Neon Genesis Good News (Transcript)
Chris Sims: "When the scribes of the Pharisees saw that he was eating with sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples, 'Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?' When Jesus heard this, he told them, 'Those who are well don't need a doctor, but the sick do need one. I didn't come to call the righteous, but sinners.'" The Gospel of Mark, chapter 2, verses 16 through 17.
[Music: Protect Ya Neck]
C: Hello friends and neighbors and welcome to Apocrypals. This is the podcast where two non-believers read through the Bible and we try not to be jerks about it. My name is Chris Sims and with me as always is the other set of footprints, Benito Cereno. Benito, how are you today?
Benito Cereno: I'm good, Chris. How are you, man?
C: I'm doing well. I'm doing very well. And I'm very excited about this week's episode because we are going to be reading the Gospel of Mark. This is starting our four episode series, obviously, on the canonical gospels that we're gonna do all at a clip. So it's gonna be Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John that order because that is chronological order, correct?
B: That is correct.
C: We picked Mark because it is chronologically first. It is the earliest gospel and was used as a source for Matthew, even though you told me a couple episodes ago that that was not always thought to be the case.
B: Right. They used to think in fact that Mark was a summary or an epitome actually would have been the term, but an epitome of Matthew, and that's why Matthew is listed first. Matthew for many centuries, and probably even still today, I guess, is considered basically the most important and best of the Gospels. And so it gets listed first. It was thought to be the first one written and that Mark was a summary, but for reasons that I'll get into in a second, we can tell that, in fact Mark is first and Matthew and Luke are both based on Mark and some more.
C: And so one of the things that we really wanted to look at going through at this time was talking about what's here and then what's not here.
B: Right. I think by reading them in order will really get a sense of the development of how Jesus is viewed in his development as a religious and historical figure through the four canonical Gospels.
C: Yeah, I said that this was like... this is actually a note that both of us wrote down, exactly the same note.
C: We said it was like Action Comics #1. It is, because you can look at it and you can see that the basic shape of the thing is there, but he doesn't have heat vision yet, he doesn't fly yet. A lot of the things that you've come to expect today that are part of the mythos are not there yet.
C: It might actually be closer if we're going to stick with these comic book metaphors, because if you're a new listener, that is the world that we come from. Not the DC Universe. I mean, the industry that we come from is probably the better way to put that.
C: This is actually more like Detective Comics 27.
B: Because Jesus does use a gun in this one.
C: No, no, no, because it doesn't have an origin story. That was the first thing I wrote down. There's no nativity. There's no Mary in this book, which was shocking to me.
B: Her name gets dropped, but yeah.
C: Her name gets dropped, but she is not, I was gonna ask you when we got to the end if that was meant to be Mary, the mother of Jesus, 'cause that's not how she's listed in this.
B: Right, no, I don't think it is. There are many Marys. We'll get to that, we'll get to that.
C: Before we get in, I should say, if you are reading along, we're using a couple of different translations this week. I read through the HCSB translation, which is our primary Bible that we're using. It's the primary text that we're using for Apocrypals. But we also have a copy of The Complete Gospels edited by Robert J. Miller, which I picked up on Amazon when we started doing the show. And you read the full Gospel of Mark in this, yes?
B: Yeah, right. Yeah, I read the version out of here, the translation there, it's called the Scholars Version. I read that because I wanted the footnotes out of the complete Gospels. That translation is a little bit different. In the complete Gospels, they definitely do not try to preserve any kind of linguistic tradition. And also, one thing that's really interesting that I like about it is where most Bibles kind of smooth out their translations of the four Gospels to create kind of a homogenous tone and use of language across the four different Gospels. They don't try to do that in the Scholar's version, and in fact, they try to preserve the differences. So Mark's language is pretty markedly different, no pun intended, from the language that would be used in Matthew and Luke, because Mark's language is brusque and clipped and rushed, something I was going to talk about later, but he uses the word immediately just a million times. Like, right away this happened, and right then this happened. The Greek word is euthyos, and he uses it very, very frequently because this is, I mean, to get back to the action comics comparison, this is kind of the action-packed gospel. Like, there's no time for meditation, because it's like this happened and this happened. And then also like the early golden age Superman comics, the Jesus of this book is, uh, he's a little brusque, he's a little socialist, and he'll throw a wife beater in a river a little bit.
C: He's, I have a note that we'll get to, but I wrote in the margins "hangry Jesus" at one point.
B: Yeah, I know exactly what story that's in reference to.
C: So before we get into the text and talk about how Christmas doesn't happen in this, which is very upsetting, we'll see you in a couple weeks, Luke, I guess.
B: There's Christmas in Matthew. There's Christmas in Matthew.
C: The traditional view, of course, is that all of the Gospels were written by the evangelists, after which they are named. So what do we know about Mark, and what do we know about the historical view of how we got this gospel?
B: The Book of Mark, like all the gospels, is anonymous. There's no one taking credit for having written this, and that's true of all four gospels, but of course they all four have traditional authors that are ascribed to them. The tradition of attributing this book to Mark goes way back to the first century. There's an early church father named Papias who begins this tradition. He begins to attribute it to Mark. We know this because the church historian Eusebius, writing in the fourth century, he preserves the writings and opinions of Papias who attributes it to Mark.
Who is this Mark? Well, he's believed to be John Mark, who we saw in Acts. He's in Acts chapter 12, among other places. And then there's also a guy named Mark who was one of Paul's close associates that he was frequently traveling with. We see him mentioned in Paul's letters to the Colossians in chapter 4:10, and we see this Mark accompanying Paul and Barnabas to Antioch in Acts 12:25 and so on. Then there's also a Mark that is mentioned by Peter in 1 Peter 5:13, who is a helper of Peter and one of his assistants. Then there's also a Mark mentioned by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:11. So in the traditional view, these are all the same guy and this is the guy who wrote down this gospel.
Not every scholar agrees with that and in fact says these are all different Marks as Marcos would have been an incredibly, incredibly common Roman name. But if you ascribe to the traditional view, all these guys are John known as Mark, who is the cousin of Barnabas, Paul's good friend, and he was also an associate of Peter. And so he would have been around the guys who were firsthand witnesses to a lot of this stuff.
C: So what you're saying is that Mark is kind of like Green Lantern, where when you say it, it just means one dude, but technically there could be 3,600 Marks.
B: Yes. Yes, that's exactly what I was getting at. Mark is our earliest narrative gospel. It was probably written around, the first edition was probably written around 70 CE, although there are a number of additions and amendments made to the book over time, a couple of which we will look at. Yeah, the earliest narrative gospel, it's one of the earliest extant gospels that we have. The ones that we know of or think we know of that would have possibly predated Mark include Q, which we'll have to talk about next week, so I know we keep teasing Q, but we'll explain what Q is next time. The Gospel of Thomas, which we do have, and we will get to sooner or later. And then the Signs Gospel, which like Q is another theoretical gospel that we don't actually have, it's not extant, but those are the ones that might have predated Mark. None of those would be narrative gospels per se. This is the first one that tries to put together a full life story of Jesus.
Like we mentioned, Mark is a source for both Matthew and Luke, and we'll get into more detail with that probably when we get into Matthew and Luke. But for this reason, those three Gospels as compared to John are called the synoptic Gospels. So if you guys have ever heard that term, that word just comes from a Greek word which basically means that they have a common view, right? So if you hear the optic in there, you should be thinking like optician, like your eye doctor. And then the syn, the S-Y-N, that is a prefix and a preposition that just means together. Like synonym or synagogue or synthesis or any number of words that have that same prefix. It just means, it means with or together. And so in this case, they see things together, that is, they have a common view of things. And we know now that it's because Mark was used as a source, but not the only source, but a source for both Matthew and Luke. And so that helps.
And so how do we know that Mark is first? How do we know that Mark is a source for Matthew and Luke? Well, we have a couple of different methods of doing that. By looking at the text, one thing that we know and we will, you know, that we already kind of touched upon is that Mark doesn't have all the things that Matthew and Luke has, right? There's more at the beginning in Matthew and Luke, there's more at the end. Mark really sticks with the start as close to the middle as you can and end as close to the middle as you can kind of philosophy to it. And so, Matthew and Luke, in their narratives, they agree. They start to agree when Mark begins, and they agree, and they stop agreeing when Mark ends. So, anything that they have, like, for example, the nativity narrative, they're different. And then post-resurrection narrative, they're different. But in the places in between there, starting with the beginning of Jesus' ministry through His resurrection, that's where you get the agreement between Matthew and Luke.
C: So, Matthew is like, this is, I'm going to try to make this my last one, just so everybody knows. Okay. Matthew is like Ultimate Mark. It's like a decompression.
B: Yeah. Yes, sure. Absolutely. Six chapters to cover what Mark does in half a chapter. Also, Matthew actually reproduces about 90% of Mark and Luke reproduces about 50% of it and they're usually in the same order but when they're not in the same order, that is to say when Matthew and Luke are not in the same order one of them will match Mark if the other doesn't. Also when we have story bits that all three books Matthew, Mark and Luke when they have them in common the words match exactly about 50% of the time. In these bits that they all have, if they all have the same story but don't match exactly in terms of sequence and that kind of thing, Matthew and Mark will match compared to Luke, and Luke and Mark will match compared to Matthew, but it is very rare that Matthew and Luke will match versus Mark, if that makes sense. And so, logically, following all of those things, you can see that, you can see how the two conclusions are drawn. One, Mark is the source for Matthew and Luke, and it is the skeleton on which those books are based, and it's the first one.
C: So, if the thought for so long was that Mark was a summary of the events of Matthew that has fewer of the events of Matthew, then why did Mark become canonical at all? Like, did they leave it in if it's repetitive? Like, no offense to the various councils that canonized all this, but that's bad editing.
B: Yeah, I mean, yeah, I don't know, man. I mean, it's, they obviously still found it was valuable. They found it orthodox. Yeah, I don't know. I feel like, yeah, a modern editor probably wouldn't put both in there, but I feel like we can be grateful that it's still there, because there's plenty of lost gospels that we only have bits of. But yeah, I don't know, man. I don't know why would you include an epitome or a summary of another thing that you've already got?
C: I mean, presumably they would put in every text that they were sure was written by, you know, one of Jesus's guys?
B: Pretty much. I mean, I think so. And I mean, obviously that ends up getting trimmed down a lot, The fact that there's only 27 books in the canonical New Testament, I think it shows that they had actually a pretty rigorous vetting process for these books. But yeah, I think anything that they felt was authentic, they probably felt should be included. Yeah, so I mean, we're talking about Gospels. I mean, like we did with epistles, let's talk about what Gospel means as a genre. Actually, I want to start with Greek, and then we'll shift over to English. So the Greek word for gospel is euangelion, and so the Greek name for this book is tokata markon euangelion. So just means the gospel according to Mark. So euangelion, you can probably put this together, Chris, so if it's transliterated into our alphabet, you've got "eu" there at the beginning. Any idea what that prefix means?
