Reopening the Word: Reading Mark as Theology in the Context of Early Judaism

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9780195143591: Reopening the Word: Reading Mark as Theology in the Context of Early Judaism
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This book asks: How might the earliest gospel have been heard by those first followers of Jesus who were religious Jews? Assuming that the earliest Jesus traditions took their shape from forms familiar to Judaism, Sabin sets the composition of Mark in the context of the theological discourse of first-century Judaism. In that context, she notes, all theology was biblical. It took the form of an exchange between current events and Scripture: contemporary persons and happenings were understood through the lens of the Hebrew Bible, while at the same time, the biblical word was reopened--that is, reinterpreted--so as to reveal its relevance to the present faith-community.

Applying this kind of compositional process to the Gospel of Mark, Sabin uncovers a fresh reading of the seed, fig tree, and vineyard parables; of the various Temple scenes; of the foolish disciples and the wise women; and of the controversial ending. She highlights the results of her findings by juxtaposing them with interpretations of the same passages given by various church fathers such as Origen, Irenaeus, and Bede, as well as by readings from the twentieth century. The results are provocative.

Sabin sees Mark as an original theologian shaping his material out of two primary Jewish traditions: the Wisdom traditions, with their emphasis on God's presence in daily life, and Creation theology, which imagined the End Time not as a catastrophe but as a return to the Garden. She thus offers a new way of understanding Mark's use of Scripture, his eschatology, and his presentation of Jesus.

In conclusion, she argues that retrieving Mark's voice in the context of Early Judaism brings with it insights much needed in our day: of God's presence in the ordinary; of God's image reflected in female as well as male; of watchfulness as the way of wisdom; of God's revelation as ongoing.

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"Sabin's many keen observation, provocative suggestions, and intriguing statements throughout the book succeed in giving Mark a theological voice . Offers readers genuine insight for a deliberately reflective reading of Mark."-- The Catholic Biblical Quarterly


"This is a very noteworthy volume. In a very complicated field, the author writes in an admirably lucid, uncluttered style and draws upon the vast pertinent sources. The Gospel of Mark is one of the most scrutinized of all the Gospels. Dr. Sabin recognizes that it has been treated theologically, literarily, liturgically, and catechetically; but she is innovative in suggesting a fresh approach to that Gospel....After a very illuminating chapter in which she sets forth the meaning of the term Midrash, she examines Mark as a midrashic document. To show how such a midrashic approach leads to new insights, she juxtaposes her midrashic exegesis of Mark with one of the early Church Fathers and that of a contemporary exegete....The result is a presentation of Mark which is often provocative and enriching: it may prove to be seminal."---W.D. Davies, Duke University


"Sabin reminds us that in reading Mark's Gospel we must never forget that its author is a first-century Jewish writer who engages the entire Hebrew Bible in communicating his evaluation of Jesus, his followers, and his adversaries. She consequently claims that only an understanding of the Midrashic interpretation of Scripture in Mark's time can unlock the nature of his Gospel. Her aim is to counter longstanding standard approaches to the interpretation of Mark. She is singularly successful. Time and again she produces original insights into our understanding of Mark. She expresses her ideas powerfully and clearly and commendably communicates to the reader exactly what positions she is arguing for and why they differ from the mainstream ones. Her criticism of major scholars in the field is sophisticated and persuasive. I have not encountered better."--Calum M. Carmichael, Cornell University


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2002. Hardback. Condition: New. New. Language: English. Brand new Book. In this book, Marie Sabin argues that Mark's gospel represents an early and evolving Christianity, which shaped its theological discourse out of the forms familiar to early Judaism. In that early Jewish context, she says, theology took the form of connecting scripture with current events: the biblical word was continually reopened - i.e. reinterpreted - so as to reveal its relevance to the present faith-community. At the time, the chief genre for this hermeneuticalprocess was the synagogue homily. Sabin contends that Mark's composition represented an interweaving of homilies preached by Jesus and his followers in the local synagogues. Sabin sees Mark not as a mere collector or scribe, however, but as an original theologian shaping his material in thecontext of two theological traditions: the Jewish wisdom traditions and Jewish Creation theology. Reading Mark in the contexts of these traditions reveals fresh meanings that break open Christian formulas long frozen in time and illuminate the Gospel's striking relevance to our own time. Seller Inventory # APC9780195143591

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