Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Mark 9.1 & Tom Hatina

And he said to them, "Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power."

What does this saying refer to?

Realized eschatology = Kingdom has already come in power (Dodd, Mann, Evans)
Pentecost (Bruce, Taylor, Dunn)
Parousia (Nineham, Hooker)
Resurrection (Hurtado, Waetjen, Kilgallen)
Transfiguration (Cranfield, Lane, Witherington)
Fall of Jerusalem (France, Plummer)
Jesus' teachings (Tolbert)
Jesus' death (Brower, Barnett, Wright, Bird)

Recent Thomas R. Hatina in the recent issue of Biblica has written an article entitled:

Who Will See "The Kingdom of God Coming with Power"in Mark 9,1 - Protagonists or Antagonists?

In conventional readings of Mark 9,1, the meaning of the "kingdom of God coming with power" determines the identity of the bystandarders who will supposedly experience ("see") it. Since the prediction of the kingdom is usually regarded as a blessing, it is assumed that the bystandards are protagonists. In contrast to this conventional approach, the reading proposed in this essay begins with the group(s) which will experience ("see") "the kingdom of God coming with power", first 9,1 and then in 13,26 and 14,62. When prior attention is given to these groups in the context of the narrative, Jesus' predicton in Mark 9,1 emerges not as a blessing promised to the protagonists, but as a threat of judgment aimed at antagonists.

Interesting, well argued, but naaah! I stick with my original view (which sadly for me Hatina does not cite).

In my article (Michael Bird, "The Crucifixion of Jesus as the Fulfillment of Mark 9:1," TrinJ 24.1 [2003]: 23-36)I side with Brower and Wright and go for the crucifixion view. I think this is tenable based on: (a) the link between the kingdom and Jesus' death in Mark 2.18-22; 14.22-25, 62; 15.1-40 (b) The cross for Mark is power in powerlessness; (c) the literary context of 8.31-9.13 is dominated by allusions to the cross - those who remain loyal in the death march to the cross will see the kingdom come in power; and (d) the promises of "some", "standing here" and "seeing" were fulfilled in the women who witnessed Jesus' execution.

This reminds me, I must read Hatina's article on Mark 13 which I've been meaning to do!

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