How can Mark's Christ be David's son
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This study examines the long-standing debate on the Davidssohnfrage in the Gospel according to Mark (12:35–37). In contrast to the traditionsgeschichtliche paradigm set forth by Wrede (1907), it argues that Mark’s stance on Davidic sonship cannot be assessed properly by isolating the words “(Son of) David.” Rather, the totality of Mark’s messiah language—what the narrative communicates about “Christ” (Χριστόϛ; Mark 1:1)—is relevant to how one assesses the issue of the Messiah’s ancestry. Justification for this paradigm shift is rooted in observations about the ways in which ancient authors communicate what they mean by the term “messiah.” Careful attention to ancient discourse about “messiahs” reveals that the authors of these texts shared multiple conventions for communicating that “messiah” means “Davidic messiah,” because they shared an “encyclopedic competence” of the Jewish scriptures. This study situates Mark’s language about Christ within its particular socio-linguistic framework. Mark constructs his portrait of Christ via creative use of the Jewish scriptures developed through an unfolding narrative. The first half of the narrative depicts Christ as a charismatic “Davidic” Messiah, while the second half builds on this portrait, confirming the audience’s suspicion that Christ is indeed the descendent from the line of David promised within a certain strand of scriptural traditions. When the Davidssohnfrage is approached from within this narrative framework, it becomes highly implausible that the purpose of the question is to elicit a rejection of Davidic sonship. Rather, since Mark has already clearly communicated that Christ is David’s son, the Davidssohnfrage pressures the audience to integrate Davidic sonship with what Ps 110 implies about the Christ. In this respect, Mark’s deployment of the Davidssohnfrage is no different than Matthew’s or Luke’s.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2022-02-14
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Print and electronic copy restricted until 14th February 2022.
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