C: I think it means robot anime, right? Is that... do I have that correct?
B: Yeah, I'm glad you got to that joke before I did, but yeah, there it is.
C: It's a race between you and me.
B: Yeah, sometimes it is.
C: To get to the low hanging fruit. No, I do not know what that means.
B: The prefix "eu", we see it in words like euphonious, euphoria, euthanasia, euphemism. Does it mean good news? Yes, the whole word all together means good good news. The EU part means good, right? So, you can see that in "euphonius," which means good sounding or "euphamism," which means a good saying, or "euthanasia," which means a good death, right? So, you can see – so, that's the EU part. And the "angelion," you can see the word "angel" in there. A-N-G-E-L-I-O-N, right? And so, you can see the word "angel" in there because – what is an angel actually, Chris? You know what the literal meaning of the word "angel" is?
C: Well, in my experience with stories that are not in the book of Mark, an angel is like a messenger.
B: It is messenger.
C: Yeah. As we've seen in Isaiah, as we've seen in Daniel, angels have served as messengers.
B: Right, exactly. So, the Hebrew word used for angel in the Old Testament is malach, which literally means messenger. And so, that gets literally translated into Greek as Angelos, which means messenger, which then is transliterated into Latin as Angelus. And so, yeah, it comes to mean angel, but the literal meaning of the word is messenger. So, an Angelion is a message or news. So, euangelion literally means the good news. Euangelion from Greek gets transliterated into our alphabet in Latin as Evangelion. And so, that's where we get the word evangelist, right? That's why he's Mark the evangelist, because he's Mark the Gospel dude, right? And so that's where evangelist, evangelize, evangelism, all those words come from the original Greek word for gospel, which just means good news. If you guys have seen my, ever read my Tumblr, you might have seen the essay I did about the development of the letters u, v, and w. You can check that out, but you can see how the u from the e-u-a, because the u falls between two vowels, becomes a v in Latin. And so that's why that's why it goes from euangelion to evangelion.
Yeah, so you got the good news there. And then if we flip over to English, you look at Old English, Old Saxon, we've got the word god spell, god spell, which god here is good and spell means talking, even like a magic spell, right? A magic spell is magic words that you say. And so god spell is again the good news, the literal translation of euangelion. So they both mean good news, it's just from two different traditions. So yeah, gospel comes from Godspell, just like the hit Broadway musical by Stephen Schwartz.
C: Which is ironic because if you are ever watching it, it's not good news.
C: I don't care for a lot of musical theatre, I'm sorry.
B: Day by day, day by day, day by day, those three things, that's not how it goes. All right.
C: This is what happens when I am the only one who can do drops. Is that you just have to sing it.
B: I just have to sing it. Okay.
C: Great, gonna have that stuck in my head for the rest of the day. So thank you for that.
B: You're welcome. Yeah, I got you.
C: Maybe it will help me see things more clearly.
B: Yeah, and love it more dearly.
C: I want to jump out a window right now.
B: Yeah, okay. Hey, let's do, here's a little art history thing. You probably know this, Chris. Each of the evangelists, the four evangelists have a symbol that they're used, they're represented by an art. Do you know what the symbol of Mark is?
C: I actually don't know this, so I feel very attacked right now.
B: Oh, no. Okay.
C: No. I don't know any of this.
B: Okay. Okay. That's cool.
C: Now, we have previously established that there's a lot of iconography with biblical figures. Paul carries the sword.
C: Peter has the key, because he has the comically oversized key.
B: Yeah. Look, the gates to heaven are very large.
C: Yeah. Which is why he's the guy that you gotta talk to when you go there.
C: Or he's so busy appearing in political cartoons whenever anyone dies.
B: That's right. But yeah, the four evangelists in classical art, they have – each one has a different animal associated with them. And the four animals come from a vision in Ezekiel, which we'll get to when we do Ezekiel. But these four animals are also associated with the cherubim, a different rank of angels that we discussed briefly last time. So, although now, like we said last episode, now when we think of cherubs, we think of little cupid-looking baby angels. In the biblical texts, the cherubim are associated with these four living creatures where they're made of four heads, each one of which has a pair of wings. And the four animals that come from this, that are in this vision of Ezekiel, are considered basically the lords of earth and sky.
So you've got a man, but then you've also got an ox, which is considered the lord of domesticated animals. You've got a lion, the king of the wild beasts, And then you have an eagle, the lord of the skies. And so these later Christian people started to interpret this as like a prophecy of the four evangelists because there's four things and there's four gospels, so obviously they're connected. And so these four animals become symbols of the four evangelists. You wanna guess which one Mark is? So you've got man, ox, lion, eagle. It's like an analogy from the SAT, right? Mark is to blank, yeah.
C: Mark feels like an ox to me?
B: Interesting, interesting. He's not the ox. So Mark's symbol is the lion, and here's why. Think of how his gospel starts. What's the very first thing that we have? Where are we? We're in the wilderness, the voice from the wilderness that is John the Baptist, right? So we start out in the wild. But also, generally the book is considered to focus on Jesus's royal dignity, and also importantly, the power of resurrection. This is one that you had no way to know, but in the ancient world, lions were associated with resurrection, because, this is one of those weird bestiary things, but they used to believe that lion cubs were born dead, and they had to be revived by the licking and the breath and the roars of their father. So if you think about that, you've got, oh, the lion cub revived by the power of his father, right?
C: I was going to ask why they thought that, but then I realized that up until relatively recently, getting close to a lion was probably very difficult.
B: Sure, but also if you have seen a lion or other animals give birth, probably have seen when they're born, their parents start licking them first thing, right? Even dogs do that, so I don't know why this gets attached to... Oh, well actually, I mean, similarly, they used to believe that bear cubs were born completely formless. They were just blobs and they got shaped into bears by their mother licking them.
C: That is a world I would like to live in, though, where you can just make a bear.
B: Yeah. You just lick this fuzzy ball for a second and you'll have a bear cub when you're As long as you do it. Yeah, there's a number of fairly wild things believed about animals that often become tied to religious metaphor. Like-
C: Well, again, if you're gonna, look, if you're gonna get close to a bear, then from the safe distance away from a bear, yeah, it just looks like a furry blob that then became a small bear.
C: And I don't want to get any closer, so that is how it works.
B: Yeah, well, it's fair. It's fair. But as to the question, where's Mark from? We don't know exactly. I mean, presumably he's from wherever Barnabas is from, but we do get the idea. Well, actually, Chris, I'll ask you. Based on your reading, and this is something that we're going to need to ask for the different Gospels because the answer is different for each one, who do you think Mark is writing for? Who is the audience of this Gospel?
C: Well, it's not addressed like Luke's are, so it's not addressed to Theophilus.
B: Right, that's true. Correct.
C: I don't know. I mean, it feels like Mark is, as you said, like writing pretty hastily, just getting it all down to get the message out. So I would assume that he is writing for like a temple audience. Like, like this is to be disseminated among rabbis of the time, I guess is what, what they would be called. I was about to say pastors, but I think that comes later. Yeah. Interesting. In fact, no, not that.
C: Why do you do this to me?
C: Why do you keep asking me questions that I'm definitely gonna get wrong?
B: I didn't think you were definitely gonna get that wrong. Here's how, here's the reason why Mark is believed to be not written for, for example, rabbis, and in fact, not a Jewish audience at all. He, several times, has to explain Jewish customs, right? That happens. Anytime he uses Aramaic, he translates it, and so probably not for a Jewish audience 'cause he's explaining a lot of what the Jewish people do and say. So a Gentile audience, specifically a Roman audience, like Rome, the city of Rome, why do we know that? Well, because there's a couple of other places where he uses the Latin term for a thing rather than the Greek term. And also, he very rarely, compared to the others, he very rarely quotes the Old Testament. And so these are all signs that Mark is writing for a gentile audience. And traditionally, the book was believed to have been written in Rome. And so yeah, Roman gentiles, presumably the audience for Mark. So this question will keep coming up because we're gonna have slightly different audiences for each of the other gospels. So think about that one ahead of time, Chris.
C: Yeah, thanks for the pop quiz. Really makes me look good on the show that I edit, and maybe you can remember that.
B: Ugh, alright.
C: I'm just gonna have 20 minutes of all of the "uhs" I have cut out from you in the middle of this episode. Make you sound like Moose from Archie Comics.
B: Nice. So yeah, we talked about Mark's kind of punchy prose style that he focuses on action, he uses the word immediately all the time. The other thing that he does is, so many of his sentences begin with and, and this happened, and then this happened, and then this happened, he uses that a lot. Another thing that Mark employs, another structural thing that he does is a lot of his stories feature what is called a chiastic structure, which more simply be described as a sandwich. He uses a sandwich style that you might have picked up on, Chris, where he'll start a story and he'll say, "He was on his way here," and then he'll do like, and then he did this other thing, and then he came back and completed what he was doing at the beginning.
C: I am not going to get into a conversation about whether the Gospel of Mark is a sandwich.
B: Yeah, it is, and that's Gospel truth. You can see that throughout. There's places where Jesus is on his way to heal a particular person and he gets stopped by someone else. says, and you know that person says, "Please get this demon out of me," and he's like, "Okay, but I'm on my way somewhere else," and then he goes and finishes the thing later. So we see that kind of structure a lot. It's also like the story of the fig tree. He sees the fig tree. Hangry Jesus curses the fig tree. He goes and destroys the temple, the money changers, and then he comes back and they see the fig tree is withered, right? So that kind of sandwich structure Mark uses throughout, often I think to try to draw a comparison between the two elements of the story.
Yeah man, let's talk about this, let's talk about this story. What did you notice, Chris, like what stands out to you as not here? What's not here?
C: Absolutely the big thing is the lack of the nativity.
C: There's no Mary, there's no Joseph, there's no angel of the Lord coming down, no shepherds watching their flocks by night, none of that. No baby Jesus at all. It starts off, again, Detective Comics 27, Jesus 30 years old showing up.
B: Yeah, Joseph doesn't get mentioned at all. Mary at least gets name dropped, but she's not anything special. She's literally only mentioned as being Jesus's mother. And there's no indication of any kind of divine birth, right? Mary has just said, "That's Mary, his mother, and these are his brothers and his sisters," right? There's nothing in any case that says, you know, there's anything special about the circumstances of his birth. And part of the reason why you might not have a nativity is because, and this early in the game, it's not important, right? Where Jesus came from and his origin story is not that important. The end game is what's important. Because, I mean, Mark even says several times in the book that Jesus will be back before this generation is over. Right? And that's kind of the end game of this book and of early Christianity is that Jesus died, He was resurrected, and He's coming back. He'll be back in a minute. So we don't need to think about His birthday. And so yeah, so Christmas was not was not an important holiday for a long long time and that's part of the reason why because people were focused on the Second Coming and that kind of stuff.
