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Hapless Disciples and Exemplary Minor Characters in the Gospel of Mark

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses that a readiness to suffer is an expression of faithfulness that offers the Markan audience a confirmation of their standing as legitimate followers of Jesus, in contrast to those who may have not yet fully embraced the cost of discipleship. It examines ten passages in Mark that highlight this theme (4:17; 8:34-9:1; 9:38-41; 10:28-31, 35-40; 13:9-13; 14:3-9, 26-50, 15:20b-24, 39), as well as Mark's concluding pericope about the silent women fleeing from the empty tomb (16:1-8). The chapter considers concerns how the negative depictions of the twelve disciples play a role in Mark's construal of readiness to suffer as an indication of standing as Christ's follower. It provides a way forward beyond the false dichotomies of construing Mark as either hortatory or polemical, christological or anti-heretical that have characterized much of Markan scholarship in the last four decades.

Keywords: Jesus; Mark; negative depictions; twelve disciples



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