Disclosure of the Sacred
The Destruction of the Temple and the
Death of Jesus (13:1-16: 8)
Not One Stone upon Another (13:1-2)
Now he leaves the temple. The scapegoat goes out and God's presence goes with him. Like Ezekiel (chap. 10) we see God departing from the temple and taking up position "upon the mountain which is on the east side of the city" (Ezek 11:23) as a prelude to the destruction of the city and the departure of its people into exile. We are at a climax of the disclosure of the Sacred and the rejection of the sacrificial system. A disciple draws Jesus' attention to the pretentious size of the buildings, a marvel that impressed Josephus (Jewish War 5.189) and can still be appreciated today from the size of the Herodian stones visible in situ. Jesus solemnly pronounces the prophecy that not one of these great buildings will remain standing, not one stone remain upon another. The rejection of the Sacred symbolized by the "cleansing" of the temple is confirmed by the prophecy of its destruction, given ex post facto by the author of the Gospel. This chapter was written in the light of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, which was already accomplished.
Signs of Conflict (13:3-36)
Dieter Lührmann (1) sees this discourse as a portrayal in the apocalyptic style of a typical war situation, presenting the position of the Christians caught between the Jews and the Romans in the war of 66-70 C.E. Werner Kelber sees it as an expression of the anti-Zion theology that was "forced upon" Mark by the Roman destruction. (2) We shall follow the main outline of these two interpretations. The war and its aftermath is the context of chapter 13, especially the eschatological hopes aroused by it in the minds of certain Christians. Mark refutes these hopes, especially the idea that the fall of Jerusalem is the eschatological event, and argues that the eschaton is still to come.
The four disciples ask about the time and the significance of the destruction of the temple, and Jesus' speech in answer is a statement of Mark's theology. The speech is organized into three sections and each section has three subsections:
There are three emphases in the speech: (1) on the need to understand the times properly, (2) on the challenge to endure persecution and maintain watchfulness, and (3) on the duty to carry the gospel to all nations. They amount to an argument that the end of history, while imminent, has not yet come, and that those who say it has are not to be believed. The references to false messiahs and false prophets (13:6, 22) point to rival Christian prophets who misinterpreted the war as the end of the world and the time of the coming of the Son of Man. (4) This is the chief ground for the theory that the passage reflects a controversy within the early church about the meaning of the destruction of the temple in the Roman War. Mark wishes to maintain that the events of the destruction have apocalyptic significance but are not yet the end of the age. They are rather part of the history leading up to the inbreaking of that age -- events in the messianic tribulation (13:8c), portending the second coming. As such, they might be called events of apocalyptic history, partaking of the heightened significance of the history that brings the current order of time to an end, but they are history and not eschatology, as Mark's opponents in this argument seemed to have held.
The temple had been a center of resistance during the siege. Several nationalist groups had made it their headquarters and had fought among themselves within the temple walls. The Romans made it the focal point of their siege, and the fall of the temple was tantamount to the fall of the city. The temple was, therefore, the center from which the violence of revolt emanated and to which the violence of repression was directed.
The "abomination of desolation" (13:14) was probably some pagan symbol set up in the temple -- an altar, or the standards of the legions. Josephus tells us that the Romans set up their standards in the temple court opposite the eastern gate and, while the sanctuary was burning, offered sacrifices to them, hailing Titus as autocrat (War 6.316). On the other hand, because the "abomination" is said to be "standing where it ought not," it might refer to the dramatic epiphany of the Zealot leader Simon bar Giora who had been hiding in the catacombs and whose surrender Josephus describes as follows:
Thereupon, Simon, imagining that he could cheat the Romans by creating a scare, dressed himself in white tunics and buckling over them a purple mantle arose out of the ground at the very spot whereon the temple formerly stood. The spectators were at first aghast and remained motionless; but afterwards they approached nearer and inquired who he was. [War 7.29-30] (5)Dominic Crossan conjectures that Simon was presenting himself as king of the Jews. If this were so, it would be a counterpart to an earlier, nonviolent king of the Jews who had died at the hands of the Romans without bringing the city down with him. Kelber points out that the "abomination" is construed as a person, the masculine participle hestekota giving a personal identity to the neuter bdelygma, and this suggests a scenario like the appearance of Simon rather than the impersonal presence of the standards.
In any case, whatever it was, the "abomination" is a sign that disqualifies the temple as the place of the second coming of Christ. Violence is personified, Satan has taken over the temple, and thus it is disqualified forever as the place of the parousia. (6) Accordingly, Mark argues -- against the group that holds that the parousia will happen in the temple -- that the second coming will be in Galilee (16:7). Could this Jerusalem-centered group have shared the notion, possibly held by Simon bar Giora, that the epiphany of the Messiah in the temple would miraculously reverse the defeat and bring the kingdom of God instead of the empire of Rome? Mark rejects this and similar notions.
The presence of Satan (= the "abomination") in the temple (cf. 8:33) is an unveiling of the violence that has always been its life. The negative apocalypse that reaches its climax here has been coming from the moment when Jesus entered the temple. The "abomination" is not only a historical reference to the Roman and Zealot desecration and a polemical symbol in the argument between two parties in the church but also an unveiling of the GMSM that drives the temple. The temple was the focal point of the resistance to the Roman siege. Rival groups of Jewish nationalists fought each other for possession of it. It was in fact a center of religio-nationalist violence, and Mark interprets that to mean the place of Satan. In Girardian terms, Satan is the mythological symbol of mimetic rivalry, the "abomination" of violent desire. (7) There is a deep consistency, therefore, in the violent Roman destruction of a violent system.
There is also a consistency in Mark's presentation of this apocalyptic speech at this point in the Gospel. It is both a climax to the preceding narrative of Jesus in conflict with the powers of sacred violence symbolized by the religious and secular authorities who confront him in the temple and an introduction to the subsequent narrative of the decisive outbreak of that violence against his person. Werner Kelber explains the positioning of chapter 13 by means of the historical circumstances of the conflict between the Galilean and the Jerusalemite Christian communities; the speech is the climax of the argument made by the former against the position of the latter. This may, indeed, be a part of the explanation for its occurrence here; but it can only be a part of the explanation, because it does not account for the close linkage of this passage with what comes in the succeeding chapters. The "abomination" summarizes the preceding narrative and foreshadows the Satanic violence that will soon break out from the temple against Jesus, the innocent victim. It also alerts us to the other elements in the discourse that foreshadow the narrative to come.
