Clifton Black’s Mark’s Gospel– The Dialogue Part Six

Clifton Black’s Mark’s Gospel– The Dialogue Part Six July 6, 2023

Q.  I was a bit surprised that there was not more emphasis on the Son of Man material in Mark, especially since it seems so clearly grounded in Dan. 7.13-14, and all the more so since the Gospel has an apocalyptic tone, and a direct citation of that text at the trial in Mk. 14. What I mean by this is the figure ‘one like a son of man’ is both a human and also yet a divine figure who will bring the Kingdom that will never end (compared to the four beastly ones previously mentioned in Daniel) and will rule it forever, and receive worship.  I would actually argue that that text is the key to understanding Jesus’s own self-understanding. Daniel 7 is the only text in the OT that mentions both Kingdom and Son of Man in the same breath, and not just any Kingdom but God’s Kingdom where God’s rule will prevail.    What’s wrong with this analysis in your view?


CCB: There may be nothing wrong with it. The kingdom of God, instantiated by Jesus and ultimately undefeatable, is a hallmark of this Gospel, indeed of all the Synoptics. While noticeably reticent to identify himself by any title and oblique when doing so, Mark’s Jesus identifies himself as “Son of Man” far more frequently than as “Christ” (9:41; in 14:62 by another’s statement) or as “the Son” (13:32; allusively in 12:6). The feature I find most striking in Mark are its varying connotations of “Son of Man”: as a human authority who forgives sins (2:10) and is Lord over the sabbath (2:28), as an apocalyptic figure who will return in glory with God-given power (8:38; 13:26–27; 14:62), and as one who must suffer, die and be vindicated (8:31; 9:9, 12, 31;10:33–34; 10:45; 14:21, 41). While these three nuances are mutually interpretive, the third group of sayings outnumbers the first and second by a ratio of three or four to one. What sets apart the Markan Son of Man is this emphasis on his suffering, especially a death with redemptive consequence (10:45; 14:24). There is nothing comparable to this in the Dead Sea Scrolls or other Jewish apocalyptic texts. That stress, in turn, is an index to the peculiar quality of God’s kingdom, as presented in Mark.




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