2012 Synoptic Gospels

Session 1

Robert S. Kinney (University of Bristol)

Homeric resonances and the Gospel of Matthew

Dennis R. MacDonald has compellingly posited hypertextual connections between Mark and the Homeric corpus. Presuming that Matthew is dependent on Mark and that Mark has made use of some Homeric material, one might wonder what happened to the Homeric materials in Matthew? This paper explores whether it is possible to determine if Matthew was consciously and purposefully using or removing the Homeric elements from his sources.

Session 2

Reading the Gospel of Mark with African eyes: a fresh look at the exorcism and healing passages in Mark

This paper examines the Exorcism and Healing passages of Mark. The research, conducted with Ghanaian worshippers from twenty two London-based churches, unearths explanations and applications not covered by Mark and Western scholars. The findings, which have implications for hermeneutics and cross cultural interpretation of the Gospel, call for cosmology of an African interpretation and explanation of Mark’s Gospel.


Todd Brewer (Durham University)

Unconditional discipleship in the Gospel of Mark

Within the Gospel of Mark an anomaly is created by the conditions of discipleship outlined by Jesus in Mark 8:34-38 and the subsequent actions of the disciples within the passion narrative, specifically 14:27-31, 50, and 54-72. Jesus demands that if the twelve wish to become disciples, they must be faithful to him to the point of death. Yet the disciples abandon Jesus, thereby relinquishing their claim to be disciples and becoming subject to divine judgment. It will be argued that Mark’s conservative redaction of his sources resolves the dilemma of the disciple’s disobedience to Jesus’ explicit command through the utilization of Jesus’ resurrection appearance in Galilee. This subverts a discipleship which depends upon the conditional obedience of the disciple in favour of a redefined discipleship founded upon Jesus’ unconditional promise.


Session 3

Colin Bullard (University of Cambridge)

Reading Simeon’s oracle christologically: the Revelation of Thoughts in the Ministry of Jesus

In Luke’s Gospel, Simeon’s oracle to Mary plays a programmatic role in the interpretation of the subsequent narrative. This paper will focus on reading the last line of Simeon’s oracle (2:35; “So that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed”) christologically. What does it mean for the presentation of Jesus that the result of his coming is the exposure of ‘thoughts of many hearts’? Luke’s programmatic placement of Simeon’s oracle leads the reader to interpret certain aspects of Jesus’ ministry (e.g., Jesus’ knowledge of thoughts; 5:22; 6:8; 9:47) as a divine exposure of that which is hidden (cf. 12:2). Although the ultimate consummation of this divine exposure lies in the final judgment, Luke’s narrative seems to portray certain aspects of God’s judgment being inaugurated in Jesus’ earthly ministry.