I have been trying to show that the portrayal of Jesus going to his death in Mark’s Gospel is radically different from the portrayal in Luke’s Gospel.  I’ve been making this comparison for a purpose, in order to show as clearly as I can that reading the Bible historically – seeing its discrepancies – does not compromise its value.  On the contrary, as I came to see as a committed Christian who was no longer a conservative evangelical, this way of reading the Bible *increases* its value.

A person can still revere the Bible while thinking there are contradictions and discrepancies in it, not only in small things but in large things.  But one has to understand it in a non-fundamentalist way to do so.   The point of finding discrepancies is *not* so you can go away saying that the Bible is worthless (“bunch of contradictions”) but, on the contrary, so you can recognize the vast depths of its theological meaning, as seen precisely *in* the (big) differences you find in it.

Here is how I describe the importance of recognizing the differences in the Bible, in relation to the Passion narratives of Mark and Luke, in my book Jesus Interrupted.


The Pay-off

The problem comes when readers take these two accounts (Mark and Luke on Jesus’ death) and smash them together into one BIG account, in which Jesus says, does, and experiences everything narrated in them both.  When that is done, the messages of both Mark and Luke get completely lost and glossed over.  Jesus is no longer …

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