C: Well, that's another reason that I went to Detective Comics 27 because I've as I've written before like the most important thing about Batman is his origin story that comes in Detective Comics 33. It's six months into it before they get to it. For Jesus, I feel like the origin is very important because he's the son of God. But the more important thing is the resurrection from the dead.
C: That he was crucified and then came back. And we do get that. We get, I mean, when we talk about what's not here, most of, I would say the hits are here. He does all the miracles that you know about. He raises the dead, he heals the sick, he feeds a bunch of people with a small amount of food twice.
B: Twice, he does it twice, yeah.
C: He does it twice, and the second time is also smaller.
B: It's small, yeah.
C: It's a little less, he has more food and fewer people. Still impressive, but I would have maybe skipped that one.
B: It's definitely another one of those where a modern editor would be like, "No, we don't need to do this." He doesn't need to feed 5,000 and then feed 4,000, and then the first time there's seven baskets, and the second times there's 12 baskets or whatever. No, you don't need that.
C: I was actually wondering how much of the crucifixion and resurrection we were going to get in this because that it's there. Yeah. We've got Pilate, Barabbas, the two thieves, the stone rolling away on the third day, all that's here, but it's in chapter 15. It all happens very quickly.
B: Yeah. 16 is the last chapter, but yeah, resurrection morning. Chapter 16 is very short. Or is it? We'll get to that in a second. But the death and the burial, that's all in chapter 15. Yeah. Here's a question actually I have for you, Chris. And this is, I'm just asking questions, y'all. I'm just asking questions. There's no need to get upset, but I'm just asking questions. You say that the origin story is important because he's the son of God. Here's my question for you. In Mark, is he though?
C: Well, I was gonna ask you about that because he consistently refers to himself as the son of man.
C: Which is a name that I have often heard applied to Jesus. I assume largely because it appears frequently in the book of Mark, which is a gospel.
C: But it has always seemed weird to me because Son of Man and Son of God are opposites, unless you are referring to them in conjunction.
B: Right, and you know, later, they are considered equal parts of Jesus's essence, right? That he's Son of God and Son of Man, and those are both true eventually. Are they true at this point? Maybe not. Like, obviously we do see the phrase "Son of God" used, see God say, "This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased," right? And then he's referred to a couple of times as the Son of God. He is, you're right, much more often referred to as the Son of Man, which the Scholars Version translates as the Son of Adam, which is pretty interesting, because literally the Greek would have been "huios tou anthropou," so he would be the son of a human, right? Not the son of a man, but that's, you know, old school misogyny there at work.
But yeah, the term son of man is an interesting one because it has a couple of different meanings. In the Hebrew Bible, it can mean just like a regular earthling, regular human boy, right? So in Job, for example, how much less a human who is a maggot and a son of man who is a worm, right? So it's like he's not worth anything, he's just another son of man. Then later, it's also sometimes used to identify human beings that are close to God. So Psalms 8, for example, Psalm 8, I should say. When I look to heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars that you set in place, what are humans that you should regard them and sons of man that you attend them? Right, so there we see that as kind of a compliment. They're godly and high.
But what we actually have here throughout Mark when we have the son of man, this is a specific term. is an apocalyptic term. He is an apocalyptic figure. He's the guy who's gonna usher in the end of days, and we see that term used in our boy Daniel, chapter 7. "As I looked on in a night vision, I saw one like a son of man coming with heaven's clouds. He came to the Ancient of Days and was presented to him. Dominion and glory and rule were given to him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his rule is one that will never be destroyed." So definitely what we're seeing here in Mark is that last term because the Jesus of Mark is absolutely an apocalyptic eschatological figure, right? Eschatology meaning referring to the end of the world basically. And Jesus's mission in this book for sure is to be there to usher in the end of the world, right?
But yeah, that's straying a little bit from the point which was, yeah, he doesn't seem to have, he doesn't seem to be the literal Son of God like he will be in Matthew and in Luke even, you know, relatively shortly. When would you say, Chris, based on this reading, when would you say that Jesus becomes the Christ, the anointed of God?
C: There is an anointing in here, which is shortly before he is crucified.
B: Well, I would say he probably takes on the mantle of Christ a little bit before that, but you're right, he is literally anointed.
C: He's anointed as a dead body, would be, because he is preparing for death and his resurrection. Now, are you talking about when he is baptized by John the Baptist?
B: Yes, right. And that's why, I think that's why we start there. Because that's the point that to Mark matters. This is the moment where you've got Jesus who, in Mark alone here, is called Jesus the carpenter. He's not the son of the carpenter. Jesus is the carpenter. Isn't he the carpenter from over there? Isn't that Mary's son? Right? We see that in chapter 6. And so, yeah, this is the point he comes out to the wilderness. He sees John the Baptist who I think is maybe not mentioned as being his cousin in this case. That must come later.
C: No, this is a thing that I wanted to talk about because this is right at the beginning. I wrote this down as being like a cold open because it doesn't start where I expected it to, which would be the birth. Instead we get in Verse 1 is just like a preamble. Verse 3 is a quote from Isaiah, the prophet, that we already went through. That is something that you very erroneously said was about Cyrus the Great.
B: Well, I mean...
C: Which definitely was refuted in the ascension of Isaiah, where he got into some real specifics.
C: So that's kind of like a prelude. And then chapter one, verse four is about John. "John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching of baptism and repentance for the forgiveness of sins." Question. Was baptism like an existing tradition? Because I mean, the symbolism is very easy to grasp. I know that I only know this because of Sailor Moon, but it's also a, I believe, a Shinto tradition to "douse yourself in water and repent," as Sailor Mercury says. So the idea of becoming clean is very easy to grasp. But was baptism like an existing ritual or did, I mean, John the Baptist, was he a Baptist or was he the guy who was like, "Check this out, let's go down to the river."
B: Yeah, it would have been a tradition that would have already existed. He didn't invent it, right? And one of the interesting things about the Scholars Version translation is they don't, you know, again, they don't cling to the tradition. They call him John the Baptizer, right? So that the meaning is a little bit more clear of what's going on because, yeah, he's not just like, what does that mean? He's the Baptist, right? Like, oh, he went to First Baptist Church down on Main Street? Well, no, he was John the Baptizer. But, yeah, it would have been a thing prior to this. Like, he didn't invent it. He really makes a name for it.
C: Well, yeah, he's John the Baptist. Even John the Baptizer is pretty strongly identifying. So, the reason I ask is because Jesus gets baptized.
C: Which also always seemed very weird to me because Jesus is without sin. And Jesus would be like the authority there. So what gives John the authority to baptize Jesus and why does Jesus need to be baptized were the questions I had.
B: Well, yeah, but I mean, if you think about it, if you were to take the position that prior to this, Jesus is not the Christ, right, He would have been a dude. The baptism is an important symbolic moment in which he becomes, accepts his destiny, and the sky opens up and the Holy Spirit descends as a dove. We hear the message of God that this is my beloved Son. So, yeah, I don't think it's, I mean, well, obviously, you know, obviously, from a modern perspective, he's not having any kind of sins removed because he has no sins, but it is a moment of rebirth for him from a guy not on his mission to a guy who is on his mission.
C: So it is a purely symbolic hero's journey style, "Okay, now we're going. Now I'm gonna get some followers. Now we're gonna do this."
B: Yeah, I mean, it certainly is from a later perspective, but I think you could argue, maybe at this point, it's a baptism that converts him from being a carpenter to being the man of God. And maybe in Mark's view, he did have sins prior to this, but I don't know.
C: Is this why there's so little information, canonically speaking, there's a ton of it extra canonically about what Jesus did between being born and showing up when he was 30 and amassing followers.
B: Because that doesn't matter.
C: So whatever he's doing for those 30 years, he's just not on mission. He's just out there, he's just out there carpeting.
B: Yeah, he's building, I don't know, wooden ducks or whatever.
C: Okay, that's really interesting. Like it's a very, I mean it's a very obvious starting point for the story, because, you know, nobody wants to sit through Gotham, y'all. I'm sorry. Nobody wants that. It doesn't matter before the bat flies through the window, before Jesus goes down to the river. Question, were you baptized?
B: Yeah, when I was probably about seven years old, yeah.
C: Were you dunked or poured or sprinkled?
B: I was absolutely dunked. I guess I didn't say. I went to a Southern Baptist church, and so full immersion is the thing. And also, that's not upon birth, right? That's one of the big things that distinguishes a Baptist from other denominations is that it's not a christening baptism at birth. You do it upon getting old enough to understand what you're doing, you know, theoretically, and assenting to it yourself, right? So, yeah, full immersion for me. What about you?
C: I got poured from the silver ewer.
C: That's how Presbyterians did it back in 1997.
B: Probably still do it similarly today.
C: On the subject of this particular baptism, my wife remains convinced that within about six months, I will be dunked in a river.
B: Yeah, like from now?
C: From now, yeah.
B: She thinks this podcast is going to lead to a conversion moment for you?
C: The scales will fall from my eyes, according to my wife. Yeah. she specifically says, "Dunked in a river."
B: Head out to Israel, go to the Jordan Lake. I mean, it seems like a pretty cool place to be this exact moment, so why not?
C: Here's the thing, I'm in Durham. We have Jordan Lake right down the way.
B: Hey, there you go.
C: So yeah, I have told her, if I'm out driving and I see a straight up, oh brother, where art thou style river baptism going on, of course I'm gonna stop. That is an experience.
B: Get out of the car, it's still running. You just run down a hill, taking off your shoes, heading towards the water, yeah.
C: All right, so we get the verse header in the HCSB, is the temptation of Jesus. It's chapter one, verse 12. "Immediately the Spirit drove him into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness 40 days being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals and the angels began to serve him." No other details.
B: Yep, that's all. That's the extent of it.
C: Again, Mark's editor needed to make some notes. Mark needed notes. Because I would really like to know what happens for 40 days in the desert with Jesus and the devil.
B: Yeah, well, you know, obviously, you're not the only one because Matthew is—
C: Oh no, we'll never know. We'll never know.
B: There's no way. There's no way to know. But hey, there's 40 again, right? 40 is a number. We see it as another important number representing a time of transition. There it is, 40 days in the desert, symbolic of the 40 years in the desert that Moses and the Israelites spent.
C: Chapter 1, verse 17, "Follow me, Jesus told them, and I will make you fishers of men." Yeah. In the King James Version, "Fish for people in the HCSB," which is definitely not as good phrasing.
