THE NEGLECT OF THE THEME “UNBELIEF” BY THE MARKAN SCHOLARSHIP

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INTRODUCTION

Already for a long time scholars of Mark have been interested in the constituent themes of the Gospel as a tool for understanding Mark’s unique theology. The concept ‘unbelief’ as a theme in Mark’s Gospel is particularly important, when considered in relation to the response of the characters pertaining to the teaching and ministry of Jesus, the Christ.

SCHOLARSHIP

In the previous three decades many significant books and articles have been published, which attempted to identify the purpose of Mark. Kee comments: “The history of recent research on the Gospel of Mark can be seen as the record of an attempt to discern the aim of the Evangelist and so to discover the perspective, which gives coherence to all the features of the Second Gospel.”

STATEMENT REGARDING THE RESEARCH PROBLEM

A number of scholars over a long period of time have investigated the themes of Mark’s Gospel in order to attempt an understanding of Mark’s unique theology. Numerous studies have been devoted to themes, such as the general concern of Mark regarding the Messianic Secret, Christology, Discipleship, Faith, Minor Characters, and many others besides. During the last three decades, several studies have paid special attention to the role of the disciples in Mark’s Gospel. Nevertheless, Markan scholars have largely neglected the theme ‘unbelief,’ which is fundamental towards a proper understanding of Mark’s theological work, with the result that it has, up to this stage, attracted comparatively little attention.

Main Hypothesis

The principal hypothesis of this study is that Mark distinguishes between two kinds of unbelief, namely the unbelief of the Jewish religious leaders, and the unbelief of the disciples. Mark applies the same unbelieving characteristics used to describe opponents, to the disciples as well. Nevertheless Mark retains a distinction between the unbelief of both groups. This applies also to his description of the unbelief of both groups. The unbelief of the Jewish religious leaders is not primarily a lack of insight; it is rather a definite refusal to accept of Jesus’ claims and demands, which they well recognize, because they fear the existential consequences of so doing.

CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
1.1 THE NEGLECT OF THE THEME “UNBELIEF” BY THE MARKAN SCHOLARSHIP
1.2 A STATEMENT REGARDING THE RESEARCH PROBLEM
1.3 MAIN HYPOTHESIS AND INVESTIGATIVE PROCEDURE
1.3.1 Main Hypothesis
1.3.2 Investigative Procedure
1.4. THE METHOD FOLLOWED THROUGHOUT THE THESIS PRECONDITION FOR THE THEMATIC STUDY
1.5. SUMMARY
CHAPTER TWO: EXEGETICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE UNBELIEF OF JESUS’ OPPONENTS
2.1 UNBELIEF OF THE SCRIBES IN CAPERNAUM (MARK 2:1-12)
2.1.1 Literary Composition and Structure
2.1.1.1 Literary Composition in Five Controversial Stories
2.1.1.2 Literary Composition in Mark 2:1-12
2.1.2 Exegetical Perspectives on the Portrayal of Unbelief
2.1.2.1 Honour and Shame
2.1.2.2 The Scribes’ Unbelieving Rejection
2.1.3 Summary
2.2 THE UNBELIEF AT NAZARETH (Mark 6:1-6)
2.2.1 Literary Composition and Structure
2.2.2 Exegetical Perspectives on the Portrayal of Unbelief
2.2.2.1 Unbelieving Response of the Town’s People
The Primitive Stereotypes in the First-century Mediterranean
Son of Mary
Kinship
2.2.2.2 Jesus’ Reaction to Unbelief of the Nazareth
Jesus’ Usual Family
The Nazarenes’ Unbelief
2.2.3 Summary
2.3 THE UNBELIEF OF THE AUTHORITIES IN JERUSALEM (11:27-33)
2.3.1 Literary Composition and Structure
2.3.2 Exegetical Perspective on the Portrayal of Unbelief
2.3.2.1 Two Questions (11:20)
2.3.2.2 Jesus’ Luminous Response (11: 29-30)
2.3.2.3 The Opponents’ Unbelief (11:31-33)
The Opponents’ Failure to Answer
2.3.3 Summary
2. 4 UNBELIEF BEFORE THE CROSS (15:27-33)
2.4.1 Literary Composition and Structure
2.4.2 Exegetical Perspective on the Portrayal of Unbelief
2.4.2.1 Crucifixion in Terms of Honour and Shame
2.4.2.2 Two Aspects of Unbelief
Rejection of Eschatological Significance
Unbelieving Demand for Compelling Proof
2.4.3 Summary
2.5 HARDNESS OF HEART AMONG THE OPPONENTS OF JESUS
2.5.1 The Idea of Hardness of Heart in Other Gospels
2.5.2 The Withered Hand and the Withered Heart (Mark 3:1-6)
2.5.2.1 Literary Composition and Structure
2.5.2.2 Exegetical Perspective on Hardness of Heart
The Meaning of “Watching”
The Unbelieving Silence
The Opponents’ Hardness of Heart
Pharaoh’s Hardness of Heart
Hardness of Heart in Sam. 6:6
Hardness of Heart in the Jewish Literature
2.5.3 Jesus’ Teachings in Parables (4:10-12)
2.5.3.1 Insiders and Outsiders
2.5.3.2 The Allusion of Isaiah 6:9-10 at Mark 4:12
Isaiah 6:9-10
1QIsaiaha
1QH7:2-3
The LXX text of Isaiah 6:9-10
The Text of Isa. 6:9-10 in Targum
2.5.3.3 Tg. Isa. 6:9-10 in Mark 4:12
2.5.4 The Legalism and Hardness of Heart (10:1-5)
2.5.4.1 Exegetical Perspective on Hardness of Heart
2.5.5 Summary
2.6. SYMBOLIC ACTIONS AND PARABLE TOWARD THE UNBELIEVERS
2.6.1 The Cleansing of the Temple (11:15-17) and the Cursing of the Fig Tree (11:12-14, 20-26)
2.6.1.1 The Exegetical Perspective on the Cursing of the Fig Tree
Fig Tree in the OT
Withering of Tree
2.6.1.2 The Exegetical Perspective on the Cleansing of the Temple
The Cleansing of the Temple a Symbolic Action
Quotation of Isaiah 56:7 and Jeremiah 7:11
2.6.2 The Parable of the Wicked Tenants in the Vineyard (12:1-12)
2.6.2.1 Literary Composition and Structure
2.6.2.2 The Exegetical Perspective on Judgment
The Biblical Theme in Isaiah 5
Beloved Son
The Unbelieving Plot
The Judgment of the Tenants
Quotation of Psalm 118:22-23
2.6.3 Summary
2.7 CONCLUSION
CHPATER THREE: EXEGETICAL PERSPECTIVE ON THE UNBELIEF OF JESUS’ DISCIPLES
3.1 THE DISCIPLES’ UNBELIEF IN THE STORM AT SEA (4:35-41)
3.1.1 Literary Composition and Structure
3.1.2 Exegetical Perspective on Unbelief
3.1.2.1 The Meaning of Jesus’ Sleep
3.1.2.2 Jesus’ Rebuking the Wind
3.1.2.3 Fear and Unbelief
3.1.3 The Depiction of Unbelief
3.1.4 Summary
3.2 THE DISCIPLES’ UNBELIEF IN FAILURE TO EXORCISE (9:14-29)
3.2.1 Literary Composition and Structure
3.2.2 Exegetical Perspective on Unbelief
3.2.2.1 Patron-Client
3.2.2.2 Unbelieving Generation
3.2.2.3 The Double Rhetorical Question
3.2.2.4 A Stage of Reciprocal Question and Answer
3.2.3 Summary

