Postcolonial Reading of Mark's Story of Jesus
In this study Simon Samuel reads Mark's story of Jesus from a postcolonial perspective. He proposes that it may be examined as a postcolonial discourse that results from both the native Jewish (nationalistic and collaborative) and the Roman colonial discourses...
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In this study Simon Samuel reads Mark's story of Jesus from a postcolonial perspective. He proposes that it may be examined as a postcolonial discourse that results from both the native Jewish (nationalistic and collaborative) and the Roman colonial discourses of power. This demonstrates that Mark finds a niche in a strategic third space in between native Jewish and Roman colonial discourses in order to enunciate the Gospel's own voice. As a mimetic, ambivalent and hybrid discourse, it mimics and mocks, accommodates and disrupts both the native essentialist and collaborative, as well as the Roman colonial, voices.
This unique contribution to Markan studies reads Mark's story of Jesus from a postcolonial perspective.It proposes that Mark need not necessarily be treated in an oversimplified polarity as an anti- or pro-colonial discourse. Instead it may be treated as a postcolonial discourse, i.e. as a hybrid discourse that accommodates and disrupts both the native Jewish and the Roman colonial discourses of power. It shows that Mark accommodates itself into a strategic third space in between the variegated native Jewish and the Roman colonial discourses in order to enunciate its own voice.As an ambivalent and hybrid discourse it mimics and mocks, accommodates and disrupts both the Jewish as well as the Roman colonial voices.The portrait of Jesus in Mark, which Samuel shows to be encoding also the portrait of a community, exhibits a colonial/ postcolonial conundrum which can neither be damned as pro- nor be praised as anti-colonial in nature. Instead the portrait of Jesus in Mark may be appreciated as a strategic essentialist and transcultural hybrid, in which the claims of difference and the desire for transculturality are both contradictorily present and visible.In showing such a portrait and invoking a complex discursive strategy Mark as the discourse of a subject community is not alone or unique in the Graeco-Roman world.A number of discourses-historical, creative novelistic and apocalyptic-of the subject Greek and Jewish communities in the eastern Mediterranean under theimperiumof Rome from the second century BCE to the end of the first century CE exhibit very similar postcolonial traits which one may add to be not far from the postcolonial traits of a number of postcolonial creative writings and cultural discourses of the colonial subject and the dominated post-colonial communities of our time.
Simon Samuel, Ph D (Sheffield), is the Principal and Associate Professor of New Testament Studies at Luther W. New Jr. Theological College, an interdenominational theological training institute affiliated to the Senate of Serampore College (Serampore University), India. A
- Part One: Delineating The Approach; 1. Postcolonialism As A Critical Practice In Biblical Studies; 2. Key Concepts Of Strategic Essentialism And Transcultural Hybridity And Two Postcolonial Discourses From India; Part Two: Viewing The Discursive World Of Mark; 3. The Postclassical Novels As Postcolonial Novels: A Postcolonial Reading Of Chariton's Chaereas And Callirhoe As A Model For Reading Mark; 4. The Colonial/postcolonial World Of Mark; Part Three: A Postcolonial Reading Of Mark; 5. Current Models Of Postcolonial Reading Of Mark; 6. The Beginning Of Mark: An Affiliative-disruptive Design; 7. The Portrait Of Huios-jesus In Mark: A Colonial/postcolonial Conundrum; 8. Conclusion; Bibliography.