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Title: Mark and his Gentile audience : a traditio-historical and socio-cultural investigation of Mk 4.35-9.29 and its interface with Gentile polytheism in the Roman Near East
Author: Wilkinson, Jennifer
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis takes a novel, inter-disciplinary approach to an examination of the Markan evangelist’s portrayal of Jesus’ interface with Gentiles in a central section of his Gospel (Mk 4.35-9.29). As a framework to this section, Mark created a connected account of Jesus’ itinerary that included trips to perform miracles in the Gentile territories of Gerasa, Tyre, Bethsaida, the wider Decapolis and Caesarea Philippi. This thesis examines the role of these pericopae in the narrative as a whole and challenges the view that Mark’s geographical references were largely symbolic, rural and for the most part aimed at Jewish followers. The study scrutinizes Mark’s choice of geographical locations, systematically examines recent research on the religious milieu in these specific locations and brings this research into connection with the Gentile mission portrayed by Mark. The polytheistic and social environment in which Mark’s first century audience functioned has received little attention in recent scholarship and represents a lacuna in New Testament historical-critical research which this study addresses. A detailed exegesis of this section of the narrative concludes that Mark (a) deliberately redacts his text to place miracles in geographical regions where Gentiles predominate; (b) emphasizes obduracy and faithlessness on the part of Jewish officialdom and the Jewish disciples, in contrast to an implied understanding on the part of the Gentiles; (c) orchestrates a prolonged and sustained Jesus mission to the Gentiles as a precursor to his own community’s mission, to respond to their need for support and reassurance and (d) formulates his narrative to engage with his intended first century audience's Graeco-Roman religious and social worldview, inviting them to make comparison between the activities of Jesus and other contemporary miracle-performing men and polytheistic gods.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Mark ; Gentiles ; Polytheism ; Roman Near East