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Abstract

This study makes a sustained case for the plausible literary dependence of the Gospel according to Mark on select letters of Paul. It argues not only that Mark and Paul share the same gospel narrative (the story of the life, death, resurrection, and second coming of Jesus Christ “in accordance with the scriptures” [see 1 Cor 15:3-8]), but also that Mark presumes Paul and his mission to be constitutive episodes of that narrative (1 Cor 15:8). This results in Mark’s adopting an etiological hermeneutic vis-à-vis Paul, as the evangelist seeks to construct narrative precursors concordant with the eventual teachings of the itinerant apostle. Pauline rituals (baptism, Eucharist), theological innovations (eg. justification by faith), Christological emphases (suffering, death), and ecclesiological horizons (the Gentile mission) are all seeded into Mark’s gospel in forms that require the recollection of Paul’s words to be understood properly. This study focuses specifically upon the various (re)presentations of Christ’s death that Paul takes to occur within his communities—Christ's death performed in ritual, prefigured in scripture, and embodied in his person—and it argues that Mark self-consciously attempts to establish literary precedent for them within his story of the earthly mission of the messiah.

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