2019-10-04

The OT Sources for Mark 1

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by Neil Godfrey

The Gospel of Mark is shaped out of a re-weaving of Jewish Scriptures. If you want to know its sources then they are, principally but not exclusively, in the “Old Testament”. I have posted on the identification of 160 such scriptures in chapters 11-16 of the Gospel as identified by Howard Clark Kee. (There are more that could be added to that post, especially relating to chapter 12.)

I thought of going through the earlier chapters to make a similar list but the task is simply too much to get through right now. Instead, I have limited myself to a general overview of some of the more obvious allusions to Jewish Scripture in the first chapter only. I’d like to add other chapters over time.

The following table is not exhaustive even for chapter one. More allusions could be identified but some require more explanation that takes more time to present. So I’ve kept the list at a somewhat general level. Notice the story of the leper is a direct transvaluation rather than a more direct reworking of the original. Jesus and the leper are humble foils of Elisha and Naaman. If in the gospel of Mark the original text said Jesus was indignant (as opposed to the more widely attested “moved with compassion”) when the leper knelt and suggesting Jesus could heal him, there may be some significance related to the amount of indignation that runs rife through the 2 Kings narrative: both king Ahab and the leper Naaman at different times become enraged or indignant over the processes involved that led to the cleansing of the leper. Maybe something is missing from our text of Mark, or maybe “compassion” was original to the text after all.)

Here’s the table:

Mark 1

Jewish Scripture Sources
1:1-3

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah . . . as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way”—
“a voice of one calling in the wilderness,
Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’

Genesis 1:1

In the beginning . . .

Isaiah 52:7; 61:1-2

who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,

. . . .

The Sovereign Lord has filled me with his Spirit.
He has chosen me and sent me
To bring good news to the poor,
To heal the broken-hearted,
To announce release to captives
And freedom to those in prison.
He has sent me to proclaim
That the time has come
When the Lord will save his people
And defeat their enemies.
He has sent me to comfort all who mourn,

Exodus 23:20

“See, I am sending an angel [=messenger] ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared.

Malachi 3:1

“I will send my messenger, who will prepare the way before me.

Isaiah 40:3

A voice of one calling:
In the wilderness prepare
    the way for the Lord;
make straight in the desert
    a highway for our God.

1:4-6

And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River. John wore clothing made of camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey.

Malachi 4:5-6

“See, I will send the prophet Elijah to you before that great and dreadful day of the Lord comes. He will turn the hearts of the parents to their children, and the hearts of the children to their parents; or else I will come and strike the land with total destruction.”

2 Kings 1:8

And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

1 Kings 17:2-6

And the word of the Lord came unto him, saying, Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before the Jordan. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. So he went and did according unto the word of the Lord: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.

1:9-11

At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

Isaiah 64:1

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down

Ezekiel 1:1

. . . the heavens were opened and I saw visions of God

Genesis 1:1

. . . the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters

Genesis 8:8

Then he sent out a dove to see if the water had receded . . .

Psalm 2:7

He said to me, “You are my son;
today I have become your father.

Isaiah 42:1

Here is My Servant, whom I uphold, My Chosen One, in whom My soul delights. I will put My Spirit on Him, and He will bring justice to the nations.

1:12

At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

Exodus 14:29; 15:22

But the children of Israel walked upon dry land in the midst of the sea; and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

So Moses brought Israel from the Red sea, and they went out into the wilderness of Shur . . .

Deuteronomy 8:2

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the wilderness these forty years, to humble and test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

Genesis 2:19

Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to Adam . . .

Psalm 91:11-13

For he will command his angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the great lion and the serpent.

1 Kings 19:3-6

Elijah . . . went a day’s journey into the wilderness. . . . All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water.

1:14-15

. . . Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”

Isaiah 9:1-2

. . . he will honor Galilee of the nations, by the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan— The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;

Isaiah 52:7

who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

1:16-20

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. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

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

1 Kings 19:19-21

So Elijah went from there and found Elisha son of Shaphat. He was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen, and he himself was driving the twelfth pair. Elijah went up to him and threw his cloak around him. Elisha then left his oxen and ran after Elijah. “Let me kiss my father and mother goodbye,” he said, “and then I will come with you.”

“Go back,” Elijah replied. “What have I done to you?”

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his servant.

Jeremiah 16:16

Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them . . .

1:21-25

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “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!”

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

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.” News about him spread quickly over the whole region of Galilee.

Nahum = comfort (Capernaum = city of comfort)

Isaiah 40:1; 61:2

Comfort, comfort my people,
says your God.

. . . .

He has sent me to comfort all who mourn.

Isaiah 52:7

How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

Nahum 1:15

Look, there on the mountains,
the feet of one who brings good news,
who proclaims peace!
Celebrate your festivals, Judah,
and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you;
they will be completely destroyed.

1 Kings 17:18

She then said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to cause the death of my son!”

2 Kings 4:9

“Look, I am sure that this man who regularly passes our way is a holy man of God.

Exodus 34:30

When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses . . . they were afraid to come near him.

Joshua 4:14

That day the Lord exalted Joshua in the sight of all Israel; and they stood in awe of him all the days of his life, just as they had stood in awe of Moses.

1 Samuel 18:14-15

In everything he did he had great success, because the Lord was with him. When Saul saw how successful he was, he was afraid of him.

1 Kings 3:28

When all Israel heard the verdict the king had given, they held the king in awe, because they saw that he had wisdom from God to administer justice.

1:29-31

As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.

Isaiah 41:13

For I am the Lord your God
who takes hold of your right hand
and says to you, Do not fear;
  I will help you.

Psalm 103:3

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

1 Kings 17:15

She went and did as Elijah said.

(Compare A Story of a Mother-in-law, Stopping the Sun, and Rebuilding the Temple Wall)

1:40-44

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.

Jesus sent him away at once with a strong warning: “See that you don’t tell this to anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the sacrifices that Moses commanded for your cleansing, as a testimony to them.”

2 Kings 5:3-19

She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.”

. . . The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.”

. . . When Elisha the man of God heard . . . he sent him this message: “. . . Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel.” So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and stopped at the door of Elisha’s house. Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. . . ” So he turned and went off in a rage.

Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed’!” So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy

. . . said Naaman, “please let me, your servant, be given as much earth as a pair of mules can carry, for your servant will never again make burnt offerings and sacrifices to any other god but the Lord. . . .

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Neil Godfrey

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45 Comments

  • Jonathan Rutherford
    2019-10-04 10:14:45 GMT+0000 - 10:14 | Permalink

    Thanks for doing this Neil. There is another two part allusion in chapter one in chapter one. It is often not recognised, but is important and clear in my view (I got this partly from the wonderful RG Price who comments here regularly…I think I picked up the hunter bit!)

    In Mark 1:17 “Jesus said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fish for people.”

    In Mark 1:35-36: In the morning, while it was still very dark, he got up and went out to a deserted place, and there he prayed. 36 And Simon and his companions hunted for him.

    This is a double allusion to Jeremiah 16:16-17
    16 “But now I will send for many fishermen,” declares the LORD, “and they will catch them. After that I will send for many hunters, and they will hunt them down on every mountain and hill and from the crevices of the rocks.

    We see in the Jeremiah passage reference to men being “fishermen” and “hunters” – exactly as the disciples are described in chapter 1. As RG points out “This is the only passage in the Old Testament that talks about fishermen catching people.” Its also the only OT place where people are described as “hunters” – making this a very sure literary allusion from Mark.

