Christ as if his words were enchanted (like, really, a fiction story, and nothing else). He summons Simon and Andrew (and has their acceptance) not only by saying “Come, follow me, […], and I will send you out to fish for people”, but also by the “fact” that they AT ONCE left their nets and followed him. It’s very clearly stated “at once”. There was no time to think, no chatting, nothing. I am very inclined to treat this as fictional, even though I don’t have other material to compare with (like from pagan myths), because I find it hard to accept that two people would drop their nets and imediately follow anyone saying some coded words, because more time is required to persuade someone. This doesn’t happen with just one sentence… It would require hours of conversation… Or maybe this quick conversion could only happen in a theological myth? Or else, plausibility standards in antiquity are different from ours, though I cannot accept it, because we haven’t changed that much in 2 thousand years. Therefore, no history can be accepted, only a mythical passage (in a mythical story? ;).

  7. Picking up on Steve Pollard’s comment: G.Mk draws on Paul but the Markan demons are earthly, minor, and powerless against the Markan Jesus and know who he is; reversing Paul, whose demons are powerful, but ignorant, principalities who can “kill” gods.

  8. Let us keep in mind as far as I can recall that Paul nowhere mentions “demons” per se… moreover he never uses the word “devil”‘ but (the) satan with and without the article.. Interestingly, too Mark does not use “devil” either… but only the term satan… It is not a proper name… and the use of the word “devil” is from the LXX and some Gospel writers use both terms

    btw I also think that terms like the devil or the satan , in my readings these days are themselves taking on “humanizations” ..(just like Jesus).

    eg. It could well be that the testing narrative mentions “the opposition”in my view that the specific satan there fits well with King Herod!!! (and or Herodians) who oppose Jesus. Herod representing the Jews….is a miracle monger…etc. and he too with his messengers Caiphas had easy access to the Temple…and the King was to be bowed before I have tried in my work on satan not to assume any homogenization of the figure based on a lot of what I call Ouija-Board Bible Exegesis!! Moving the magic cursor all over the Bible and then coming up with some anachronistic satan. The same goes for demons as well. There are no “demons” per se in the OT…one or two interestings texts re satyr and shedim but some OT scholars don’t really consider these as having any relation to the NT references….

    I have a chapter on The Semantics of Satan…. and will deal with these issues extensively.. and I will show the connections of the satan myth to the Jesus myth but only in relation to Israel…and Israel only..in my own work I am seeking continuity and discontinuity with satan traditions…. and most of you know that the term satan in the OT is not really talking about an evil creature…There are multiple satans in the OT….including Jahweh himself!!! Numbers 22. There are multiple satans as well in the NT…

    And here is a freebie that I think is highly significant… The term satan is never found once on God’s lips in the OT…in direct discourse !! So he nowhere admits any ontological status for the figure..as far as I can tell.

    Again, the satan was given birth to in a collection of Israel’s books… the satan was born in the Bible… and most theology has made a mess of the issue with multiple anachronistic pieces of theological, biblical, and practical bullshit…that are imposed upon the texts for such a long time now…

    So when Jesus “destroyed” the satan or the devil he is talking about all “the opposition” both singular and plural. The opposition is both singular and plural…(eg. chief priests, etc. of most likely humans (including Peter! his “right hand” man!) sound familiar to Zech. 3?

    I can’t unpack the full issue here,,but I would simply encourage us all to read the texts without assuming a lot of anachronistic theologies…

    One last word to two… According to the Gospels and other texts in the NT…. Jesus’ Died to Destroy the Devil.. So Jesus died and is dead and so the satan died too and is dead …way back when the world ended… or was suppose to….. in that first century context…

    I find today that more and more people are more conscious of the devil and demons than they are of God, Jesus, Holy Spirit ,

    anyway,,, I probably opened up a can of worms and will now retreat and didn’t want to go this far afield.

    1. ANd does not the book of Revelations indicate that Satan was to rule in Hell for a thousand years (now elapsed) and then was defeated and cast into the Lake of Fire? Should that not be the end of this character in this little play? If you ask any evangelical if Satan is alive and well and they will say “Yes!” I am sure. Satan, like a zombie idea, can’t die.

