29 Hours of Mark's Gospel

Saturday morning I leave for a week to lead a group session on Mk. 8-16 at a retreat/conference. I'm quite excited about this and as you might expect, I won't be blogging a whole lot next week. My schedule, as of now, consists of 29 hours of working through the second portion of Mark's narrative (though, I personally don't neatly divide it into 2 sections e.g. chapters 1-7 and the chapters 8-16). Even though that seems like a lot of time to get through the 42 pericopes in that portion of the story, I actually feel like it's still not enough hours! Regardless, this is the task at hand and I'll do my best to achieve the goal before me. After sitting down and working through some planning, here's a rough draft of my schedule:

* Saturday: Travel & Prepare
* Sunday: 4p-6:30p (Introductions, Recaps, Mk. 8.1-30); 7:30p-10p (Mk. 9.2-50)
* Monday: 9:30a-12:30p (Mk. 10.1-52); 4p-6:30p (Mk. 11.1-33)
* Tuesday: 9:30a-12:30p (Mk. 12.1-44); 4p-6:30p (Mk. 13.1-37); 7:45p-9:45p (Mk. 14.1-42)
* Wednesday: 9:30a-12:30p (Mk. 14.43-15.20); 4p-6:30p (Mk. 15.21-47)
* Thursday: 9:30a-12:30p (Mk. 16.1-20); 4p-6:30p (Review Mk.1-16, themes, theology, thoughts, resources)
* Friday: Travel Home

Hopefully, once I get home, I'll be able to share some of the great things that transpired over this week of study!


New Blog: The Golden Rule

It's been a while since I've utilized this feature of Pisteuomen, but I'm proud to resurrect it and bring it back to life, the feature is: A Beginning Blogger. I started this feature for the following reasons (here's what I wrote in the initial piece about it): "...I realize how tough it is to get people to visit your site, comment, add you to their blogroll, etc. Now, I've done a lot to make my blog both resource and user-friendly and I believe that's contributed to its success but it might have also helped if some more well-known persons helped draw attention to Pisteuomen. Well, with the conviction that the biblio-blogosphere is not about constantly catering to the egos of a select few or having to be around for years in order to make it (among other things, like creating a resourceful, edifying online community), I thought I'd add this feature."

The Beginning Blogger that I'd like to mention today is Mike Koke. Mike maintains the blog "The Golden Rule". Here's his impetus for blogging: " wanted to start this blog as a safe place to explore early Christian diversity, where no one is insulted and no comment is censored (except for spam or harrassing posts). I agree with John Dominic Crossan's comment on the heated rhetoric of the "Jesus Wars" when he writes, "It is, however, only a small part of the recent shift from academic argumentation (I will make your case as accurate and strong as I can before I demolish it) to political argumentation (I will make your case as dumb and silly as I can before I demolish you)." We should all approach the Bible with humility and be willing to engage with different perspectives. I want to learn from any scholar who can help me come closer to the text, whether the scholar is NT Wright and Ben Witherington or Burton Mack and the Jesus Seminar. I hope this can be a place where we can all treat each other with the Golden Rule."

Mike says of himself: "I graduated with a BA in Religion and Theology with a Specialization in Biblical studies from Taylor University College and am just finishing an MA in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta. I hope to apply for a PhD in the Fall and use scholarship as a tool for ministry." In terms of blogging, so far, Mike has written some great posts on Historical Jesus issues, How to 'do' history and The Parting of the Ways. His blog can be found by clicking the following link: The Golden Rule. Be sure to give his blog a look and leave him a word of encouragement!


Why Jesus Was Baptized: Studies in Mark, Pt. 90

Here is the audio (pre-recorded) version of the paper that I gave at SCJ today. The title, which partially shares this post's title, is "Why Jesus Was Baptized: Immersed in Mark's Story & Culture". You will note that my view in this paper/lecture is quite different than the view that I offered in Study #10 of my "Studies in Mark" series. Anyway, give it a listen (or click the link below to download the mp3) and let me know your thoughts.