    This is significant, as R.G Price explains, because the Jeremiah passage is about “the destruction of Israel” which (as he shows) is the main theme of many of Mark’s literary allusions. Despite the “good news” of Mark on the surface the irony is the the underlying allusions are about tell of the coming destruction of Israel – i.e the destruction of Jerusalem which the author of Mark had in mind when writing.

  • 2019-10-04 10:31:43 GMT+0000 - 10:31 | Permalink

    This is great. I like the idea of casting a wide net, as you appear to be doing here. Some of these may not have been in the mind of the writer of Mark, but it’s a good idea to pull in all of the potential material for better analysis IMO.

    Also, with some of the parallels between Mark and Elijah/Elisha, they seem to defy exact textual parallels, but rather include themes and concepts. A few good books on this issue have already been written of course, but hopefully one day I can get around to writing up a full companion guide to Mark that tries to explain every literary reference in Mark.

    And yeah, Jonathan Rutherford did point out the hunter reference to me several years back (2014 actually, I keep all my e-mails) after I put The Gospel of Mark as Reaction and Allegory on my website. Thanks for that Jonathan.

  • MrHorse
    2019-10-04 11:19:54 GMT+0000 - 11:19 | Permalink

    Mark 1:1, ‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, Son of God’ also reflects Gen 1:1 (and Rom 1:1).

    A 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, [Isa 40:3]

    . BA “Look, I send my messenger ahead of you, [Malachi 3:1; adopting Mal 3:22–24, Mal 4:5, & Exodus 23:20]

    . BB who will prepare your way.” [Isa 40:3]

    . BA’ 1:3 A voice proclaiming in the wilderness, [Isa 43:19]

    . BB’ “Prepare the way for the Lord. Make his way straight.” [Isa 40:3; Psalms 5:8 and 107:7; Prov. 3:6]

    A 1:4 Appeared John the Baptizer in the wilderness proclaiming the baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. [Isa 43:19]

    (and David Oliver Smith has noted parallel prologue & epilogue structures in Mark 1:1-14 and Mark 15:39-16:8, respectively. Unlocking the Puzzle: The Keys to the Christology and Structure of the Original Gospel of Mark, 2016, Resource Publications, an Imprint of Wipf and Stock Publishers. Kindle Edition; p. 28.)

    • Neil Godfrey
      2019-10-04 11:29:51 GMT+0000 - 11:29 | Permalink

      Genesis 1:1, of course — and the same source material for the opening is used and expanded on by Mark’s antithetical commentator, the Gospel of John.

      I may add others that may be mentioned here, though there are some types of allusions that are more structural and part of a cultural matrix and less easy to indicate by mere quotation.

      • MrHorse
        2019-10-04 11:52:54 GMT+0000 - 11:52 | Permalink

        Yes, there are some types of allusions that are more part of a cultural matrix and less easy to indicate by mere quotation.

    • MrHorse
      2019-10-04 11:38:38 GMT+0000 - 11:38 | Permalink

      Smith has also noted – re Archē tou euangeliou Iēsou Christou huiou Theou – ‘The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, Son of God‘archē not only means ‘beginning’, it also means ‘rule’. Smith says “One of Mark’s main points that he wants the reader to grasp…is…that Christ is coming to Earth soon to establish the kingdom of God” (Smith says Mark this comes from Paul’s Christology, implying that Paul motivated the author of Mark to look at the Jewish scriptures [too]).

    • MrHorse
      2019-10-04 11:51:54 GMT+0000 - 11:51 | Permalink

      “The first pericope of the Gospel begins at 1:2. In this special case there is no movement into the scene or change of cast in the A hemistich since there is no prior scene. The A’ hemistich has John appearing in the wilderness, a definite location and the introduction of a cast member. The (BA, BA’) stich matches “sending a messenger” with “a voice in the wilderness.” The (BB, BB’) stich matches “preparing the way.”

    • MrHorse
      2019-10-05 11:47:25 GMT+0000 - 11:47 | Permalink

      W.S. Vorster noted in his 1993 essay, cited by db below, –

      In the first place the very first quotation (Mk 1:2-3) does not [just] come from Isaiah the prophet, as Mark asserts. It is a composite reference to Exodus 23:20, Malachi 3:1 and Isaiah 40:3 which he connects to Isaiah the prophet. The ‘quotation’ is taken out of context and worked into his story of John and Jesus in order to show the relationship between the two.

      “The production of the Gospel of Mark: An essay on intertextuality”. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies. pp. 385–396

      Vorster goes on, –

      The beginning of the Gospel does not prove the fulfilment of the Old Testament, it characterises John as the predecessor of Jesus. Only at a later stage does the reader realize the resemblance between the apocalyptic John and the apocalyptic Jesus.

      One of the inferences one should make from the use of the Old Testament in the Gospel of Mark is that the author created a new story with the aid of intertextual codes …

      Later Vorster says – and the first passage is slightly out of his context –

      … some of the stories are transmitted in Mark’s Gospel in a mixed form ….

      … [then] recent attempts have been made at describing the Gospel as the rewriting of Old Testament stories … to regard Mark’s Gospel as a creation of a new text … New Testament writers created what [these scholars] call[ed] new midrashim on older texts. They argue that Mark did not simply interpret the Old Testament midrashically. Mark created a new midrash – that is, new scripture in typical Jewish fashion …

      … We have already noticed that Mark did not hesitate to use the Old Testament out of context, and that it is probable that he did the same with the tradition he received.* This simply underscores ‘our’ notion that he retold tradition for his own purposes. By doing this Mark created a new text from other texts, traces of which can be seen in his text.

      The relationship between the final text of the Gospel of Mark and precursor and other texts is an intertextual relationship. There is no causal relationship between this new text and the texts out of which Mark made his text. Mark quoted other texts, and his story alludes to other texts and absorbed other texts.

      Vorster doesn’t say what he thinks that proposed tradition Mark received was or might have been. No doubt some would propose or argue that Paul might be a large part of it.

      Vorster, W.S. (1993) “The production of the Gospel of Mark: An essay on intertextuality”. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies. pp. 385–396

      • MrHorse
        2019-10-05 11:53:24 GMT+0000 - 11:53 | Permalink

        The two [then] recent attempts at describing the Gospel attributed to Mark as the rewriting of Old Testament stories were, –

        Roth, W 1988. Hebrew gospel: Cracking the code of Mark. Oak Park: Meyer-Stone Books.
        Miller, D & Miller, P 1990. The Gospel of Mark as midrash: On earlier Jewish and New Testament literature. Lewiston: Mellen.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2019-10-05 13:10:46 GMT+0000 - 13:10 | Permalink

          The two [then] recent attempts at describing the Gospel attributed to Mark as the rewriting of Old Testament stories were, –

          Following Thomas L. Thompson’s overview of the way the Jewish Scriptures were written I tend to see the Gospel of Mark as yet one more story in the same tradition as other (OT) biblical narratives. In Genesis we see the same narrative retold in different ways through each generation. We see the same reiteration of the Creation story out of the division of waters in the Exodus, in the entry into the Promised Land, and in Elijah’s crossing of the Jordan — then in Jesus’ baptism.

