How Mark wrote: scripturalization in the Gospel of Mark and the Second Temple Period
Item statusRestricted Access
Embargo end date29/06/2023
Devorah Dimant distinguishes between an ‘expositional use’ and a ‘compositional use’ of the Jewish scriptures in the Second Temple period. The former refers to marked citations or allusions which seek to interpret the meaning of the scriptural text, whilst the latter refers to the unmarked use of scriptural material embedded and re-contextualized in a new work. Studies on the use of the Jewish scriptures in the Gospel of Mark have tended to focus on the first kind, the expositional use of scriptural material (i.e. Mk 1:2-3; 4:12; 7:6-7). Some studies have sought to understand the compositional use of scriptural material in the Gospel with reference to the Jewish liturgy, midrash or Greco-Roman mimesis—and these with mixed results. This study instead looks at Mark’s use of the Jewish scriptures through scripturalization, a compositional technique identified by Judith Newman. Scripturalization describes the re-use of scriptural elements to compose new literature. The study begins by surveying examples of scripturalized narrative in Second Temple literature, with episodes drawn from the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (LAB), the Genesis Apocryphon (1QapGen), 1 Maccabees (1 Macc), Judith (Jdt) and the Testament of Abraham (T. Ab.). The focus is on episodes that clearly follow a scriptural model: the use of Dan 3 in the episode of Abram in the fiery furnace (LAB 6) and Jair and the fiery furnace (LAB 38); the use of Judg 7 in Kenaz’s rout of the Amorites (LAB 27); the use of Gen 13-15 in the promise of land to Noah (1QapGen 11); the use of Deut 2:26-36 (and Deut 20:10-14; Judg 11:19-21) in Judas Maccabeus’ siege of Ephron (1 Macc 5:45-51); the use of Judg 4-5 in Judith’s slaying of Holofernes (Jdt 10-13); and the use of Job 1-2 in the appearance of Michael to Abraham (T. Ab. 1-4; 15:14-15). This section ends by outlining the shared characteristics of scripturalized narrative across these texts. The study then turns to episodes in the Gospel of Mark that appear to follow a scriptural model: the use of 1 Kgs 19 in Jesus’ forty-day sojourn in the wilderness and call of the disciples (Mk 1:12-20); the use of 2 Kgs 4:42-44 in the two-fold feedings of the multitude (Mk 6:35-44; 8:1-9); the use of Esther 2-7 in the execution of John the Baptist (Mk 6:21-28); and the use of Ps 22 (and Pss 38:11; 69:21; Amos 8:9) in the crucifixion of Jesus (Mk 15:21-41). This section closes by noting how the characteristics identified in other Second Temple texts can be observed in the Gospel. The study then concludes with a summary of its findings and some brief remarks on the tenuous relationship of scripturalized narrative to history.