      1. Some funny comments Mr. Ruis. 🙂

        Yes, the “Apocalypsis” the word without the article and singular (not Revelations).

        One has to imagine reading this book out loud,,, the lector was suppose to read this to Jewish assemblies…and like Mark, each “hearer” must have ears to hear!!

        So the lector, “the reader” in the book is not someone their own little copy of the scroll.:)

        This Johannes tradition figure believes he is channeling an “angel” form of Jesus….
        and when this “apocalypsis” makes its way through Asian Minor… all the “angels” of the Jewish assemblies…. receive charismatic words of gnosis and wisdom and given theoracles to a larger community…a Johannine community , not only one community, but probably many…. and after all there are 7 Jewish assemblies..

        I am of the view that the Revelation is not really an original Christian apocalypse necessarily , it may have a been a Jewish text in pieces and then brought together and hijacked hermeneutically… I have spent over 40 years studying that book,, regardless of the statan interest….and I remember the first time I saw it……

        or transported myself hermeneutically to the channeler’s location or get into his spirit (I am a former Pentecostal!! I have experienced “channeling” and used to move or “believed” I used to…. interpreting texts via “spirit” influences and the Apoc. has 7 of them!!!

        I gave up the Trinity doctrine too after seeing all that…But

        I have got side-tracked it was this that shocked me….

        The “first’ thing that John saw when he turned around (in some sort of synaesthsia experience…or trance state…and I can vouch for such,,, but I don’t believe there is any ontological creature behind my experiences…and from time to time I still get them..anI only write in my journals now and rarely if ever share them with people.

        They think you are nuts or some other weird response…..

        So you can see what I am doing now hermeneutically… I am setting you up for experiencing what I just promised in your own hearing or reading of the revelation text.

        John says he turned around (some kind of “conversion” typology) which is quite common in the Apoc. and turned around to “see” a voice..most likely the BatH KOl (the OT voice of God) , present in the Gospels as well…. voice of the thunder…and John had the gift of Brontolgia..(DSS stuff),,See Rev. 11!!!!! He was channeling Jesus thunderous voice from Heaven.

        Hold on, I am getting there….The first thing he saw was a Menorah…and NOT Jesus or the Christ!!!! That settled the highly Jewish origins of the book for me…The book has been highly Christianized. I used to teach the book in college, seminary, church , but based on what I now know, I cringe at my earlier positions as a Christian,, but they were all part of my growth in learning about biblical texts… and it is totally okay to defy the consensus about many things… and no one should be afraid of turning texts in various directions unless you are not open to a new look or take, or if you are lazy,, or have the fear that Peter or Papa says vewisting text
        Now given this highly Jewish nature of the book and some scholars consider it quite early 66–90 or so…one of the chapters of my book based on Rev. 2..the Deep Things of Satan… which is suggestive of Paul’s theology…Paul claims to know the deep things of the satan and the deep things of God.. No wonder the Apoc. goes after Pauline stuff in the book…

        But I must say, despite how much I have done now for over 40 years , I am just beginning to understand the satan stuff… but I have had to plow through lots of stuff and tired my ass out!!

        Like many of you here…..

        All of these discussions require a lot of discernment, curiosity, considerateness, etc.

        Biblical texts get a lot of people’s blood boiling….

        So in the end whatever one wants to believe about the satan and demons…I am finding that the satan in revelation,,,though not so sure yet,,, but the line that the accuser of the brethren , clearly puts it in close connection with Jewish brothers in covenant….

        I am interested in telling not only the story of the mythical Jesus but also very interested in telling the story of the satan in Israel’s history… and I am still holding back on saying more because I am quite consummed by the research..and it is not that many of the things said about the satan and demons are either true or wrong or unknown.. I am putting the mythical satan puzzle together in some new ways….that may well change some aspects of modern Biblical and theological scholarship..

