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Now that we have had an introduction to the context of Jesus’ life and an overview of the Biblical gospels, we are now ready to take a look at the earliest gospel written about Jesus – the Gospel of Mark. In this section, you will learn some of the identifying features of the Gospel of Mark, and you will also get a feel for “Mark’s” particular style of writing (even though we do not know the name of this gospel writer, we will use “Mark” to identify the gospel and the gospel writer).
Objectives for this section
- As you go through the resources for this section, you will gain a better understanding of the following aspects of the Gospel of Mark:
- Origins of the Gospel: where and when written, original language, etc.
- Who was Mark writing for; what was his purpose.
- Mark’s writing style so that you will begin to recognize a few differences/similarities between Mark and the other gospels.
- How Mark portrays Jesus of Nazareth.
Steps for achieving the objectives
Complete the following steps in the order listed.
Hint: If you complete all of the reading by the end of Week 5, you will be well prepared for completing the assignments due in Week 6. Remember: Procrastination = STRESS!!! :-/
- Read Frontline: The Gospel of Mark – A story of secrecy and misunderstanding.
- Read “Gospel of Mark” in Complete Gospels [pgs. 19 – 60, including “The empire of God” on 22]
- By September 24th at 11:59 p.m., post your writing in the Discussion Forum;
- By September 26th at 11:59 p.m. respond to two of your classmates.
There are two main themes in the Gospel of Mark: one is the question of Jesus’ identity and the other is the nature of discipleship. In many different passages, Jesus tells his followers what it takes if they truly want to be one of his followers – he tells them what they must do, what they must give up, and the two-part commandment they must follow.
1. Please describe some of these requirements for discipleship (including chapter and verse) and also explain your thoughts on these requirements. (For example, what does it mean to you to “pick up your own cross?”) Support your writing with well-chosen quotes from The Gospel of Mark (including the Intro) and from the Frontline article posted in this section.
[Note: It would be a great idea for you to take notes while you are reading through the gospel so you know exactly where to find the requirements Jesus mentions when you begin writing your post!]