Why Jesus Was Baptized: Immersed in Mark's Story & Culture


SCJ Conference 2009 Papers

This weekend I'll be attending the Stone-Campbell Journal Conference where I'm giving a paper titled "Why Jesus Was Baptized: Immersed in Mark's Story & Culture". Here are the schedule and titles of other papers that others are giving, some of them look really interesting!

(You may need to use your browser controls to zoom in for reading)


Saturday: A Meditation

Today Lord, Saturday, life seems more dialectic than usual. On one side of me stands a grievous cross and on the other, an empty tomb. If I look back to yesterday, I see the desertion of a few who were close to you but when I ponder the faithfulness that billions offer you today, I am hopeful. A glance backwards to Golgotha reminds me of the lies that led to your execution while a glance toward the Parousia strengthens my confidence that you are the Truth. If the past didn't matter, then neither would the present or the future, Lord. Darkness was over the land but a Light lives in the world. The tension of today, Saturday, the day we have to wait, is an exasperating tension. I'm pulled back and forth. I'm stretched to and fro. Tell? Don't tell? Go? Stay put? Trust? Hide? I was far but now I'm close. Dirty hands have been made clean and a malformed heart been bent toward You. What holds this day, Saturday, together? Is it the tension? Is it the questions? Is it the hopes? Is it the wonder? What is it? I'm in between days Lord but I also feel like I'm in the presence of eternity today. Does that mean that I'm in the palm of your hand?


The Irony of Palm Sunday: Studies in Mark, Pt. 89

Here's a sermon that I delivered at the church I'm currently attending. It was last Sunday (Palm Sunday) and covers Mk. 11.1-11. Let me know what you think.


Exploring The Gospel of Mark (Syneidon Podcast)

Many thanks to Mark Goodacre for pointing out Syneidon's recent podcast on the Gospel of Mark. In this installation, Robert Foster and Richard Goode from the SYNEIDON Research Project at the University of Birmingham, begin their exploration of this year’s Lectionary Gospel, the Gospel of Mark.

This episode looks at the structure and style of Mark, the things which make Mark distinctive from the other Gospels. It also includes the first part of an interview with Professor David Parker (University of Birmingham) who takes us through some of the literary characteristics of Mark’s writing. The podcasts will also feature recommended and books and resources to help further your exploration of a fascinating and influential little book.

You can listen to the podcast by clicking the play button on the music player below:


Key Figures in Markan History (1947-1968): Studies in Mark, Pt. 88

This is the second listing concerning “Key Figures in Markan History” and the first one can be found HERE which covers the years 1900-1949. However, there is some overlap between these two posts as the last prominent person I listed in the previous post was from the year 1942. These are, in my opinion, the key figures in Markan exegesis during this time span. Let me know if I missed anyone you would include and if so, why I should include them.

