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Chapter Five: Implications for the Historian

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Chapter Summary

This chapter determines how familiar Mark was with the Jewish leadership groups of Jesus' time, where he received his knowledge about them, and how he used this information in constructing the framework of his narrative line. It deals with three chronological levels of Markan material: the latest level that of redaction, preceded by the level of written or oral sources, with the earliest level that of historical reality. Mark is not necessarily devoid of "solid historical fact", but the intermingling of layers of developing tradition and later redactional concerns makes it difficult to distinguish and disentangle the trustworthy from the questionable. Furthermore, even the three pre-Markan sources may reflect adaptation of traditions to the theological and socio-political needs of the early church. The scribes and Pharisees are first distinguished because Mark permits them the greatest degree of independence of all the conspiratorial groups.

Keywords: early church; Jesus; Jewish leadership; Mark; Pharisees; scribes; solid historical fact



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