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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The Theological Role of Paradox in the Gospel of Mark
Sweat, Laura C.

London: Bloomsbury, 2013 pp. xvi + 208. $120.00

Series Information
Library of New Testament Studies, 492
Edited by Mark Goodacre



Description: Scholarship on the Gospel of Mark has long been convinced of the paradoxical description of two of its primary themes, christology and discipleship. This book argues that paradoxical language pervades the entire narrative, and that it serves a theological purpose in describing God's activity. Part One focuses on divine action present in Mark 4:10-12. In the first paradox, Mark portrays God's revelatory acts as consistently accompanied by concealment. The second paradox is shown in the various ways in which divine action confirms, yet counters, scripture. Finally, Mark describes God's actions in ways that indicate both wastefulness and goodness; deeds that are further illuminated by the ongoing, yet defeated, presence of evil. Part Two demonstrates that this paradoxical language is widely attested across Mark's passion narrative, as he continues to depict God's activity with the use of the three paradoxes observed in Mark 4. Through paradoxical narrative, Mark emphasizes God's transcendence and presence, showing that even though Jesus has brought revelation, a complete understanding of God remains tantalizingly out of their grasp until the eschaton (4:22).

Subjects: Bible, Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Greco-Roman Literature, Literature, Methods, Literary Approaches, Theological Approaches, Dead Sea Scrolls

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Review by M. Geert van Oyen
Published 7/26/2015
Citation: M. Geert van Oyen, review of Laura C. Sweat, The Theological Role of Paradox in the Gospel of Mark, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2015).


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