The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark

The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark In this groundbreaking book Dennis R MacDonald offers an entirely new view of the New Testament gospel of Mark The author of the earliest gospel was not writing history nor was he merely recording t

  • Title: The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark
  • Author: Dennis Ronald MacDonald
  • ISBN: 9780300172614
  • Page: 188
  • Format: Paperback
  • In this groundbreaking book, Dennis R MacDonald offers an entirely new view of the New Testament gospel of Mark The author of the earliest gospel was not writing history, nor was he merely recording tradition, MacDonald argues Close reading and careful analysis show that Mark borrowed extensively from the Odyssey and the Iliad and that he wanted his readers to recognizeIn this groundbreaking book, Dennis R MacDonald offers an entirely new view of the New Testament gospel of Mark The author of the earliest gospel was not writing history, nor was he merely recording tradition, MacDonald argues Close reading and careful analysis show that Mark borrowed extensively from the Odyssey and the Iliad and that he wanted his readers to recognize the Homeric antecedents in Mark s story of Jesus Mark was composing a prose anti epic, MacDonald says, presenting Jesus as a suffering hero modeled after but far superior to traditional Greek heroes Much like Odysseus, Mark s Jesus sails the seas with uncomprehending companions, encounters preternatural opponents, and suffers many things before confronting rivals who have made his house a den of thieves In his death and burial, Jesus emulates Hector, although unlike Hector Jesus leaves his tomb empty Mark s minor characters, too, recall Homeric predecessors Bartimaeus emulates Tiresias Joseph of Arimathea, Priam and the women at the tomb, Helen, Hecuba, and Andromache And, entire episodes in Mark mirror Homeric episodes, including stilling the sea, walking on water, feeding the multitudes, the Triumphal Entry, and Gethsemane The book concludes with a discussion of the profound significance of this new reading of Mark for understanding the gospels and early Christianity.

    One thought on “The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark”

    1. Half way through reading MacDonald's other work, “Does the New Testament Imitate Homer”, I converted from someone who used to believe these texts were backwards ramblings of ancient goat herders to understanding these writers, whoever they were, were probably of the upper educated class. This alone caused me to give a second look with a different perspective to the New Testament.Now, after finishing the present volume, “The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark”, I'm considering taking up [...]

    2. MacDonald's thesis is that Mark deliberately used Homer as a model and planted flags within his text that make this clear. His argument is sufficiently thorough and convincing that one can't merely dismiss it as just another theory. My primary reservation is that I don't have enough experience in this area to decide at once if similar parallels with other works might be possible. Certainly, any charismatic leader whose popularity grows must find themself in similar situations with crowds and cri [...]

    3. This is really an amazing book. It's so detailed it may sometimes be not too easy to follow, but the author's prose is very clear in documenting his theories. This work claims that Mark's Gospel draws extensively from the Homeric epics, especially "The Odyssey", and a couple of chapters from "The Illiad". Conclusions are unescapable upon finishing: Mark's Gospel is not an historical account of real-life characters. It's a work of art, very cleverly written, with clear theological aims.

    4. I think there is a gradient of Homeric influence with each parallel he mentions in the book. Some parallels are close to nonexistent and others clearly show Mark's dependence on Homer. Anyone who is interested in the Gospels should read this book; it's one that needed to be written.

    5. It's about time I read this book since it kept popping up in the footnotes and endnotes of many other Jesus books that I have read. The thesis is defended solidly, but the writing left a bit to be desired. Now, I suppose, I'd better go read The Odyssey and The Iliad to make sure this guy is on the level :)

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