Is Isaiah 65.1-7 LXX Mark’s Literary Backdrop in Mark 5.1-20?

Jews Praying in the Synagogue on Yom Kippur

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I am currently writing my exegesis paper on Mark 5.1-20. This passage, specifically in the LXX, was brought to my attention as something that Mark may have been using, at least literary. Granted, I think that Mark is using a real historical situation, but in the end, nothing we say or write is done in a vacuum. To probe Mark’s literary backdrop helps us to see first his lexicon and second what he may be trying to say as he tells the story. While some may find this almost blasphemous, I find that the more you know, as best you can without going overboard, the the better and more poignant the story becomes.

To that end, is there an intertexual connection between the passage below and Mark 5.1-20?

“I made myself available to those who did not ask for me; I appeared to those who did not look for me. I said, ‘Here I am! Here I am!’ to a nation that did not invoke my name. I spread out my hands all day long to my rebellious people, who lived in a way that is morally unacceptable, and who did what they desired. These people continually and blatantly offend me as they sacrifice in their sacred orchards and burn incense on brick altars. They sit among the tombs and keep watch all night long. They eat pork, and broth from unclean sacrificial meat is in their pans. They say, ‘Keep to yourself! Don’t get near me, for I am holier than you!’ These people are like smoke in my nostrils, like a fire that keeps burning all day long. Look, I have decreed: I will not keep silent, but will pay them back; I will pay them back exactly what they deserve, for your sins and your ancestors’ sins,” says the LORD . “Because they burned incense on the mountains and offended me on the hills, I will punish them in full measure.” -65.1-7 NETS

How far do we take intertextuality between the Gospels and the Jewish Canon?

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Post By Joel Watts (9,928 Posts)

Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, working on the use of Deuteronomy in the Fourth Gospel. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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4 thoughts on Is Isaiah 65.1-7 LXX Mark’s Literary Backdrop in Mark 5.1-20?

  1. As far as the texts will allow – which is quite a distance more than you’d assume from most sermons that are preached from the gospels.

  2. Joel, on a completely different subject, how do I “Manage my subscriptions”? I click on it and nothing happens.

  3. ISAIAH: They sit among the tombs and keep watch all night long. They eat pork. . . . These people are like smoke in my nostrils, like a fire that keeps burning all day long. Look, I have decreed: I will not keep silent, but will pay them back; I will pay them back exactly what they deserve, for your sins and your ancestors’ sins,” says the LORD.

    MARK: . . . a man possessed by an evil* spirit came out from a cemetery to meet him. This man lived among the burial caves . . . There happened to be a large herd of pigs feeding on the hillside nearby. “Send us into those pigs,” the spirits begged. “Let us enter them.” So Jesus gave them permission. The evil spirits came out of the man and entered the pigs, and the entire herd of 2,000 pigs plunged down the steep hillside into the lake and drowned in the water.

    Mark

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