· (1947) Joachim Jeremias: Jeremias was interested in the search for the historical Jesus and is noted for his attempt to get back to the very words of Jesus (ipsissima verba). He paid close attention Jesus’ linguistic mannerisms and wrote a lot on the parables. In his NT Theology (1970) he argued that Mk. is written in primitive Greek and is quite unsophisticated (an argument many would later disagree with).
· (1947) Morton S. Enslin: Wrote “The Artistry of Mark” contending that Mark’s “canvas” is laced with creativity and is a beautiful piece of work.
· (1951) Austin M. Farrer: He wrote extensively on Mk. and was one of the first to really urge that Mk’s narrative must first be seen as a “whole” and not as “pieces”; the “pieces” come later. He was very interested in Mark as a numerologist and typologist. He also wrote “On Dispensing with Q”.
· (1952) Philip Carrington: Argued that Mark was composed in Galilee and as such, was focused / modeled on the Jewish religious calendar. It was later adapted in Rome to the Julian calendar. Carrington argued that in Mk. there is no notion of the end of the world because everything occurs within history.
· (1952) Vincent Taylor: Wrote a lot on Mark’s Gospel and suggested that the Gospels grew in 3 stages: 1) oral traditions, 2) traditions gathered and written, and 3) the writing of the Gospels. He also argued for Aramaic backgrounds for Mk.
· (1953) Wilfrid L. Knox: Contended that Mark was a poor writer, especially of Greek and simply producing popular stories where He placed Jesus as the main character.
· (1954) Harold A. Guy: Wrote extensively on Mk. and is known for positing the theory that Mark was not merely a compiler but also an editor.
· (1954) George R. Beasley-Murray, Hans Conzelmann & William Barclay: All produced well-known works on Mark’s Gospel.
· (1955) John C. Fenton: Wrote about the relationship between Jesus and Mary in Mk. as well as the comparisons of Paul’s and Mark’s Christologies and Ideologies.
· (1956) Willi Marxsen: The pioneer of applying redaction criticism to Mark’s Gospel (despite hints of this in Reimarus, Wrede and Lightfoot already). His work led to the views of others that eventually argued that Mk. was written as a corrective to pseudo-Christology.
· (1956) James M. Robinson: Probably most famous for the “New Quest” for Jesus, he wrote on Mk. and popularized the “trajectory approach” which has been widely influential in Christian social ethics and theology.
· (1957) Gottfried Schille: Contended that Mk. was a catechetical document and guide.
· (1957) Annie Jaubert: She was well known for her work The Date of the Last Supper where she urged that readers must acknowledge the difference between the Essene’s solar calendar and the official lunar calendar.
· (1958) Robert Morgenthaler: Was the first to really popularize a statistical approach to Mk.
· (1959) Charles E. B. Cranfield: Wrote and discussed Mk. widely and ignored both form criticism and wild interpretations of Mk. He accepts early traditions and argued for eyewitness accounts.
· (1959) Curtis Beach: One of the first to compare and classify Mk. as ancient Greek tragedy. His thesis is very provocative.