          The same story of being lost, then called, then obeying, then falling away, then punishment, then restoration is told over and over. Each story warns the “new Israel” not to fall into the errors of the “old Israel”.

          The Gospel of Mark (and its variants, Matthew, John, Luke) continue that same tradition of literature and theology.

          • db
            2019-10-05 17:39:16 GMT+0000 - 17:39 | Permalink

            The same story of being lost, then called, then obeying, then falling away, then punishment, then restoration is told over and over.

            Is it correct to say, that the old covenant with Israel no longer being extant and that the “restoration” now being applicable to any devotee of the Christ lord—is the novel innovation of Paul/Mark for this newest cycle.

            If so, have there been any novel innovations per previous cycles?

          • MrHorse
            2019-10-05 22:54:35 GMT+0000 - 22:54 | Permalink

            Neil, to clarify, when you say “In Genesis we see the same narrative retold in different ways through each generation”, do you mean ‘we see the same Genesis narrative/s retold in different ways through each generation [and now through or by the then new early-Christian theology]’ ??

            • Neil Godfrey
              2019-10-06 01:30:03 GMT+0000 - 01:30 | Permalink

              Sorry, I was being fuzzy, wasn’t I. I meant it at a number of levels: the story of Abraham-Sarah is repeated in the stories of Isaac-Rebekkah and then again in Jacob-Rachel. The same story of the displacement of the natural order or privileged generation in favour of the younger and chosen is repeated in the Exodus (the old generation must die and the new enter the land of promise), in the stories of the prophets and their promises for a new generation, in the selection of the younger/initially disposessed over the older, right through to the New Testament. The motifs for new beginnings are also repeated — the splitting of the waters at the initial creation is repeated again with the renewal after the Flood, and then again in the Exodus and Red Sea crossing, and then the crossing of Jordan as those waters also divided, then with Elijah and Elisha at the Jordan, then again at the baptism of Jesus.

              The stories are retold, recycled, in their different mutations, and they are re-written for new generations who may have come through some crisis or are desirous of a new start as a “new” people of God who are now learning the lessons of the old generation, both in their real experience and in the stories themselves.

  • 2019-10-04 14:47:34 GMT+0000 - 14:47 | Permalink

    I note that Mark was not the only person in his time capable of bulking up these ‘scenarios from Scripture’ into narrative episodes that involve a Jesus character. The writers of the other canonical gospels did the same thing using other scenarios. Editors of GMark could have done the same. The Scriptural references in GMark are not necessarily all by Mark. After all, all of these writers lived in a religious and cultural matrix where Scripture was scrutinized, interpreted, emulated. The records we have of their activity are just the tip of an iceberg of their synagogue services, conversations, study sessions, etc. And of the texts they used, now lost.

    In my opinion, Mark’s particular, unique contribution was to use these scenarios to construct a play for performance, as I propose in my book The Two Gospels of Mark: Performance and Text.

    • 2019-10-04 15:02:30 GMT+0000 - 15:02 | Permalink

      There is a difference between what Mark does and what the others do however. Mark makes many implicit references and builds his narrative from these “hidden” references. Matthew and John, however don’t do this. They make overt references and quote scripture. They found some of Mark’s references and when they did they often pointed them out with big neon signs. They are like, “Hey look at this, here is a case where Jesus fulfilled prophesy!!!!!”

      Luke, does little of either, but instead Luke more often builds new scenarios out of themes as opposed to direct quotes or literary allusions. The vast use of these “hidden” scriptural foundations is really only a feature of Mark.

      • db
        2019-10-04 19:30:45 GMT+0000 - 19:30 | Permalink

        r.g.price,
        Have you noted Mark’s reference to Transjordan matches the LXX OT, wheres Pliny the Elder (in Latin) & Josephus use the shortened form: Peraía (Περαία), rather than Mark’s péran toú Iordánou (πέραν τοῦ Ἰορδάνου)—Mark 3.8 & 10.1

        • db
          2019-10-15 15:13:37 GMT+0000 - 15:13 | Permalink

          Therefore any interpretation of Mark as only referring to the much smaller geographical area “Perea” is untenable. Rather Mark is clearly referring to the larger transjordan—likely Hellenized. Per Rutherford (2015), “Galilee is symbolic of an inclusive Church, open to all, both Jew and Gentile, based on ‘faith in Christ’ alone. This was the gospel that Paul preached. To follow Jesus, the Jerusalem Church must go to ‘Galilee’ by following the example of Paul and embracing the inclusive universal Church.”

        • db
          2019-11-11 16:10:25 GMT+0000 - 16:10 | Permalink

          • and to elaborate

          In the Markan narrative, while at the western side of the Gallilee sea region, Jesus receives Gentiles from the surrounding regions, one of which is Transjordan (Mark 3:8). Here the author of Mark refers to the Transjordan region by using the same general term found in the LXX Book of Isaiah—péran toú Iordánou. Notably the Markan author never uses the specific contemporary name for the east bank territory of Herod Antipas, i.e. Perea. Both Galilee and Perea were incorporated into “Greater Judea” i.e. Provincia Ivdaea, in 44 CE, which already incorporated the regions of Samaria, Idumea, and the eponymous Judea. The regional name Perea is used by Josephus (c. 75 CE) and Pliny the Elder (c. 78 CE) in their geographic descriptions of the regions within the province. Therefore the traditional view that Jesus did not travel beyond the Perean territorial region of Herod Antipas is not supported by the Markan text. It appears that the usage of the term Transjordan in the Markan narrative is a reference to the Decapolis and other Gentile regions. Jennifer Wilkinson writes. “The [Markan] evangelist shows a great awareness and interest in the Graeco-Roman city territories surrounding Galilee: Gerasa (Mk 5.1); Tyre and Sidon (7.24-31); Caesarea Philippi (8.27) and the Decapolis (5.20; 7.31), and has Jesus himself travelling into these areas.” [Wilkinson, Jennifer (2012) Mark and his Gentile Audience: A Traditio-Historical and Socio-Cultural Investigation of Mk 4.35-9.29 and its Interface with Gentile Polytheism in the Roman Near East. Doctoral thesis, Durham University. pp. 51–52]

    • db
      2019-10-04 18:49:34 GMT+0000 - 18:49 | Permalink

      Danila,

      Mark’s bizarre geography is readily explicable per r.g.price’s work, i.e. The OT said it so Mark said it in that bizarre way as reference to the OT.

      How is Mark’s bizarre geography addressed per your work?

      • 2019-10-04 19:19:11 GMT+0000 - 19:19 | Permalink

        I can’t take credit for that. I mean, I agree with that point, but t was made long before me. I don’t explicitly address this in my book, but yeah, its implied that this is the explanation for most every aspect of Mark.

        Actually I see Neil talks about one aspect of this here: https://vridar.org/2010/08/06/mark-failed-geography-but-great-bible-student/

      • 2019-10-04 19:24:19 GMT+0000 - 19:24 | Permalink

        The answer is a bit complicated, and I address it in the book. I propose that Mark wrote two “works,” a performed play (which is more dimensional than a “text”) and a literary text that condensed and narratized the performance, and added literary features such as chiasms and pointers to Scripture. That literary text is the original version of the Gospel we have now. In the literary text, Mark added names of places that didn’t need to be spoken during the play.

