The Two Gospels Of Mark: Performance And Text

June 10, 2019|
The Two Gospels Of Mark: Performance And Text by Danila Oder
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The Gospel of Mark is not the memoirs of Peter, recorded by his secretary. But why did someone write this foundational text of early Christianity? In a new book, The Two Gospels of Mark: Performance and Text, Danila Oder argues, for the first time, that the Gospel of Mark was initially an entertaining, secular play performed in Rome in 90–95 CE. The playwright known to history as “Mark” preserved the experience of performance in a narrative, literary text. That text, much edited, is the ancestor of the Gospel of Mark we know. In modern terms, Mark novelized a screenplay.

Oder proposes that the play was produced by the historical Flavia Domitilla, who donated the earliest Christian catacombs in Rome. Flavia, a niece of the Emperor Domitian, was an aristocrat and in a position to provide the theater necessary for a private production of the play.

In The Two Gospels of Mark, Oder assumes that the congregation’s Jesus was a heavenly being, a divine intermediary. The play dramatized many scenarios that involved this Jesus, who came to earth in order to die and rise. These scenarios were already familiar to the congregation and mainly drawn from Scripture. Mark was the first writer to organize them and combine them into a story.

Oder closely analyzes the text of the Gospel of Mark from the point of view of a director and stage manager. She identifies the plot and subplot of the play, and reconstructs the actions of many scenes. She also identifies many editorial changes to Mark's literary text. Appendix E provides a summary reconstruction of the action of the performed play.

Oder discusses the fate of the Gospel of Mark in the second century. The Roman church decided to promote  the historical Jesus of Nazareth, which required them to hide Mark's real life-situation. 

By identifying the Gospel of Mark as first and foremost a performed play, The Two Gospels of Mark challenges the prevailing scholarly assumptions that Mark’s purpose was biographical, educational, or evangelical. The book is written for scholars and advanced amateurs of early Christianity who are comfortable with Jesus mythicism and are willing to study the Gospel of Mark in depth. It is also of interest to historians of ancient theater. The book is 216 pages, including footnotes, endnotes, a bibliography, and an index.

Danila Oder has a BA in history (University of Chicago) and studied at Spertus College of Judaica. She has studied playwriting and worked as an actor. She lives in Los Angeles. This is her first book.
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Title:The Two Gospels Of Mark: Performance And Text
Format:Paperback
Product dimensions:216 pages, 9 X 6 X 0.49 in
Shipping dimensions:216 pages, 9 X 6 X 0.49 in
Published:June 10, 2019
Publisher:Domus Press
Language:English
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9780578505312

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