· (1959) Walter Grundmann: Wrote a commentary on Mk. and is known for his joining forces with the Nazi party and arguing that Jesus’ ancestry was Aryan.
· (1961) Paul Winter: A Jewish scholar who strove to remind scholarship of the Jewishness of Jesus. He wrote the popular “On the Trial of Jesus” and there referred to Mk. a great deal.
· (1961) Johannes Schreiber: He wrote tons of stuff on Mk. and focused quite a bit on the spiritual realm in Mk. He found connections between Mark and Paul. He was the first to suggest that in Mk., there are competing Christologies.
· (1961) J. B. Tyson: Is known for his “The Blindness of the Disciples in Mark” where he drew on the theory of A. Kuby.
· (1962) Thomas W. Manson: Another scholar who wrote a lot on Mk. He saw Mk. as a biographical sketch.
· (1962) Robert M. Wilson: Wrote quite a bit on Mk. and believed that a chronology could be discovered in Mk.
· (1962) Paul S. Minear: Is noted for his many works on Mk. and for pioneering a new literary approach to the Gospel.
· (1963) T. Alec Burkill: He argued that Mark was a clumsy writer and a document in which history submits to theology. He is noted as paying attention to Mark’s emphasis on “threes”.
· (1963)
Dennis E. Nineham: He suggested that there was very little consistency in Mark’s writing abilities and that the Gospel was a bunch of unconnected paragraphs with hardly any connection.
· (1963) Etienne Trocme: A French exegete who wrote a lot on Mk. and divided it into two major parts. Chapters 1-13 were composed by a leader of a Palestinian Christian movement and chapters 14-16 were portions of a 2nd edition of Mk.
· (1963) Werner G. Kummel: Argued that the sources of Mk. were a gospel of Peter, a twelve source, a short Mk. combined from numerous sources and a redactor, an Aramaic source, a Galilean redactor using Mt. and Lk., and a miracle source (among other sources).
· (1964) Edward Schweizer: Focused a lot on Mark’s theology & structure and loved analyzing word statistics.
· (1965) Alfred Suhl: One of the first to really focus on Mark’s use of the Old Testament in his narrative.
· (1965) Ernest P. Best: A prolific Markan scholar who used “composition criticism” and saw Mark as an artist and/or conductor of sorts. He also viewed Mark as a great storyteller and a natural dramatist. He urged readers to take Mk. as a whole.
· (1965) John W. Bowman: Saw Mk. as a Christian Haggadah.
· (1967) Kurt Niederwimmer: Wrote a lot on Mk. and heavily criticized Mark’s lack of geographical knowledge (e.g. of Palestine).
· (1967) Morna D. Hooker: She has written extensively on Mk. and compares Mk. to a drama. She argues for the “reading aloud” of Mk.
· (1967) Jan Lambrecht: Emphasized the movements of Jesus in Mk. towards Jerusalem.
· (1967) Wilfrid J. Harrington: He has written scores of stuff on Mk. and argues that Mark was a great storyteller.
· (1968) Theodore J. Weeden: Wrote an interesting thesis on Mk. that explored competing Christologies in Mark’s community. He wrote “The Heresy that Necessitated Mark’s Gospel”.
· (1968) Rudolph Pesch: A Catholic exegete, he has written very influential studies, commentaries and articles on Mk.
· (1968) Michael D. Goulder: Has written a lot on the parables and arranges the Gospels according to a liturgical calendar whereat the climax focuses on Easter

