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Paul and Mark on the Death of Jesus

Here is another article I published on the Apostle Paul (and Mark). It is entitled “Does Mark Narrate the Pauline Kerygma of ‘Christ Crucified’? Challenging an Emerging Consensus on Mark as a Pauline Gospel” JSNT 37.2 (2014): 139-160. The abstract is as follows:

An increasing number of scholars situate the Gospel of Mark within the Pauline sphere of influence. The centrality of Mark’s Passion story may lend itself to this interpretation, and Mark’s Gospel is frequently read as a narrativization of the Pauline kerygma [proclamation] on the vicarious death of Jesus. I intend to challenge this academic paradigm, drawing attention to the areas where the similarities have been exaggerated or the major differences overlooked in comparisons between Paul and Mark on this theme. Against the supposition that Mark’s emphasis on the soteriological significance of the crucifixion of Jesus can only be explained with reference to Paul, I will argue that the evangelist’s social location on the margins may account for the preoccupation with the redemptive value of Jesus’ suffering.

The majority view seems to be that Mark has been influenced by Paul’s theology, but I think that a detailed comparison between the two reveals some significant differences that cannot be easily swept aside. I accept that there is some terminological and conceptual overlap between the two authors and that they participated in the wider Jesus movement, but I would prefer to treat them as distinctive theologians addressing different social contexts. I hope there will be more interaction with my article. I was delighted to see it footnoted in a recent article by Jan Lambrecht entitled “Paul and the Last Supper in Mark – A New Hypothesis” (available here), even though the author disagrees with me in arguing that Mark edited the tradition that is found in 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 rather than seeing Mark and Paul as passing on two independent traditions about Jesus’ last supper or the Eucharist.

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