Thursday, 14 January 2016

William Arnal rocks!

The Gospel of Mark, the not-so Gnostic Gospel of Thomas and Josephus. William Arnal joins the dots in a seminar presented at the Leibniz Universität Hannover. In English, I hasten to add. Professor Arnal is head of Religious Studies at the University of Regina, but this isn't a dry presentation by any means. Arnal contends that the real message of Mark is about, well, take a punt:

A. The crucifixion
B. The resurrection
C. The temple's destruction
D. The end times

Nope, not going to tell you. Suffice to say it's a different perspective, and the title is "Just how 'Christian' were the first Christians?" Check it out if you're up for a little grappling with some really intriguing thoughts. A nod of the noggin to the excellent Biblical Studies Online blog which featured it recently (and where you can also access the whole presentation).


  1. So then why the defeatist tone of Jesus' parable; how did he know they would reject the Son? Maybe his people would heed the message of his mission and repent (like the people of Nineveh)! - or did he know?? - In which case, 'project incarnation' would be just "going through the motions" toward the expected negative (and painful) result.

    Then suppose the "final option" of "God's efforts to get his people back on the right track" (culminating in the sending of the son after lesser emissaries were killed) was a success. What would that success mean? It would have to be a restoration to full compliance to the specifications of Yahweh/Jesus' Theocracy, including daily sacrifices (why had they slackened/ceased full schedule of sacrificing?)because Bronze Age Yahwism had been enduring centuries of decline and the world was (slowly) getting smarter (but still not very smart)?

  2. It's a fun lecture, and even at least partly convincing. Yet does it really make sense to say that Mark's Gospel is not actually about Jesus? It does not reqad to me as if the temple is the primary focus, rather that seems and important theme that shapes the telling of Jesus' story.