B: That's a dead—that one—there's a number of places—like, you know, again, I like the HCSB because it's easy to read, but there's definitely some linguistic downgrades as moving from the straight poetry of the King James. Come on, "Fishers of Men" is classic, but yeah. You can fish for people, alright. Alright, slow down, Holman.
C: And this, if I am correct, is the origin of the fish, right?
B: The fish is a symbol for Christianity.
C: The one that people put on business cards in the South, so you know?
B: I mean, yes, that's part of it. There's a bit more, there's a couple of other things. Yeah, it was a secret symbol in a time when Christianity was being persecuted. But yeah, the fact that fishing is a big metaphor, but there's also a cool acronym. Do you know about the acronym?
C: I am sure I have seen it because it sounds familiar, but I don't know what it is.
B: So obviously there's many variations on this fish that you can see on people's car now. But the classic one, it says in Greek, it says the word ikthous, which means fish, right? There's the Ikthous Festival that's like a Christian music rock festival that's named after that. But yeah, so ikthous, which in Greek is iota, chi, theta, ypsilon, sigma, but in English we would say like I-C-H-T-H-Y-S, like in ichthyology, right? Or ichthyosaurus. But the problem is that the number of letters don't line up when you go from... because the "ch" and the "th" are one letter each in Greek. But anyway, so the acronym there stands for "Iesus Christos Theu Huyios Soter," which means Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior. And that's real. A lot of times you hear stories about like, "Oh, this and that is an acronym." And usually that's a lie because acronyms are a relatively modern, not invention, but modern, it's the acronyms being used all the time is a relatively modern development. But that is, that is a real one. That is an authentic actual acronym from ancient times.
C: When you were younger, this was a big thing in South Carolina in the 90s. Did the people at your local high school wear the big, gigantic fish hooks on their Realtree baseball caps?
B: Wow, no.
C: You didn't have that? Okay, so when I was in school, you would always see people, and I haven't seen this in a while, I also have not been in high school in quite some time, so I don't know if this is still a thing that people do, but there would be these giant, like gold, probably like brass or just painted shiny metallic fish hooks that they would put on the bills of their baseball caps to indicate that they were fishers of men.
C: To a person, they were real jerks.
C: And weirdly enough, those very large sharp objects never were banned from school.
B: That's wild.
C: Meanwhile, I'm over here with my wallet chain, 'cause I'm cool, getting hassled by the assistant principal.
B: Yeah, it's not chaining you to Jesus, Chris. It's chaining you to Mammon. You cannot serve both God and Mammon. You have to pick one.
C: Jesus comes back from the desert, starts doing miracles, starts healing, starts preaching, starts gathering apostles. We'll get to that in a second. But in chapter two, we get, I'm gonna go ahead and say it, the most ride or die dudes in Galilee. 'Cause they have a friend who has been paralyzed. And they're like, hey, Jesus is in town. He's healing people. He's preaching, let's take Tony, who is paralyzed, to see Jesus and get him fixed right up. There's too big a crowd, so my dudes haul a paralyzed dude to the roof and take the roof off the building to get him to Jesus.
B: Yes, they would have--
C: Why do we not hear about that more often?
B: Oh, well, I don't know. I was gonna say, you know, I knew this story while growing up, but yeah, I don't know how well known, I don't know how well known some of these elements are. You know, there's the different stories, like, I don't know how well known this story is. The guy's lowering him on his mat through the roof, or like Bartimaeus on the side of the road. I don't know how well known some of these stories are, but these are ones that I heard all the time as a kid. But yeah, and it's cool. And like, Jesus recognizes that, right? He's like, "Your friends are boss. Get up. You're good. Peace out."
C: "No greater love hath any man than to tear a roof off this joint for his friend.
B: Yeah, the roof off the sucker. That's what that song is about.
C: It's true. It's very true. So we get to... What order do we get the apostles?
B: The very first one we see is Simon. Simon the rock Peter, right? And his brother Andrew, and then James and John. Those are the first four that we get. Those are your fishermen. Then you get Levi, who in Matthew is identified with Matthew. Levi the tax collector. We do get him. Those are probably, I think, those are the only ones we see actually getting recruited, because the others are then just listed.
C: Now, let's talk about chapter 3, verse 17, 'cause there's a lot I wanna unpack.
B: Yep, I think I know one thing you're gonna point out, but go ahead.
C: Well, first of all, it says that Jesus gave Simon the name Peter.
C: Which, is there a meaning behind that? We haven't really talked a lot about name meanings in the New Testament, although we talked quite a bit about them in the Old Testament.
B: It's not explained in Mark. It's not explained. But we do get the full scene later of where Jesus gives Simon the name Peter. So, Simon is a Hebrew name. It's also in other places transliterated as Simeon. So, if you see somebody named Simeon, it's the same name. But Jesus gives him the name, he gives him the name Kepa, which means rock in Hebrew. In Greek, in order to make that so that it can work with the Greek language, that gets changed to Kepas, Kepas, which is just, yeah, it's just that word made into a masculine Greek name. But when they translate it into Greek from Hebrew or Aramaic, they use the word Petra, and if you guys were Christians in the 80s and 90s, you know that Petra means rock, and so that's just changed. The Greek word Petra, like petroglyph, it means rock. So again, you follow the process of making it into a masculine Greek name, and so it becomes Petros, which then in Latin becomes Petrus, and that's where the name Peter comes from. So when we call him Simon the Rock Peter, it's because that's what Peter means, it means the rock.
C: Also 'cause it's very funny.
B: Right, yes.
C: So then we've got James and John, the Sons of Zebedee, and listeners, I don't know if you know this, but we kind of fell into a habit of not swearing on this show. We try to keep the language clean so that people can enjoy this. So believe me when I say that I, this is the best pronunciation I can get from reading this word. Don't correct me until I say it.
B: Okay, okay.
C: "To James the son of Zebedee and to his brother John, he gave the name Bonerjizz." Which is a name so bad that Mark immediately puts a parenthetical in there so that you know it means something really cool.
B: Okay, all right.
C: That one really got you, huh?
B: You really got me with that one. Yeah, so that would be pronounced Boanerges. Boanerges.
C: You can see where I got my pronunciation, though.
B: I do, I do. Couple things you need to know. Greek and Latin don't do silent letters. That's not a thing. So, O and A would be separate. That's not a diphthong, so Oa, Boa. And then in Greek, the G is always hard. So, ges, rather, yeah. So anyway, yeah, Boanerges.
C: 'Cause what it looks like is the word moan, but with a B, and then urges.
C: E-R-G-E-S, it's B-O-A-N-E-R-G-E-S.
B: Yes, yeah, that's Boanerges, Boanerges.
C: Which, again, means something extremely cool.
B: It does.
C: I don't know why you would not just say, just cut that line out and just say, and to James the son of Zebedee and to his brother John, he gave the name the Sons of Thunder.
B: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Why wasn't he thinking about what that might look like to you?
C: No, I'm not talking about Jesus. I'm talking about Holman.
B: Oh, well, okay.
C: Who I assume is one dude who wrote the Holman Christian Standard Bible.
B: Yeah, you know. Good old Clark Holman. Yeah. Yup. Anyway, yeah, so they have that nickname. This is actually the only place that nickname is attested to. They don't get called that elsewhere, which is too bad, because it's awesome.
C: Yes. Is there a reason for that?
B: It's not 100% clear, but I mean, there's nothing in Mark that would indicate that, right? But if we look in the other Gospels, you can see there's a couple places where James and John seem to have a bit of a temper to them. There is, let me see, in Luke 9:54, there is a bit where they're in a crowd and basically, "When the days were coming to a close for him to be taken up, he determined to journey to Jerusalem. He sent messengers ahead of him, and on the way they entered a village of the Samaritans to make preparations for him. But they did not welcome him because he determined to journey to Jerusalem. When the disciples James and John saw this they said, 'Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to consume them?'" So that-
C: Oh my god!
B: They went straight to that, like-
C: How did they get those powers?
B: Uh, yeah, well, you know, it's that Holy Ghost power. Holy Ghost power. But, uh, yeah, so I mean, yeah, the Sons of Thunder, they're the ones who are going straight from, like, "This hotel's not that great, we're gonna call down fire from heaven!" So-
C: Right, so you've got, You see you've got Peter there with his comically large key. You've got Paul with the sword. And meanwhile, in the back, you got James and John with a couple of Molotov cocktails.
C: Getting ready to set stuff on fire.
B: They're ready, man. They're ready to go.
C: So we've got Simon, the Rock Peter, the Sons of Thunder, Andrew, Philip and Bartholomew, Matthew and Thomas, James, the Son of Alpheus, who we have talked about. That's James the Just.
B: Possibly. It's definitely James the Less, for sure. Possibly James the Just.
C: And the other James being the Son of Thunder.
B: Right, correct. That would be James the Greater, would be James the Son of Thunder.
C: We've got Thaddeus.
C: Simon the Zealot.
C: And then in chapter 3, verse 19, "And Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him." Which, if they know in chapter 3, that's a real good sign.
B: Yeah. Yeah.
C: Do you want to know why you should stop asking me questions about if I know things about the Bible?
C: Chapter 3, verse 24, "If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand." I thought Abraham Lincoln wrote that.
B: Yeah, I mean, he did probably write it with his hand on paper.
C: He wrote it down.
B: Yeah, he wrote it down. Yeah. But yeah.
C: But he got it from somewhere else.
B: He did, from Jesus.
C: Yes. Yeah. Straight up.
C: He went for the red letters.
B: He did.
C: When it came time to write his speeches.
B: Yeah. Yeah, this is here in a bit. I don't think this... Is this a full Satan watch? I don't think so. This is not really a development of Satan here. But...
C: Well, we look... I put it in the soundboard. We might as well. Satan watch.
B: Satan watch. So yeah, there's basically two references to Satan in this book. We had the first one we already talked about where he's tempting Jesus in the desert and that's all we know about that. And then here we get his name associated with the name Beelzebul, which is a name probably meaning "Lord of the High Place," right? So, if we see Beel, we've seen Bel before. All these names, they all mean "Lord," right? So, we saw Abelial, we saw Bel and the Dragon. And so, if you think of Baal, the god who we'll get to when we get into more Old Testament stuff, All those words are a title, they just mean "Lord." And so this is "Lord of the High Place." At some point we will in, I think, First or Second Kings, we'll see the name Beelzebub, which I think is probably more familiar to most people, which is probably a corruption of this name. That of course means "Lord of the Flies," I think you guys know that.
But yeah, so here we see the name Beelzebul associated with Satan here. Jesus straight up talks about because people thought that Jesus's powers must have come from Satan. I know you just said, "Don't ask me questions," but here's a question. Did you notice, did anything stand out to you as strange about Jesus's miracles in this book compared to how you're probably used to thinking about them? And the way he'd like performed them is what I mean.
