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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cool Markan Tidbits

This liturgical year we are hearing from the Gospel of Mark. So I have been doing a little work on some literary tidbits that might shed light on the Gospel of Mark.

- Book Ends -
There are these bookends that give us the theme of Mark's Gospel. At the Baptism of Jesus and at the Crucifixion we see 5 things. I quote the Baptism verses and the Crucifixion verses at the end of the 5.

#1 Jesus links his baptism with his crucifixion. evidence of this is in:
Mark 10:38-39 But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking for. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?" 39 And they said to Him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you shall drink; and you shall be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized.
Luke 12:50 "But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is accomplished!

#2 We see at both his Baptism and Crucifixion that there is a confession that Jesus is the Son of God, first by God the Father and then by the Roman Centurion.

#3 We see at both his baptism and crucifixion that there is a tearing first of heaven, and then of the Temple curtain - they were both torn (Gk: skizoed) - or torn open or opened.

#4 Finally Both the confession of the sonship of Jesus and heaven opening originate from heaven at the Baptism, but at the crucifixion they are done here on earth (the centurion confessing, and the temple curtain ripping), so a movement from heaven to earth.

Now reread these sections of Mark with these things in mind and you will see how loaded these few passages are.
Baptism of Jesus
Mark 1:9-11 In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And when he came up out of the water, immediately he saw the heavens opened and the Spirit descending upon him like a dove; 11 and a voice came from heaven, "Thou art my beloved Son; with thee I am well pleased."
Mark 15:37-39 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that he thus breathed his last, he said, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"

- Multiplication of the Loaves outlined -
1 - Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:31-44) Feeding of the Four Thousand (8:1-9)
2 - Crossing the Lake (6:45 - 52) Crossing the Lake (8:10a)
3 - Landing at Gennesaret (6:53 - 56) Landing at Dalmanthu (8:10b)
4 - Controversy with Pharisees (7:1-23) Controversy with Pharisees (8:11-13)
5 - Dialogue with Syro-Phoenician Dialogue with disciples about the bread
woman about bread (7:24-30) miracles (8:14-21)
6 - Cure of deaf-mute (7:31-37) Cure of a blind man (8:22-26)
(From the Jerome Biblical Commentary - I don't recommend it)

- Took - Blessed - Broke - Gave -
Both multiplication of the Loaves stories have Jesus doing these 4 verbs - taking the bread, blessing (giving thanks) over it, braking it, and giving it to his disciple to give to everyone else.
These same 4 verbs are used at the Last Supper with the Eucharist. Linking the miraculous nature of the multiplication of the loaves with that of the Eucharistic Supper.

My friend Brad Elliot pointed out to me that these 4 words are Incarnational as well, and are a summery of the Gospel. How Jesus takes on humanity, blesses it with his divinity, brakes it on the cross, and then gives himself to us in the Eucharist.
- Markan Sandwiches -

A Markan Sandwich is a literary technique where Mark interrupts a story with what appears to be an unrelated story, but of course they are related.
A few examples:
The healing of Jairus's daughter in Mark 5: 21-43
He is asked to come heal this little girl
On the way this lady touches his garment and is healed.
He continues on his way to heal Jairus's daughter.

Jesus and the two kingdoms Mark 6: 7 - 31
Jesus send out the 12 apostles
Herod puts John the Baptist to death
The apostles return from being sent out.
I will add to this list later.


Todd said...

Dan, I hope you get this, otherwise I may have to hunt you down at the Catholic Shop. This weekend at the Great Adventure Bible Study at St. Gertrude, there was a bit of side-tracking, and someone pulled out a reference from the Jerome Bible commentary (I now know why you don't recommend it), that the equating of the BVM with the "womand clothed with the sun" was a middle-ages invention, and that the early church fathers only recognized it as a reference to Israel or the Church, an interpretation scholars are "recovering." I know in my gut that this is not true. I've found several references that the early fathers gave a 3-fold interpretation to the woman clothed with the Sun, but need some help with actual quotes from early fathers. Can you suggest any?

Dan said...

Two things Todd

#1 Quodvultdeus of Carthage (died 450AD) said that Mary was the woman of Revelation 12.

#2 The book of Revelation was sort of suspect as Scripture until the late 300's when the church proclaimed its canonicity. So I don't think there were tons of people diving into it before that time like they would after the late 300's.

Just my thoughts on that.
As far as quotes go, you will have to buy above mentioned guys book on Revelation.

Does this help?