What the reader must understand (13:14) is that the "abomination" is the disclosure of the mechanism of the Sacred and a foreshadowing of the violence that is to come when "the chief priests, and the scribes sought to take him by stealth and kill him" (14:1). This is confirmed by the exhortations to watchfulness in the conclusion of the speech. They point to the Gethsemane scene where the Lord finds the disciples sleeping (13:36; cf. 14:37-41) and utters the same warnings to stay awake and watch (13:33). It is also confirmed by the mention of the crowing of the cock (alektorophonia, 13:35; cf. alektor ephonesen, 14:72; cf. 14:30), which recalls the same element in the account of Peter's denial. The frequent references to being "handed over" or betrayed (paradidomi, 13:9, 11-12) recall the betrayal of Jesus and especially the handing over of the Son of Man at the conclusion of the Gethsemane pericope (14:41), which takes place as the disciples sleep. Finally, the threefold organization of the speech recalls the three times Jesus comes and finds the disciples sleeping in Gethsemane, and the three denials of Peter. (8) All of these fore-shadowings help the reader to understand that the revelation of the "abomination" is the unveiling of the GMSM that is about to break out against Jesus; it is the clue to the GMSM that generates the action and from now on is to become even more evident. Chapter 13 is, therefore, not merely the climax of what has gone before but also an introduction to what is to come. (9)
The role of the section on the parousia (13:24-27) in this chapter is analogous to the role that the question about the resurrection plays in the discourses in the temple (12:18-27). It introduces the note of miraculous intervention and signals that the fulfillment of the hope for a new order can only take place through the action of God. It is as if for a moment the veil is lifted and we are shown the real agent in the history that is being recounted. The temple is to be replaced not with another sacrificial system but with the community of those chosen by the Son of Man, which in Daniel 7 symbolizes the truly human one, (10) who with the restoration of the right order of creation takes the place of the beasts as the ruler of humanity. Sin caused the beasts to rule over Adam in contradiction to the intended order of creation. Now the right order is restored and the human one rules in the human community.
It is remarkable that among all the apocalyptic imagery of this discourse there is not one claim that the tribulations to befall humanity in the messianic apocalyptic history and the ultimate eschaton are expressions of the vengeance of God. Rather, the suffering is to be caused by wars, frauds, charlatans, natural catastrophes, misunderstandings, and persecutions. These are the sadly predictable human failings that cause human misery without any divine intervention. In fact, the one clear reference to divine intervention has God shortening the tribulation for the sake of his elect. There is, therefore, a significant omission of the divine vengeance from a traditional apocalyptically styled passage, and that confirms our thesis that the generative energy of the Gospel is the opposite of the Sacred. Even though traditional imagery is used, the traditional content has been modified so as to remove the idea of the divine wrath and vengeance. The wrath is the suffering we inflict on ourselves and each other within the order of the GMSM. (11)
Jesus as Scapegoat (14:1-16:8)
The passion narrative, by completing the identification of Jesus as the sacrificial victim of the authorities and powers, identifies him as a scapegoat of the GMSM. This is the climax of the disclosure of the Sacred in the Gospel. The unanimity of the Jewish and Roman powers against the victim, the peculiar doubling of Jesus and Peter and Jesus and Barabbas, which distinguishes them rather than makes them similar, the incomprehension of the disciples, and the killing of the victim, are all features of the sacrificial crisis and its solution by unanimous scapegoating. The passion narrative is the touchstone of our interpretation.
Burton Mack believes that the Girardian reading of the passion narrative is disingenuous. (12) He argues that it is not a revelation of the GMSM but rather a product of it -- the passion narrative reveals just enough of the GMSM to disarm the reader in the process of scapegoating the Jews. It is a myth of innocence that grew up during the conflict between the church and the synagogue over ownership of Israel's religious heritage. It is therefore the result of mimetic rivalry and scapegoating, a myth in the special Girardian sense.
This is an obvious ploy, and Mack makes it with skill and erudition. I do not want to counter it directly; I prefer to continue the interpretation by means of the GMSM and leave it to the reader to decide whether we have here a myth of innocence or the truth of the gospel. The chief difference between our readings is that mine is generative and Mack's is thematic. I look for traces of the GMSM while he looks for historical parallels. I have serious reservations about this comparative historical method and great confidence in the generative method. I believe it provides a convincing reading that is not mythically anti-Jewish.
At the outset, however, I might observe that the mob that kills the victim is indiscriminately Jew and Gentile because of the loss of differentiation in the sacrificial crisis. Pilate, the priests, and the people are indistinguishable in the lynch mob. The disappearance of the principles of discrimination is attested by the release of Barabbas, a real bandit, while Jesus the innocent is executed on a charge of banditry.
Mack holds that Jesus was not innocent, that his condemnation was just, and that the Gospel invented the innocent victim in order to invent the guilty Jews. It is all a construction of political malice worthy of the Balkans. On the level of comparative history, however, we do not have the sources to evaluate such a reconstruction. It is just as likely that a power structure of collaborators and colonialists would execute an innocent "trouble-maker" on trumped-up charges. That the passion narratives were read at later times as texts justifying persecution of the Jews tells us not about the Gospels so much as about the enthrallment of those subsequent readers to the scapegoating myth.
The list of the opponents of Jesus in this section is a roll call of the Jewish and Roman leadership: the chief priests, the scribes, the elders, the Pharisees, the Herodians, the Sadducees, the Romans, and -- always in the background -- the crowd. The opposition between Jesus and these powers is motivated not by the fact that they are Jews, but that they are the powers of this world. At issue is not the inadequacy of the Jewish religion by comparison with the new Christian religion but rather the violence of the scapegoating order generated by the GMSM and the possibility of liberation from it.
The Priests Buy a Victim (14:1-11)
At several points in the narrative, the powers have indicated a desire to apprehend Jesus; now they fulfill that desire. The temple authorities take the lead again as they did at the beginning of the previous section, after the driving out of the traders. "The chief priests and the scribes sought to take him by stealth and kill him," but once again they are inhibited by the mob (14:1-2). Everything must appear to be done in accordance with the law or out of sight of the crowd lest the authorities lose credibility by disclosing the violence to its source in the mob.
A vignette announces Jesus' impending death (14:3-9), and then we are told how the chief priests arrange with Judas to have Jesus betrayed to them. They promise to give him money, but they do not pay him on the spot.