This post has also been added to the "Studies in Mark" page here on Pisteuomen.


Key Figures in Markan History (1900-1949): Studies in Mark, Pt. 87

Recently, I have been working through the history of the interpretation of Mark's Gospel in the twentieth century (so, S. P. Kealy). Below is a list, in my opinion, of the "key" figures in Markan exegesis in the years ranging from 1900-1949. Let me know if I missed anyone you would include and if so, why I should include them.

· (1900) Benjamin W. Bacon: Bacon is “often called the founder and pioneer of American biblical criticism” despite the fact that he never achieved a PhD and still claims that he could not pass Yale examinations today. He wrote a lot on the Synoptics, an introduction to the NT and a also a work on its creation. One of his most famous Markan works was: The Beginnings of the Gospel Story: A Historico-Critical Inquiry into the Sources and Structure of the Gospel According to Mark. Perhaps two of his most influential works, however, were: Is Mark A Roman Gospel? and The Gospel of Mark: Its Composition and Date.
· (1901) William Wrede: Wrede’s influence on Markan studies has been massive as he was the first to develop what is referred to as “The Messianic Secret”. He wrote a book titled The Messianic Secret in the Gospels that is still popular over 100 years later.
· (1901) Albert Schweitzer: The infamous theologian turned medical missionary was known for many things including the argument that in Mark’s narrative, Jesus is depicted as going to Jerusalem to force God’s hand (to bring in the eschaton). He disagreed with Wrede’s view of the “secret”.
· (1906) Francis Crawford Burkitt: He succeeded C. H. Dodd and published a work about an early Syriac version of Mark’s Gospel that would pave the way for conversations about Aramaic & Mark later on.
· (1910) Marie-Joseph LaGrange: He was very influential in furthering the view that Mark was completely dependent upon Peter’s testimony (though Mark was still an author in his own right). LaGrange emphasized the Semitic elements of Mk. and argued that it was basically, Aramaic catechesis. His 1910 commentary is still an invaluable resources in many respects today.
· (1911) W. Erbt: One of the first modern German scholars to argue that Mark’s narrative is based on a solar scheme. He divided the story into 28 sections and compared them to the solar calendar.
· (1913) Wilhelm Bousset: Bousset is probably most influential because he was the first to write up a full-blown study that approached Christology through titles applied to Jesus. He had some odd thoughts about Mark’s story, basically discounted anything miraculous and explored the relationship between Paul and Mark.
· (1915) Clyde W. Votaw: Votaw explored the notion of Mark as biography and from there, went on to assert that the Gospels are not interested in sharing history as much as they are with putting forth theological propaganda; the writers arranged their stories to fit their agendas. Clearly, Votaw’s findings would lead to a lot of later discussion that would come up in literary and theological circles.
· (1919) Karl L. Schmidt: Schmidt was a pioneer in the area of form criticism (regarding Mark). He was one of the first to contend that the story reflects the Church’s situation rather than the life and/or life situation of Jesus. He called this “Kleinliteratur”.
· (1919) Martin F. Dibelius: Another leader in the form-critical movement, Dibelius argued that the Gospels were meant to be preached, not reviewed as historical accounts. He viewed Peter as the source of Mark’s Gospel and divided the text into 5 main sections (paradigms, novella, miracle stories, legends, myths).
· (1921) Rudolf K. Bultmann: Bultmann wrote a significant commentary on Mark and is most famous in this regard, for trying to peel away the layers of tradition in Mk.
· (1923) Martin Werner: He wrote Der Einfluss paulinisher Theologie im Markusevangelium and was noted for drawing links between Mark and the Pauline epistles.
· (1924) Cuthbert H. Turner: He wrote a commentary on Mark and contended that it was an autobiographical account based on Peter’s testimony. He said that Mk. was, historically speaking, “the most important book ever written”.
· (1925) Alfred E. J. Rawlinson: He focused a lot on the demonic sphere in Mark’s story. He was well known for his emphasis on the roughness of Mark’s Greek which is still a common argument today.
· (1927) George F. Moore: While he didn’t write a ton on Mark’s text, he was very influential in that he was one who was first arguing for a Jewish Jesus and trying to present Judaism on its own terms.
· (1930) Arthur T. Cadoux: He is most famous for pioneering a new phase in parable criticism and had a lot to say about this in regards to Mark’s narrative. He is also known for asserting that Jesus never interpreted His own parables but that the later disciples did that.
· (1932) Charles H. Dodd: He followed Cadoux in his parable criticism and is well known for trying to draw a fine line between the Early Church’s Kerygma and its Didache (preaching and teaching). He is also known for defending the importance of historical events for Christianity.
· (1934) Robert H. Lightfoot: He believed that Mark’s story was not linked by chronology but theology and this of course, would be the impetus for redaction studies that would soon follow. He is very well known for his book Locality and Doctrine in the Gospels (1938) where he spawned a lot of discussion about the connections between geography, narrative and theology. He was influenced by Lohmeyer, of course.
· (1936) Ernst Lohmeyer: Lohmeyer was a pioneer in attempting to make headway into the geographical localities in Mark’s story. He divided the narrative along these lines (which most still do today) as well as Jesus’ mission. He drew sharp distinction between Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and His passion in Judea.
· (1936) Charles C. Torrey: He argued that (Greek) Mark was a straightforward interpretation of an Aramaic original. He is responsible for much of the discussion that still goes on concerning this matter today.
· (1937) John Chapman: Argued that Matthew was THE source of Mark’s Gospel account.
· (1942) Nels W. Lund: Noted for developing the concept of “chiasmus” in Mark’s narrative.


First Theologian To Die In A Plane Crash

Okay, so, earlier today, I posted a quiz question on Facebook and it has still yet to be answered correctly, so, I thought I'd add the riddle here. The question is: Who was the first (biblical) theologian to die in a plane crash? Some of the wrong answers were: Jesus, God, Pontius Pilot/Pilate and Buddy Holly. Those were quite funny in the context of the discussion but come on people, doesn't anyone out there know this? Take a shot at it and post your answer in the comments section of this post.

Free Journals During April

Sage Journals (a sort of aggregate of thousands of academic / scholarly journals) is offering another one of its free "journals for a month" deals. All you have to do is register and voila...you're done and you have access to literally tens of thousands of articles. Click on the banner below to register. You have up until the end of the month to do so (no, this is not an April Fools Day joke).