Jim doesn’t like the theological trend which suggests that Mark was written as a performance piece… but what if it was?
Also, what if the Gospel, either in part or near the whole if not the whole, was either meant to be a vision or perhaps, meant to suggest that the audience could understand it to be a vision?
It happened in those days that Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized in the Jordan by John. On coming up out of the water he saw the heavens being torn open and the Spirit, like a dove, descending upon him. And a voice came from the heavens, “You are my beloved Son; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit drove him out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him. (Mar 1:9-13 NAB)
Compare that to:
And to me in a vision it was thus shown: Behold, clouds in the vision were calling and fogs were calling, and courses of the stars and lightnings were troubling me and bothering me, and winds in my vision stunned me. And they lifted me up and brought me into heaven, and I entered until I came near to a wall built with stones of white marble and a tongue of fire around them; and they began to frighten me. (1EN 14:8-9 OPE)
First, the Wilderness could be understood as a vision especially given the presence of the beasts and angels. Further, notice the connection between the clouds and the voices amongst them and the fact that there is no smooth transition between Jesus being in the Wilderness and when John is arrested. Also, following other New Testament language (especially in Revelation), the vision could be started by the compunction of the Spirit. Sure, this may help the mythicists out, but as a friend and I were discussing the other day, it is possible that given the bifurcation of Mark connected at the Transfiguration, then it may be that this scene was meant to end the initial vision. Given my theory that the first part of Mark is anti-Roman Imperial Ideology, which of course happened long after Christ, then a vision would be the best place to house this ‘new’ information. Finally, the final portion of Mark contains prophecies, which could be the result of the vision.
Now, this is only the genesis of the exploration here, but nevertheless, one which I intend to explore. No worries… the fact that Jesus begins outside the vision, and ends outside the vision, if there is a vision, still maintains a historical vision. Remember, the cardinal rule of propaganda is that it has to be based in truth, somewhat, believable, and purposeful.