Mark 13 and the return of the shepherd : the narrative logic of Zechariah in Mark
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Mark 13 contains numerous interpretative puzzles that continue to generate discussion in contemporary scholarship. One such puzzle is the apparent disparity between a question from the disciples about the destruction of the temple, and the answer by Jesus that seemingly refers to his second coming. Why are the two events conjoined? Additionally, how should one interpret the numerous allusions throughout Mark 13? This study seeks to contribute to the conversation on these and other topics by employing narrative analysis of Mark’s Gospel with special attention to his intertextual allusions to Zechariah. By incorporating intratextual, intertextual, and extratextual data, this study examines the extent to which Zechariah informs Mark’s narrative, with particular focus on Jesus’ speech on the Mount of Olives in Mark 13. Within the parameters of this project, broadly speaking, intratextual data refers to the narrative as Mark presents it; intertextual data refers to Mark’s allusions to external bodies of literature; and extratextual data refers to the codified knowledge of Mark’s cultural encyclopedia. By examining Mark, and particularly Mark 13, with reference to each body of data, I argue that Mark alludes to Zechariah throughout the Gospel in order to express several elements of Jesus’ life and teaching. In particular, I argue that Mark alludes to Zech 13–14 throughout the Gospel in order to describe the tribulations of the disciples and the tribulations of Jerusalem that obtain after “the striking of the shepherd.” In Zech 13–14, the shepherd is struck, the people of God are refined, Jerusalem is attacked, and then God comes with his angels. Mark’s allusions to the latter scenario throughout the Gospel and Mark 13 make sense of Mark’s arrangement of the Olivet Discourse, where, after Jesus has been “stricken,” his disciples suffer, Jerusalem is attacked, and the Son of Man comes with his angels. Recognizing such allusions not only resolves a long-standing interpretative puzzle regarding Mark’s arrangement of the discourse, namely the question as to why he discusses the destruction of Jerusalem and the parousia in a single discourse, but it also contributes to the understanding of Mark’s use of Zechariah in his narration of Jesus’ life and teaching.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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