Ben, Matt








Main Topic

The distinction between reality and truth is a modern distinction. The gospels aren't history is the modern sense.

That doesn't mean Jesus didn't exist or didn't do miracles. Theological narrative is tied to history.

Mark is apocalyptic literature, a type of Jewish literature about the battle between order and chaos.

Elements of apocalyptic literature

  1. Ritual holds back chaos.
  2. It's a cycle.

Mark's three narratives

  1. Life of Christ
  2. Christ relived the story of Israel
  3. The early church living that out through liturgy and ritual.

The physical Resurrection is the ultimate victory of order over chaos.

Ben discussed this topic in a class with Charles Bobertz, who is writing a book on the subject. Published in 2016: The Gospel of Mark


The Tempation

  • Mark 1:12-13
  • Driven into the wilderness for 40 days like Israel's 40 years
  • Ritualistic meals: Israel was ministered to with manna, Jesus was ministered to by angels

Mark's point is not to document what Jesus did after his baptism. The tempation may or may not have happened historically, and it doesn't matter if it did: what matters is that Jesus is historically the Messiah and physically died and resurrected.

Rituals hold back the darkness: the rituals of manna and the Eucharist fight against evil

Peter's mother-in-law healed, demons cast out

  • Mark 1:29-34
  • The disciples go from a synagogue to a home, paralleling the Church
  • Apocalyptic renewal (mother-in-law physically healed)
  • Ritual meal
  • When the sabbath ends, Jesus casts out demons

Minor details can have major significance.

Matt asks if it's significant to Catholicism that the house they go to is Peter's.

Jesus calming the storm

  • Ministry moves from Jews to Gentiles
  • Jesus wakes up and saves the disciples, paralleling the Resurrection
  • The disciples react in the same way the women do after the Resurrection

Ben calls Mark "the Yoko Ono of early Christianity".

The Last Supper

  • Mark 14:17-26

The ending of Mark

Most scholars think the original ending of Mark is when the women find the empty tomb.

Dr. Bobertz's theory is that the ending of Mark is at the beginning: Mark 1:35-39. "Rising" in verse 35 is the same Greek word as "resurrection".

  1. Solves the problem of the ending of the book
  2. The apocalyptic genre is circular
  3. The dual nature of the narrative


Matt is listening to Macbeth. Ben recommends reading chapter summaries, then reading each scene with footnotes that explain the language.