Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Last Week -- THREE: Tuesday

Chapter Three - Tuesday: Comments and key ideas from The Last Week (Borg and Crossan)

Tuesday of Jesus' final week in Jerusalem receives more space in Mark's gospel than any other day. Approximately two-thirds of this day's narrative deals with Jesus in conflict with various Jewish groups. The final third deals with the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and speaks of the coming of the Son of Man (the return of Jesus) in the near future. This final third is often called the "little apocalypse," meaning "unveiling" or "revelation," with "little" distinguishing it from the "big apocalypse," the Revelation of John.

This material is an example of of what scholars call "apocalyptic eschatology," a technical term that refers to the expectation of a near-future divine intervention into this world. This belief may or may not have been held by Jesus. It is most likely a post-Easter creation of the early Christian movement.

From the vantage point of history, Mark and the early Christians were wrong. But from another angle they were entirely correct. Behind the culturally conditioned apocalyptic language is the conviction that what was begun in Jesus will ultimately triumph, despite the resistance of domination systems throughout history.

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