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The Persecution of the Markan Christian Community

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Chapter Summary

Mark deals with the persecution of Christians most extensively in Mk 13:9-13. Previously to that, in Mk 8:34-9:1, Mark's Jesus emphatically cautions his disciples that following him means that one has to be prepared to die because of one's faith. Further, the evangelist refers to the persecution of Christians in the parable of the sower and its interpretation in Mk 4:1-20, and in Jesus' conversation with the disciples about the rewards of discipleship in Mk 10:23-31. This chapter indicates that Mark's Gospel was written for a Christian community that suffered persecution. A redaction-critical analysis of Mk 4:17, 8:34-35, 10:29-30, and 13:9-13 shows that the evangelist expanded the tradition known to him by elaborating the persecution theme. These redactional revisions of the traditional material indicate that Mark had a special interest in the topic of the persecution of Christians.

Keywords: Christian community; discipleship; Jesus' conversation; Mark's Gospel; persecution of Christians; redaction-critical analysis



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