Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
This project reimagines a first-century reception of the Gospel of Mark within a historically reconstructed (yet hypothetical) performance event. In particular, it considers the disciples' character and characterization through the lens of performance criticism. Questions concerning the characterization of the disciples have been relatively one-sided in New Testament scholarship, in favor of their negative characterization. This project demonstrates why such assumptions need not be necessary when we (re-)consider the oral/aural milieu in which the Gospel of Mark was first composed and received by its earliest audiences. In this project, I demonstrate that despite its "relative" newness, the primary tenets of performance criticism have been at the forefront of biblical studies for a considerable time. In doing so, this work seeks to further legitimize performance criticism as a viable and alternative method to more traditional approaches in biblical studies. This project is also interdisciplinary in its approach. I engage the fields of classics and Shakespearean studies, and by way of analogy move conversations of characters and characterization toward a more complex configuration--as products of and in performance. Further, I investigate and problematize the object of study. Recent studies have critiqued the use of bookish metaphors for viewing ancient textuality, highlighting both its anachronism within an oral milieu and its failure to attend to a more complex ancient textual landscape. I suggest that the dual metaphors of script and scripture may provide performance critics the language necessary to differentiate its conception of the object of study. Such distinctions allow us to conceive of performance as emerging from a script, something "related to yet distinct from" the text of Mark. I conclude with an analysis of Mark's disciples within a particular performance event, offering "a" solution to the problem of their characterization.
Eberhart, Zechariah, "Between Script and Scripture: Performance Criticism and Mark's Character(ization) of the Disciples" (2023). Dissertations. 4015.
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