C: Not especially.
B: Okay. One thing that stands out to me is his miracles look more like magic than just like miracles than you might expect from other books, right? And in the other gospels, he might just say, "Stand up, you're healed," or he'll place his hand on your head and you're healed. In the book of Mark, his miracles look much more like, not like "illusions, Michael," but like a magician or a sorcerer might do because there's a lot more physical aspects to it. You know, you see him, he's spitting on people.
C: I was surprised when Jesus started spitting on people. That seemed a little weird.
B: Yeah, there's at least three times that he's spitting on people. He also is saying magic words, basically. They're not necessarily magic words. They're words that would have been Aramaic, but to a Greek audience, they look like a formula in a foreign language, which I mean might as well be abracadabra, right? When he tells the little girl to get up, right? Or when he tells the blind man, open your eyes, "Ephphatha," or whatever, I might've messed that up. But meaning like open your eyes, but it sounds like a magic word, right? He spits in the guy's face and he says a magic word. And then you got to one blind man where he does it and the miracle doesn't take, right? And he has to do it again.
C: Oh yeah, he goes, oh yeah, everything's blurry.
B: Everything's blurry and it looks like, everyone looks like trees walking around. And so Jesus is like, "My bad," and he does it again.
C: Had to give him a little more of that miracle juice.
B: Yeah, probably will not surprise you to learn that the other Gospels do not repeat that story. They're like, "Let's cut that one out. The one where Jesus hex up his miracle and also he spits on a blind guy. Let's skip that one."
C: I feel like the thing that stuck out to me about the miracles was something that I'm generally uncomfortable with, which is that a lot of people's physical ailments were addressed as being the product of sin.
C: Which you are paralyzed because of a moral failing, which I think is a rough way to look at things.
B: And also, I mean, like, think about how many people Jesus is curing of being possessed by demons, right? Like, what is-
C: A lot of demons.
B: Like, what does that really mean? You know what I mean? Like, what would those people have been really afflicted with? Like, mental illness or would this have been represented by physical ailments as well? I mean, you know, it's hard to say. Yeah, Mark talks a lot about unclean spirits. That's his kind of go-to term for demons. And there's a lot of them, you know.
C: Maybe something that maybe sounds a lot like epilepsy.
B: Yeah, definitely. Oh, for sure. There's at least one person with epilepsy.
C: And again, we're trying not to be jerks. Jesus fixing up epilepsy is pretty impressive.
B: Yeah, I can't do it.
C: While we're talking about the miracles and while we're running pretty hard on time and just being over here in chapter three, I mentioned this is all the miracles that you've heard of, really. But the one that I think you really gotta give to him and the one that's by far the most impressive is the one we get in chapter four, verse 38, where he's on the ship in the storm, trying to get some sleep, and the disciples won't stop freaking out. "But he was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, 'Teacher, don't you care that we're going to die?' He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Silence, be still.' The wind ceased and there was great calm. Then he said to them, 'Why are you fearful? Do you still not have faith?' And they were terrified and asked one another, 'Who then is this, even the wind and sea obey him?'" There's a lot of Jesus getting frustrated with the disciples in this book.
B: Yeah, I feel like we should, yeah, mention that. Mark's Jesus is mean. Like, he's not nice. Like, he's helping all these people.
C: I don't think mean. I think frustrated.
B: Yeah, okay, sure, for sure. Frustrated, for sure. He definitely is constantly berating his disciples for not getting what he's getting at. I mean, I guess, like, if you knew, if, in your mind you can see the countdown to when you're going to die and you're trying to tell everyone you're like dropping hints all the time like hey guys I'm gonna die soon and not even dropping hints sometimes he's like oh I'm gonna die
C: There's so many parts I made a note it's in Mark chapter 9 verse 30 he straight-up tells them "'the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of men, they will kill him and after he is killed he will rise three days later.' But they did not understand the statement and they were afraid to ask him."
C: It's not a code! It's not code language! He's telling you exactly what will happen!
B: You know that meme with Griffin McElroy holding up the piece of paper that's like "I don't know what this is and I'm too afraid to ask"? That's the disciples at this point. They're like "I don't understand what Jesus says when he means when he says he's going to die and I'm too afraid to ask."
C: Yeah, no, he's again, this is not a parable. Jesus is going, "Hey, I, the Son of Man, will be betrayed by one of you, Judas, and then I'm gonna die, but then I'm gonna come back three days later, just so you know." Guess what happens in chapter 15?
B: Yeah, and they're just like, "Man, this Jesus guy is wild. What is he on about? I don't know."
C: The other thing that I noted that I thought was really frustrating. We see it several times, but in chapter 5, verse 43, this is after Jesus heals a woman who had been bleeding for 12 years.
C: Which seems like a lot.
B: It does. It's a lot.
C: He heals her up, brought back a little girl from the dead who was 12 years old. Then he gave them strict orders that no one should know about this. Yeah. it's a good thing nobody wrote this down in a book that would be read for the next 2,000 years.
B: It is a good thing. Yeah, so yeah, that's a major issue in the book of Mark. Jesus is constantly telling people to keep this secret. And this is the thing that as a kid I didn't understand, and I still don't understand, like people don't exactly know why, but there's a whole, like, you know, series of thought surrounding this idea, the question of the messianic secret, right? Why is Jesus keeping his status as the Messiah's secret? Why does he do a miracle and then tell people not to tell anyone, right? So there's a number of different theories. Probably the easiest one to accept is he didn't want to be a celebrity and he knew that if people were telling all these things that he did, he's going to be crowded. It's going to make his work less effective if he's being hounded by mobs all the time, right? That's a possibility.
There was a popular idea that the reason Mark writes about Jesus trying to stay secret is to try to address the tension between the fact that Jesus' believers in the modern time, the time of the Gospel being out, all profess that Jesus is the Messiah and the Son of God and all of these things, whereas Jesus in his own words does not say that stuff as strongly. So he's trying to address that tension. Why do we, in the words of Jesus himself, not have this very strongly clear profession of who he is, whereas the people today strongly believe these things? Well, it's because in his lifetime Jesus was trying to keep these things secret for some reason. On the other hand, keeping things secret, and we can see that there's layers to the secrets. He goes out to the crowd and he'll speak in a parable, and then later he'll meet in private with the disciples and he'll explain what the parable means, right?
C: Yeah, because again, as we know from Paul, metaphors had not been invented yet.
B: Yeah, right, people don't understand.
C: No one, they're like, "Wait, you're a farmer? I thought you were a carpenter."
B: Yeah, yeah. And so, what that seems to me to reflect at least is a similarity between early Christianity and mystery cults, which would have been very popular in Greco-Roman religion around that time. Mystery cults being basically secret religions in which there's an initiation, and then there are levels of initiates. There's knowledge that people higher up would have that lower people would not have that are usually based around the idea that there is some piece of knowledge that will lead to eternal life or resurrection, usually tied to some kind of resurrected God, and there's usually a ritualized holy meal that is shared by the people. So, maybe that sounds a little familiar to early Christianity or even modern Christianity, I don't know. But I think here we are really kind of seeing that, this idea of like tiers of initiation. The crowd is okay to hear about the sower sowing seed, but only the apostles can hear the true meaning of that, right? So yeah, I think probably the secretive nature of Jesus here, I think, probably reflects a thing that Roman and Hellenic culture at this time would have been very comfortable and familiar with.
C: We get the very famous exorcism, probably the most famous exorcism in the Bible, I would say.
B: Yeah, it was Legion.
C: Yes, I am Legion for "We Are Many," or as the HCSB translates it, "My name is Legion because we are many." And Jesus takes all those demons that are in that guy and puts them in pigs, which is very fun.
B: Pigs jump into the sea.
C: I do like, there's a lot of talk about Jesus. My favorite comes when we get, we get King Herod. Is this the same King Herod?
B: Oh boy, no. So here's the thing, trying to figure out which Herod is which Herod is very confusing because in the New Testament there are at least four of them. And this is the thing that's been haunting me since our Acts episode because I haven't come back to listen, but I can't remember if I said that the Herod that deals with our boy Festus, if I said that that was the son of Herod the Great, or if I just said the descendant. I hope I said descendant 'cause he's actually his great-grandson. There are four Herods. There are four Herods between the birth of Jesus and the martyrdom of Peter and Paul. There's four.
C: That's a lot of Herods.
B: It's a lot of Herods.
C: And it's like that's within Peter's life.
B: Yeah, within a generation there are four Herods. You have Herod the Great. That's the one from the Christmas story. There's, boy, you got Herod the first. That's Herod the Great from 3 BC to about 4 BC. He's the one that built the Great Temple Jerusalem, massacred the male babies in Bethlehem, according to the Gospel of Matthew and Luke. Then you've got Herod Antipas, who is from 4 BC to 39 AD. The son of Herod the Great. He ruled one-fourth of his father's kingdom, Galilean Pria. He's the one that killed John the Baptist and mocked Jesus. So that's the one we have here in the execution of John the Baptist. Then we have Herod Agrippa I, who's the one we see at the beginning of Acts. He's the one who beheads James the Apostle and puts Peter in prison. He rules from 37 to 44 CE. And then you have Herod Agrippa II, that's Porky Party's boy. He rules from 52 to 95 CE. He's the great-grandson of Herod the Great. He's the one that hears Paul's defense. Too many Herodians, because they're all called Herod, and if they have a sister or a daughter or a wife, they're all called Herodias. They all have the same name. It's impossible. Impossible.
C: Yes. Yes. So, as you said, this is where we get the beheading of John the Baptist, because that's what Herod's daughter wanted for her birthday?
B: Pretty much.
C: So, hey, hey, look, but it was confusing, because this Herod seems to like John the Baptist.
B: Right. He feels great regret. But, I mean, yeah, that's kind of a common trope in myth and in folklore. Someone makes a promise. They say, "I swear I'll do whatever you ask," and then someone asks them to do something they don't want to do, right? Like, that happens to Zeus at least like three times. But, uh...
C: Yeah, I mean, look, you can tell your kid you're not gonna behead somebody. That's a thing you can do.
B: Yeah, well, if you promise you're gonna do whatever you ask, you can't go back on it. You can't go back.
C: You can if what they ask is beheading. Like, I feel like if you asked around, "Hey, it's my daughter's 14th birthday and she wants me to chop off somebody's head. I think most of the parents in the court of King Herod would be like, "Yeah, just get her a pony."
