Mark: An Introduction and Study Guide
Shaping the Life and Legacy of Jesus
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Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
This Guide reads the Gospel of Mark as a 1st-century CE story about Jesus, for his followers, and against tyranny or the abusive use of power. First, the book shows students how the Gospel uses the form of a traditional laudatory biography (a `Life') to reshape the memory of the shame-ridden trials and suffering of Jesus. Such a biography portrayed Jesus' descent (as a son of God), his deeds, and his heroic death, dispelling any notion that the teacher Jesus was a charlatan or huckster. Second, Smith demonstrates how the Gospel devotes a great deal of space to Jesus' training of his disciples - as he calls, commissions, and corrects them in preparation for the difficult moments of their journey. Third, Smith highlights the Gospel's special characterizations of Jesus - as a prophetic envoy, a man of authority, and a philosophical hero - contrasting Jesus' use of power with the abusive use of power by Rome's representatives (Herod Antipas and Pilate).