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The Gospel as a Passion Narrative with an Extended Introduction

Martin Kähler famously described Mark’s Gospel as a “passion narrative with an extended introduction” (The So-called Historical Jesus and the Historic, Biblical Christ, 80 n. 11). A disproportionate amount of space has been given to Jesus’s final week rather than his entire ministry or the thirty-some years that Jesus had lived beforehand. Indeed, Jesus’s death is already foreshadowed in Mark 2:19 and perhaps earlier if the beloved son in 1:11 is an allusion to the sacrifice of Isaac. However, this description may not take seriously enough the teachings (e.g. sayings, parables, legal debates) and example (e.g. miracles, acts of service) that he models before the Passion account.

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