Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Daniel Johansson:

"Paradoxical" & "ambiguous" conclusions
concerning Mark's use of the title κύριος /

"Παράδοξα"¨και "διφορούμενα" συμπεράσματα
αναφορικά με τη χρήση του τίτλου κύριος από το Μάρκο

«Mark has a similar purpose with his linking of Ps. 110.1 to Deut. 6.4, but instead of splitting ‘Lord’ and ‘God’ between two persons, Mark brings in an OT text which portrays two κύριοι. Furthermore, he puts all emphasis on κύριος. This reinforces the complex view of κύριος found throughout Mark; there is one κύριος, and yet two figures, God and Jesus, share this name and title. The one title κύριος appears to guarantee the oneness of the κύριος. This, in Mark’s view, does not compromise monotheism, but certainly reinterprets monotheism so that Jesus is included on the divine side of the God–creation divide. [...]

As noted above, Joel Marcus has observed that in Mark ‘the relation between Jesus and the κύριος ... subtly combines a recognition of the separateness of the two figures with a recognition of their inseparability’ ([The Way of the Lord: Christological Exegesis of the Old Testament in the Gospel of Mark (Edinburgh: T&T Clark)] 1993: 39). The present article has demonstrated that this observation is correct overall with regard to the relation between Jesus and God, but it has also shown that some qualifications are necessary. First, we should speak of the relation between Jesus and God rather than Jesus and the κύριος. Second, the distinction between Jesus and the κύριος is not as neat as Marcus argues. Contrary to his view, Mark actually identifies Jesus with κύριος (1.3) and throughout his narrative, by means of his ambiguous use of κύριος, links both God and Jesus to the κύριος title. Third, there is an overlap of identity between God and Jesus achieved by means of κύριος, which serves to unite God and Jesus. The ‘inseparability’ is realized precisely through their shared identity as κύριος. Yet, at the same time, Mark maintains a clear distinction. Throughout most of the narrative two figures are linked to κύριος, and Mark never calls Jesus ‘God’ and ‘Father’. These are reserved for the God of Israel and separate Jesus from God.

Mark thus articulates a sophisticated κύριος Christology in which the early Christian confession ‘Jesus is Lord’ (cf. Rom. 10.9; 1 Cor. 12.3; Phil. 2.11) is presupposed. [...] For Mark, the confession links Jesus to God so that Jesus shares the identity of being κύριος with God. In this he agrees with Paul and Luke. The exclusive divinity of the God of Israel is maintained, but not to the exclusion of Jesus. If we ask who the κύριος in the Gospel of Mark is, the paradoxical answer is: God and Jesus.»

* Daniel Johansson,
«Kyrios in the Gospel of Mark»,
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2010 33: 101-124.
DOI: 10.1177/0142064X10380130.

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