5. Christian Origins and the Gospel of Mark: Fragments of a Story
Jesus and Addiction to Origins - Toward an Anthropocentric Study of Religion - Willi Braun
Willi Braun [+]
University of Alberta
Willi Braun is a Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and Classics and the Program in Religious Studies at the University of Alberta, Canada. He is the former President of the North American Association for the Study of Religion and also the past President of the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. Although a specialist in the writings and social formations of earliest Christianities in the Roman empire, his work also focuses on the methods and theories of the academic study of religion itself. He has published and presented his work widely and served as editor of a variety of books and journals, including his longtime role as editor of Method and Theory in the Study of Religion; most recently, he co-edited Reading J. Z. Smith: Interviews and Essay (Oxford, 2018).
The dominant default in the academic that studies the formation and history of emergent Christianity is the assumption of the mystique of its first-century origins—even if those studies are, ostensibly, non-theological. Christianity’s own myth of origins has therefore become the universal scholarly starting point in understanding Christian beginnings. This chapter uses one literary example, the Gospel of Mark, to see if the text can bear the burden of the Christian myth of origin that is often placed upon it.