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Apocalyptic opening, eschatological `inclusio': a study of the rending of the heaven and the temple curtain in the Gospel of Mark with special references to the motif of `seeing'

Ryou, Philip Ho-Young (2004) Apocalyptic opening, eschatological `inclusio': a study of the rending of the heaven and the temple curtain in the Gospel of Mark with special references to the motif of `seeing'. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This dissertation is an intensive investigation of the rending of the heaven and Temple curtain in Mark’s Gospel from a Christological point of view. The two rending events are examined for their thematic and structural functions in making up the textual and theological world of Mark’s Gospel; embodied in the most critical moments of Jesus’ ministry, his baptism and crucifixion, and of Mark’s narrative, the beginning and end, they are seen and argued as the monumental events that epitomize Mark’s apocalyptic and eschatological understanding of Jesus’ life and death. In line with the apocalyptic and eschatological nature of the Gospel, the motif of seeing, expressed especially in the verbs of seeing and ειδον in particular, plays an integral role in Mark’s depiction of the characters and events throughout his narrative. So it is that in two of the most apocalyptic and eschatological episodes in Mark, Jesus’ baptism and crucifixion, Mark is very careful to note that Jesus himself and the Gentile Roman centurion see the two epoch-making events, the rending of the heaven and the rending of the Temple curtain. As these two events are linked by verbs of the same root (σχιζομένους/έσχίσθη), the reference to spirit (πνευμα/εξεπνευσεν), the use of an identification formula referring to Jesus’ divine sonship (συ ει ο υιος μου/ουτς… υιος θεου ην), the occurrence of ‘seeing’ (ειδεν/ιδων), the Elijah symbolism present, and other theological correlations, it is clear that the motif of ‘seeing’ is incorporated into them also. Mark has deliberately created various corresponding elements between these two key events in Jesus’ ministry, designing these two events to be an inclusio which brackets the entire Gospel structurally, thematically, and contextually. Through the structure of inclusio, Mark set up one pillar of a symbolic event at the beginning of his narrative and of Jesus’ ministry, the rending of the heaven, announcing the apocalyptic commencement of God’s eschatological reign; and the positions another pillar of an event just as symbolic, the rending of the Temple curtain, at the end of his narrative and of Jesus’ ministry, enunciating the destruction of the Temple which further symbolizes the break-down of the old age and advent of the new in which distance and mediation through sacrificial rites and all they stood for are eradicated and access to God’s holy presence is offered to all.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BS The Bible
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BT Doctrinal Theology
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > Theology and Religious Studies
Supervisor's Name: Riches, Prof. John
Date of Award: 2004
Depositing User: Geraldine Coyle
Unique ID: glathesis:2004-1020
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 21 Aug 2009
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2012 13:31
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/1020

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