St Augustine-bible

St Augustine-bible - 1 The persecution of Jesus as a...

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1 The persecution of Jesus as a criminal and his crucifixion invoked fear and uncertainty in his apostles and the not yet Christian Jewish community; in the context of the history during which Mark’s gospel was written, it is duly retrospectively noted that the commonness of the messianic secret apportion salvation for the few, namely the apostles. With the Romans appropriating the Jewish temples, the apocalyptic views of those followers including John Mark left little hope for the future. Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, however, presents a less grim outlook for the fore-running Christians. His letters tolerate convenience yet suggest restrictions that later become guidelines unique to the Catholic faith. The messianic secret is not as prevalent in Paul’s letters, though the notion for the end of the world mildly persists. However, by the period of Augustine’s Confessions, the apocalypse is a palpable yet distant belief amongst the fourth century Christians. By taking note of Augustine’s conversion, salvation is granted to all who seek repentance through the name of Jesus Christ, an idea still emphasized by Christians today. In the time between Mark’s gospel to Augustine’s Confessions , a shift from the first century apocalyptic notions to the fourth century’s ever “merciful Father” (Augustine, Confessions , p.137) indicate similarities as well as varying discrepancies on Christianity as a maturing religion. In the earliest of gospels, Mark, the structure and rhetoric connote the primal concept of the messianic secret. Parables and ambiguous messages are implemented to intentionally confound the listeners of Jesus’ teachings: “And he said to them, To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; in order that they indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand, so they may not turn again and be forgiven” (Mk 4: 11-12). Jesus tells his apostles that they are the exclusive few (Mk 3:13-19) that will be granted salvation through the elucidation of his parables. The parable
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2 of the mustard seed, for example, is told to the mass but explained later to only the appointed apostles (Mk 4:13-20). The elusive nature of the parables is to be appreciated by the listeners; writings are to be analyzed and to be comprehended at the reader’s own discretion. As a result, “those who are outside” may understand to a certain extent of their knowledge but are not granted the entire, truthful significance of the parable. However, in the gospel of Paul and Augustine’s Confessions , the language is direct and addresses the reader with a clear message of what is expected in a faithful Christian. Further, with the characteristic of “wisdom” as an impediment to growing closer with God, rhetoric and “urbane sophistication” (Augustine, Confessions , p.38), as Augustine had described is highly discouraged and considered “diabolical” (Augustine, Confessions
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This essay was uploaded on 04/19/2008 for the course SOCI T03 taught by Professor Peyroux during the Fall '08 term at NYU.

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St Augustine-bible - 1 The persecution of Jesus as a...

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