Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
December 1st, 2014 by Joel Watts

Mark 13 — Apocalypse Now, Twice

I had hoped to invest some time in exploring this subject, either for a chapter or a paper, but right now I am swamped. I was recently reminded of this, first in reading this book and second via an email. So, I wanted to take a quick second and sketch out an idea.

I think Mark 13 is something of a chaotic chiastic passage. By that, I mean Mark does not using a simple pattern like A B B C B B A, but rather, has a focal point from and to which all things flow, even if the pattern is “messed up.” It is the cosmic battle between the Abomination of Desolation and the Son of Man. Everything leads to that and from that. It is the center point of this chapter and is the historical event of the destruction of the Temple.

The cosmic battle is the counterpoint, or the mimetic refraction.

Mark 13, concurrent view

click the pic and it’ll open into a larger image. This is Mark 13 in the NASB

Further points of consideration:

  • Mark 13.19: “those days” – points both to the future (from Jesus’s standpoint) and to the days mentioned in 13.7–9, 12–13.
  • 13.5-6 is explained further in 13.21–22.
  • 13.18 founds a counter in 13.28.
  • The abomination of desolation is earthly, looking down but finds the opposite in the Son of Man descending whereby we are told to look up.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. 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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