        It is a tough project, but I am making great headway… My health has hindered me in some ways (Yikes,,,Satan the Hinderer.. 🙂 🙂 . Sounds funny and arrogant but I am going to try to “destroy” the traditional and kooky views of satan and demons…

        I am working on trying to see if I can get some presentations on UTube with a channel called A.S.I.S (Ancient Scriptures Investigations Services). And I don’t know right now how to do it..so if anyone can help me it would be greatly appreciated…

        Anyway…I wish we could bring the satan stuff to some hopeful goal or end that has harmed so many people throughout the days the myth has existed… I would like to see the demise of the satan as we have known that figure, but I don’t want to put away “zombies” either!!:) I love zombie movies.. hope they don’t die… Remember, Revelation is a book to entertain people who are really going through a lot of horrible shit from every opposer and oppostion (hasatan in hebr.) and perhaps you can imagine or fantasize about some deliverance.. It does happen! Revelation is a catalyst for theological imagination about the outcomes of crisis and healing or catharsis as some scholars have written about.

        and as I work on this stuff I have seen how the satan myth will continue even if I try to change the history of hermeneutics re this…

        I won’t be around perhaps to see things move in more positive and truly freeing viewpoints…..but maybe I will… I will have to wait for revelation…. 🙂

        Dear Mr. Ruis ..so sorry for going on and on here… your brief comments stirred this up in me…

        Cheers, my blogging friend..

        1. Just a caveat..

          I do take consensus seriously… but no scholar can forward other scholars unless a a critical scholar challenges the majority… and empirical and historical method have shown that to ignore either we will end up in a mess at many levels..

          I am sorry that Ehrman and others equate Jesus Mythicism with Holocaust denial, etc. How sad and frustrating..

          Ehrman is unaware he is causing “fear” among new budding scholars who don’t study under him….re: this issue… very unfortuanate , given that I have much respect for such a scholar..but he is bordering more and more on religious politics by saying that no one should hire a Jesus mythicist scholar,, even a “real” scholar .., with even more know-how than Bart himself….. 🙂

    2. Hear, hear, on assumptions and anachronisms. It cuts many ways though: if things always meant the same thing and always had the same context, we wouldn’t have any gospels. We would never have heard of a Marcion; an Arius; an Athanasius; a Luther; or a Tyndale. And this blog wouldn’t exist. 🙂

  9. Because “The BEGGINNING of the good news Jesus Christ.” Not Jesus, the Christ. Who is Jesus Christ? None other than, is nothing more than the name called Christ (anointed). The Christ, whose name is Jesus. This is not a title here. But who is he?
    Why, but really, why the author considered it important, mention it in the initial verse, what he write, that the BEGGINNING of the good news of Jesus Christ (the Christ, whose name is Jesus)? This makes no sense in itself. All readers who take the gospel in hand, knows where to start reading the text, why should the reader’s attention be drawn to this? The answer lies in Mark’s editorial principle.

    Immediately at the beginning of the gospel, and then at the end of the gospel readable, that the protagonist is the son of God. This self-reflective reasoning is very typical of Mark. This is called that the brand is chiasztikus structure. This mean, a self-reversing story, like an oval wheel, gives new and new impetus to events.

    It’s seems, that the Gospel of Mark, originally ended in Chapter 16, verse 8. Mark makes no reference to Jesus’ bodily resurrection. It seems that the story comes to an end. But this is not the case 🙂
    The original and thoughtful readers should realize that, this end cannot end the gospel, that is, good news. So the gospel is now BEGGINING.

    Man in a white dress in the empty tomb, actually with the characters together, send the reader to the beginning of the story, that is to Galilee. The oval wheel interpreted as chiasztikus structure another boost to the story, and launches the gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ begins 🙂

    Genius Solution 🙂

    1. Sorry:-) repair: “This is called that the Mark’s is chiasztikus structure.”

      The point is nothing else: Mark wants to certify the gospel of Paul, in which Christ is called Jesus (Rom15:20). The target is for the reader to come to the faith. From the visible, not visible. The actors and readers must also recognize, that what they see is not reality.

      Paul’s stressed that the resurrection was yet to come and believers’ present life was more like the crucifixion.
      The present life of believers in “Christ”, in the hope of resurrection, fulfilled by faith. The resurrection has not yet occurred.

