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The green shadow of Christ: a reception-exegetical study of Jesus and Pan in the gospel of Mark
Umeå universitet, Humanistiska fakulteten, Institutionen för idé- och samhällsstudier.
2023 (Engelska)Doktorsavhandling, monografi (Övrigt vetenskapligt)Alternativ titel
Kristus gröna skugga : en receptions-exegetisk studie av Jesus och Pan i Markusevangeliet (Svenska)
Abstract [en]

This thesis investigates presentations of Jesus in the gospel of Mark, mainly chapter 6 and 9, in the light of the juxtaposition of Christ and the Greek nature god Pan. This juxtaposition recurs in the reception history of Pan in Western European culture. The study employs a Reception-Exegetical method and retrojects the motif of Pan as Christ on one hand, and Pan as Satan on the other, onto the text of Mark. The purpose of this is to make relations between humanity, nature, and the divine in the gospel of Mark visible in a new way, which in turn is relevant for contemporary ecological interpretations of the bible. 

Chapter 1 provides an overview of the comparison of Christ and Pan in reception history. It is shown that Christ is identified with Pan mainly as shepherd-god, and god of all nature. At the same time, Pan as Satan is contrasted with Christ and portrayed as antagonist to Christ. 

Chapter 2 presents the historical context of Jesus, Mark, and the cult of Pan, focusing on the intersection between ideological, political, socio-economic, and ecological factors, in Roman agrarian society during the first-century. The study shows that myths, cult, and features of Pan thematically, theologically, and geographically intersected with those of Jesus as presented in the gospel of Mark. 

Chapter 3 analyses the events at Paneas/Caesarea Philippi – a main cult place of Pan – in Mark’s narrative and argues that Jesus is presented as a new Elijah-figure, and that Pan is the implied counterpart to the previous adversary Baal. 

Chapter 4 focuses on the shepherd motif in Mark chapter 6 and argues that Mark’s narrative mimics imperial ideology in Roman pastoral poetry, and rhetorically challenges the imperial aspirations of bringing fecundity, abundance, and order. Jesus is depicted as the shepherd-messiah derived from Jewish traditions, over against the imperial rulers and the shepherd-god Pan, who occupied a significant symbolic role in imperial ideology. 

The final chapter focuses on the trajectory of Pan as a demonic being in Jewish and Early Christian traditions, showing that the association of theriomorphic demonic beings with Pan likely occurred on the basis of the similarities in pictorial, spatial, and functional depictions, implied most tangibly in the demonic figure Asael/Azazel in Jewish apocalyptic traditions. Building on these presupposed associations, and the intersections between Christ and Pan shown earlier in the study, it is argued that Pan is the implied Satan in the wilderness temptation. Several details in the story of the Gerasene demoniac resemble features of Pan and his mytho-space, with cosmic and political overtones, suggesting associations to Pan. 

This study shows that the myths, cult, and features of Pan intersected with those of Jesus, as presented in Mark, and suggests that this most likely led to comparison, negotiations, and polemic mimicry, which can be discerned in the text of Mark’s gospel. The study confirms and strengthen previous research that emphasizes the importance of geography, and spatial aspects in Mark, and sheds new light on Markan Christology and discourses of nature, relevant for ecological interpretations of Mark. 

Ort, förlag, år, upplaga, sidor
Umeå: Umeå universitet , 2023. , s. 240
Nyckelord [en]
Gospel of Mark, Pan, Ecological Hermeneutics, eco-critisism, reception exegesis, agrarian culture, agrarianism, imperial ideology, pastoral poetry, Greco-Roman religion, nature discourses, Satan, demonology, Environmental History
Nationell ämneskategori
Religionsvetenskap
Forskningsämne
nya testamentets exegetik
Identifikatorer
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-208304ISBN: 978-91-8070-082-5 (digital)ISBN: 978-91-8070-081-8 (tryckt)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-208304DiVA, id: diva2:1757748
Disputation
2023-06-16, Lindellhallen 1, Samhällsvetarhuset, Umeå, 13:15 (Engelska)
Opponent
Handledare
Tillgänglig från: 2023-05-26 Skapad: 2023-05-17 Senast uppdaterad: 2023-06-15Bibliografiskt granskad

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Wiljebrand, David

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