Saturday, March 27, 2010

NT Pod 30: The Passion of Jesus in Mark's Gospel

NT Pod 30 discusses the Passion Narrative in Mark's Gospel. It is the first of four back-to-back episodes on the Passion Narratives in the Gospels.

It is thirteen and a half minutes long. Feel free to leave your comments below.

NT Pod 30: The Passion of Jesus in Mark's Gospel (mp3)

NT Pod 30: The Passion of Jesus in Mark's Gospel (mp3) (Alternative location)

Key texts: Mark 14, Mark 15

Thanks to Ram2000, Me and You, for the opening theme, released under a Creative Commons agreement.


  1. Two very striking things in Mark's crucifixion account:

    (a) The parting of the garments and the casting of the lots are primary. The crucifixion is only mentioned in passing, in a subordinate clause. (Same in Matthew. Only in Lk & Jn did the crucifixion become the superior event.)

    (b) And in fact it is nowhere mentioned explicitly in the sources that there was a crucifixion. The verb stauróô always meant "to fence with pales", "to impalisade". It only received the meaning "to crucify" based on the Christian interpretation of the Passion account. So the notion that the instances of stauróô in the Passion accounts refer to a crucifixion (i.e. on a real cross) would therefore a logical fallacy, circular reasoning. (In Polyb. 1.86.4 it referred to the usual execution on a simple pale.)

  2. I absolutely love this podcast series. I only found it a couple of weeks ago and can't wait for each new episode. Thanks Mr. Goodacre.
    Bob McLaurine, Nashville,TN

  3. Mark,

    This is an excellent series. It prompted me to dust off my old copy of Raymond Brown's The Death of the Messiah. An impressive piece of scholarship, but hard going if you wanted to read it from beginning to end.


  4. Thanks; yes, Brown's book is a fine piece of scholarship, agreed.

  5. Can't wait for the John Wayne episode.

    Fr. Dan

  6. A certainly agree this would have been quite a unique story to the ears of a first century CE hearer. But I am beginning to think that Mark might have been influenced by ancient patterns of storytelling.

    For example, Theon's Progymnasmata stated thus concerning construction of narrative in the ancient Greco-Roman world: ‘Then one should narrate most concisely whatever is likely to distress the audience, as Homer did: “Patroclus is dead”.’ This protocol of narrative in the first century CE syncs well with Mark's treatment of the crucifixion of Jesus, Mark 15.24: καὶ σταυροῦσιν αὐτὸν.

    Scholars have often noted the brevity with which Mark narrated such an important event as the crucifixion of Jesus. His narration of the crucifixion and several other reasons are leading me to believe that perhaps, while certainly writing a unique narrative for his day, he was simply conforming to the narratival patterns of ancient rhetoric.

  7. Thanks, Fr. Dan. I would love to do an NT Pod one day on John Wayne's one line in Greatest Story Ever Told and the the apocryphal story that arose about it.

  8. Dr. Goodacre,

    Thanks you for this series and especially for your references to Jesus movies! I really enjoy the "behind the scenes" aspect you bring us. Might we see a CJPod? (celluloid Jesus)


  9. Dr. Goodacre:

    I think your point about the cleansing of the Temple is interesting. It would make sense that the Synoptics would place the cleansing toward the end of Jesus' ministry since that is the only time He is in Jerusalem; whereas in John He is there 3 times. Is there wide support for this? Do you suggest any journal articles or other literature that helped you come to this conclusion?


    Grace to you -

  10. Thanks for the question, Jr. Good points. I found Paula Fredriksen pretty interesting on this topic.