On Facebook, my cousin tagged me in a post:
Okay, Bible people, help me out. Explain Melchizedek to me please. Why did Abraham pay him tithes? What’s the connection to Jesus?
Great question! The strange thing is, I have never seen anyone really lay out the answer. Of course, the Letter to the Hebrews meditates on Melchizedek, and commentators repeat what Hebrews says, but to my knowledge no one has connected all the dots.
Really to answer the question, I need to connect exactly five dots. Let’s go! Continue reading “From Melchizedek to Christ”
[This is the third in a three-part series on Mark’s Gospel. The other parts are 1. Hearing Mark’s Gospel and 2. The Strange Beginning of Mark’s Gospel.]
While Mark’s beginning is strange to those who think about it carefully, his ending is strange to anyone who reads. In the oldest and best manuscripts, Mark’s Gospel ends like this:
And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe; and they were amazed. And he said to them, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
That’s it. No meeting the resurrected Jesus, no moment of glory, not even a moment when the petrified women actually tell someone what happened. “They were afraid”—and the curtains drop.
The longer ending printed in our Bibles was written very, very early on, so early that it is canonical and considered an inspired text in its own right. But the very fact that the longer ending is so ancient demonstrates that even the earliest Church found Mark’s ending strange. No resurrection scene? We gotta fix that.
For Mark, however, it made sense. And I have a theory about how. Continue reading “The Strange Ending of Mark’s Gospel”
Austin Kleon, creativity guru, has this advice for literary types: “Don’t try to write a book while taking care of a newborn baby.” That, of course, is exactly what I have been doing, and the blog has suffered accordingly.
Happily, sometimes a friend steps in to do my work for me. Peter Kwasniewski took some e-mails I wrote to him years ago and reshaped them into the first half of an article on the Eucharist; he sent a draft to me and I made some edits, drafted a new introduction, and ta-da! A new publication.
My own advice for literary types: Always include at least one over-achiever in your circle of advisors.