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The Gospel of Mark

A Hypertextual Commentary


Bartosz Adamczewski

This commentary demonstrates that the Gospel of Mark is a result of a consistent, strictly sequential, hypertextual reworking of the contents of three of Paul’s letters: Galatians, First Corinthians and Philippians. Consequently, it shows that the Marcan Jesus narratively embodies the features of God’s Son who was revealed in the person, teaching, and course of life of Paul the Apostle. The analysis of the topographic and historical details of the Marcan Gospel reveals that they were mainly borrowed from the Septuagint and from the writings of Flavius Josephus. Other literary motifs were taken from various Jewish and Greek writings, including the works of Homer, Herodotus, and Plato. The Gospel of Mark should therefore be regarded as a strictly theological-ethopoeic work, rather than a biographic one.
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This commentary greatly differs from other modern commentaries on the Gospel of Mark. The difference results from the particular methodological approach which has been adopted therein. Instead of explaining the Marcan Gospel in historical-critical terms as a result of redactional use of earlier sources or traditions, in narratological terms as a set of narrative-organizing devices, etc., this commentary aims at explaining it as a result of a sequential hypertextual reworking of three Pauline letters: to the Galatians, the first to the Corinthians, and to the Philippians.

This methodological approach, unlike many others, does not originate from any particular literary theory. It rather reflects the recent discovery of the phenomenon of the sequential hypertextual reworking of earlier texts in numerous biblical writings. This phenomenon occurs in the writings of both the Old and the New Testament: Gen, Exod-Lev-Num, Deut, Sam-Kgs, Chr; Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Acts, Rom, Gal, Eph, 2 Thes, Hebr, 2 Pet, and Rev.1 These writings, taken together and measured by their extent, constitute almost a half of the Christian Bible.

Accordingly, it is fully justified to perform a thorough analysis of the Marcan Gospel, taking this important literary discovery into full consideration.

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