Jesus and the marginalized and the liminal :the messianic identity in Mark

Anshiso, Bekele Deboch (2016-10-11)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This dissertation aims to examine the idea of the Messianic identity in the Gospel of Mark, emphasizing Jesus’ self-identification with the marginalized and liminal people. In the whole Gospel, particularly, in its decisive points, the Markan Jesus is revealed and announced as the divine Son of God by the heavenly voice, by demons and finally by the unsuspected humanity. Nevertheless, Mark recorded Jesus’ Messianic identity in less obvious ways which has caused ambiguity amongst NT scholars. In order to discover Jesus’ divine identity, preliminary studies undertaken in the past, are briefly discussed. This focuses on the “Messianic secret” as the key point of discussion to which a satisfactory consensus has not been reached. Some Markan scholars, such as William Wrede and his supporters, believed that in the first half of Mark’s record of the gospel Jesus did not think that he was the Messiah. Theodore Weeden and his followers thought that Jesus was not the Son of God but, as described in Mark’s second half, that he was the suffering Son of Man. Therefore, in order to engage the narrative elements of the text and to interpret and understand the message in its own narrative context, narrative criticism is utilized. Its importance will be demonstrated as it investigates the meaning of the text as a completed work. Use is made of the probable sources Mark had available, of which the most important are the Old Testament traditions on which the Evangelist drew for his background to his text. In addition, some intertestamental writings such as Qumran literature and apocryphal and pseudepigraphical works will be discussed, not to build an alternative understanding of Messiahship of Jesus, but rather to attempt to understand the contemporary Jewish thinking about the Messiah. This dissertation accepts that Mark’s Gospel is the unified work of the evangelist. It is demonstrated that Jesus is portrayed as having thought that he was the divine Messiah in a unique sense. Chapter two exegetes and interprets particular texts, in the Gospel, in which Jesus’ divine Sonship and vindicated Messiahship is shown. His divine identity is revealed and proclaimed not only as the Messianic Son of God by his miraculous activities in Mark’s first half, but also as the suffering and vindicated Son of Man in the second, yet associating himself with unsuspecting people who are marginalized and liminal at various levels. Chapter three critically evaluates certain Christological themes through which Jesus is understood and confessed as the unique figure whose divine Messiahship is proclaimed by God self and by humanity, and redefined and reinterpreted by Jesus himself in terms of vindicated Messiahship. This dissertation ends with a brief chapter challenging and encouraging the readers and interpreters of the Gospel to understand not only Jesus’ self-identification with the marginalized and liminal in and around Galilee but also his extreme marginality to the point of shameful death and glorious resurrection in Jerusalem to save humanity.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif ondersoek die idee van Messiaanse identiteit in die Evangelie van Markus deur Jesus se self-identifikasie met gemarginaliseerde en liminale persone te beklemtoon. In die hele Evangelie, veral op beslissende punte, word Markus se Jesus geopenbaar en deur die hemelse stem as die Goddelike Seun van God aangekondig, aanvanklik deur demone maar uiteindelik ook deur die niksvermoedende mensdom. Markus teken Jesus se Messiaanse identiteit in minder ooglopende maniere, wat aanleiding gegee het tot verskil van opinie onder NT geleerdes. Ten einde die werklike identiteit van Jesus bloot te lê word voorlopige studies wat in die verlede onderneem is, kortliks bespreek. Die bespreking fokus op die "Messiaanse geheim" as die belangrikste punt van bespreking onder geleerdes maar waarin geen bevredigende konsensus bereik is nie. Sommige Markus geleerdes, soos William Wrede en sy ondersteuners, was oortuig dat Jesus nie in die eerste helfte van Markus se evangelie gedink het dat Jesus die Messias is nie. Theodore Weeden en sy navolgers het gemeen dat Jesus nie die Seun van God is nie, maar dat hy die Seun van die mens was, wat gekom het om te ly, soos beskryf in tweede helfte van die Markus evangelie. Daarom, ten einde die verhaal elemente van die teks te betrek en te interpreteer en die boodskap in sy eie verhaal konteks te verstaan, word narratiewe kritiek ingespan. Die belangrikheid van die narratief as geheel word gedemonstreer deur die betekenis van die teks as 'n voltooide werk na te speur. Die bronne wat Markus waarskynlik beskikbaar gehad het word ondersoek, waarvan die belangrikste die Ou Testament tradisies is, wat die Evangelis as agtergrond vir sy teks ingespan het. Daarbenewens word 'n paar inter-testamentêre geskrifte soos Qumran literatuur en apokriewe en pseudepigrafiese werke bespreek, nie om ʼn alternatiewe beeld van die Messiasskap van Jesus te skep nie, maar eerder om die hedendaagse Joodse denke oor die Messias te probeer verstaan. Die proefskrif aanvaar dat Markus se Evangelie ʼn geïntegreerde werk van die evangelis is. Daar word gedemonstreer dat Jesus uitgebeeld word as iemand wat gedink het dat hy die goddelike Messias, in 'n unieke sin, was. Hoofstuk twee eksegetiseer en interpreteer bepaalde tekste in die Evangelie, waarin Jesus se goddelike Seunskap en geregverdigde Messiasskap getoon word. Sy ware identiteit word geopenbaar en verkondig nie net as die heilige Messiaanse Seun van God deur sy wonderbaarlike aktiwiteite in die eerste helfte van Markus nie, maar in die tweede deel ook as die Seun van die mens wat gely het en geregverdig is. Hy assosieer homself nietemin met die niksvermoedende mense wat gemarginaliseer en liminaal is op verskeie vlakke. Hoofstuk drie evalueer sekere Christologiese temas krities, waardeur Jesus verstaan en bely word as die unieke figuur wie se goddelike Messiasskap deur God en die mensdom verkondig word; en deur homself herdefinieer en herinterpreteer word in terme van geregverdigde Messiasskap. Hierdie proefskrif eindig met 'n kort en uitdagende hoofstuk, en moedig die lesers en interpreteerders van die Evangelie aan om nie net Jesus se self-identifikasie met die gemarginaliseerdes en liminale persone in en rondom Galilea te probeer verstaan nie, maar vervolgens ook Jesus se eie uiterste marginaliteit tot die punt van skandelike dood (en verheerlikte opstanding in Jerusalem) om die mensdom te red.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100041
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