Money is a continuing theme and a trace of the GMSM. The one who attacked the money changers and the victim mongers is about to be bought as a victim himself. Jesus came to the hostile attention of the powers by driving the money changers from the temple (11:15-19); the issue of his relation to the state was posed in terms of money, and an actual coin was part of the narrative (12:13-17); the throng and the widow acknowledged their thrall to the system by casting money into the temple treasury (12:41-44); and now the chief priests offer money in return for his life. Money as a substitute is a sign of the scapegoat.
As we have argued in the Introduction, money is a powerful symbol of the value of life and plays an essential role in the sacrificial system. We are told, for example, that the widow casts her whole life (holon ton bion autes, 12:44) into the temple treasury. The power of money derives from the sacrificial origins of symbolism, rooted in the discovery that one thing, the victim, can substitute or stand for another, the group. The sacrificial victim is essentially a form of currency substituting for the life of the offerer. (13) By taking their money, Judas indicates that he sees Jesus as another victim of the sacrificial system to be killed behind a screen of substitution. The money is the sacrificial equivalent of the life of Jesus (14) and a trace of the GMSM scapegoating its victim.
The Inversion of Sacrifice (14:12-26)
The pericope of the last supper is a narrative counterpart to the account of Jesus' activity in the temple given in chapters 11-12, and the room in which the supper is held is the symbolic counterpart of the temple. The beginning of the pericope recalls the entry into the temple in chapter 11. The same mystery attends the locating of the appropriate room as attended the finding of the ass for the triumphal entry. Disciples are sent on ahead to meet a man marked by the fact that he is carrying a jar of water, which is unusual in a society in which water is usually carried by women. Once in the room, the talk turns to the "handing over" of Jesus as a sacrificial victim to the chief priests, who, like the patrons of the temple traders, have bought but not yet paid for him. (They have merely promised to pay for him, 14:11.)
Judas is the offerer of sacrifice and the servant of the GMSM. The term paradidomi (14:18, cf. 14:11), which in general means simply "to hand over," takes on the meaning, in this context, of the handing over of a victim, because the recipients are the priests. There is some precedent for this usage in the literature on martyrdom, and in Eph 5:25 we find precisely such a meaning. In Mark, it is used in the predictions of the passion (9:31; 10:33) and of persecution (13:9, 11, 12), and at the conclusion of the Gethsemane scene (14:41). More importantly for present purposes, it appears in the narrative of the handing over of Jesus by the Sanhedrin to Pilate (15:1, 10) and by Pilate to the soldier-executioners (15:15). Judas hands over Jesus as an offerer hands over a victim.
The institution of the Eucharist is an inversion of the temple sacrifices. The usual direction of the sacrificial offering is reversed; instead of the worshiper giving to the god, the god is giving to the worshiper. Jesus "gives" (didomi) his body and blood, symbolized by bread and wine, to them instead of their giving their bodies and blood, symbolized by money, to the temple. Just as money symbolizes life given to the temple, so bread and wine symbolize the divine life given to the worshiper. Bruce Chilton suggests plausibly that the words of institution, "This is my body. . . . This is my blood" (14:22-24) intend to present the breaking of the bread and the pouring of the wine as substitutes for the killing of victims in the temple. The room substitutes for the temple, the table for the altar, and the sharing of the food for the killing of the victim. (15) Normally, the worshiper brings the offering into sacred space; here, the upper room is the nonsacred counterpart of the holy of holies, and so the offering is made outside of sacred space. Thus, the sacrificial system is subverted by the reversal of the direction of its ritual logic.
Judas is traditionally the great gospel scapegoat, but this tradition should be reconsidered. The first thing to note is that there is ultimately no difference between him and the other disciples, because all forsake Jesus. (16) Judas and Peter are in fact doubles; they both betray Jesus. This solidarity of the disciples in opposition to Jesus is skillfully presented in the narrative. Jesus refers to the fact that there is a traitor in their midst but does not name him. This causes the disciples to ask one-by-one, "Is it I?" to which Jesus replies enigmatically. He does not exonerate any of them but states in general terms that it is one of the Twelve who are sharing the meal with him, someone "who is dipping into the dish with me?" (14:18-21). This in effect means all of them because all share the dish with him, and that is how it turns out, because all betray him in the end.
Judas is not marked as the scapegoat by Jesus, and the traitor is not expelled. Each disciple indicates by his questioning that he is not sure of his own loyalty. Thus Mark indicates that none of us can escape responsibility for the death of Jesus by scapegoating Judas.
The enigmatic "Because the Son of Man goes as it was written of him, but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed. It is better for him if that man had not been born" (14:21) raises the question of election and predestination. Have the disciples in general and Judas in particular been chosen by God to perform the dark deed of betrayal because it is necessary for the divine plan of salvation? Paul understands the role of Pharaoh in the Exodus in this way. God hardened Pharaoh's heart to resist the divine demand so that because of his resistance God would have the opportunity to do spectacular deeds and so spread his fame to the world (Rom 9:17-18). (17) Does Mark have the same theory in mind when he talks of the Son of Man going "as it was written of him?"
The paradoxicality of the sentence shows how it should be read. The unfolding of the career of Jesus towards its culmination in death corresponds to what the scriptures understand to be the typical fate of the servants of God. Those who persecute God's servants act freely and suffer the consequences of their deed. There is, therefore, no need to read it in the Pauline way to indicate a prevenient divine control of events. Other uses of the phrase "it is written" in Mark (1:2; 7:6; 9:12-13; 11:17; 14:27) do, however, suggest a notion of prevenient control, but there is a looseness in the fit between the scriptures cited and the events referred to that suggests a general rather than specific correlation between prophecy and fulfillment. Indeed, some correlations, like 14:27 are like poetic allusions rather than tight prophecies.
In any case, I do not wish to burden my text here with a discussion that might do justice to the thorny problems of election and predestination. There is an important exegetical and systematic reconsideration of these topics waiting to be done. (18)
The Disciples Succumb to Mimetic Rivalry (14:27-31)
The theme of mimetic rivalry is central in the foretelling of Peter's denial (14:27-31). (19) Jesus warns the disciples that they will all be scandalized (skandalisthesesthe) over him (14:27), and interprets "scandal" to mean that they will all be scattered like sheep without a shepherd. The analysis of the meaning of "scandal" in the Gospels belongs among René Girard's most brilliant achievements. Scandal is the hold that the model/obstacle has on desire.
