Monday, November 08, 2010

Mark 13 and 14-15: United Between Them

Just reading through Dale C. Allison's The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus, very interesting read in terms of looking at Allison's intellectual biography that comes through the book.

My interest here is the links that Allison makes between the Marcan eschatological discourse (Mark 13) and the Marcan passion sequence (Mark 14-15). He writes:

"As for the relationship between Mark's account of the crucifixion and Jesus' own expectations, our Evangelist has constructed a striking series of correlations between his eschatological discourse, Mark 13, and the chapters it introduces, 14 as well as 15. 13:24 foretells that the sun will go dark, and this happens when Jesus is on the cross (15:33). 13:2 prophesies that the temple will be destroyed, whereas its veil is torn apart two chapters later (15:38). 13:9 foresees that the disciples will be 'delivered up,' will appear before Jewish councils, will be beaten, and will stand before governors, all of which happens to Jesus soon enough (14:41, 53-65; 15:1-15). 13:35-36 admonishes the disciples to 'watch ... lest the master come and find them sleeping,' and in Gethsemane, after Jesus tells his disciples to 'watch,' he comes and finds them sleeping (14:34-42). These and other parallels reveal that for Mark the eschatological discourse and Passion narrative are of a piece: Jesus' death belongs to eschatology. His demise either foreshadows the latter days, or it inaugurates them" (p. 27).

This observation about the links between Mark 13 and 14-15 is well documented and exploited further (though at times a bit too far) by Peter Bolt's gem of a book The Cross from a Distance: Atonement in Mark's Gospel. Further links can be made with the coming of the Son of Man and the reference to the "abomination of desolation" that Bolt is able to relate to the passion story. It means, in the very least, that Mark 14-15 can be interpreted in light of Mark 13.

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