C: So in chapter 7, we get another parable, and then we get Jesus going, "'Are you also as lacking in understanding? Don't you realize that nothing going into a man from the outside can defile him? For it doesn't go into his heart, but into the stomach and is eliminated. As a result, he made all foods clean.' Then he said, 'What comes out of a person, that defiles him. From within, out of the people's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immoralities, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, evil actions, deceit, promiscuity, stinginess, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a person.'" And I wrote in my margins, and I texted you a picture of this. "Sure doesn't sound like solo-fida to me, Paul."
B: Yeah, that's true. So on the one hand, he's got this poop metaphor going on, but on the other hand, he's straight up, he's quoting Batman, you know, "It's not who I am, but what I do that defines me." Yeah, you're right. That's not a, that is not a faith alone kind of thing. It's like, if you're good on the inside, then your outside work should be good as well.
C: I also, again, we have another header that I quite like in chapter seven, which is just, "Jesus does everything well."
C: He's just good at everything.
B: He's so good. He's very good.
C: Yeah. Not like he's doing good, which he's also doing, but he's doing things well. Like, he's like, you know, shooting a three-pointer or hitting a home run.
B: Yeah. They were extremely astonished and said, "He's done everything well."
C: Nailing that kickflip first try.
B: Yeah, absolutely. He's really good. So yeah, heading into Chapter 8, we kind of get... There's kind of a break around Chapter 8. In the middle of Chapter 8, around 27, you know, prior to this, it's miracle, miracle, miracle. And after this, it's a little bit less miracle. And it's, you know, after the point where Peter says to Jesus that, you know, when he says, "You're the Messiah," like, there's... it's kind of like, this is the tilting point of the book. So it's focused less on miracles. Physically, geographically, it moves from Galilee to more hostile and Gentile parts in Judea. There's less preaching to crowds and more private meetings with the disciples.
C: Yeah, we get another example of frustrated Jesus in chapter 8, verse 12, where the Pharisees are talking to him. And Jesus, sighing deeply in his spirit, he said, "Why does this generation demand a sign? Millennials, am I right?" Like actual, like literal, like the first millennials?
B: Millennials are killing the faith industry.
C: We also get, this one surprised me. I am familiar with "Get Thee Behind Me, Satan," as a quote, did not know it was said to Peter. I thought that was said to Satan.
B: You know.
C: Which Peter being the guy who's like, "Yeah, I mean, I'm kinda like the main dude around here." And meanwhile, back in Mark, Jesus is like, "Peter, you're an idiot and the devil."
C: And you're gonna deny me three times. What do you mean by that?
B: What could that possibly mean? This Jesus and his metaphors.
C: Yeah, "but turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, 'Get behind me, Satan, because you're not thinking about God's concerns, but man's.'"
B: Yeah. Yeah, then we have the Transfiguration. Is that a story that's familiar to you? That's one that, again, I knew about a lot as a kid. It was very confusing to me, and I never quite understood it, but I don't know. Do people know about the Transfiguration? Is that a story people know?
C: It was not one I was familiar with.
B: Basically, Jesus takes his three favorite boys and they go to a mountaintop and Jesus, his true aspect as a divine being is revealed and also Moses and Elijah are there also, who, you know, would be important figures from Judaism. Elijah also specifically being an apocalyptic figure, right? He's thought to be, his presence is a sign of the end times. So, it's kind of an important thing.
C: That's why you gotta leave that chair open.
B: Yeah, yeah.
C: In case he swings by.
B: So yeah, transfiguration. I just wanted to ask, I didn't know if that was one you were already familiar with or not.
C: It's an endorsement. It's God showing up and being like, y'all remember Moses, right? Who I gave the law to, and this is Elijah the prophet. And everybody's like, hey Jesus, thumbs up.
C: Then we get another thing that is absolutely not a metaphor that I want to talk about. 'Cause you hear rich people, rich, rich, self-professed Christians, not only bending over backwards, like doing a whole floor routine on this one, trying to explain that this whole camel and eye of the needle thing is just like, it's like going through a gate, like a crowded gate on a street. Like sometimes, like at rush hour, it's hard, but you can get through it if you try really hard.
So let's talk about chapter 10, verse 21. "Then looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, 'you lack one thing, go, sell all you have "and give to the poor and you will have treasures in heaven. Then come follow me.' But he was stunned at this demand and he went away grieving because he had many possessions. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, 'how hard is it for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God?' The disciples were astonished at his words. Again, Jesus said to them, 'Children, how hard is it to enter the kingdom of God? It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.'" That is not a metaphor. That is a straight up literal, you need to go sell everything and give it to the poor and then follow me.
B: Yeah, and I mean, we do see in Acts, we do see the early disciples doing that. Somewhere along the way that seems to have passed away.
B: I mean, 'cause now we're at the point where people are like, "Okay, but like, how many private jets can you own before you're really rich?" You know what I mean? Like, is four enough to hit the rich threshold? No.
C: Yeah, look, I'm, like, look, I'm not rich. I made this business myself, starting with just a small $50,000 loan from my parents.
B: Yeah, bootstraps, baby.
C: I guess what I'm saying here is that in the red letter words of Jesus Christ, being rich is a moral failing.
B: He does seem to say that, huh?
C: Yeah. Look, render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, pay your taxes, also give your money to the poor.
C: Redistribute that wealth or else Pentecost is gonna come around and things are gonna be awful different around here.
C: Let's move on to chapter 11.
B: No, wait. While we're in chapter 10, you know what that means it's time for?
C: What is it time for?
B: Secret Mark.
C: Ooh, you're gonna do it here. I thought we were gonna do it at the end.
B: Oh, no. Because this is where it goes.
C: Okay, everybody, like if you're not listening to this on headphones, put on headphones. Like maybe go to another room, shut the door, because we're about to get into secret Mark. Did you know there was a secret Mark?
B: There is a secret Mark. Hey, I'm gonna do a bit. Here's my bit. You ready?
B: Hi, I'm Marky. Put me under your pillow for secret reading. Deep cut. Yeah, anybody who's listening to this that got that reference, immediately, no matter what you're doing, if you're driving, pull over, tweet me immediately to let me know you got that one.
C: Yeah, anybody who was extremely online in 2005.
B: Yes, absolutely. Please do, if you put me under your pillow for secret reading. Okay, yeah, so Secret Mark. Here's the thing about Secret Mark. It was completely unknown until 1958 when a guy named Morton Smith discovered in the Marsaba Monastery, which is near Jerusalem. He was looking through some documents there. He found a book from the 17th, 18th century. I don't remember. He's flipping through it. And then on the end papers of the book, like on the inside back cover in the page before that, someone has written down, they've made a copy of a previously and otherwise unknown letter by the early church father Clement of Alexandria. And in that letter he's writing to a guy who we otherwise do not have any record of whose name is Theodor, Theodorus, and he's responding to this guy who wrote a letter, "Hey, I've heard that there's a Secret Mark and that it's got all this weird stuff in it. Is this true?" And Clement, in his letter writing back, says, "It is true that there is a Secret Mark that is a more spiritual version of Mark that is only made available to higher initiates within the church." So getting back to that kind of mystery cult idea, yeah, it's a more spiritual, it's a more presumably Gnostic kind of thing probably. And he says, "But the stuff you're saying, that's not in there. That's not what it is." And so within this letter, he gives a couple of fragments of examples of...
So what Secret Mark is, it's a different version of the Gospel of Mark that's just got more stuff in it that is supposed to reveal more spiritual knowledge and wisdom than Regular Mark does. And so the two bits that Clement gives in his letter, they both get inserted into chapter 10. The first part goes between chapter 10 verses 34 and 35. So like if you're just reading Regular Mark. This is between the bit where Jesus gives the third prediction of his death, and then James and John come to him and ask him about suffering, right? And so, in the middle of that, it interjects this bit. "And they come to Bethany, and a woman was there whose brother had died. She knelt down in front of Jesus and says to him, 'Son of David, have mercy on me.' But the disciples rebuked her. Jesus got angry and went with her into the garden where the the tomb was. Just then a loud voice was heard from inside the tomb. Then Jesus went up and rolled the stone away from the entrance to the tomb. He went right in where the young man was, stuck out his hand, grabbed him by the hand, and raised him up. The young man looked at Jesus, loved him, and began to beg him to be with him. Then they left the tomb and went into the young man's house. Incidentally, he was rich. Six days later, Jesus gave him an order, and when evening had come, the young man went to him, dressed only in a linen cloth. He spent that night with him because Jesus taught him the mystery of God's domain. From there, Jesus got up and returned to the other side of the Jordan." So, first of all, Chris, can you do me a favor?
B: For the first time, but certainly not the last, can you sound the gay content air horn, please?
[♪ Girl, I wanna take you to a gay bar ♪ ♪ I wanna take you to a gay bar ♪ ♪ I wanna take you to a gay bar, gay bar, gay bar ♪]
B: Gay content. That's what that drop should be.
C: Okay, I'll just carve that out.
B: Yeah, so yeah, anyway, obviously we got this guy who's naked except for a linen sheet, spending the night with Jesus. Some people don't like this because there does seem to be some gay content in it, and so people do not care for this bit from Secret Mark. But yeah, so obviously we got this guy being resurrected. You can see some parallels with the story of Lazarus that we'll see in the Gospel of John. It's one of the major miracles there, but who knows if those are connected or not.
C: Well, I mean, the wild thing about this being in Secret Mark is that there's a reference to it in Canon Mark. There is. You're right. Because this dude shows back up in his linen sheet and then runs around, I like to call it Isaiah style now, which is just naked.
B: Because when Jesus is arrested, there's a very strange passage and people are very confused by it, because Jesus gets arrested and then it's like, "And then there was a young man wearing nothing but a linen sheet who freaks out and drops his sheet and runs away naked." And people are like, "Why is this here? Why is this here?" And it makes a little bit more sense...
B: There's, I mean, it still doesn't quite make sense, but it makes a little bit more sense if we've already established the idea of a young man. It uses the same work, right? Naeniscos is a young man. It's used three times in reference to a young man in a linen sheet. This is the first one if you count Secret Mark, then you've got the guy running away from Jesus being arrested, and then the last one is in 16 at the resurrection, right? We obviously assume that's an angel sitting on the rock, but really all it says is a young man in a white linen sheet sitting at the tomb.
C: Well, okay, to be fair, his white linen is brighter than any human launderer could make it.
C: Which is what it says in the Bible.
B: But at any rate, we've got the recurring figure of a young man who's naked except for a white linen sheet. And so this has led some people to believe, and I think even probably the people behind the Complete Gospels, the people of the Jesus Seminar, they might even argue that canon Mark that we have is actually a version of secret Mark with the secret stuff cut out. So that there may have been a version of Mark, that very first version of Mark becomes Secret Mark, but we've lost the original Mark that Matthew and Luke would have had, and the Mark that we have is actually an edited version of Secret Mark.