In the Gospels, the skandalon . . . is always someone else, or it is myself to the extent that I am alienated from other people. . . . Scandal invariably involves an obsessional obstacle, raised up by mimetic desire with all its empty ambitions and ridiculous antagonisms. . . . It is the model exerting its special form of temptation, causing attraction to the extent that it is an obstacle and forming an obstacle to the extent that it can attract. The skandalon is the obstacle/model of mimetic rivalry; it is the model in so far as he works counter to the undertakings of the disciple, and so becomes for him an inexhaustible source of morbid fascination. (20) [Emphasis added.]Scandal is an essential feature of what Girard and his collaborators call interdividual psychology. (21) This psychology is based on the rivalry that develops in the mimetic relationship as the imitator becomes like the model and contests the model's access to the object. Both parties then become model and obstacle to each other. The model attracts and obstructs, and the imitator cannot break the relationship because of the power of mimetic desire. They are locked in contradiction, loving and hating each other at the same time.
In Mark, "scandal" means the same as Satan. In 8:32-33, Peter objects to the prediction of the passion and Jesus rebukes him as Satan for thinking "as men think and not as God thinks," (22) inasmuch as he wants to divert Jesus from the way of the cross. There Peter threatens to become a scandal to Jesus and here Jesus says he will be a scandal to all the disciples. Scandal, therefore, has something to do with the death of Jesus.
Scandal is the inability to affirm the way of the cross or to break the relationship with Jesus altogether. It wants Jesus to use rather than to suffer sacred violence, to be a hero rather than a victim. The result of the scandal is, therefore, that the disciples wander from the way of the cross and are scattered like sheep without a shepherd (14:27). They are confused and without direction. Unable to take the way of the cross and unable to turn back, they mill around in confusion.
Peter stands for all the disciples and for all the readers of the Gospel as he plays out the scandal before our eyes. He shows that we are enmeshed in sacral categories and want our model to be a greater warrior and a more sacred god than those of others. He shows that we need to be "put down" by our model because that is the way he assures us that he is worthy of our devotion.
So Peter boasts that he will not be scandalized, unaware that the GMSM works best through self-deception. Even after Jesus predicts his denial, Peter refuses to be humble, but in effect makes a liar of the Lord by assuring him, "'Even if I must die with you I shall not betray you!' And thus they all said" (14:31).
Peter has incited the mimetic rivalry of the group by setting himself apart, claiming to be the only one who will not be scandalized. They all imitate him; every disciple regards himself as the exception, the one who will not be coerced by mimetic rivalry. Thus it appears that the very denial of mimesis is mimetic, and so what hope have they of escaping its hold? "Even if I should die with thee, I will not betray thee," says Peter "with great insistence. And thus also said they all" (14:31). "And they all forsook him and fled" (14:50).
Girard's analysis of this passage is marvelously subtle. (23) The enthusiasm of the disciples for sharing the fate ofJesus, the "false eagerness for the Passion" is a satire of "a certain religious fervor which must be recognized as specifically 'Christian.'" The disciples merely exchange the ideology of success for that of suffering and failure, and invent the new religious language of the passion; but both attitudes are driven by the same mimetic mechanism. The latter is no less full of envy and scandal than the former. This means that "[a]ll the forms of adherence that men in groups can give to an enterprise are declared unworthy of Jesus. . . . Christian inspiration at its greatest has no connection with its psychological and sociological by-products."
The point the Gospel makes here is very difficult to grasp for a Christianity that has sold out to secularism. Pathetic Christianity, so eager to be of service in the world, sells itself as solidarity with victims for the sake of Jesus, or a way to psychological "meaning" through identification with the crucified. "Even if I must die with you I shall not forsake you." And so say all of us; but the Gospel exposes the fallacy of such spiritual heroics. Not one of those heroes stood by Jesus.
Peter's refusal to believe the Lord's prediction of his failure is the essence of the spiritual pride that would make of the self the great exception. It is better to believe the Lord's prediction, to accept that we are enmeshed in mimetic scandal, and to trust the promise that "After my resurrection I shall go before you into Galilee" (14:28). Only the return of divine grace to lead the scattered flock on the way of resurrection can deliver us from the double-bind of mimetic scandal. The attempt to exalt oneself above the crowd only intensifies its power.
Here the Gospel presents nothing less than the possibility of a relation with God by grace and faith alone. Such faith begins not with the spiritual self-promotion of a pledge of loyalty unto death, but with the humble acceptance of the scandalous self. Such faith is best expressed in the prayer of the publican in Luke 18:13: "But the tax collector standing afar off would not even lift his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'O God, have mercy upon me a sinner.'" Peter's betrayal takes place not when he denies knowing Jesus but when he denies being subject to the power of the GMSM. At that point, he draws all the other disciples into a similar denial and makes them fair game for the GMSM. His piety negates the power of Jesus' warning and interferes with Jesus' work for their souls.
Jesus' impending death, unadorned by the pretense that it is a good thing, will remove him as a sacred object and subvert the possibility of Jesusolatry. That is why Peter protests in 8:32-33 against the fact that Jesus should die at all, and here against the notion that he should die forsaken by all his followers. In order for Jesus to remain a sacred hero, his death must be heroic -- either in its courage or in its suffering -- rather than ignominious, and his followers should stand fast to the end, showing either great courage or a perfect willingness to suffer. In this way, his death would qualify as a sacrifice or a noble death for the sake of a higher morality or patrician community, and that community would come into being properly, by loyalty and self-sacrifice. Instead, Jesus dies ignominiously and his community humiliates itself by cowardice. Instead of sacred prestige, we have the scandal of mimetic rivalry, and the possibility of a cult of the exultation or a cult of the passion is removed. The Gospel gives us only one option, the simple possibility of grace and faith.
In his discussion of this passage, Girard also makes a novel contribution to the debate about the importance of the Jesus of history. He questions whether "the authors of the Gospels fully understood the scope of this [mimetic] desire which is revealed in their texts." (24) The mysterious reference to the crowing of the cock suggests that Jesus has miraculous foresight, whereas not divine foresight but only human insight is needed to see that the mimetic rivalry expressed in Peter's boast is bound to lead to catastrophe, because it incites the mimetic desire of others. The fact that the text presents this insight as a miracle shows that, at one level, it still does not understand the GMSM. The category of the miraculous, at least in this context, functions as a myth to hide the human source of the action. Mark understands the outcome, but not the process, which remains for him a miracle and myth-representation of sacred violence. Girard suggests that we have here a trace of the difference in understanding between the writer of the text and the luminous intelligence that inspired it, that is, a trace of the historical Jesus, and an indication of how his interpreters failed to understand him fully. Historically, Jesus simply warned Peter about the dangers of mimetic rivalry leading to disloyalty; literarily, Mark turned this warning into a miracle of foresight, and this tendency to invent miracles is an indication of the mythifying operation of the GMSM. Nevertheless, we can see the GMSM through the text and therefore Mark was faithful to the tradition of Jesus, in whose teaching it was revealed even when Mark did not fully understand it.
