Gospel Characters

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    Bauckham, Richard J.

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    The Relatives of Jesus

    "Careful readers of the NT know that one of Jesus' relatives, his brother James, played a prominent part in the early history of the church. Not so well known is the fact that other members of the family were also important figures and continued to exercise leadership in Palestinian Jewish Christianity down to at least the early second century."
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    Bockmuehl, Markus

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    Simon Peter’s Names in Jewish Sources

    "Simon, BarYonah, Peter, Cephas:what, if anything,might St Peter’s names have meant to Palestinian Jews in late antiquity? On a casual approach, the pickings appear very slim indeed.1 A second look, however, suggests there may still be some interesting mileage in tracing the significance of those names during the late Second Temple and early rabbinic periods."
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    Brown, Colin

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    What Was John the Baptist Doing?

    "This paper acknowledges difficulties in making the accounts of John’s baptism in the Jordan fit the profile of traditional purificatory rites. At the same time it draws attention to problems in trying to assimilate John’s baptism to such rites. A counter-proposal is offered which suggests that the key to understanding John’s baptism lies in seeing the Jordan as the boundary and point of entry into the land promised by Yahweh to Israel. John was calling for a morally purified Israel that was fit to dwell in the holy land. In emulation of the original entry depicted in the Book of Joshua, John’s baptism called on Israelites to exit the land, and return across the Jordan under the leadership of John in order to repossess the land as a consecrated people. The crossing of the Jordan holds the key to what John was doing."
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    Bruce, F. F.

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    John the Forerunner

    "Of all the religious movements in Palestine on the eve of the coming of Christianity none is more directly related to Christianity itself than the ministry of John the Baptist. All four Gospels preface their narrative of the ministry of Jesus with a brief summary of the ministry of John, and the evidence of Acts suggests that this reflects primitive Christian preaching. In Acts both Peter and Paul are represented as introducing their accounts of Jesus’ activity with a reference to the baptism of John; and when the question arises of filling the vacancy in the apostolic college created by the defection of Judas Iscariot, it is laid down that the man to be chosen must be one of those ‘who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John’ (Acts i. 21 f.)."
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    Thatcher, Tom

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    Jesus, Judas, and Peter: Character By Contrast in the Fourth Gospel

    "This article explores the narrative relationship between three key figures in the Gospel of John: Jesus, Judas, and Peter. As these characters interact, patterns of contrast gradually emerge...A literary "character" is the sum of "external signs" pre- sented by a text that 'correspond to and reveal an otherwise hid- den inner nature.' Literary characters are therefore complexes of personal traits that correspond to the readers' experience of in- dividuals in the 'real world.'"
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    Williams, Joel F.

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    Discipleship and Minor Characters in Mark's Gospel

    "How should an interpreter approach the study of discipleship in the Gospel of Mark? For the most part, recent studies on the topic have focused on Mark's portrayal of the disciples along with Jesus' teaching to His disciples. In discussing past research on this subject, Malbon states, 'Discipleship—that is, following Jesus—has been recognized as a central theme or motif in the Gospel of Mark. Understandably enough, the portrayal of the disciples in Mark has often been the focus of scholarly investigation of the theme of discipleship.' Malbon points out that past scholarly investigations are inadequate because 'what Mark has to say about discipleship is understood in reference not only to the disciples but also to other Markan characters who meet the demands of following Jesus.' In other words the study of discipleship in Mark's Gospel is broader than a study of the disciples."