Now this is a very controversial idea because there's a lot of questions about the authenticity of the letter that was found. There's a lot of questions about, because there's two questions, right? Because there's two questions of authenticity. A is the letter from Clement real, B is the book that he's talking about real. And they could both be real, they could both be false, or one or the other of them could be real and the other one could be false, you know what I mean? So there's a lot of controversy about it, the idea that maybe it was, it's a forgery and a hoax. But I think the general consensus at this point is largely that the letter is authentic and that probably Secret Mark was a thing.
C: I don't wanna take away from your first sounding of the gay content air horn.
C: But, following up on what I was just talking about, I... There's clearly subtext, and I'm not taking that away, and I do not think your reading is invalid.
B: Right. Oh, no. I mean, there's more to it. But, I mean, the idea that the revelation of knowledge and an intimacy with God, I think is... I think there's supposed to be, like, a tie between, like, between, like, a physical intimacy and a spiritual intimacy there. I think both are meant to be implied there.
C: What stuck out to me here was the parenthetical, where Jesus resurrects him and then they go back to his house and there's a parenthetical that goes, incidentally, he was rich. And then the next time we see him, he's wearing a sheet.
C: So I feel like what happened here is that this rich dude straight up did what he tells the other guy before this to do, which is that he went and sold all of his possessions and gave it all to the poor, and then showed up and was like, "Jesus, I had to keep a sheet so that I wouldn't run around naked, like I am gonna in chapter 16." But like, I've done it, I have cleansed myself of worldly goods, and Jesus is like, "Cool, now I can tell you about heaven." You actually did it.
B: Yeah, I mean, that's a good reading, I-M-H-O.
C: And again, not to invalidate what you say, 'cause look, I feel like that's there too.
B: It's both, why can't it be both?
C: It's definitely both.
B: And so, the second part, the second fragment of Secret Mark is very interesting because it helps explain a weird part in canonical Mark. If you look at Canon Mark, you've got chapter 10, verse 46. Here's what it, this is the canon. It says, "They came to Jericho, and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples in a large crowd, Bartimaeus blah, blah, blah." Right? That's really weird. They came to Jericho, then they left Jericho. It seems like there's something missing there. And Clement says, "There is something missing there." And here's what Clement says it is. "The sister of the young man whom Jesus loved was there, along with his mother and Salome, but Jesus refused to see them." And then they leave Jericho. So, more on the young sheet man. And that's all we have of Secret Mark, are those two fragments. So, very interesting though.
C: And that is something that we'll be getting into. If you do want to keep up with us once we're through the canonical gospels, we're going to obviously go back to the OT for a little bit, but then the Complete Gospels will be where we are stopping quite frequently. Oh yeah. Because you know we got to get Q in here.
B: Yeah, well, probably won't have a whole episode dedicated to Q because the Q that's in here is a reconstruction, but we'll talk about that next week. Talk about it next week.
C: So moving on to chapter 11, we talked about this a little bit before. This is where Jesus gets so hungry that he curses a tree.
C: Chapter 11, verse 12. "The next day when they came out from Bethany, he was hungry. After seeing the distance of fig tree with leaves, he went to find out if there was anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves because it was not the season for figs. He said to it, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again.' And his disciples heard it." Then he goes into the temple, deals with the money changers, throws them around. You have made it a den of thieves.
C: This is furious Jesus. Yes. And then he goes back outside and he's walking around with Peter and Peter goes, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed is withered!"
B: And Jesus says, "Have faith in God. If anyone says to that mountain, 'Get up and move,' he's gonna do it. If you got faith, I had faith and I ruined this tree for everyone."
C: Again, not to be rude.
C: I feel like Jesus this is a little unreasonable.
B: Yeah. 'Cause it's not fig season.
C: Right. It's not the tree's fault.
B: It's not. This is one that really troubled me as a teenager because I was like, "Why?" Yeah, this is an unreasonable thing. If you have the power to curse and wither a tree forever, why don't you use that power to make it grow a fig?
C: Yeah, why didn't he make it bloom?
B: Yeah, that would have been... With fruits out of season. That's like mad impressive.
C: Yeah, and so I'm still a little troubled by hangry Jesus here. Because, so again, we've got that chiastic structure, the sandwich structure, right? He sees the tree, he goes to the temple, comes back and sees the tree, right? I think that sandwiching actually makes a little bit more sense of the story, maybe. Like, on the one hand, maybe he destroys the temple because he's so mad about the fig. Well, I do like the idea that he's already mad before he gets to the temple, and then those dudes just like, that's it.
B: The last straw. And I And I will say, this bit, Jesus ransacking the temple, basically, it's a problematic thing, right? Especially if you're looking from a position of Judaism, because there's a reason why you've got guys selling stuff in the temple, changing money. It's an important thing. People might not have the things they need to make sacrifices, etc. So eh, problem, problems, okay.
But I think if you look at that, if you look at the structure, you know, the fig being a framing sequence for this, then the story becomes about Jesus' predictive power of destruction that would relate to what would have been probably the either forthcoming or contemporaneous destruction of the temple around 70 C.E. by the Romans, by Titus, right? Because this would have been written, the original version of Mark would have been written around the time of the Judean rebellion and revolt against the Romans, which would have been a great time of instability that led to the destruction of the Second Temple and all that stuff. So, I think probably what's going on here is this is Mark kind of using this to comment on contemporary issues and tying them in. So, looking at the fig tree as a metaphor, or a symbol, rather, for the destruction of the temple maybe makes a little bit more sense.
C: We get "render unto Caesar, what is Caesar's" here in chapter 17. Jesus hates money.
C: I just want to make sure we're very clear on that point. Jesus, not into money.
B: Yeah, but it's very interesting that he makes sure to phrase things so that he does not look like a revolutionary, right? Because they're trying to trap him, and he gives the answer that dodges the trap, basically.
C: Well, there's a thing about this that I hadn't considered before. What we have here is, famously, chapter 12, verses 15 through through 17. "Should we pay or should we not pay?" "But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, 'Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at." So they brought one. Whose image and inscription is this?' He asked them. 'Caesar's, they said. Then Jesus told them, 'Give back to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.'" I hadn't really considered this, because you really – the common phrasing is "render unto Caesar what is Caesar's." But it's because I only just got this, it's because the denarius is made in Caesar's image. And as man is made in God's image, you have to give yourself back to God. That's a really, that's a choice bit of theology.
B: It's pretty good, right? Yeah. The coin is Caesar's because it's got his name on it. His name is on it. It's his. Give it back to him. And then yeah, the things made in God's image, devote those to God. Yeah.
C: Chapter 12 also has some very good things. We get the two commandments.
C: Where one of the scribes says, "Which command is the most important?" And we've talked about this before. "Jesus says, 'This is the most important,' Jesus answered. 'Listen, Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these.'" That sums it up.
B: It does.
C: Love your God and love your neighbor. That's it, that's all of it.
C: But then in chapter 12, verse 40, or chapter 12, verse 38, I enjoyed this part. "He also said in his teaching, 'Beware of the scribes who want to go around in long robes and who want the greetings in the marketplace, the front seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. They devour widows' houses and say long prayers just for show. These will receive harsher punishment.'" Thoughts and prayers?
B: Yep, there it is, man.
B: Performative faith? Yeah, that's trash, says Jesus.
C: It's a good thing. It's a good thing that there aren't rich people who are also performatively sending thoughts and prayers because they would have a storm coming.
B: Yeah, yeah, yeah. James and John would be like, "Can we please bring the fire now, please?"
C: We get the Lord's Supper in chapter 14, which is extremely Dracula.
C: "Then he took a cup and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and so they all drank from it. He said to them, 'I do not drink wine.'" No, "he says to them, 'This is my blood that establishes the covenant. It is shed for many, et cetera, et cetera. I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until the day when I drink it in a new way in the kingdom of God.'" Which of course made me think about Dracula.
B: What doesn't make you think about Dracula?
C: Chapter 14 also brings us, "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Because uh... 'Cause Peter can't stay awake? It's another one that's about Peter. Peter is Jesus's punchline.
B: Yeah, I mean, this is why. This is why when we did acts, you were surprised that Peter was the competent leader of men because--
C: Yeah, 'cause he's a goofball.
B: He's a dunderhead, like absolute, like he fails Jesus at every opportunity. Yeah, he does.
C: Yeah, he's like, "I don't know, Jesus."
C: "What do you mean I'm gonna deny you three times? Oh yeah, I don't know him."
B: Yeah. And Jesus is like, "Couldn't you stay awake for one hour?"
C: Yeah. "Hey, Peter. Yeah, that was the last supper. It's happening tomorrow. Stay awake." Then I just, in the end of chapter 14, we also get Peter's denial. And then like after the third time, when the rooster crows again, Peter's like, "Oh, that's what he meant. Oh, okay." And I just, in the margins, I just wrote "Peter. I'm very disappointed."
B: Get it together, man. Get it together.
C: Chapter 15 introduces us to Barabbas. I'm gonna assume we learn more about him extra canonically.
B: Yeah, almost certainly. And we'll see him again in the other gospels. We do have a question someone has asked about him that's in our Tumblr, but we'll address it in Matthew next week 'cause that's where it will come up. So yeah, we get a little bit more about him. Yeah, he's one of those characters, yeah, that's gonna be developed in the extended universe.
C: We get all of the crucifixion imagery that you're familiar with, but it happens very, very quickly. It's just chapter 15, and Mark is a short gospel, even though we've talked about it quite a bit, but we get the purple robe, which is Jesus being mocked for being the king of the Jews. We get the crown of thorns. We get the crucifixion. We get the dudes casting lots for his possessions.
B: Which is their reference to prophecy, as many of these things are.
C: We get the sign, which is the, that's the INRI sign, right?
C: Which is listed in the HCSB as King of the Jews, but what is it in Latin?
B: Well, in the tradition, if you do INRI, that stands for Iesus Nazarenos Rex Judeorum, which is Jesus the Nazarene King of the Judeans. So yeah, so this is a little bit different from that, but I mean, it's the same idea. This is the—it's called the titulus, the titulus is what that little plaque is called.
C: So everybody's real mean to Jesus. And then we get the "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"
B: Yeah, which is—that's how Mark ends it, right? The different accounts of the crucifixion have different final words of Jesus. And so for Mark, it's total despair, right? It ends on this, and that's not what we're going to get in some of the later ones, because I think some of the other ones are going to be like, like, "Harsh, harsh, harsh." But yeah, for Mark, that's the end. And there's an example you can see of the Semitic language being translated for a Gentile audience.
C: Which is also clarifying that you might have a better luck pronouncing the language here. Eloi, Eloi, what is it?
B: So yeah, so this is Aramaic, which I do not speak at all, but Eloi, Eloi, Lemma, Sabakhthani, so that's, yeah. So Eloi, you should be able to recognize El. We've talked about that enough. That's God, right? So Eloi is my God.
