Written by Tom Dykstra
The title, Mark, Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark’s Gospel (OCABS PRESS, 2012) won’t raise many eyebrows. After all, no one questions that the Gospel of Mark postdates Paul. And most would also agree that Markan theology and Pauline theology are in virtual lock-step: salvation comes through belief that we have been saved by the atoning death of Jesus on the cross. That is the so-called Pauline kerygma. Stated baldly, salvation comes through belief (in salvation). Christianity has managed to flourish for two thousand years based on this circular proposition. And thus, faith trumps reason and logic as Christians are content to follow the Golden Rule: “Please park your brains at the church door!”
But I already digress. What I find remarkable about Dykstra’s book is not that Mark ‘canonizes’ Paul, but how Mark did it. You see, Dykstra argues that Mark patterned his central character—Jesus of Capernaum—on Paul! Now, I’ve not come across that thesis before. But I find it intriguing—even compelling.
Dykstra offers well-reasoned and detailed arguments as to why Jesus visits Gentile terrain (as did Paul), sits with foreigners (ditto), rejects Jewish legalism (ditto), has so much trouble with Peter (you guessed it) and, above all, why Jesus sacrificed his life on the cross (I’m working on that)—which event Paul taught was the key to salvation through belief.
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