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Mark's sowing: The effacement and encrypting of Jesus

By Steven M. Larocco


In traditional hermeneutics and textual criticism, narratives are read in accordance with the trope synecdoche: parts of the narrative are related to the whole and the whole to parts. However, in my analysis, narratives produce textual effects which correspond to the trope metonymy: parts are related to parts with no natural thrust towards synthesis. When one reads the gospel of Mark metonymically, it ceases to function as a story articulating a coherent suffering Messiah Christology. Instead, two contradictory textual "logics" emerge: first, certain textual constellations and discourses suggest the need for the "effacement" of Jesus, the need to reduce his "presence" in order to allow the "introjection" of his message; second, other constellations and discourses suggest the need to retain his narratival "presence," to "encrypt" him in the textuality of the gospel, to "incorporate" his "presence" in a way which resists epistemic assimilation or identification. My analysis examines these differing "logics.

Topics: Religion, Biblical studies
Year: 1988
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