As the attack on the traders in the temple is set within the account of the cursing of the fig tree and the teaching on faith and forgiveness (11:12-25), so the incidents in Gethsemane and the hearing before the high priest are set within the account of Peter's denial. The account of the denial begins here with the prediction of scandal (14:27-31) and ends with the fulfillment of the prediction in 14:66-72.
The incidents in Gethsemane and the trial before the high priests are, therefore, part of the exposition of what it means to be scandalized by Jesus. In addition to what we have already said, scandal means being unable to give Jesus the moral support he needs (14:32-42), fleeing after his arrest (14:50), and following Jesus to his trial "from a distance" (14:54). Peter's following from a distance is a good example of being in scandal, unable to follow closely and unable to break away. Peter sets himself up for failure.
Gethsemane: The Sleeping Disciples (14:32-42)
The incident ends with all the disciples swearing that they will be true until death (14:31). In the very next scene, they show that they cannot even watch with him as he prays in Gethsemane. They have not understood that Jesus is no sacred hero, religious virtuoso, or saint, but simply a victim of violence in need of moral support. They fail to understand that he needs companionship in his time of temptation. Confident that the great leader has everything under control, they doze off in the midst of his struggle. They cannot bear to hear that his soul is sorrowful, or accept his frailty, or believe that he needs their presence and support. "My soul is very sorrowful unto death" (14:34) is the last thing they want to hear from him. So they maintain their sacred illusion by shutting out reality in sleep.
The theme of the sleeping disciples is emphasized by being narrated three times. The first time, Jesus directs his rebuke at Peter for not being strong enough to stay awake to all that is going on. He warns Peter to be alert and on guard against temptation, as if he were answering Peter's declaration of faithfulness unto death in 14:29-31. We are not told what the content of the second rebuke was, but only that the disciples were unable to answer him because they were ashamed for not having heeded the first rebuke. They are ashamed because they do not have the courage to go through the ordeal with their eyes open. They are ashamed because they have boasted of their loyalty.
The third and concluding comment on their sleep is enigmatic and plagued by textual uncertainty. We do not know whether it is a question or a command; we do not know whether to read to telos after apechei in 14:41, and we do not know precisely how to take apechei. The textual evidence does not seem to us to favor the inclusion of to telos, and the most likely meaning for apechei seems to be the commercial one known from the papyri: "He has been paid." If we take the verse as a command and not a question, we may read Jesus' third statement as follows: "Stay asleep for the rest of the time [i.e., for the rest of the drama about to be played out], and take your rest. He [Judas] has [now] been paid. The hour has come, behold the Son of Man is handed over into the hands of sinners." The weary and biting irony of "Stay asleep for the rest of the time" says that we are not able to stand the truth about the founding mechanism and would rather not be present at its uncovering. We do not want to know that Jesus is not a hero full of the power to avenge, but rather commands a nonviolent, nonvengeful power that works more subtly.
The fact that the saying is immediately followed by the urgent and contradictory, "Get up! Let's go! See, my betrayer is near!" (14:42) confirms that we are intended to read the ironic command to sleep on as a metaphor. "Sleep on for the rest of the time" means, therefore, "You do not have the strength to go through this with your eyes open, so you might as well remain asleep." We, the readers, are expected to hear the irony and be convicted by it, and thus motivated to "Stay awake and watch!" so as to see the truth unfold in the text and in the world.
A sequence of action that begins with Jesus telling the disciples that they will all be scandalized (skandalisthesesthe, 14:27) by him -- in the sense that they will be able neither to support him nor to reject him, but will be bound to him in a bond of morbid fascination -- ends with the irony of their sleeping through the revelation of the scandal of mimetic rivalry and surrogate victimage.
All the important action takes place while they (we) dream of a heroic denouement in which violence overcomes violence, Beelzebub drives out Beelzebub, and the scandal of the sacred hero establishes itself as the truth of religion. In the world of reality, however, the finger of God is driving out violence, in the shape of the unheroic victim of a commercial transaction. He has been bought, and now he has been paid for, and the one who attacked the animal-hawkers has become just one more of their bought-and-paid-for goats. Jesus ends their conspiracy not only by the whip of his prophetic anger, but also by exposing their violent complicity in victims; he destroys the temple made with (bloodstained) hands, and founds the metaphoric new temple not made with hands. His disciples (we, the readers), however, sleep through it all and awake refreshed, with renewed enthusiasm for rebuilding the order that he has just undermined, by idolizing Jesus and installing him in the place of honor in a new temple made with hands.
The Traitor and the Mob (14:43-52)
Violence now begins to come into the open as the well-armed mob returns, led by the traitor. The same trio we have dealt with from the start -- the chief priests, the scribes, and the elders -- sent them. These authorities preserve the fiction of their uninvolvement with violence by acting through surrogates. So we have an impressive presentation of the violence of this world in its several individual and institutional guises: a traitor, an armed mob, and religious, legal, and political functionaries, all behind a veil of surrogates. The act of treachery takes the form of a tender kiss, the intensity of it expressed by katephilesen (14:45). (25) Friendship and affection are suborned in service of institutional violence. There follows a burlesque of resistance when one of the bystanders -- we are not told that it is a disciple -- draws his sword and cuts off a little piece of a servant's ear. (26) Then Jesus denies that he is a bandit (lestes) likely to put up a violent resistance, and as soon as the disciples have seen this, "They all forsook him and fled" (14:50).
Among those who fled was a youth who ran away naked, leaving his garment behind. We can think of no plausible way to integrate this incident into the logic of the text, excepting as an emphasis on the fact that all, absolutely everybody, forsook him and fled. Morton Smith thinks it is a historical reminiscence of the initiatory rite that Jesus required of those who wished to join his group. (27)
Jesus and Peter on Trial (14:53-72)
Jesus is led away to the high priest and [the priests, scribes, and elders] go with him. Peter follows at a distance and then sits with the servants, warming himself at their fire. The two figures ofJesus and Peter are thus presented as doubles but of a contrasting rather than a similar kind. The mimetic effect is reversed; the two become increasingly different, not similar, for the time being. The advent of doubles in a text is a trace of the GMSM because, in the course of mimetic rivalry, the rivals become more and more like each other until the distinctions between them are effaced. The appearance of the doubles is the sign of the sacrificial crisis. The special nature of the doubling of Jesus and Peter, and then of Jesus and Barabbas, as opposites rather than the same suggests that we are in the opposite situation from a sacrificial crisis; that is, we are in the sacrificial precinct where distinctions are clear and in the presence of the victim where differences are sharp, especially the difference between the victim and the mob.
