Reopening the Word: Reading Mark as Theology in the Context of Early Judaism

Synopsis

In this book, Marie Sabin argues that Mark's gospel represents an early and evolving Christianity, which shaped its theological discourse out of the forms familiar to early Judaism. In that early Jewish context, she says, theology took the form of connecting scripture with current events: the biblical word was continually reopened - i.e. reinterpreted - so as to reveal its relevance to the present faith-community. At the time, the chief genre for this hermeneutical process was the synagogue homily. Sabin contends that Mark's composition represented an interweaving of homilies preached by Jesus and his followers in the local synagogues. Sabin sees Mark not as a mere collector or scribe, however, but as an original theologian shaping his material in the context of two theological traditions: the Jewish wisdom traditions and Jewish Creation theology. Reading Mark in the contexts of these traditions reveals fresh meanings that break open Christian formulas long frozen in time and illuminate the Gospel's striking relevance to our own time.