        The audience saw the actors moving around the theater (stage + orchestra + parodoi + probably the audience area) and recognized when they moved into a different space, they were in a different place in the world of the play. A new scene was about to begin. The audience didn’t need to hear, “Glad we made it to Gerasa!” if that name had no dramatic value in the world of the play. The actors had crossed the orchestra in a boat! Obviously they were in a different location.

        The following must be somewhat speculative, as a) we don’t have all of Mark’s original literary text and b) the text was a secondary document. I assume that Mark followed good playwriting practice and did not provide extraneous information or info that the characters already know, solely for the audience’s benefit.

        I think that the audience experienced the geography of the play as follows:
        1. A man is baptizing. His costume and behavior identify him to the audience as John the Baptist/Baptizer. By implication, the location onstage is the Jordan River (not named in performance). Jesus arrives.
        2. Jesus walks, recruits fishermen in a boat. By implication, the Sea of Galilee (not named): the only place near the Jordan River where there is fishing from a boat.
        3. I am not sure if “Capernaum” is named. I don’t see why it should be. The reference to mother and brothers imply that Jesus is at home.
        4. The action implicitly continues in Galilee as long as the boat is present in the orchestra (it is removed after the return trip from Bethsaida, just before the Recognition).
        5. In 10:33, Jesus tells the audience “see, we are going up to Jerusalem.” Which tells them that the future action will be on the way to Jerusalem and in Jerusalem.
        6. The scenes thereafter on the mountain are implicitly near Jerusalem. Was this sufficient to tell the audience that this was the Mount of Olives? I guess so, given the identity of the main character.

        I suspect that “Bethsaida” was a name that was meaningful in the world of the audience, and was spoken. So, to sum up, the location “Jerusalem” was definitely spoken, and probably “Bethsaida.” I am not sure about “Jericho” as that scene is entirely missing. I doubt “Capernaum.” The rest are entirely literary.

        The bizarre geography is partly attributable to editing, e.g., the Syro-Phoenician woman scene is entirely by an editor. The early editors of GMark did not think of the narrative as a single consistent story about a human being on earth whose movements had to be minimally plausible.

        • Neil Godfrey
          2019-10-05 07:18:50 GMT+0000 - 07:18 | Permalink

          For general information, I intend to post a review of Danila’s book (also on James Barlow’s essay on the Ascension of Isaiah) after I have met my other commitments for reviews. I have made it a priority to complete reviews of some of the more expensive books I received from publishers after especially requesting them for discussion here.

        • db
          2019-11-16 19:07:37 GMT+0000 - 19:07 | Permalink

          Danila, I think the Markan literary West/East axis of the “Sea of Galilee ministry” and “Perean ministry” supports stagecraft, i.e. characters entering stage right/left identify them as Jew/Gentile.

          It appears that the usage of the term Transjordan in Mark 10:1 is a reference to the Decapolis and other Gentile regions while Jesus is en-route to Jerusalem—teaching both Jews and Gentiles per the same literary West/East axis presented previously for the Sea of Galilee ministry.

          • 2019-11-16 23:05:29 GMT+0000 - 23:05 | Permalink

            db: Yes, you have identified a further detail of my proposed staging. Stage Right (audience’s left, the way to the country) becomes identified with Gentiles because that’s where Gerasa has to be. I eventually concluded that all the characters that enter from Stage Right are Gentiles. In general the Stage Right side of the stage and orchestra is Gentile. I go over these stagings in much more detail in the book, including an appendix where I propose to reconstruct the action (not the dialogue) of the play.

            For Mark 10:1 and surrounding scenes, I think they take place in the orchestra and on the center of the lower stage–neither Gentile nor Judean. The question is whether this was simply the most effective dramatic staging, or Mark also thereby intended to indicate Jesus’s ecumenical ministry. In any case, when he wrote the narrative, he indicated it, as you say.

            • db
              2019-11-17 01:24:01 GMT+0000 - 01:24 | Permalink

              A good reason for starting in Galilee:

              • Boobyer, G. H. (1952–1953). “Galilee and Galileans in St. Mark’s Gospel [PDF]”. Bulletin of the John Rylands Library XXXV: 334–348.

              [The LXX Books of Isaiah and Ezekiel] depict Galilee of the Gentiles as specially appointed to receive salvation in the messianic age, and, further, as a land which will be one of the first to experience God’s deliverance. The writer of Isa. viii. 23–ix. 6 proclaims that the light of the messianic day will disperse the shadow of death lying over “Galilee of the Gentiles”; and the LXX text of ch. viii. 23 begins with a notable addition . . . that God will pour forth this light of His salvation first upon Galilee . . . according to Ezek. xlvii. 1–12, the prophet beholds a river issuing from under the threshold of the house of the Lord in Jerusalem. . . . and it was flowing towards Galilee (verse 8)! —(p. 336)

    • Neil Godfrey
      2019-10-05 04:33:54 GMT+0000 - 04:33 | Permalink

      Some of us will be interested in another gospel that is a most unsophisticated attempt to graft OT texts into a Jesus narrative — I’m thinking of the Gospel of Peter.

      • MrHorse
        2019-10-05 12:20:00 GMT+0000 - 12:20 | Permalink

        Vorster (1993) noted, –

        The passion narrative is presumably related to the Gospel of Peter, which is basically a passion story (see Crossan 1988, reference below) …

        Allusions to and quotations from the Old Testament are usually absorbed into Mark’s story in such a manner that, except for a few cases where he specifically mentions the origin of the quotation, the allusions and quotations form part of the story stuff. They are so embedded into the story that, if it were not for the references in the margins and a knowledge of the Old Testament, the reader would not have noticed that Mark uses an allusion or a quotation (see Mk 15:24). This is best seen in Mark’s story of the passion of Jesus.

        It has often been noticed that psalms of lamentation such as Psalms 22, 38 and 69 concerning the suffering of the just, are knitted into the passion narrative in such a manner that one can say that the passion narrative of Mark is narrated in the language of the Old Testament. The point is, however, that the allusions and ‘quotations’ form such an integral part of the passion narrative that it is impossible for the naive reader to realize that the text is enriched by its intertextual relationships concerning the suffering of the Just.

        Crossan, J D 1988. The cross that spoke: The origins of the passion narrative. San Francisco: Harper & Row.

        • db
          2019-10-05 13:22:33 GMT+0000 - 13:22 | Permalink

          the text is enriched by its intertextual relationships concerning the suffering of the Just.

          I laugh when I imagine Ehrman reading that and scoffing, “So What!, that just means Jesus’ body was thrown in a mass grave is all, etc.” ad nauseam.

          • MrHorse
            2019-10-05 23:04:53 GMT+0000 - 23:04 | Permalink

            db, Ehrman’s tunnel vision is surprising given the way he broadly cast his net in the first decade or two of his career.

            Moreover, “allusions and quotations form such an integral part of the passion narrative that it is impossible for the naive [or wilfully ignorant] reader -[such as Bart Ehrman]- to realize that the text is enriched by its intertextual relationships …”

  • Jim Glass
    2019-10-04 22:36:05 GMT+0000 - 22:36 | Permalink

    Add to this discussion the sites of Jeanie C. Crain (crain@missouriwestern.edu) and Michael A. Turton.

  • db
    2019-10-05 02:03:49 GMT+0000 - 02:03 | Permalink

    This essay is like finding an evolutionary missing link for the the OT as a key source for Mark.

    • Vorster, W. S. (1993). “The production of the Gospel of Mark: An essay on intertextuality”. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies. pp. 385–396.