The mob comes on the scene as the judges and witnesses against Jesus. They are all false, especially in accusing Jesus of threatening literal violence against the temple (14:56-59). We have already seen that the reference to the new temple is a metaphor of the resurrection, which the powers take literally as a threat to the ongoing life of the actual temple. The Gospel sees faith in Jesus as a better alternative to the temple but does not understand him to have threatened to destroy it himself. Nevertheless, by this accusation, Mark tells us that Jesus' enemies understand the threat he poses to their order.
The juxtaposition of the messianic identity of Jesus with the destruction of the temple has no counterpart in Jewish belief. It has been argued that there was a tradition that the Messiah would destroy the temple but, as Dieter Lührmann points out, the evidence for that belief -- in the Targums to Is 53:5 and Zech 6:12, in Lev R 9:6 -- is later than the Gospel. (28) Therefore, the interpretation ofJesus' dignity by relating it to the destruction of the temple is original with the Gospel, showing its understanding of him as the one who displaces the sacrificial system.
The trial before the Sanhedrin is the key to the passion narrative and one of the keys to the whole Gospel. (29) Here the innocence of the victim is revealed. The scene is carefully prepared in all that precedes (e.g., 3:6, 19; 10:33; 11:18, 27; 12:12; 14:3-9, 21, 25, 32-42), and there is reference back to it in what follows (15:10, 14). The reference in 15:10 to the envy (phthonos) of the Sanhedrin underscores the unfairness of the trial and reveals the real, mimetic motivation of the priests. Jesus is the innocent victim of envy, and envy is the essence of mimetic violence; the verdict has been decided beforehand (14:55); the judges collude and no viable evidence is presented; the witnesses are suborned and contradict each other (14:56), and even the quotation that they attribute to him is inaccurate because, although he spoke of the destruction of the temple, he never said that he personally would be the one to destroy it. (30) This court has all the impartiality of a "people's tribunal" in a revolution.
Peter is outside while all this is taking place, a member of the cozy circle around the fire. Girard makes much of the fire and the accusation "You were with the Nazarene Jesus," made by the serving girl who recognizes Peter. (31) "Being with" is the sign of membership in a group -- the group of the victim or of the victimizers. If Peter is with the victim, he has no right to share the fire of the mob. "Being with" functions by means of exclusion, and so the servant begins the process of expelling him from the gathering by identifying him with the criminal. She does this twice, imitating herself as it were, in order to unleash the mimetic momentum of the victimizer's group. The group then picks up the chase and introduces the cultural element -- " For you are a Galilean" -- as a basis for exclusion. Peter cannot return to solidarity with the mob; the mob will not allow it.
Now the figures of Jesus and Peter begin to converge; but as they do so at one level they begin to diverge at another. Whereas Jesus was silent before his accusers and did not defend himself, Peter resists them with three fierce denials that correspond to the three warnings in the garden of Gethsemane. Three times Jesus had found them asleep; three times Peter fulfills the prophecy of 14:30-31 by denying Jesus. All takes place as in a nightmare; one of those around the fire turns on Peter, and his denial causes him to leave that circle of primordial human fellowship; in the courtyard the maid challenges him again, and he denies Jesus a second time; later, all the bystanders, the whole group, turn questioningly on him, ganging up to drive him out. Confronted by the group, he resorts to oaths and anathemas -- which are signs of initiatory sacrifice (32) -- in an attempt to join the mob, which is itself constituted by an unspoken conjuration, a group united in a conspiracy against the victim. All to no avail; and then the cock crows and Peter wakes from his mimetic trance. "And he fell down and wept" (14:72).
Jesus and Barabbas on Trial (15:1-15)
As Peter was the counterpart to Jesus in the action before the high priest, so Barabbas is the counterpart in the action before Pilate. They are not doubles but opposites, showing how distinctions are made by the sacrificial mechanism. Once again the authorities are named, in a slightly different order: the chief priests, the elders, the scribes, and the whole Sanhedrin. They bind Jesus, lead him away, and hand him over to Pilate. With the advent of Pilate, the roll call of the powers of this world is complete.
The juxtaposition of Jesus and Barabbas makes the point of the contrast between the two orders so vivid that it is almost a caricature. Barabbas is an insurrectionist and a murderer, a creature and a leader of the mob. We are reminded of the situation of the war that we saw clearly in chapter 13. We are told that Pilate sees the envy (phthonos) of the priests. Envy is the essence of mimetic desire and rivalry; it reveals the extrinsic nature of values with special clarity in that it is the urge not so much to have the object oneself as to deprive the other of it; the possession of the object is not the important thing, the rivalry with the other is. (33) The condemnation of Jesus arises only indirectly out of the Sanhedrin's envy. They do not desire something Jesus has; rather, their own inner-group rivalry can only be contained by the unanimous condemnation of the victim. Jesus attracts their envy to himself and so enables them to survive as a group. We have a clear statement of this phenomenon in Lk 23:12, "And Herod and Pilate became friends with each other on that day; for formerly they had been enemies." Jesus has done this all along as the roll of all the leaders shows. Leaders who otherwise would have been in competition with one another act in concert against him. The solidarity between the collaborationist Sanhedrin and the insurrectionist Barabbas trumpets the truth of the uniformity of violence across political divisions, and its shameless opportunism.
The priests incite the mob to choose Barabbas. Mark rubs our noses in the fact that we prefer the murderer to the man of peace, the sacrificial order to the spirit of God. Pilate tries to withstand the demands of the mob, knowing that Jesus is innocent. He cannot, because his power, like that of the priests, arises out of the mob and must respect its source. And so he sacrifices Jesus to the mob. The text is quite explicit on this; it reads, Ho de Pilatos boulomenos to ochlo to hikavov poiesai (15:15). The phrase hikavov poiesai reflects the Latinism, satisfacere alicui. (34) "To satisfy the mob" means to propitiate it by throwing it a victim. The very language of the text, therefore, shows that it understands the mechanism at work between Pilate and the mob.