C: But Mark explains that it is misheard by the crowd as Jesus calling out for Elijah. He's like, no, he didn't say Elijah. He said Eloi Yemma.
C: We get that. There's also a three hour eclipse.
C: Which is quite something. It just gets dark. And I feel like there should be more people being like, that's not good.
B: Yeah. I mean, yeah, so there's, so it gets dark in midday, and then the curtain in the sanctuary of the temple is split in half from top to bottom. Yeah, "and so when the centurion who was standing opposite him saw the way he breathed his last, he said, 'This man really was God's son.'" Which I think the Scholar Version thinks that probably he's being sarcastic.
C: Really? Because that dude is experiencing a three-hour eclipse and stuff is starting to break.
B: Well, let's see. "Mark's theme of Jesus's hidden identity reaches its ironic climax when the Roman officer offers as Jesus's epitaph a remark that was presumably meant as sarcasm, not an indication of a sudden change of heart. This man really was God's son. We readers are privileged to realize that those soldiers knew even more than they thought they did."
C: Chapter 15, verse 40. "There were also women looking on from the distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the Younger, and of Joses and Salome. Tell me about Joses!
B: Well, I mean, James and Joses are both names that are given as brothers of Jesus earlier, so this could theoretically be Mary the Mother of Jesus here, but it seems like you would mention that. Joses would just be another one of those very common names.
C: So this is our first mention of Mary Magdalene, and we also get much later in chapter 16 verse 9, we have a small explanation. "Early on the first day of the week after he had risen, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons." We don't get that story.
B: Also, you know what you've busted into by saying 16 verse 9, right?
C: Oh, this is the extended ending. This is the director's cut.
B: Yeah. So, chapter 16, pretty much any Bible you pick up is gonna say that in the, here in the HCSB it says, "In the oldest and best manuscripts of Mark's Gospels, Mark's Gospel, it ends at 16-8." Right? And the earliest versions that we have with early church fathers discussing the Gospel of Mark, they do not discuss anything past 16-8," which is a weird, spooky cliffhanger, right?
C: Which, if you don't know, here's the good news. Here's the Euangelion for you. Jesus came back. Three days later, much like he had been telling everyone for 16 chapters at this point, Mary Magdalene and other Mary, possibly Mary, the mother of the church.
B: And Salome, who is not otherwise mentioned here, because this is not the Salome who, like, we hear that name now. We think of that's the daughter of Herod who gets John beheaded. But this is another Salome who was presumably the one mentioned in the fragment from from Secret Mark that gets cut out.
C: Right, the other reference to Secret Mark. They go to the tomb, and they're like, "Oh, we're gonna have to remove that big rock, "but I don't know if we can." But, friends, the stone has been rolled away, and they go in, and there's that guy we talked about who's got his glowing, his Marlon Brando in Superman robe on, and he's like, "Hey guys, "if you're looking for Jesus, he's not here."
B: Yeah, and he's not, he's literally not. Like, in original canonical Mark, we do not see Jesus again. We just see the guy in the robe saying, "He was here, but he's risen." And the ladies are terrified.
C: They are freaked out, which is understandable.
B: The original ending of the first narrative gospel is a bunch of women freaking out. That's the end. And so, yeah. And so basically what happens is later...
C: Well, real quick, that's what makes me feel like this is not the same dude from Secret Mark who then runs away naked at the death. I feel like this is probably... I feel like white robes that are brighter than anything is maybe like one of those seven feet tall on fire made of eyes, guys?
B: That's a reasonable thing. I just wanted to point it out that it uses the same language. It's the same language. But, yeah, so a lot of people in the church are not super comfortable with this ending. And so, there are actually three appended endings. There's what's called the longer ending of Mark. There's also the shorter ending of Mark, and then there's also an additional conclusion that is sometimes put onto the end of the longer ending of Mark.
So, yeah, so the HCSB has this. A lot of Bibles are going to have this. They're going to have chapter 9 er, verse 9 through 20, right? That's the longer ending of Mark. And so, And a lot of that stuff is pulled from the other Gospels, bits that are pulled from Matthew and Luke, talking about Jesus, you know, appearing to the disciples, and he gives them the Great Commission, right? That's pulled from other books that would have existed later. But there's an episode offering a conclusion to the Gospel of Mark, usually found appended to the longer ending of Mark, and at least one instance appended directly to Mark 16.8 without the longer ending. So sometimes it just jumps from 16:8 to this. It is often referred to as the "shorter ending" of Mark, sometimes assigned the Versification 16.21, and it just says "All the instructions they had been given they promptly reported to Peter and his companions. Afterwards, Jesus himself, using them as agents, broadcast a sacred and imperishable message of eternal salvation from one end of the earth to the other." That's the shorter ending of Mark. I'm not going to read the longer ending.
But then there's also an episode to the story that's found in the longer ending of Mark, which is inserted directly after Mark 16:14 in a single known manuscript, the Codex Washingtonianus, and sometimes called the Freer Logion after the discoverer Charles Freer. And that one says, "And they would apologize and say, 'This lawless and faithless age is under the control of Satan, who by using filthy spirits doesn't allow the real power of God to be appreciated.' So they would say to the anointed, 'Let your justice become evident now.' And the anointed would respond to them, 'The time when Satan is in power has run its course, but other terrible things are just around the corner. I was put to death for the sake of those who sinned so they might return to the truth and stop sinning and thus inherit the spiritual and indestructible righteous glory that is in heaven.'" So yeah, extended ending to Mark because people were not happy with Spooky Cliffhanger.
C: It is worth noting that I have read this, Aiden found it when she was reading up, until the Eleven go to the to the tomb and see with their own eyes because they don't believe. The church on earth was three women. It was Mary, Mary, and Salome. That's who kept the faith for a little bit.
B: Yeah, and you know, we did talk about in the episode on Romans that, I mean, many women were very important to the early church, and that's another thing that has changed a little bit over time. Not to say that there are not many women Christians, but their prominence in the church has definitely been downplayed by a patriarchal hierarchy.
C: So that does it for Mark. Jesus goes up to heaven and sitteth on the right hand of God, the Father, just so you know how that is.
B: In case you were worried.
B: In case you were worried, the extended endings got you.
C: It's literally a post-credits scene.
C: Where Jesus hangs out for a little bit, and then ascends, gives him the password, goes all the way up, and hangs out.
C: So do you have an additional reading from the book of Mark?
B: Sure, man. I mean, you know, this is a book that so many people know, but I figure, you know, with the main thrust of Mark being an apocalyptic one, I thought I'd pick a bit from one of the more eschatological bits. Here we go. 13:32 and following: "Now concerning that day or hour, no one knows neither the angels in heaven nor the son except the father. Watch, be alert, for you don't know when the time is coming. It is like a man on a journey who left his house, gave authority to his slaves, gave each one his work, and commanded the doorkeeper to be alert. Therefore be alert, since you don't know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening or at midnight or at the crowing of the rooster or early in the morning. Otherwise he might come suddenly and find you sleeping. And what I say to you, I say to everyone, be alert."
C: Don't tell Nicholas of Myra that I said this, but that sure does sound like Jesus is making a distinction between the Father and the Son to me.
B: Yeah, yeah. I mean, there's definitely knowledge that-
C: And specifically saying that the Father knows something that the Son does not.
B: I mean, that's pretty indisputable in this bit, yeah.
C: Do not tell him. I want some Nintendo games this year.
B: What about you, Chris? What do you got?
C: There are a couple that I wrote down, but the one that I really wanted to talk about was 3:27. "On the other hand, no one can enter a strong man's house and rob his possessions unless he first ties up the strong man. Then he will rob his house." Uh, yeah, Jesus is just sitting there being like, "Yeah, you know how when you rob a house, you gotta tie up a strong guy or else he'll ruin it?"
C: That's a wild thing for the Son of Man to drop. But I do genuinely like it because I, you know, growing up with the religious upbringing that I had, I have always liked the idea of Jesus as mixing with the common folk and the sinners and being like, "Yeah, you know, it's like robbery. It's like committing a crime. You know when you commit a crime?"
B: Yeah, it's more tips and tricks. B&E, Tips and Tricks from Jesus.
C: So that's going to do it for the Book of Mark. I found it maybe surprisingly really enjoyable to read. It's quick. It's very action-packed.
B: It is.
C: It moves, and sometimes to its detriment. So I feel like I got a lot out of Mark.
C: And I do like Jesus, you know, apart from the conversation we had about his name and his epithet in this one, he does seem very human in Mark. He seems very, like he gets frustrated. He tells people what they got to do. He gets mad at Peter constantly.
B: Yeah, he really is. He really is. This is Golden Age Jesus, for sure.
C: Yeah, it very much is Action Comics #1 Jesus, and I really... that has an appeal. I'm not gonna go down to the river just yet, but this version of Jesus definitely has an appeal.
B: Yeah. So, yeah, next week, Silver Age Jesus, huh?
C: Yeah, we're going into the Book of Matthew.
B: Yeah, we'll continue on with our gospel mission, and then I guess we'll have to do a big chunk of Old Testament to make up for it. We'll figure out what that'll be later.
C: Well, I mean, we can probably go back to, like, Genesis, which we're gonna take some time to get through.
B: Yeah, I think Genesis is gonna be probably a three-episode set, so yeah, maybe. Maybe we can hit that one.
C: So next week, Matthew, because we need a little Christmas. Right this very minute. Just a little bit, though.
C: Not as much as we'll get from Luke, but a little bit.
B: Yep, need that little angel sitting on my shoulder.
C: Where can everyone find us online?
B: If you're looking for the show, best place to look for us is on Tumblr, apocrypals.tumblr.com. You can always find links and art and related material that often will help give additional context to some of the things we talk about on the show. If you're looking for me particularly, you can usually find me on places at benito underscore or dash cereno depending on what the particular social media uses, but I'm on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, you can find me on those places. You can find me on Comixology, buy my comics.
C: Just a quick note, you should be following the Apocryphal's Tumblr because Benito you answer plenty of questions on there. Yeah, I take stabs at them every once in a while. Yeah, just a heads up though. There is some Some Isaiah style on there right now.
C: You are gonna see all of Isaiah and then you will also see some extremely violent medieval art
C: Isaiah being sawed in half maybe not the direction that you think yeah
C: Did not expect it to be like lengthwise.
B: Yeah, man. Yikes.
C: People can find me by going to the-isb.com that'll have links to everything except this podcast, which I have yet to put on there because I am fundamentally lazy. That's it. Join us next week for Matthew. Until then, for Benito Cereno, I've been Chris Sims. Benito, peace be with you.
B: And also with you.
[Music: Protect Ya Neck]