Through a Glass Darkly: Essays in the Religious Imagination

By John C. Hawley | Go to book overview

3 1 • The Gospel of Mark as Myth

Brenda Deen Schildgen

TO EXAMINE THE GOSPEL OF Mark as myth is to take it temporarily outside of time and history and to consider its communication as poetic knowledge. Viewing the Gospel in this way opens us to psychological and ontological dimensions which may be less apparent in time-specific historical or sociological studies. In myths certain fundamental human concerns and situations are expressed through ancient, inherently biological and culturally primal, symbolism. This symbolism adheres as Paul Ricoeur has suggested "to the most immutable human manner of being in the world, whether it be a question of above and below, the cardinal directions, the spectacle of the heavens, terrestrial localization, houses, paths, fire, wind, stones, or water" ( Interpretation65).

Through looking at the Gospel outside of history, and examining how it employs mythic themes, we can approach some understanding of how the Gospel attempts to say something about "reality," and about how to live in the world sub specie eternitatis. However, myths are usually projected back into a time before time, what Paul Ricoeur calls "mythic time," but in the case of Mark the narrative is set in the present time. Narratives set in this "mythic time" represent an imagined time before "fragmentation" overtook the human condition, when all the differences, whether sky and earth, male and female, God and humankind, etc., were in harmony. Consciousness of differences did not exist, because human transgression had not created them. Obviously, the Gospel of Mark does not describe such a time, but it does present the possibility of overcoming this bifurcated human condition by modeling a "way of being in the world" by which these differ-

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Through a Glass Darkly: Essays in the Religious Imagination
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction xi
  • Works Cited xix
  • I- • Christian Europe 1
  • 3- 1 • The Gospel of Mark as Myth 3
  • Notes 22
  • Works Cited 22
  • 2- An Early Renaissance Guide for the Perplexed- Bernardino of Siena''s de Inspirationibus 24
  • Notes 46
  • Works Cited 48
  • 3- Between Earth and Heaven- Ignatian Imagination and the Aesthetics of Liberation 50
  • Notes 65
  • Works Cited 68
  • 4- Erasmus, Education, and Folly 70
  • 5- Blind Prophecy- Milton''s Figurative Mode in Paradise Lost 87
  • Notes 102
  • Works Cited 103
  • 6- A Lesson in Reading- George Eliot and the Typological Imagination 104
  • 7- Rouault and the Catholic Revival in France 119
  • Notes 131
  • Works Cited 132
  • 8- A Life of Allegory- Type and Pattern in Historical Narratives 134
  • Notes 148
  • Works Cited 149
  • II- Into the Twentyfirst Century 151
  • 9- A View from the Far Side 153
  • Conclusion 172
  • Notes 173
  • Works Cited 176
  • 10- The Tyranny of the Secular Imagination 177
  • Notes 191
  • Works Cited 191
  • 11- Religious Polyphony in the Novels of Nuruddin Farah 194
  • 12- The Social and Political Vision of Sri Aurobindo 206
  • Notes 221
  • Works Cited 225
  • 13- Feminist Providence- Esther, Vashti, and the Duty of Disobedience in Nineteenth-Century Hermeneutics 228
  • Notes 244
  • Works Cited 246
  • 14- The Buddhist Imagination in Chinese Fiction 250
  • Notes 269
  • Works Cited 272
  • 15- "Behind the Curtain"- Derrida and the Religious Imagination 276
  • Contributors 297
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