Far from Pilate's being exonerated, as averred by those who claim that the Gospels whitewash the Romans and shift blame to the Jews, he is shown to be in exactly the same boat as the Jewish authorities, only somewhat weaker than they because he is unable to manipulate the crowd. His one attempt to do so, by offering to release a prisoner on the occasion of the Passover feast, fails because the Sanhedrin owns this particular crowd. Pilate is coerced by the mob, like every politician before or since, and has to give it the victim it demands. There is no attempt to exonerate Pilate, only a demonstration of the fact that those who control the mob control the source of power; Pilate's weakness reflects only this relative disadvantage: it is not his mob. If this were an attempt on the part of the text to ingratiate itself with the Roman state, it would be ludicrous; it shows political opportunism instead of the due process of law. To be sure, it condemns the Jewish authorities -- not because they are Jews but because they are, like Pilate, the agents of violence. The text sees no essential difference between Pilate and the Jews. This fact alone should be enough to silence the claims that the Gospel is anti-Jewish.
Jesus Mocked, Crucified, and Killed (15:16-47)
The soldiers' treatment of Jesus shows the essential solidarity of the Romans and the Jews in violence, for their mockery parallels the Sanhedrin's (14:65). The question that Pilate asks him, whether he is "king of the Jews," seems to have been answered in the ironic affirmative by his adversaries, for he is mocked as such by the soldiers and by those watching him on the cross. The irony of the title for us, the readers, is that we know him to be the king. A further irony is that the only one truly to reject the mechanism of violence is ranked with two men of expressed violence, crucified with two lestai.
Jesus rejects the Davidic interpretation of the Messiah conclusively by failing to come down from the cross in response to the challenge, "Let the Messiah the King of Israel come down from the cross, so that we might see and believe "(15:32). The chief priests and the bandits join in this taunt; they demand the only kind of proof they can understand, an act of violent self-affirmation; the priests want a miracle and the kno-roti, want the King of Israel to leap down from the Roman cross and lead the armed resistance. Jesus is not the Davidic Messiah of violence but the Son of God (39) (35) and the suffering servant (Is 53:9, 12).
As if in response to the taunt, Jesus speaks the words of the sufferer in Ps 22:1. The role of the Old Testament Scriptures in the composition of the passion narrative is well known. Both Ps 22 and Is 53 tell of a righteous sufferer who is at present humiliated but in the future will be vindicated by God. The cry of dereliction is, therefore, not to be interpreted psychologically but as an expression of the rejection of the way of violent self-assertion in favor of a trust in God to vindicate him in the future. This is of a part with the instruction in chapter 13 not to embrace the apocalyptic hopes associated with the war, but to wait patiently for the future vindication ofJesus as the Son of Man. It is the clearest statement of the theme of the dialectical presence of God in the time of the Gospel. (36)
At the moment of his death, the veil of the holy of holies is torn and the most sacred place exposed (15:38). There has been much discussion of the significance of the rending of the veil. (37) The mention of it here seems to interrupt the flow of the narrative from v. 37 to v. 39 and therefore it has been judged to be a later insertion. This is unlikely because it is an integral part of the overall argument. The suddenness of its appearance is intended to juxtapose Jesus and the temple as alternative places of divine presence. It is, in fact, the culmination of the verse that precedes it, interpreting the death of Jesus as the fate of the suffering servant at the hands of sacred violence. It is also the lens through which to read the centurion's confession in the following verse. The death of the servant opens the way to God for all the world by exposing sacred violence and depriving the temple of its mystique. These two vital interests of Mark's Gospel therefore receive a symbolic summary presentation in the rending of the temple veil.
It is not necessary in the light of all that Mark has told us of the displacement of the sacrificial system to search for any more recherche significance of the torn veil; neither is it necessary to ascertain whether the curtain is the one before the holy of holies or the penultimate one before the vestibule of the altar of the incense, the showbread, and the menorah. (38) The message, in any case, is clear: the holy of holies has been exposed to public view, its mystery has been removed; the system has been demystified and so deprived of the efficacy that depended on its operating behind a veil. Now we know what it sought to hide, that there is "no there there," only the figments of the double transference. The sacrifice of this innocent victim shows that sacrifice is just plain murder. When the veil of sacred violence is lifted, we see that there is nothing there, no blood-sucking idol, no devouring mouth that craves "the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul" (Micah 6:7b)! It was all a bad dream, and with the crowing of the cock we awake to the bitter truth of our own denial and complicity. Is it any wonder that we "fall down and weep" (14:72)?
"He Goes before You . . ." (15:42-16:8)
The pericopes on the resurrection and the great commandment give a hint of the nature of the new community (12:18-34). It is to be the work of God and it is to be characterized by love. Now the whole Gospel culminates with the resurrection; but it is not so much a presence as an absence. The announcement is not, "Here he is!" but rather, "He is not here!"(16:6). What the resurrection symbolizes is not simply part of the present order, but something that belongs to the future. Here it is simply the power of the hope for a new order and a good future.
This is the context of our distinction between order and community. A new order can only come from the future eschatological reorganization of the kingdom of God. That hope, however, sounds in the words announcing the absence of the risen Christ. It is paradoxically kindled by the announcement of his absence because the absence is absence from the grave, a promise of the possibility of presence. "He is not here" is the good news of the possibility of future presence. In the meantime, the faith of those who receive the gospel is the foundation of a new community in the midst of the old order and the source of the energy of love flowing in the old channels cut by violence.
This kind of communication per contra is characteristic of Mark, and we shall return to the discussion of it. Here we observe the root of it in the understanding of the resurrection as an event whose evidentiary warrant is the imprint of its absence. Resurrection is not in the tomb, and it is not in the temple. It is in the faith of those who believe the announcement of absence and accept the invitation to follow Christ, who goes before to Galilee.
This message is directed specifically to Peter, that is, to us who have wakened from our mimetic enthrallment and need reassurance of forgiveness for our former denial. "He goes before you into Galilee" means that Jesus leads us away from Jerusalem, the place of sacrifice, to Galilee, the place of fellowship with himself. The "theological geography" of Mark, recognized ever since Ernst Lohmeyer, (39) is a major element in the poetics of the Gospel. The poetics of place conveys the message of the scapegoat, and the eschatological promise of a new nonsacrificial order is expressed in the phrase, "He goes before you. . . ."