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3.3 HARDNESS IN HEART AMONG THE DISCIPLES
3.3.1 The Disciples’ Hardness of Heart in the Sea-Walking Story (6:45-52)
3.3.1.1 Literary Composition and Structure
3.3.1.2 Exegetical Perspective on Unbelief and Hardness of Heart
Narrative Settings Based on Unbelief
Jesus’ Divine Action and The Disciples’ Incomprehension
Failure to Perceive the Shepherd Messiah
The Disciples’ Hardness of Heart
3.3.2 Jesus’ Rebuke for the Disciples’ Hardness of Heart (8:14-21)
3.3.2.1 Literary Composition and Structure Kai Structure
3.3.2.2 Exegetical Perspective on Unbelief and Hardness of Heart
The Leaven of the Pharisees and The Leaven of Herod.
The Disciples’ Failure to Understand
Allusion of Jeremiah 5:21
Spiritual Perceptiveness
Failure to Understand the Feeding Miracle
3.3.3 The Removal of Hardness of Heart (Blindness)
3.3.3.1 The Disciples as Fishers of Men
3.3.3.2 The Disciples’ Preaching and Suffering in the Future
3.3.3.3 Jesus’ Promise: “I will go before you, to Galilee”
Jesus’ Promise in Mark 14:27-28
Jesus’ Promise in Mark 16:7
3.3.4 Summary
3.4 CONCLUSION
CHAPTER FOUR: MARK’S THEOLOGICAL PURPOSE AND MESSAGE: FAITH AND SPIRITUAL PERCEPTIVENESS AS A PREREQUISITE FOR DISCIPLESHIP
4.1 THEOLOGICAL EFFECT OF THE DISCIPLES’ UNBELIEF
4.2 INITIATION OF DISCIPLESHIP WITH FAITH
4.3 THE FAITH AND SPIRITUAL INSIGHT OF MINOR CHARACTERS
4.3.1 The Gerasene Demonic (5:1-20)
4.3.2 The Faith of the Haemorrhaging Woman and Jairus
4.3.2.1 The Haemorrhaging Woman (5:25-34)
4.3.2.2 The Faith of Jairus (5:21-24, 35-43)
4.3.3 The Faith of the Syrophoenician Woman (7:24-30)
4.3.4 The Significance of Spiritual Perceptiveness Shown in the Healing of the Deaf-Mute Man (7:31-37)
4.3.5 The Disciples and Two Blind Men on the Way (8:22-10:52)
4.3.5.1 The Disciples’ Unbelieving Misunderstanding, Denial and Betrayal of Jesus on the Way
Peter’s Misunderstanding
Peter’s Unbelieving Attitude
The Hallmarks of Unbelief
Failure to Believe in Jesus as Suffering Messiah
4.3.5.2 The Healing of a Blind Man at Bethsaida (8:22-26)
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