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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 II: The Care for the Gentiles and the Uncomprehending Disciples: Mark 6,45–8,21


While the first feeding narrative (6,30–44) revealed the identity of Jesus as Shepherd of Israel, the following texts (6,45–52; 7,24–30; 8,1–21) manifest the inclusive nature of his mission. Even though these texts do not have any direct occurrence of the words «sheep» or «shepherd», the theme of Shepherd is very much evident. The first text (6,45–52) following the first feeding narrative (6,30–44) ends with a reference to the «loaves» (6,52). The second text (7,24–30) also has the words χορτάζω (7,27; cf. 6,42) and ρτος (7,27; cf. 6, which indirectly refer to the theme of Shepherd. The third text (8,1–21) consists of three scenes: the second feeding account (8,1–9), followed by a brief meeting with the Pharisees (8,10–13) and the third scene happens on the boat, on the way to Bethsaida, which has a reference to both the feeding narratives (6,30–44; 8,1–10), revealing the incomprehension of the disciples (8,14–21).

1.The Manifestation of Jesus: 6,45–52

The pericope following the feeding narrative (6,30–44) is a manifestation of Jesus to his disciples (6,45–52). The most interesting thing about this pericope is the narrative commentary that «they did not understand about the loaves, but their heart was hardened» (6,52), which provokes questions in the mind of the readers1.

The first feeding...

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