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Title: Jesus in dialogue : an aspect of Markan narrative Christology
Author: Bewley, R. J.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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Dialogue is the main building block of Mark’s Gospel. Unlike Matthew with its extended blocks of teaching, unlike Luke with its multiple use and systematic arrangement of parables, and unlike John or even Thomas, where imbalanced dialogues afford Jesus the opportunity to make extended pronouncements, Mark’s Gospel does not give Jesus a platform for lengthy teaching and preaching. Although Jesus speaks the vast majority of spoken verses in the text, there are few long speeches, and most pronouncements take place within clearly defined dialogue contexts. The portrait of Jesus is built up by a series of encounters with supplicants, demons, opponents, disciples and the Father. As a text-centred approach, this thesis sits within the orbit of Narrative Criticism. Yet, in spite of the suitability of the discipline, dialogue studies in Mark have received little attention. This omission is rectified in this thesis by drawing on the tools of linguistic disciplines, principally speech-art theory and conversational analysis. The marriage of these allows us to take seriously the nature, shape and progression of the interactions, and to use them to uncover a portrait of Mark’s Jesus, which goes beyond simply what he is called (i.e. traditional Christological titles), what he says or what he does. The portrait is enriched by the form, as the dialogue encounters demonstrate a tension between authority and disempowerment, control and risk, confidence and uncertainty. Jesus’ agenda is controlled by supplicants who require action from him, by disciples who require enlightenment from him, by spirits who confront him, and by opponents who challenge him. Jesus is frequently put on the back foot in potentially difficult position, but, by the use of dialogue skill and personal authority, he emerges unscathed and victorious from the encounter. Nevertheless victory is not total as characters still have the freedom and volition to disobey him outside the confines of the dialogue. The dialogue form as presented by the implied author of Mark’s Gospel is an integral component of the presentation of Jesus as the servant who opens himself up to risk and challenge. It is as Jesus manoeuvres through these at times complex interactions that the implied author builds up the portrait of one who achieves victory through vulnerability. The implied reader encounters Jesus only as Jesus encounters others.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available