The Homeric Epics And The Gospel Of Mark

Overview

In this groundbreaking book, Dennis R. MacDonald offers an entirely new view of the New Testament gospel of Mark. The author of the earliest gospel was not writing history, nor was he merely recording tradition, MacDonald argues. Close reading and careful analysis show that Mark borrowed extensively from the Odyssey and the Iliad and that he wanted his readers to recognize the Homeric antecedents in Mark's story of Jesus. Mark was composing a prose anti-epic, MacDonald says, presenting Jesus as a suffering hero ...
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Overview

In this groundbreaking book, Dennis R. MacDonald offers an entirely new view of the New Testament gospel of Mark. The author of the earliest gospel was not writing history, nor was he merely recording tradition, MacDonald argues. Close reading and careful analysis show that Mark borrowed extensively from the Odyssey and the Iliad and that he wanted his readers to recognize the Homeric antecedents in Mark's story of Jesus. Mark was composing a prose anti-epic, MacDonald says, presenting Jesus as a suffering hero modeled after but far superior to traditional Greek heroes.

Much like Odysseus, Mark's Jesus sails the seas with uncomprehending companions, encounters preternatural opponents, and suffers many things before confronting rivals who have made his house a den of thieves. In his death and burial, Jesus emulates Hector, although unlike Hector Jesus leaves his tomb empty. Mark's minor characters, too, recall Homeric predecessors: Bartimaeus emulates Tiresias; Joseph of Arimathea, Priam; and the women at the tomb, Helen, Hecuba, and Andromache. And, entire episodes in Mark mirror Homeric episodes, including stilling the sea, walking on water, feeding the multitudes, the Triumphal Entry, and Gethsemane. The book concludes with a discussion of the profound significance of this new reading of Mark for understanding the gospels and early Christianity.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300172614
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2010
  • Pages: 274
  • Sales rank: 760,634
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.62 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Mark and Mimesis 1
2 Carpenters Who Suffer Many Things 15
3 Foolish Companions 20
4 Sons of Thunder 24
5 Murderous Usurpers 33
6 Recognitions 44
7 Sleeping Sailors 55
8 Speluncular Savages 63
9 Femmes Fatales 77
10 Feasts for Thousands 83
11 Transfigurations 91
12 Blind Seers 97
13 Untriumphal Entries 102
14 Anointing Women 111
15 Water Carriers 120
16 Last Suppers before Hades 124
17 Death Predictions 131
18 Violent Deaths 135
19 Hydropatetics 148
20 Rescued Corpses 154
21 Tombs at Dawn 162
22 Conclusion 169
App. 1 Homer's Story of Odysseus 191
App. 2 The Beginnings of the Odyssey and the Gospel of Mark 194
App. 3 The Endings of the Iliad and the Gospel of Mark 198
Abbreviations 201
Notes 203
Bibliography 245
Index 257
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