2016 Abstracts Stage 2

The figure of Jesus in Mark’s gosel: Do humans have an existential need for hope and illusion?

Zoe Waters, 2016, Stage 2

Territory: Mark’s Gospel The Bible is culturally strange and scientifically inadequate, so it is typically dismissed as nonsensical. If the Bible accounts were literal, they would all match up-but they do not. This means you can see which data has been redacted and manipulated, for the author’s particular purpose. Looking at this information, you can begin to infer the authorial intention for writing the text. This is a task that historians, biblical interpreters and theologians have undertaken. In most accounts, it is understood that Mark’s gospel as the first Gospel to be written and that he wrote in Rome during emperor Nero’s persecution Nero burned down Rome and to avoid the consequences he blamed the people, meaning they were tortured and killed as punishment. Mark was writing for this suffering community, to provide them hope and courage to continue through life. Now, we can understand why the Gospel emphasized belief in miracles and the afterlife- it was so these people had hope. Even if the hope came from an illusion.

Concept: Hope
Bloch develops a human ontology that points to a future orientated utopian consciousness. Human’s dream and wish for world improvement. Bloch says man is Not-Yet-Conscious and Not-Yet-Become. Hoping in such way, drowns out our existential anxiety about life. This is relevant in looking at all the myths of utopia in the gospel, i.e. miracles, afterlife, and our potential ‘homeland’ the Kingdom of God.
Concept: Illusion
Early Nietzsche says that humans need metaphysical comfort in myth. He creates an intellectual dichotomy between the Dionysian and the Apollonian which when perfectly combines embraces tragedy. This is relevant mainly for looking at Jesus as a ‘suffering servant’ and at the figure of him as a necessary illusion. Later Nietzsche would claim that living based of illusion distracts from striving and creating our own meaning in life

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