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A Passion Narrative from the Jerusalem Church?

To return to the subject of whether or not the evangelist Mark drew on a pre-existing Passion Narrative, Rudolf Pesch endeavored to reconstruct an extended Passion source and date it back to the Jerusalem church in the 30s CE in Das Markusevangelium: Teil 2, Einleitung und Kommentar zu Kap. 8,27-16,20 (HTKNT; Freiburg: Herder, 1977) 1-25 and “The Gospel in Jerusalem: Mark 14:12-26 as the Oldest Tradition of the Early Church” in The Gospel and the Gospels (ed. Peter Stuhlmacher; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991) 106-148. He discerns an interconnected literary source beginning at Mark 8:27-33 (Peter’s confession) and consisting of 9:2-13, 30-35; 10:1, 32-34, 46-52; 11:1-23, 27-33; 12:1-12, 13-17, 34c, 35-37, 41-44; 13:1-2; 14:1-16:8. These verses were organized into an outline of thirteen parts with three subsections each (see his outline charted in Markusevangelium, 15-16). This Passion source included Jesus’s last Paschal meal in an integrated narrative from the sacrifice of the lamb and the preparation of the meal (14:12-16) to the singing the Hallel Psalms (14:26) (“Gospel in Jerusalem,” 117-139). Pesch locates the source in Jerusalem based on its familiarity with topography of Jerusalem and surrounding areas, the individuals named who were part of the Jerusalem church, the Semitisms, and the knowledge of the Hebrew Bible (15:34). He dates it before 37 CE because Paul allegedly had knowledge of the Supper within its narrative context (1 Corinthians 11:23-25); the fact that the high priest is not named (contra Matthew 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2) presupposes familiarity with him and that he may have even been the current high priest at the time of writing. He adds that the Passion source treated Pilate with the same familiarity by not including the title governor (contra Matthew 27:2, 11; Luke 3:3).

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