Comparing the Stories of Mark and Peter

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The stories of Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection in the gospels Mark and Peter differ greatly. Each author has his own plot, descriptive language, audience and characterization of Jesus. What we know about Jesus and how he is portrayed changes between the gospels. For example, the Gospel of Mark uses many Jewish references and makes parallels to the Old Testament which was most likely for the benefit of a Jewish audience. Also, the Jesus in Mark’s gospel is characterized to be more divine, befitting the expectations of the Jewish community. However, The Gospel of Peter seems to entertain both a pagan and Jewish audience, using language that either group could relate to. The Jesus of Peter is oddly portrayed and is more akin to what we would think as superhuman rather than divine.

The most obvious differences between the crucifixion and resurrection stories in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Peter lie in their plots. These differences, in effect, change our conceptions of Jesus. In the Gospel of Mark it begins with Jesus before Pilate but in the Gospel of Peter it begins with some kind of council between Pontius Pilate and Herod. In the Gospel of Mark we see Jesus on trial being accused of many things. Pilate asks Jesus “Are you king of the Jews?” and Jesus replies “You say so,” and we see a Jesus that is above slander and empty accusations. (Mark 15.2) By saying this, Jesus never admits anything. While he does go along with what they are doing to him; he makes no comment on whether their accusations or rumors about him are true. A position that lets us know Jesus is taking the high road. However, in the Gospel of Peter we do not have the luxury of starting with such a conception, in fact we do not even get to see Jesus u...

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...ived. In Mark there are these Jewish undertones that make Jesus out to be a divine and respectable figure that was put through so much during his passion, crucifixion, and resurrection. In Peter, we have a strange view of Jesus. He can be perceived as a human that had extraordinary gifts, and supernatural events simply occurred around him. In Peter there was also even more crazy phenomena not seen in the canonical texts. An example of this phenomenon would be when a floating cross appeared and then proceeded to talk. Both texts present these very different views of Jesus while at the same time propose questions that cannot really be answered definitively. The only thing that is definite is that both Mark and Peter used their plots and languages to really influence how their audiences view Jesus. Jesus was emphasized as more divine in Mark and more human in Peter.
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