The Bible

Appropriation, Politics and Theology in the Gospel of Mark.

Appropriation, Politics and Theology in the Gospel of Mark

You search the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life;

and it is they who testify on my behalf

John 5.39

While it is impossible to ignore the theological weight of the New Testament, it is perhaps somewhat reductive to belittle the political ramifications of the text. From its very inception, Christianity self-consciously aimed to draw and build on a reservoir of Jewish (and other) religious traditions and philosophical patterns of thought. There are numerous examples of this appropriation of the Hebrew Bible in the gospels, but perhaps the most conspicuous instance is Christ's discourse in the Temple of Jerusalem, as described in Mark 12-13. Through a close examination of that passage this paper tries to show how Christ simultaneously uses and metamorphoses Jewish doctrine to syncretically create a religion that reflects his unique conception of God.

Unlike Paul, whose epistles are specifically directed towards helping followers remain strong in their faith, Mark does not overtly advertise his political intentions. However he too is intrinsically concerned with winning over the faithful, creating an "us" to counter the...

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