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Religion and Theology
Pages 5 (1255 words)
The gospel of Mark was written down between AD 65 and AD 70, some 30-40 years after the events which are described.
It is a critical time in the history of the Church and the passage in Mark 7:1-23 must be seen against this particular historical background. There is one major theme throughout this passage, and that is the difference between purity and defilement, and the key motivation of Jesus appears to be to announce a very significant shift from Jewish to Christian thinking. It is a transitional passage, therefore, and this can be seen in two ways. Jesus signals a transition from the Old Covenant based on the law, to something that transcends the law, and he shifts his mission from the Jewish heartlands to the Gentile territories. These two dimensions are, of course, connected. The passage in question introduces a phase of preaching and teaching in the Gentile territories. The major difference between Jews and Gentiles is the observance of Jewish law by the Jews only. As a Jew himself, Jesus attracted much criticism from Jewish authorities for his liberal attitude to some of the Jewish commandments, and no doubt also some apprehension from the Gentiles who would need to know whether following Jesus would mean converting to Judaism with all that this entails. It is clear from the text that some of the followers of Jesus observed the Jewish dietary rules, and some did not. ...
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