    • db
      2019-10-05 02:52:49 GMT+0000 - 02:52 | Permalink

      Neil, the Vorster essay above, appears to have a “Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)” license, so if you consider it merited, please reproduce it on Vridar.

      • Neil Godfrey
        2019-10-05 05:03:53 GMT+0000 - 05:03 | Permalink

        If I did that I’d run into all sorts of prioritizing and consistency issues. There is so much good stuff available. I can’t be the repository for it all.

    • db
      2019-10-17 15:04:28 GMT+0000 - 15:04 | Permalink

      I am trying to make Vorster’s work into an article at — “Gospel of Mark (intertextuality)”. Wikipedia.

      NB: the original journal article was initially pasted in full at — Old revision of Gospel of Mark (intertextuality)

  • db
    2019-10-05 19:51:30 GMT+0000 - 19:51 | Permalink

    Per Mark as Paul—declaring that the old covenant with Israel is no longer extant.

    Is there a “goto” source for Mark in the OT, on this topic?

    Per Jiri Severa, “[Mark] savages and ridicules the pharisaic Jews of his time by having Jesus defy the law and giving either himself or through Jesus, misleading references to the Torah (1:1-3, 2:26, 9:12-13, 10:19, 14:21, 14:49).”

    • Perhaps Isaiah 52:7; 61:1-2 as noted in the OP.

  • Amer
    2019-10-06 04:46:12 GMT+0000 - 04:46 | Permalink

    I love the parallels being generated here – however, I think a set of rules is needed for asserting a copy style reproduction. Of course the copying of Matthew from Mark for example is a very different type of copy – verbatim in other words. That aside, I still personally would go for a triangulation rule – That is, in order for something to be deemed a copying of another text three parts need to be the same.

    1 – Similar or same phrases (just these by themselves alone is not enough), for various reasons.
    2 – The references should be seen to be sought from the same group of texts – i.e. part of a phrase from one place and another part from another place is pushing the assertion that there is a copying act in place.
    3 – The relationships between objects and subjects, and the theme, should be completely transferable, not partially.

    Otherwise, we fall in to the trap of drawing pictures in clouds.

    • Neil Godfrey
      2019-10-06 07:35:54 GMT+0000 - 07:35 | Permalink

      I did not cite sources for any of the parallels because I thought most of them would be recognized immediately by any reader familiar with the marginal references in their old King James Bibles. They are also all discussed repeatedly in the mainstream literature, both journals and books, of conservative and liberal biblical scholars alike. That’s where the thematic or other meaningful links are discussed in depth. In addition to the King James marginal notes I used, mostly for overlap or double checking:

      • Bowman, John. 1965. The Gospel of Mark: The New Christian Jewish Passover Haggadah. Brill Archive.
      • Gundry, Robert Horton. 1993. Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross. 2 vols. Grand Rapids, Mich: Eerdmans.
      • Le Peau, Andrew T. 2017. Mark Through Old Testament Eyes: A Background and Application Commentary.
      • Watts, Rikki E. 2001. Isaiah’s New Exodus in Mark. Rev Upd Su edition. Grand Rapids, Mich: Baker Academic.
      • Winn, Adam. 2010. Mark and the Elijah-Elisha Narrative: Considering the Practice of Greco-Roman Imitation in the Search for Markan Source Material. Eugene, Ore: Pickwick Publications.

      I was never aware of any suspicion or over-reach when a citation or two was alluded to as one focused on just one passage at a time. I wonder if some of the alarm comes from seeing all of those references collated and presented together like I have done here.

      All the above table does is show that that author was immersed in the Jewish Scriptures. I don’t think that’s a controversial point. I remember how scandalized some scholars and others were that Dennis MacDonald should dare suggest a Homeric influence on certain scenes and the loud rejoinder being, No, Mark borrowed from the story of Jonah, or of Israel in the wilderness, or from Elijah!!

  • Amer
    2019-10-06 11:47:18 GMT+0000 - 11:47 | Permalink

    Thanks for this post Neil ^

    Always impressed with the background research done here.
    I’m gonna have to go through this material.

    It is enriching for me to be corrected and to see clarifications as I learn more from that type of exchange.

  • francois
    2019-10-18 23:15:04 GMT+0000 - 23:15 | Permalink

    Reading Mark as a midrash, part 2: Jesus heals the man with an unclean spirit
    Tags: Midrash, Maurice Mergui, Nanine Charbonnel

    ** What does that mean? **

    Mark 1:27 NKJ “What is this? What new doctrine is this?

    ** Here are the main lines of my reply **

    — The spirit
    Mark 1 NKJ
    8 I (John) indeed baptized you with water, but He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
    10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove
    23 Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit.
    25 But Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”
    26 And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.

    Meaning:
    Jesus is putting the Holy Spirit within the Israel’heart and consequently Jesus is eradicating the old/unclean spirit from the Israel’s heart.
    But Israel is reluctant to accept this change, so Israel has convulsions and Israel cries

    Ezekiel 36:25-27 strengthens my position
    Ezekiel 36 NKJ
    25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.
    26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.
    27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them.

    — The doctrine
    Mark 1:27 NKJ “What is this? What new doctrine is this?
    Exodus 16
    15 So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.
    And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat.
    31 And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey.

    Comment
    The new spirit involves a new doctrine (new word, new gospel, new teaching, new bread, new Manna)

    — The water
    Mark 1 NKJ
    8 I (John) indeed baptized you with water, but He (Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
    Ezekiel 36:25 Then I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean; I will cleanse you from all your filthiness and from all your idols.

    Comment: The water is used for cleansing and consequently It also represents the terrestrial life and the spiritual life.
    It also represents the terrestrial drink and the spiritual drink. Considering that the wine is a better drink than water, that allows me to introduce the word “wine”.

    ** To go further **

    — The incompatibility: between the old and the new spririt
    In addition to the difficulty to accept the change, I notice the incompatibility expressed by
    Mark 1:24 “.. What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? ..”

    — The incompatibility: between the old and the new Israel
    This is expressed by
    Mark 2
    21 No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment; or else the new piece pulls away from the old, and the tear is made worse.
    22 And no one puts new wine into old wineskins; or else the new wine bursts the wineskins, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins.”

    Old Israel New Israel
    old garment,camel’s hair unshrunk cloth
    old wineskins new vine

    — John represents the hebrews
    Mark 1:6 Now John was clothed with camel’s hair .., and he ate locusts and wild honey.
    The attributes (camel, locusts and wild honey) refer to the exodus and the hebrews crossing the desert. Consequently, John represents the hebrews.
    Note: locusts -> the beginning of exodus
    honey -> the end of exodus

    ** Conclusion about this healing **

    The healing of the man with an unclean spirit means that Jesus puts the Holy Spirit within the Israel’heart.
    The old spirit is now considered as an unclean spririt and becomes incompatible.
    To be short this healing starts the “Renewal of Israel”

