A quote from a commentary on Mark’s Gospel

In his recent blog post Michael Bird alerts us to a commentary on Mark, written by Herman C. Waetjen. It is called A Reordering of Power a Socio-Political Reading of Mark’s Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989).

I am not an expert in Mark’s Gospel and so I will not critique the commentary here. In fact, Michael Bird raises some issues with it. But Bird nonetheless thinks that it’s one of the best commentaries on Mark. Indeed the following quote from the commentary sounds really good. It’s cited by Michael Bird and I am reproducing it here.

Now at the end of his life, at the moment of his physical death, the curtain of the sanctuary is torn apart, and God comes forth again. Jesus’ earlier symbolic act of invalidating the temple institution is consummated by the divine exit from the Holy of Holies. Consequently the architectonic center of Judaism is canceled. The old order, which is represented by the temple, its sacrifices and its hierocracy, is abolished. Jerusalem is no longer the navel of the world where heaven and earth are united and where God’s presence is uniquely experienced. Heaven and earth have been reconciled cosmically and universally. Accordingly, the binary opposition between the sacred and the secular, constituted by the temple as the axis mundi of Judaism, is dissolved. Both are reunited, and the entire creation once again becomes ambiguously sacred and profane. Henceforth no geographical, religious, social, sexual, or racial lines can be drawn to separate the clean from the unclean, good from evil,  life from death. God’s presence will be experience everywhere or anywhere without the necessity of atoning sacrifices or a mediating priesthood. God’s presence will be experienced wherever the eschatological reality of the New Humanity that Jesus incarnated throughout his ministry is encountered.

(Source: Michael Bird’s blog on 30th April 2013. Click here for the link.)

What do you think?


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