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Mk 1,1-15 Als Prolog Des Ersten Idealbiographischen Evangeliums Von Jesus Christus

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image of Biblical Interpretation

Twentieth-century narrative methods and ancient rhetorical techniques are brought to bear upon the Markan prologue to show how it guides the reader in approaching the rest of the work. Comparison with contemporary literature shows that Mark 1:1-15 fits the standard form of an ancient prologue, especially that of the Hellenistic ideal biography. The main theme of the prologue is Jesus' coming to John, who was advocating conversion and a purificatory baptism. The installation of Jesus as Son of God follows in a surprising way. Jesus' "way" to John is superseded by his own "way" in his public activity. Like the motif of the "way," all the themes of the prologue are developed and expanded in the main part of the Gospel. The model of the Old Testament prophet (John) is trans-formed by Jesus in an original blending of this role with those of the suffering servant of God, the messianic Son of God, the wise interpreter of the Law, and the Hellenistic itinerant philosopher. The reader must construct his or her own concept of Jesus' role on the basis of this variety. The reader's profile of Jesus correlates with his or her own experience. A believing reader familiar with the scriptures will construct a full, critical reading and find identification with the disciples congenial. The naive reader with no commitment will find identification with the crowd more congenial. With its timeless narrative structure and its time-bound rhetorical structure, the Gospel provides an extensive range of possibilities for constructed readings. The decision of faith is to be made not at the beginning, but at the end of the process of reading.

Affiliations: 1: Westfälische Wilhelrns-Universität Münster


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