  10. Sorry:-) repair: The chiastic structure, interpreted as oval wheel, gives new impetus to events, and launches the gospel. The Gospel of Jesus Christ begins…

  11. ‘Kai euthys’ Mark: a straight ahead guy being in many ways is Mark being and straightaway, not he cares not nothing for Judaism and straightaway not he cares not nothing about chiasms and not he also cares about sandwiches and straightaway not cares he nothing for mirrors, and knows not he of knowing tenses how work they Greek in being. And straightaway cares he for teachings and cares he also for cohesion narrative to be also will should have been being.
    And straightaway, the Roman him expelled into the wilderness and rewrote evangelion his with orders and latin and sandwiches and obeying and Judaism and straightaway not!
    And he was behind the wild beasts, and the angels were serving him.

    Or to put it another way, Latin Marc rewrote Mark and removed the teachings which should clearly be the focus of this pericope and replaced them with a distracting adventure lazily based on the Legion story.
    Straightaway after the dramatic supernatural battle the crowd reacts with, “And were dumbfounded all, so as to question among themselves, saying, ‘What is this teaching new with authority?'”
    A red flag that this has been messed with.

  12. I think it should really look more like this:

    And straightaway, on the Sabbaths, having entered into the synagogue, he was teaching:

    [the teaching]

    [23]And straightaway, [27]were dumbfounded all, so as to question among themselves, saying, “What is this teaching new and not as the scribes?”
    And went out the hearing of him straightaway, everywhere, into all the surrounding region of Galilee.

    The intrusion doesn’t use the word ‘euthys’ but involves militaristic ideas; commands, obeying and people are astonished by Jesus because of his authority, just as he has authority over the spirit. The teachings are just gone. This isn’t the last time in this gospel that Jesus begins to teach, only to be silenced by a lazy rehash of another pericope involving people with spirits.

  13. Sorry for the multiple posts. I should have planned better! In the relevant part of Adversus Marcion, Turtullian abuses Marcion for saying that Jesus came into the synagogue and preached against the Law and the prophets and that he stated that he was here to destroy them. The Gospel of Matthew has Jesus saying “Do not think that I am here to abolish the Law…” which is surely a response to something. The Gospel of John has Jesus preaching in a synagogue in Capharnoum and saying that the Mana from heaven brought by Moses was false, but that his was the true bread of heaven.
    This sounds like a fair indication of what was censored from Mark.

    1. Mr. Murat

      There is only so much one can “wring out” of a word before it goes beyond borders…and is used to say too much.. A good rule I have tried to use… Don’t say more and Don’t say less…than can be determined by such biblical words .. Word studies are extremely dangerous unless a number of careful and critical tools and methods are kept in the background…

      I would suggest that you try a larger syntactical unit to try out and even expand your thoughts but get ready to run from a view just because it sounds good or blesses you in some way….or simply sounds “reasonable” …lexical analysis is tough and reason alone won’t help you…you need texts to comparable analysis, etc. So studying single words alone is NOT a good criterion for measuring an interpretation…

      btw do you know Koine and read the NT in Greek?

      If not, even be more careful in bringing up words that you will be expected to show syntactical and contextual proof for and not just reading “dictionaries”” or “lexicons” and picking the one you like…I have found that Bible readers don’t necessarily read the English texts carefully as well…..

      There are many resources for learning how to deal with Biblical words and syntax..etc. etc.


      1. Thankyou. Good advice. I didn’t mean to sound so certain! I keep a very skeptical mindset in general, but enjoy speculation. I know that it’s impossible to really know anything for certain about early Christianity, or the reasons behind anything. Those are ideas I’m exploring at the moment.

        1. Fantastic! What a good spirit you have! I imagine you trying out a new bike and no problem my friend… keep moving forward regardless of certain tools lacking in your backpack (though it would be best to get them in there..! 🙂 so you can keep going further without a lot of stops….

          As for “speculation” we need that too… — It is not a bad word per se… it is a moment in perhaps shifting one’s perception imaginatively… in hopes of discovering something new… or profound or whatever you call it.. It is so freeing, and that freedom to explore anything is so charged with courage and power and love to pursue many things “unbelieved” before that can be done be done by “humans”…. Whatever struggles in your scholarly endeavors we must excercise “mimesis” …the very things we talk about in these blogs… we can model or transcend what has gone before….