    ** Conclusion about Mark 1-2, first step **

    Mark 1-2 is the unit describing the new doctrine

    The healing of the man with an unclean spirit
    meaning: Jesus puts the Holy Spirit within the Israel’heart and starts the Renewal of Israel
    The healing of Simon’s Mother-in-Law
    meaning: Jesus announces the new Covenant including the hebrews and the greeks
    You have to read my previous reply
    https://vridar.org/2019/08/21/a-story-of-a-mother-in-law-stopping-the-sun-and-rebuilding-the-temple-wall/#comment-95139
    The cleansing of a Leper
    meaning: The Hebrews who show their faith in Jesus are saved. They enter into the covenant with God
    A leper is Hebrew who does not follow the God’Law
    Status: A remaining work to detail and justify
    The Healing a Paralytic
    meaning: The Greeks who show their faith in Jesus are saved. They enter into the covenant with God
    A paralytic is a pagan who does not walk according the God’Law because he does not know the law.
    Status: A remaining work to detail and justify
    The main features about Old Israel and the New Israel

    Old Israel New Israel

    Spirit Unclean spirit Holy spirit
    Law/Teaching/Doctrine Law of Moses Word of Jesus, Gospel
    Food Manna Bread
    Drink Water, Old Wine Water, New Wine
    Garment Camel’s hair unshrunk cloth
    Old garment New garment
    Figure John as Baptist Jesus as son of man
    Covenant people The Hebrews The Hebrews and the Greeks
    Covenant rule Follow the Moses’Law Recognise Jesus as redeemer

    ** About Maurice Mergui and Nanine Charbonnel **
    Their works are very helpful but I also read christian authors.

  • francois
    2020-03-25 20:51:03 GMT+0000 - 20:51 | Permalink

    Reading Mark as a midrash, Chapter 1: Another remission of sins
    Tags: Midrash, Maurice Mergui, Nanine Charbonnel

    The remission of sin is the theme of the Gospel

    This chapter provides the essential basics

    Sin is disobedience to God

    Deuteronomy 11:1 Therefore you shall love the Lord your God, and keepHis charge, His statutes, His judgments, and His commandments always.

    Therefore sin also means that you areseparated from God
    Isaiah 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.

    The repentance is wanting to come back to God. The sinner must acknowledge his faults and ask for forgiveness.
    Psalms 38:18For I will declare my iniquity I will be in anguish over my sin

    The remission of sins or (forgiveness) is the removal or the blotting out of the sins that God grants back.
    Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the Lord And He will have mercy on him; And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon

    The different stages of Jewish thought

    Step 1
    The Hebrews live under Moses’ law written in the five first books that make up the Torah. These books include extensive rules that are related to all aspects of life.

    Read for yourselves Leviticus 4 and Leviticus 16 which describe the remission of sins. Notice the importance of the rituals to be performed which always include the three following elements: the animals offering, the blood spilled at the altar, the Priest making intercession

    Also read for yourselves Leviticus 13 and 14 which describe the law of leprosy. These four books will be useful to understand the Mark Gospel

    Step 2The Hebrews still live under Moses’ law, but the hope of a less restrictive law appears in the book of the prophet Isaiah.

    Isaiah 53:10-12 shows another way of remission of sins that of the suffering servant who takes upon himself the sins of others and thus releases the Hebrews from their own sins.

    Isaiah 53:10 Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin ,… He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant justify many,
    For He shall bear their iniquities
    12… Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors

    Step 3
    Jewish religious movements (Judeans or Diaspora Jews) who want a softer law declare that the prophecy of Isaiah is now being fulfilled. They turn this idea into a story in order to support and widespread their doctrine and thus creates a new liturgical book, the gospel
    The main character of the story will be Jesus, the instantiation of the suffering servant. Jesus will be a two dimensional character with a divine dimension since everything comes from God and a human dimension since this gospel is intended for men.

    These same religious movements also want this softer law might lead to the conversion of pagans
    This is why Simon (the Hebrews) and Andrew (the Greeks) are brothers and why Jesus walks by the sea and will go to the other side of the sea to the pagans.

    In the OT, the sea is the border between the Hebrews who received the Moses’ law and the pagans who don’t know it.
    Deuteronomy30:11 For this commandment which I command you today not mysterious for you, nor it far off
    13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it
    14 But the word is very near you in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it

    How to read the Mark Gospel as a Midrash, Here are the key points

    Basic knowledge of Jewish thought
    The above lines

    Knowing the scriptures so as to immediately identify the key words and the theme
    Mark 1:2 As it has been written in the prophet Isaiah
    Mark 1:4 John came … preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins

    Distinguishing between Jesus of Nazareth, Jesus and Christ

    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God
    It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
    10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.11 Then a voice came from heaven, You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;

    The Jesus character is built from Jesus of Nazareth (a man) and Jesus, son of God in Mark 1:10-11.
    The writer legitimizes his creation through the descent of the spirit and the divine voice.

    The term Jesus is only used by Mark, the writer. Other characters never use the term Jesus.
    The people identify Jesus as Jesus of Nazareth
    The unclean spirits say: You are the Son of God
    Peter answers: You are the Christ
    The high priest says: Christ, the son of the Blessed

    Knowing the scriptures so as to identify the source books and to grasp the new meaning.

    Mark 1:29-34 Now Simon mother-in-law lay ill with a fever
    Ruth 3:16 When Ruth returned to her mother-in-law Naomi asked her.

    In the book of Ruth, the pagans should obey the Moses’ law to enter into the covenant with God.
    Mark rewrites the book of Ruth by making some inversions to say that only faith in Jesus is required to enter into the covenant.
    Those who do not know the scriptures only see Jesus (of Nazareth) healing Simon’s mother-in-law.
    Those who know the scriptures understand that the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled because a new remission of sins implies a new covenant with God.

    to read more (a first version I made six months ago)
    https://vridar.org/2019/08/21/a-story-of-a-mother-in-law-stopping-the-sun-and-rebuilding-the-temple-wall/#comment-95139

    Knowing the scriptures to understand particular expressions

    Mark 1:7 …than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose.
    The one who has the right of redemption and cannot redeem takes off his shoe. (Ruth 4:6-8)

    Ruth 4:6 And the close relative said: I cannot redeem it for myself
    7 Now this was the custom in former times in Israel concerning redeeming
    8 Therefore the close relative said: …Buy it for yourself. So he took off his sandal

    The double meaning

    Isaiah 55:7 Let the wicked forsake his way, And the unrighteous man his thoughts; Let him return to the LORD. And He will have mercy on him; And to our God,For He will abundantly pardon
    Here, Sin means to be separated from God
    Jeremiah4:1 If you will return, O Israel; says the LORD, Return to Me. And if you will put away your abominations out of My sight, Then you shall not be moved.
    Here, Sin means to be excluded from his home, his country and to know exile.
    The term leper also contains a double meaning.

    A leper is a man excluded because of his skin disease. He’s also a Hebrew who doesn’t keep God’s commandments.
    In the bible, the most famous leper is Miriam, the Moses’ sister and the most famous exile is the babylonian exile.

    A close reading

    Mark 13:14 … let the reader understand.

    Mark 4:12 Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And their sins be forgiven them
    Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people dull, And their ears heavy, And shut their eyes; Lest they see with their eyes, And hear with their ears, And understand with their heart, And return and be healed

    Double meaning: return to God = healing
    Healing = Remission = Return to God (according to the doctrine of the writer) = Conversion
    Mark 7:18 …Are you thus without understanding also?

    Conclusion

    The Mark gospel calls for the return to God according to a new doctrine based on a softer law in order to convert the pagans.
    Mark 1:27 Then they were all amazed, .. saying: What is this? What new doctrine is his?

