Introduction: - |
Section D in Mark's gospel, according to the Reality Search semiotic analysis, stretches from 10:31 to 16:8. It starts with the journey of Jesus and his disciples to Jerusalem. The disciples are afraid. The gospel ends with some women being told by an angel to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen from the dead. But instead they go away afraid (16:8). (some texts add on another section but the R.S.V. translation points out this is a later addition).
The beginning and end of this Section D tells us something of what the writer is likely to be using in any possible paragraph patterning.
In between such a beginning and end is the passion and death of Jesus. This is the starkest account in the gospels. The section also suggests what suffering and sense of desolation and fear that the community of Mark had come through and were still feeling. For instance in 64 CE in Rome there was a massive fire that burned much of the city. The people said the Emperor Nero, who wanted a better-looking city, had deliberately lit the fire.
So, in order to avert blame from himself Nero blamed the small group of followers of Jesus. These people were living on the
edge of society and probably on the outskirts of the city which was unaffected by the fire. As soldiers went from door to door there were many
After Nero's death in 68 CE the followers of Jesus were trying to come to terms with their recent past. A question each individual had to ask themselves was how would they respond when faced with pressure to betray their fellows. This question of betrayal came up even before the persecution by Nero. People recalled that the disciples of Jesus had "all fled." Mark appears to present the question in terms of how people responded to Jesus, who was betrayed by Judas.
During the intervening decades between Jesus' life and death and Mark (between 33CE and 70CE), stories would have been moulded into oral 'performances.' 23 Thus there was the possibility of paragraph patterning and parallels being developed here. As in the recitations of Homer, a performer would find it much easier, with background patterning, to recall the sequence, details and significance of his or her material.