          But again,,, all our speculations have to go through testing… Here is a piece of my work on the testing narrative of Jesus. There is no evil presence there in Matt. 4 and Luke 4.. as I am going to argue in my forthcoming work … Rather, the “if” clauses ..ist person sing. are simply speculative in force…eg. Let’s just say for the moment… (the protasis) you a son of God,,, Then (apodosis) do this or that…

          All fathers and mothers who have heart and wisdom will test their “children” for what.. if they are like their father and mother in character and action… it may not even be physical…and it isn’t here…

          So from a literary standpoint “speculation” for the sake of argument and proof seems to even occur in texts! Like Father Torah…Like Son Torah..!! I think you know what I am getting at..We must be free to speculate… and hopefully we have lots of “satans” or adversaries around to check us out… that is what the satan in Job does in the poetic drama… He is checking things out down on earth as far as whether God’s servants are fulfilling righteousness… the job title , not name of the satan,, is to ensure people are being righteous before God and so he or it , or this or that person, celestial or terrestial, is a servant of God’s anger against Israel and no one else…. God’s “satans” are multiple… It is directed against Israel as I see the texts…. very interesting to me… I do not believe the Bible was written to me… its audience may share parallels with me, but its word to me , unless by a faith conversion has no power over me as a final authority. I am interested in what those texts said to others in their contexts.. Bringing the Bible over from the ancient world into our own is a most dangerous and delusional process.. Sometimes connections are made…. but the most evident to me….

          The Bible as we have it today, even after all the changes in text and understanding,, etc. etc. cannot help us out of the messes of modern history… they even make them worse….. Homiletics for the Believing or Faithful is one thing.. and most preachers today, online or offline, are sickening …and most of them stupid…

          Critical Hermeneutics is another…

          Well you got me at a poetic moment before I have to go and wash the mundane dishes I left in the sink!!!! and have a sip of wine!

          Take care


          1. Sorry…Correcting myself here in my recent post… to Ben Murat

            No one pointed this out to me.. and so noticed it myself… the clause “If you are the son of God.. then ..It is second person, not first person… !!

            If you…not if I am the son of god..

            god I must be going senile.!!!.. or just made a mistake.. I’ll hopefully bend towards the latter…

            boy oh boy! !

            The things I put some of these bloggers through! Sorry!

            Cheers everyone!

          2. I couldn’t agree more, Martin. G.Mt is supposed to be the most “Jewish” of the Gospels. Satan here is just doing his Job(sic! :-)).

            It also shows how much G.Mt either takes Jesus as a real man or wants us to believe he was real. The Christ of Paul simply went unrecognised by the “demons” that killed… it, I’m going to say “it”; a non corporeal spirit cannot be gendered I would think.

            If G.Mt’s “Jesus” is a heavenly being he wouldn’t need testing as to what he was, certainly not if I have the genealogy worked out correctly.

            The Satan of the OT seems to be a son of El and brother of Yahweh or grandson of El and son of Yahweh. Either Christ’s brother or his uncle. A close relative anyway. We don’t ask daft questions of siblings and so I’d doubt gods have to; though the God of Eden is a bit of a dim bulb!

            1. Heh Steven….

              thanks for such a creative response with your own twists… ya…is it not so frustrating my friend to see how texts get so bent out of shape when you got people running around claiming that they know “God…and exactly what this or that text really means…

              we could never have any clear communication and what a mess as it is today….
              Jesus himself said this in the Gospel of John which is immunized by the so-called orthodox readers and yet it is so “far out there” Jesus even separates himself from the Jews by saying “Your father is not my father,,, your father is the devil ( I am aware of other syntactical views..the great April DeConnick…) genitives are really hard to navigate and specify in many contexts where they occur)..

