I was just browsing through old posts and came across this one that appeared eight years ago tomorrow – a circumstance I thought was remarkable, since the very topic I cover in it is what I’ll be talking about with my undergraduate class tomorrow, in my course on Jesus in Scholarship and Film. At this stage of the semester we are learning about the various Gospels, and one of the BIG points I’m trying to make in the class — one that is extremely hard for anyone raised with a traditional view of the Bible to get their mind around — is that each of the Gospels has its *own* story to tell about Jesus: the portrayal of Matthew is not the same as that in John; that Mark’s is not Luke’s; that none of them is like the Gospel of Peter; or of Thomas; or of Mary; etc…. Each is different – sometimes in contradictory ways and more often in emphasis (which is just as important). And you can’t just assume they all are saying the same thing, or you misunderstand each one.
I will be illustrating the point by examining something that is not a contradiction, but a completely different view of things. The question: How does Jesus approach his own coming death? Is he troubled, disturbed, and seemingly confused? That is indeed what you find in Mark’s account (if you simply read what he has to say and don’t import the views of other Gospels into it). Or is he calm and in control, not at all ruffled or upset? That’s what you find in Luke.
That’s remarkable — especially given the fact that Luke inherited his account from Mark, and had to *change* it to make it say what he wanted it to. But why wasn’t he satisfied with Mark’s version? In this post I’ll try to show the differences between the accounts; in the next one I’ll try to explain it. So, this is how I put it eight years ago (just about the same as I’ll put it in my class tomorrow!).
Consider, for example, the crucifixion itself. In Mark, Jesus is silent the entire way carrying his cross to the place of execution. One has the impression that …
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