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The Authority of the Excluded: Mark's Challenge to a Rational Hermeneutics

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Chapter Summary

This chapter proposes a hypothesis about the meaning of Mark's Gospel that depends in turn on a hypothesis about its social setting. It deals with several problems that this Gospel raises for theoretical hermeneutics, specifically the relation of sociologically-oriented interpretation to theological Sachkritik. The chapter offers a fundamentally different account of the origins of Markan belief. Jesus heals the man by an act that combines law-breaking in a synagogue on the Sabbath, an angry and highly confrontational condemnation of law-oriented Judaism, a show of supernatural power, and a healing from physical distress. The centurion's remark suggests that Jesus' final moment was also a final revelation of his divinity, a revelation of his status as the representative of God on earth. Some Markan Jesus-followers might have believed that they had become members of the new chosen people merely by associating with the group who thought of themselves as Jesus-followers.

Keywords: Gospel; Jesus-followers; Judaism; Mark; rational hermeneutics; Sabbath



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