The Gospel Of Mark: A Cross-Textual Analysis

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This paper examines the figure of Jesus as portrayed in the Gospel according to Mark. I will seek to examine whether the religious teachings introduced, or actions displayed by Jesus were at odds with contemporary Greco-Roman and Jewish traditional practice. I will argue that Jesus as represented in the Gospel of Mark was, in both action and doctrine, the antithesis of what the Greek scholar, Celsus, would idealize as proper religious practice. To explain and defend my stance I will conduct a cross-textual analysis of the Gospel of Mark and Celsus’ treatise “The True Word.” I will chronologically present the elements Celsus posits as necessary for the execution of good religious practice, and compare these to the portrayal of Jesus and his …show more content…
Unlike Celsus, Jesus saw demons as a source of evil, which need not be appeased by sacrifice. Jesus was recorded in the Gospel according to Mark casting out demons on numerous occasions. When called the leader of demons by the scribes in the Gospel according to Mark, Jesus asked: ”how can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself it cannot stand” (MARK 3:23-24).
The monotheistic beliefs of Christians could have led to a potential increase in friction between Christians and other religious groups. Celsus’ inclusive interpretation of religious practice, meant that deities and spirits could cohabit among religions. A religious practice which viewed itself as monotheistic and the sole source of truth reduced the potential of interfaith communication and dialogue, and thereby increased the potential for violence.
Celsus also believed that Kings were divinely appointed. More importantly he conjoined religious practice and civil responsibility. Like the writer Homer, he held the belief that the son of the God was tasked with the selection of kings and believed that it is a responsibility to “help the king [and] labour with him in the maintenance of justice” (Celsus, True Word,

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