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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Reading MarkĎs Christology under Caesar: Jesus the Messiah and Roman Imperial Ideology
Winn, Adam

Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018 pp. xiv + 187. $24.00


Description: The Gospel of Mark has been intensively studied from multiple angles using many methods. But often there remains a discontent, a sense that something is wanting, that the full picture of Mark's Gospel lacks some background circuitry that―if properly supplied―would light up the whole. Adam Winn finds a clue in the cataclysmic destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans in AD 70. For Jews and Christians it was an apocalyptic moment. The earth shook, the sun went dark in the cosmic canopy, and Rome danced on the ruins of the holy temple. The gods of Rome seemed to have conquered the God of the Jews. And Roman Christians' allegiance to a messiah crucified by Rome renewed sharp questions. Could it be that Mark wrote his Gospel in response to Roman imperial propaganda surrounding this event? However else they might function, are Mark's themes and christological titles coded subversions of empire? Have we missed clues to understanding Mark's messianic secret? Could a messiah crucified by Rome really be God's Son appointed to rule the world? Adam Winn takes us on the adventure of rediscovering how Mark might have been read by Christians in Rome in the aftermath of the fall of Jerusalem. He introduces us to the Roman imperial propaganda of the Flavian emperors and excavates the Markan text for themes that address the Roman imperial setting. Here is an intriguing look into a first-century response to the question Christ or Caesar? Entering a first-century house church in Rome, we hear this Gospel again as if for the first time.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Mark, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, Greco-Roman Period, Ideological Critique

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Review by MichaŽl Girardin
Published 6/20/2019
Citation: MichaŽl Girardin, review of Adam Winn, Reading MarkĎs Christology under Caesar: Jesus the Messiah and Roman Imperial Ideology, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2019).


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