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The Metaphor of Shepherd in the Gospel of Mark


Jogy Cheruvathoor George

This book takes a close look at the theme of the shepherd in the Gospel of Mark and how it relates to different motifs in the narrative. Jesus’ seeing the condition of the crowd and his teaching and nourishing the crowd in the wilderness, allude to the shepherding activities of Yahweh in the Old Testament. The motif of nourishment continues, when Jesus extends his care towards the Gentile woman and later to a crowd in a Gentile region. Interestingly, the motif of «way» introduced in the prologue merges with the theme of the shepherd in the epilogue of the narrative, when Jesus leads his disciples, the «scattered sheep», to Galilee.
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Chapter I: The Care for the Shepherdless: Mark 6,30–44


The first occurrence of the word «shepherd» in the Markan narrative is in 6,34 where Jesus «sees» a «great crowd», who were like «sheep without a shepherd». This happens in the context of the return of the disciples (6,30) from their first mission (6,7–13). The sequence (6,30–44) is divided into two scenes (vv. 30–33 and vv. 34–44) and is examined in its narrative context, which begins with the study of the cohesion of the text followed by its coherence. It is important that, to understand the communicative force of a text, we have to look into the presupposition of the reader in his/her journey through the narrative. And therefore, in order to have a proper understanding of the narrative, the journey of the reader with the narrator and his characters will be crucial, especially Jesus, his disciples and the crowd, who play a crucial role in this sequence. The study will be concluded by a presentation of the pragmatic elements that emerge from the cohesion and coherence of the text.

1.Presupposition of the Reader: 1,1–6,29

1.1The Prologue: «Way»1 in the Wilderness (1,1–13)2

The narrator begins the narrative with a direct and succinct message to the reader (1,1). In the prologue itself the author intends to communicate to the reader what follows; in other words, the author shows the way or gives the key to the text....

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