    Depending on his knowledge of the scriptures and his ability to immediately grasp the double meaning, the reader will see Jesus (of Nazareth) as a healer or a preacher or he will understand the fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy, the softer law to convert the pagans.

    Next Steps

    Mark 1:1-20 and then Mark 1-2 to expand and confirm what I just wrote. We will thus notice that Mark 1-2 is perfectly structured and is nearly enough to understand the whole of the gospel
    Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

  • francois
    2020-03-28 22:19:56 GMT+0000 - 22:19 | Permalink

    Reading Mark as a midrash, Chapter 2a: The Good News, The Kingdom
    Tags: Midrash, Maurice Mergui, Nanine Charbonnel

    The Good News to the Hebrews and the Kingdom of God
    Mark tells us what has to happen
    Isaiah 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning,
    Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.

    Another remission of sins, Another way to return to God

    Mark 1:2 As it is written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way, (NIV)
    4 John appeared, baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness (remission) of sins.
    5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.

    Bold words identify the theme, the remission of sins and the repentance, the return to God. They also specify another way of remission of sins that of the suffering servant
    who takes upon himself the sins of others and thus releases the others from their own sins (Isaiah 53:10-12) .
    John prepares the Hebrews, those who live under the law of Moses, for this radical change (see Chapter 1: Sin, The different stages of Jewish thought).

    John announces the more powerful than him, the one who will take the right of redemption

    Mark 1:7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. (NKJ)
    John does not know Jesus, John only knows the one who is more powerful than him, the one whose shoes cannot be loosed.

    (see chapter 1, The one who takes the right of redemption keeps his shoes on (Ruth 4:6-8)).

    Jesus of Nazareth is baptized by John

    Mark 1:9 It came to pass in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee, and was baptized by John in the Jordan.
    Jesus of Nazareth is baptized by John like any other Hebrew. John does not know Jesus (of Nazareth)

    The Jesus character building, a literary character building

    Mark 1:10 And immediately, coming up from the water, He saw the heavens parting and the Spirit descending upon Him like a dove.
    11 Then a voice came from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”

    The Jesus character is built from Jesus of Nazareth (a man) and Jesus, son of God The writer legitimizes his literary character building through the descent of the spirit and the divine voice.
    The term Jesus is only used by Mark, the writer. Other characters never use the term Jesus. (see Chapter 1: two dimensional character, Jesus, Jesus of Nazareth)

    Jesus shows he is more powerful than Satan

    Mark 1:12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
    13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

    The wilderness is the place of testing but also the place where God guides and feeds his people.
    The word food contains a double meaning: The food from earth = the bread from heaven = the Word of God, so bread = Word

    John fades away, Jesus moves into the forefront

    Mark 1:14 And after the delivering up of John, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God (Berean Literal and Aramaic Bible)

    John represents the Hebrews who live under the law of Moses and agree not to oppose the one who will fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah. John delivered his message. His mission is over.
    Now Jesus is the most powerful one who proclaims the gospel.
    The new doctrine overtakes the law of Moses. The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Mark, which contains the new doctrine, becomes the Gospel of God. (see Chapter 1: Doctrine)

    Jesus announces the good news and declares he is the one who will take the right of redemption

    Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

    The time is fulfilled = The prophecy of Isaiah is now being fulfilled
    The kingdom of God is at hand. = God gives you a New Promised Land
    Repent = Return to God
    THE GOOD NEWS (New doctrine) = The fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy, it’s now
    (see Chapter 1, Jewish thought)

    By addressing the Hebrews and saying them “Repent”. Jesus declares to them that he is the one who will take the right of redemption

    The Baptism and the Announcement of the Kingdom of God

    Mark 1:5 And all the country of Judea and all Jerusalem were going out to him and were being baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.
    8 I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.”
    15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.

    Baptism represents the ritual of entering a community, it also means the adoption of a new spirit, a new way of life.
    Here, The water baptism in the Jordan retells the story about the entry into the promised Land (Joshua 3:1-5:1).
    Here, The Baptism in the spirit, represents a return to God, an entry into His kingdom, but according to a new doctrine that is no longer the law of Moses.

    The expressions promised land and kingdom of god contain a double meaning. They mean both to live close to God or to live in a country where milk and honey flow.

    The changeover to the Kingdom, the new Passover

    At this stage Mk 1:15 Jesus preaches but does not teach yet, he presents the Gospel spririt and proclaims a new kingdom. From Mark 1:21, Jesus teaches to specify his role and the kingdom.

    The entry into the kingdom occurs at the end of the story in Mark 16. A long sequence prepares this entry, Mark 14:12 till Mark 15, it is the new Passover.

    New Passover = The fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy + Jewish Passover

    The fulfilment of Isaiah’s prophecy: Jesus takes the right of redemption by offering his blood and thus releases the Hebrews from their own sins.
    Jewish Passover: Jews retell the story about the liberation of Hebrews from slavery in Egypt

    The Kingdom of God: the different stages

    1 Jesus announces the Kingdom
    Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.

    2 Jesus fulfills the changeover to the Kingdom, the Passover,
    Mark 15:12 Now on the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they killed the Passover lamb, His disciples said to Him, “Where do You want us to go and prepare, that You may eat the Passover?”
    Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

    3 The wifes are in the kingdom
    Mark 16:2 Very early in the morning, on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen.

    Notice the combination of the following three factors: dawn, the first day, and sunrise. This occurs only once in the story.
    Note also that there are only two “first days” in the story

    The forgiveness of sins through redemption: the different stages

    1 John announces the more powerful than him, the one who will take the right of redemption
    Mark 1:7 And he preached, saying, “There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. (NKJ)

    2 Jesus shows he is more powerful than Satan
    Mark 1:12 Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness.
    13 And He was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan, and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered to Him.

    3 Jesus announces he is the one who will take the right of redemption
    Mark 1:15 and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

    4 Jesus takes the right of redemption
    Mark 15:25 Now it was the third hour, and they crucified Him.
    Mark 15:37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last.

    Conclusion

    This chapter covers only Mark: 1:1-15. What is said will be done in Mark:14-15-16.
    I presented the words with double meanings and pointed out that John does not know Jesus. I will come back to this.
    At this level, only the Hebrews have been considered.

    Next Step
    The Hebrews again, the pagans and the sea. Mark 1:16-20

  • francois
    2020-04-02 22:13:23 GMT+0000 - 22:13 | Permalink

    Reading Mark as a midrash, Chapter 2b: The Four Disciples

    Tags: Midrash, Maurice Mergui, Nanine Charbonnel

    The Hebrews, the pagans and the kingdom
    (Mark 1:16-20)

    The previous verses announced the kingdom of God, the new land of the Hebrews where the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled.
    In a practical way, the fulfillment of the Isaiah’ prophecy means to give up the Moses’ law in favor of a softer law. This is the doctrine of Jesus
    (see Chapter 1: Jewish thought, doctrine)

    The action now occurs near the sea because the sea is the border between the Hebrews who received the Moses’ law and the pagans who don’t know it, (see Chapter 1: sea, Deuteronomy 30:11-14) .

    Mark 1:16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea;for they were fishermen.
    17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
    18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.
    19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets.
    20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in
    the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.

