Still continuing the Margaret Barker series, but interrupting to toss in a couple of posts on another aspect of the Gospel of Mark in the meantime. This continues from the previous post on Mark 13.
Everyone knows how indebted the Passion Narrative is to allusions to the “Old Testament” scriptures (e.g. Psalm 22), and few deny the Elijah, Elisha and other Jewish scripture templates for miracles of Jesus in the early part of the gospel (e.g. raising a dead child in an upper room of a house; feeding large numbers with little), so this post is a draft attempt to fill in an often missing middle bit. And I think it has significant implications in many discussions about how the gospel was constructed and what it can tell us about the origins of the orthodox Christian narrative, and when.
There is an argument that attempts to explain the heavy reliance of the gospel Passion Narrative on Old Testament passages by proposing that these events had to be constructed out of “old cloth” since there was no-one there to witness them. But as demonstrated in my previous post, the same in depth weaving of OT quotations, allusions and influences began in the prophetic discourse of Mark 13, a chapter that is often seen as originally being a separate apocalyptic composition borrowed and adapted by the author of the gospel. In this context, it is interesting that the Passion Narrative itself has sometimes been thought to have been composed separately from the rest of the gospel, and that the earlier chapters were a subsequent afterthought.
Howard Clark Kee sees the thick mixture of OT references beginning in chapter 11, and continuing through the entire section from chapters 11 to 16, as evidence that this entire section, the narrative from the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem up to the time of the empty tomb, as a cohesive literary unit. The author of this gospel chose to create this entire section with the tints and echoes and materials of the Jewish scriptures and other closely related texts such as 1 Enoch.
Red are the quotations
Purple are the allusions
Blue are the influences
Black italics — from sources other than Kee
 And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
Zechariah 14:4-5 And in that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east . . . Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with him.
Zechariah 2:10 “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion! For behold, I am coming and I will dwell in your midst,” says the LORD.
Zechariah 9:9 “Rejoiced greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you, He is just and having salvation, Lowly and riding on a donkey.
Zechariah 3:14; Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad and rejoice with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem
Genesis 49:11 Binding his donkey to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice vine . . .
Deuteronomy 21:3 And it shall be that the elders of the city nearest to the slain man will take a heifer which has not been worked and which has not pulled with a yoke
Numbers 19:2 This is the ordinance of the law which the LORD has commanded, saying: ‘Speak to the children of Israel, that they bring you a red heifer without blemish, in which there is no defect and on which a yoke has never come.
1 Samuel 10:2 And when you have departed from me today, you will find two men by Rachel’s tomb in the territory of Benjamin at Zelzah; and they will say to you, “The donkeys which you went to look for have been found . . .” (more…)