Contours and functions of Danielic references in the Gospel of Mark
Lo, Jonathan Wan Hei
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While scholars generally acknowledge the influence of the book of Daniel in various loci in the Gospel of Mark, there has yet to be a systematic study that combines these references to determine their cumulative effect. Previous examinations of Mark’s use of Daniel have been piece-meal, exploring a particular Danielic theme or looking at a particular Markan text. Other studies focus on determining whether a certain Markan text contains a reference to Daniel. These studies serve to illuminate Mark’s use of Daniel considerably, but leave many important questions unanswered. What is Mark’s modus operandi in referencing the book of Daniel in particular? What is the shape—the contours and distribution—of Danielic usage in Mark? What can the references together, in toto, reveal about Mark’s usage of Daniel? This dissertation will explore these questions and clarify Mark’s use of Daniel through careful analysis and exegetical study of ten verses with suggested Danielic references (Mark 1:15; 4:11, 32; 9:3; 13:7,13-14, 19, 26; 14:62) so as to observe Mark’s overall pattern of usage. This dissertation will survey the issues surrounding Mark’s usage of Daniel and review the secondary literature related the use of the Old Testament in Mark—more specifically the use of Daniel in Mark (Ch. 1). A survey of the use of Daniel in early Jewish literature demonstrates the popularity and the widespread use of Daniel across different Jewish groups—and therefore its availability to Mark (Ch. 2). This survey also provides the cultural and theological background in which to understand Mark’s use of Daniel. Each reference to the book of Daniel in the Gospel of Mark, which is noted by the editors of the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament (4th ed.) and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece (27th ed.), will be examined in order to trace the contours of Mark’s usage of Daniel, explore the nature of the literary relationship, and determine the literary function of each reference (Ch. 3). The characteristics and patterns that can be observed when the Danielic references in Mark are seen side by side will be closely examined (Ch. 4). The book of Daniel is found to be even more significant for Mark than it has been acknowledged because Mark’s concept of the kingdom of God is profoundly influenced by the visions of God’s kingdom in Dan 7 and Dan 2. The influence of the Danielic notion of the kingdom of God permeates Mark’s gospel, from Jesus’ introductory proclamation in Mark 1:15 to his parables about the kingdom of God in Mark 4, his apocalyptic discourse in Mark 13, and finally his passion in Mark 14. In addition to the kingdom of God, several themes and images in Mark’s view of eschatology are also influenced by the Danielic text. Consequently, by looking at the Danielic references in Mark in toto, it can be seen that Mark draws upon Daniel primarily for inspiration pertaining to the kingdom of God and its eschatological significance. It is clear that many parts of the book of Daniel were familiar to Mark, and that they played an integral part in shaping his portrayal of the good news of Jesus.