It would be comforting if these were the last words of the Gospel, but they are not. (40) The actual last words are more somber and portentous: ephobouvto gar, "for they were afraid" (16:8). Afraid of what? We can only conjecture. Afraid perhaps of leaving the shelter of the founding mechanism, afraid of disorder and chaos. Can it be, then, that the Gospel ends on the note of the Grand Inquisitor? If so, it is not yet fully gospel, but only on the way from myth to gospel, somewhere in the time between fear and hope, bondage and freedom. The fact that it was later read as a sacrificial text to justify persecution shows that, to some extent, it is "in between." However, the later sacrificial reading shows more about those later readers than it does about the text; they were and are in thrall to the founding mechanism and so their hermeneutic was and is sacrificial.
Perhaps the best construction one might place on this final note of fear is to see it as an expression of realism at the prospect of life in the old order without sacred defenses, and the rueful realization that such a life is not yet possible. We are not able to live without violence even though we know it is satanic. Nevertheless, it is an advantage that our eyes have been opened and that we have once been awake, because now and forevermore, when we fall asleep again, our dream, like that of Yeats's Sphinx, will be "vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle." (41)
1. "Christologie," 67.
2. W. Kelber, Kingdom, 106, 109-28.
3. Ibid., 126.
4. D. Lührmann, "Christologie," 467.
5. Quoted by J. D. Crossan, The Historical Jesus, 205.
6. Kelber, Kingdom, 119-20. "The eremoseos was fulfilled in its most radical, literal sense, and the bdelygma was impersonated by Satan himself. Satan had taken possession of the holy temple" (p. 120).
7. Rene Girard made this point on the symbol of Satan in the Gospels, in an address to a plenary session of the AAR in San Francisco in November, 1992, entitled, "How Can Satan Cast Out Satan?"
8. On Mark's use of a triadal pattern of composition, see G. W. E. Nickelsburg, "Genre and Function," 177-78, and N. R. Petersen, "The Composition of Mark 4:1-8:26."
9. E. S. Malbon, Narrative Space, 151. She cites Norman Perrin and John Donahue to the effect that chap. 13 and chaps. 14-16 are two endings to the Gospel. Donahue characterizes them as the passion of the community and the passion of Jesus respectively.
10. M. D. Hooker, The Son of Man in Mark, 15-17.
11. For the same theme in Paul, see R. G. Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, 101-2, 151-52.
12. B. Mack, "The Innocent Transgressor."
13. E. Gans, The End of Culture, 34, who proposes an explanation of the origin of culture formally similar to Girard's, although with significant differences, makes the system of exchange that begins with the sharing of the desired object among the participants in what he calls the "originary scene of designation," the central ethical, and therefore constitutive, act of culture. Money originates in this primal sharing of the victim; cf. B. Lawn, Heiliges Geld; W. Desmonde, Magic, Myth and Money, and, for a more general treatment of the role of the sacrificial mechanism in economics, P. Dumouchel and J.-P. Dupuy, L'Enfer des Choses.
14. Matthew makes more of this fact than Mark does, actually calling it "blood money" (Matt 27:6), and treating it as polluted and hence unworthy of being returned to the temple treasury. It is polluted because it represents the scapegoat who must be driven out and not allowed to return. Matthew also puts the incident in the context of a prophecy from Zechariah (Matt 27:9-10 = Zech 11:12-13), in which the money was cast into the temple treasury, in order to make the point of its not being so deposited in this case more poignant by contrast. In any case, in Matthew, to return it to the treasury would pollute the temple by interfering with the logic of sacrifice. An offering has been made, a victim/ scapegoat purchased and slaughtered/expelled; to take back the price of the sacrifice would be to contradict the logic of the sacrifice by returning to the temple the violence that the sacrifice/scapegoat bears away. So, instead of returning the money to the treasury, they bought with it a field for the burial of foreigners. The reference to foreigners underlines the scapegoat associations of the transaction; the foreigner, the stranger, is the typical scapegoat. To take back the money would be to take back the scapegoat and so return the violence that they had sought to expel.
15. B. Chilton, The Temple of Jesus, 152-53.
16. I was alerted to this theme by my student, Jerry Feliciano, and I include it here with his permission. The development of it is my own.
17. Hamerton-Kelly, Sacred Violence, 120-39.
18. Ibid., 138-39.
19. Girard has treated this incident in The Scapegoat, 149-64.
20. Girard, Things Hidden, 416.
21. J.-M. Oughourlian, The Puppet of Desire.
22. Matthew (16:23) introduces the term "scandal" into this context as the equivalent of Satan, showing that Satan is the mythological representation of mimetic rivalry. This is another instance of Matthew's making explicit what is only implicit in Mark.
23. The Scapegoat, 159.
25. V. Taylor, St. Mark, 559.
26. Ibid., 560.
27. M. Smith, Clement of Alexandria, 167ff. See also M. Smith, "Clement of Alexandria and Secret Mark."
28. Lührmann, "Christologie," 465.
29. Ibid., 461.
30. Ibid., 459.
31. The Scapegoat, 152-57.
32. Ibid., 156.
33. Envy thinks that it will walk better if its neighbor breaks a leg.
34. W. Bauer, Lexicon, ad loc.
35. Lührmann, "Christologie," 462-63, points out that the background of the title in Mark is not the Davidic tradition of 2 Sam 7:14 or Ps 2:7, but rather the tradition that goes back to the servant songs of 2 Isaiah and is mediated through sources like Wis Sol 2:12-20, and 5:lff.
36. J. D. Crossan ("A Form of Absence") spoils the dialectical balance in reading it as a univocal assertion of the absence of God.
37. See D. D. Sylva, "The Temple Curtain," where he lists representative scholars who have argued respectively for its significance as a sign that Jesus' death has opened up a way to God for humanity, a sign of the destruction of the temple, and a sign of the abrogation of the temple cultus. See also H. L. Chronis, "The Torn Veil." Chronis makes the unlikely suggestion that the temple is a symbol for the person of Jesus throughout Mark, so that the temple to be destroyed and rebuilt is his body, and the torn veil is the veil of his flesh that tears to reveal the face of God.
38. D. Juel, Messiah and Temple, 140-42.
39. Kelber, Kingdom, bases his study on the opposition between Jerusalem and Galilee, and W. Marxsen, Mark the Evangelist, includes a study of "The Geographical Outline" (54-111). Cf. E. Lohmeyer, Galiläa und Jerusalem, and Lord of the Temple; E. S. Malbon, Narrative Space; W. D. Davies, The Gospel and the Land; and G. Stemberger, "Galilee -- Land of Salvation?" in The Gospel and the Land, 409-38.
40. Cf. A. T. Lincoln, "The Promise and the Failure."
41. W. B. Yeats, "The Second Coming" (1920).