              How can a “real” Jew talk like that???!! Stuff like that makes one smell a big stench of bullshit propaganda propounded by a new religious sect,,, called “what”??? Jesus was not a Christian, not even necessarily a real Jew as far as Jewish tradition is concerned since Joseph, the real husband …was replaced by an angelic husband called “Gabriel” and went in and had sex with Mary…. (angels can become men— now isn’t that a good argument for a mythicist Jesus….. the incarnation of the Joshua seen in Zech 3 in heaven,, who shows up on earth…!!!

              So Jesus says in John’s Gospel in absolute terms that not one person knows the father except the son. And not one person knows the son except the father.. wow!! I know of no christian today who really believe John’s Jesus if they understood the most radical character of the the book and its Jesus which has only little to do with the synoptic Jesus…

              When I was a “Christian” scholar I always struggled with alternatives to cherished positions…. but it was always about internal debates between different Christian faiths… just like the NT..!!!!

              I really don’t like Christians who preach at me!! and especially after they discover I no longer fit one of their images, ideas, and ideals of Jesus and then claim they are getting that from the Bible.!!! I just usually sigh and try to avoid intense discussions about such matters, but it does occur and shows the incredible influence of such issues being a part of everyone’s daily life.

              so here we are at Vridar….and there is so much to learn here!

    2. Matthew is an antithesis to Paul and probably his Marcionite supporters…so the something is not nebulous…. as you say “to someone or something” It is also a anti-Markan given the narrative and not all the teaching of Jesus….

      Mark is changed extensively beyond what most readers of the Gospels know…. R. G Price on this blog and many other serious students and scholars of the texts have noted….

      And please read the library of blogs on Mark and Matthew within these blogs… So much is present here in all kinds of ways.. go back and read Neil and Tim on this blog…come on everyone… let’s get on board for a long journey.. but Neil and Tim have brought a lot of scholarship together here… Mr . Murat and Balivi… I see your interest… but you must go back and plan to read the entries relevant to your questions….and issues…

      These comments are preaching mostly to the choir here…but I am learning piles of stuff of going back myself and it is filling holes and healing holes in my own hermeneutics of these terribly interesting ancient texts…

      Cheers,,,,hope everyone is having a good summer… it is hot and weird here in Winnipeg, Manitoba.. Us Canadians , like many others are wondering what the hell is going on in Nature and the World…

      We have our own shitty problems here…

      Let us keep our heads about us due to all these weird changes…

      It is happening all so fast and intense….almost everywhere in the world

      Good Luck everyone…

  14. After considering comments such many of mine I think some of us–I at least–might consider putting comments on a word processor for about 24 hr, editing and re-editing, before posting.

    Readers might assist by making sure to go back to look at older comments and comments to older posts so that people who have waited to post wont be improperly ignored.

    However perhaps some insights derived from spontaneity might be self-censored by editing and re-editing down to concise clarity.

  15. Funny – I read “amazed” in Mark very differently to you Neil … I read it as ‘intrigued’. I sense Matthew’s extra verbiage is there yet it somehow achieves less detail than Mark. I think that is odd and that might be indicative of his more sober style. He was trying to write a journalistic account may be, whereas Mark’s is more about impact.

    I also see a few areas in Matthew where Jesus has authority too. I didn’t get the impression for Jesus to be Divine in Mark. But perhaps this special “authority” to heal, to command, to teach without the scholar’s contextualisation and rulings, seemed refreshing to the people. Perhaps these signs are part of the criteria of the Bible describing a candidate for the Messiah. ???

    1. A lot of these things are very formulaic. But interestingly, the term “amazed” isn’t found very much in the Bible, really only the the Gospel of Mark and works that are derived from it.

      This has kind of sparked my interest and now I want to see if similar uses of the term are found in the DSS. There is a similar usage found in Tobit 11:15:17, but not much else. Tobit was supposedly written around the first or 2nd century BCE and may reflect a development of this motif. (or maybe not).

      Again, I’d really like to see if anything like this shows up in the DSS, though its difficult to really assess because the DSS contains so many different languages it’s hard to really draw direct conclusions.

      But I suspect that this isn’t a Markan invention, I suspect that this is a trope pulled from some existing genre that Mark was drawing upon, and may indeed provide an important clue to “Mark’s” influences.

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