Posts Tagged ‘Gospel’

Mark 1:1 ‘The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ’
Ἀρχὴ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ

“εὐαγγέλιον in the imperial cult. This is the most important usage for our purpose. Note must be taken of what is said concerning the θεῖος ἄνθρωπος (→ 712), τύχη and σωτηρία. The emperor unites all these in his own person. This is what gives εὐαγγέλιον its significance and power. The ruler is divine by nature.30 His power extends to men, to animals, to the earth and to the sea. Nature belongs to him; wind and waves are subject to him.31 He works miracles and heals men.32 He is the saviour of the world who also redeems individuals from their difficulties (→ σωτήρ). τύχη is linked up with his person; he is himself τύχη.33 He has appeared on earth as a deity in human form. He is the protective god of the state. His appearance is the cause of good fortune to the whole kingdom. Extraordinary signs accompany the course of his life. They proclaim the birth of the ruler of the world. A comet appears at his accession, and at his death signs in heaven declare his assumption into the ranks of the gods.34 Because the emperor is more than a common man, his ordinances are glad messages and his commands are sacred writings. What he says is a divine act and implies good and salvation for men. He proclaims εὐαγγέλια through his appearance, and these εὐαγγέλια treat of him (→ 713). The first evangelium is the news of his birth: ἦρξεν δὲ τῶι κόσμωι τῶν διʼ αὐτὸν εὐανγελι[ων ἡ γενέθλιος] τοῦ θεοῦ.35 “The birthday of the god was for the world the beginning of the joyful messages which have gone forth because of him.” TDNT 2:724″

Ched Myers ‘ He [Mark] is serving notice that he is challenging the apparatus of imperial propagation……Mark is taking dead aim at Caesar and his legitimating myths. From the very first line, Mark’s literary strategy is revealed as subversive. Gospel is not an inappropriate title for this story, for Mark will indeed narrate a battle. But the ‘good news’ of Mark does not herald another victory by Rome’s armies; it is a declaration of war upon the political culture of empire.’ (Binding the Strong Man, 124)


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Gospel Genre PowerpointI have been preparing some open office presentation slides for a hermenuetics seminar tommorow. It essentially looks at possible genre types for the gospels. Not particularly exciting in itself but it may be of use to someone.

Its my first time using open office presenattion software. Its really easy to use if you are used to microsoft powerpoint. Openoffice is free to download at http://www.openoffice.org/ I had to save it as a ppt file, e-mail me if you want open office type file sent.

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Mark 1:2-3

As it is written in Isaiah the prophet,

          Behold, I send my messenger before your face,

                    who will prepare your way,

              the voice of one crying in the wilderness:

                  ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,

                    make his paths straight,’ ”

In my last blog I mentioned that eunagellion/ gospel was used within the imperial cult. When Mark uses the gospel he is perhaps challenging the empire. However, the word gospel also has significance within the Judaic worldview. The Greek translation of the Tanack/Old Testament into the LXX uses the  verbal form of the word in the book of Isaiah. euangelizomai  Is 40:9; 52:7; 60:6; 61:1). Isaiah, particularly chapters 40-66, contains a message from  God, via Isaiah, to his people. This message is of the imminent return to exile which will occur. God is punishing Israel fro her sin (Is 1-39) but this punishment will soon be over. Sins will be forgiven; YHWH will return to his people, gentiles will be welcomed. IN the midst of the fulfillment of these promises the herald will arrive ‘proclaiming the gospel’ and declaring that YHWH reigns and the exile is over.

Yeshua does not simply preach a timeless message, an existential call to decision. Instead Yeshua comes as the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah., he comes to restore the fortunes of Israel, to bring the spirit, to bring in the gentiles.  

The writer of Mark brings in a number of texts. He prefixes the old testament saying that  they are from the prophet Isaiah.  This is not strictly true as Mark draws from Mal 3:1, Ex 3:20, and IS 40:3.  In a nutshell these verses look to a time when God will act in history; he is sending a forerunner who will be preparing the way for YHWH’s appearing. If we did not know more of the Marakan narrative we would be led to think not of the arrival of Yeshua but of YHWH himself. Yeshua is the embodiment of YHWH, it is in him that the glory is revealed.

To summarise what we have studied in these opening verses.

1)     The gospel of Jesus is a challenge to empire

2)     The gospel of Jesus is the announcement of a historical salvation. It is tied closely with the message of Isaiah. It is not timeless but has to do with the restoration of Israel.

3)     It si possible that Mark’s gospel sees the arrival of Jesus as the arrival of YHWH.

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