    A new community of Hebrews and pagans

    Mark 1:16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
    17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.”
    19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee

    James comes from the Hebrew name Jacob and Jacob is also called Israel

    https://biblehub.com/greek/2385.htm
    James
    https://biblehub.com/greek/2384.htm
    Jacob
    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/3290.htm
    Jacob

    Genesis 32:28 And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob (3290), but Israel;

    Simon comes from the Hebrew name Simeon and Simeon is the son of Jacob
    https://biblehub.com/greek/4613.htm
    Simon
    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/8095.htm
    Simeon

    Genesis 34:25 Now it came to pass on the third day, … that two of the sons of Jacob (3290) , Simeon (8095) and Levi,

    Andrew is a greek name
    https://biblehub.com/greek/406.htm

    First meaning of these verses

    Simon and Andrew represent the Hebrews and the Pagans. Jesus asks the Hebrews and the Pagans to follow his doctrine so that they may enter the kingdom of God.
    The old Israel was the community of the Hebrews, the sons of Jacob.The kingdom of God welcomes the Hebrews and the Pagans

    From the Law of Moses to the Doctrine of Jesus

    Mark 1:16 And as He walked by the Sea of Galilee, He saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen.
    17 Then Jesus said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men.
    18 They immediately left their nets and followed Him.

    Jesus first notices Simon and Andrew because they are fishermen. So, he will use their skills to fish from now (convert people).
    This is the first step, the next step will be to give them new nets (the doctrine of Jesus).
    By using the expression fishermen, the writer points out the double meanings, fishing = conversion and net = doctrine.
    When Jesus calls them, Simon and Andrew grasp the double meaning and leave their net (the old doctrine) to take up new ones (the Doctrine of Jesus)

    As disciples Simon and Andrew will be the leaders in charge of converting the Hebrews and the Pagans.

    Mark 1:19 When He had gone a little farther from there, He saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the boat mending their nets.
    20 And immediately He called them, and they left their father Zebedee in the boat with the hired servants, and went after Him.

    Jesus then notices James and John because they are the ones who provide the nets (the doctrine, the doctrine of Zebedee). Jesus asks them to no longer provide their father Zebedee’s doctrine, in favor of a new one.
    James and John leave their father Zebedee (the doctrine of Zebedee) and follow Jesus (they commit to the doctrine of Jesus).

    There is no information about the doctrine of Zebedee but it is presented in a negative way by the terms Zebedee and hired servants

    The name Zebedee is close to Zebulun but it is not Zebulun. Zebulun means Gift of God. In the current context, the gift of God is the Word of God given to his people Israel.
    By naming Zebedee thus, the writer points out the negative side of his doctrine: it is not the true gift of God, it is only something like it

    The writer points out the negative side a second time by making Zebedee work with hired servants. The hired servants are engaged and paid to perform a task. They do not work from conviction

    https://biblehub.com/greek/3411.htm
    a hired servant

    Finally, the current context allows us to say that the doctrine of Zebedee is the law of Moses. The writer cannot express it in such a direct way because he wants to present the doctrine of Jesus as the continuity
    of Moses’ law and not a break

    More about Zebulun, the Gift of God and Zebedee

    Zebulun means Gift of God due to Genesis 20:30. In this verse, the gift is expressed by hebrews words such as zabad and zebeb

    https://biblehub.com/genesis/30-20.htm
    God has given (2064) me a good gift (2065) … And she named him Zebulun (2074)

    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/2064.htm
    zabad: bestow upon, endow with
    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/2065.htm
    zebed: endowment, gift
    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/2074.htm
    Zebulun

    https://biblehub.com/greek/2199.htm
    Zebedee

    The Gift of God, the Word of God, is One

    Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One(259). (Berean Study Bible)

    https://biblehub.com/hebrew/259.htm
    One

    According to the writer of Mark’s Gospel, Word of God is One because God is One.

    God gives His word to His people in various stages: First the law of Moses, then the expectation of Isaiah’ prophecy and finally the Gospel of Jesus Christ where the Isaiah’ prophecy is he expectation of Isaiah’ prophecy.
    These different stages are not ruptures but express the divine plan.
    Isaiah 14:27 For the LORD of hosts has purposed, And who will annul it? His hand is stretched out, And who will turn it back?”

    Old doctrine
    Word of God = The torah and the book of the prophet Isaiah

    Doctrine of Jesus, the fulfillment of Isaiah’ prophecy = a softer law
    Word of God = Gospel of God = Gospel of Jesus Christ = Mark’s Gospel

    Does Jesus go further than Isaiah in addressing the pagans?

    Mark 1:9 When He had gone a little farther from there,

    Has he gone too far?

    What does Isaiah say about foreigners and nations?

    Isaiah speaks only to the inhabitants of Judea and Jerusalem.

    Isaiah 1:1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.
    3 The ox knows its owner And the donkey its master’s crib; But Israel does not know, My people do not consider.”
    4 Alas, sinful nation, A people laden with iniquity, A brood of evildoers, Children who are corrupters! They have forsaken the Lord,

    Only the inhabitants of Judah and Jerusalem are concerned. At the beginning of the book, Isaiah considers them as Israel and a sinful nation.

    Isaiah also speaks of Zion, a term associated with Jerusalem.
    Isaiah 30:19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; You shall weep no more.
    Isaiah 41:27 The first time I said to Zion, ‘Look, there they are!’ And I will give to Jerusalem one who brings good tidings.
    Isaiah 64:10 Your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.

    Foreigners who serve the Lord are accepted

    Isaiah 56:1Thus says the Lord:
    6 “Also the sons of the foreigner Who join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him,
    7 Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices Will be accepted on My altar;
    For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.”
    8 The Lord God, who gathers the outcasts of Israel, says, “Yet I will gather to him Others besides those who are gathered to him.”

    But the nations/foreigners who serve the Lord must also serve Zion/Jerusalem and the Judah’s inhabitants.

    Isaiah 56:3 The Gentiles shall come to your light, And kings to the brightness of your rising.
    The Foreigners will live under the rules of Zion/Jerusalem
    5 Then you shall see and become radiant, And your heart shall swell with joy; Because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, The wealth of the Gentiles shall come to you.
    The wealth of the nations will benefit Zion/Jerusalem
    10 “The sons of foreigners shall build up your walls, And their kings shall minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, But in My favor I have had mercy on you.
    The Foreigners will serve Zion/Jerusalem
    Isaiah 56:5 Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, And the sons of the foreigner Shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.
    The Foreigners will serve the Judah’s inhabitants

    The Matter

    In Isaiah, the Hebrews maintain their supremacy over foreigners.
    In the doctrine of Jesus, the Hebrews and the pagans are equal since they are brothers.

    Summary

    Simon and Andrew represent the Hebrews and the pagans called to enter the kingdom of God,
    Simon and Andre are brothers because in the kingdom of God there is only one community where the Hebrews and the pagans are equal.
    As disciples Simon and Andrew will be the leaders in charge of converting the Hebrews and the pagans according to the doctrine of Jesus

    James and John represent Israel, the people to whom God gives his word, the gift of God.
    These are the Hebrews who leave the law of Moses to join Jesus.

    According to the writer of Mark’s Gospel, Word of God is One because God is One.
    By this way, the doctrine of Jesus appears as a continuity and not a rupture.

    A problem seems to arise about the equality between the Hebrews and the pagans. Jesus is going to teach soon and make some clarifications, we will see.

    Next steps
    (Mark 1:1-20) The sea again, the wilderness, the time, John, Jesus

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