Mark’s eschatological Adam: the “coming of the Son of Man” as the final “coming of God” to reign (Mark 8:38)
September 30, 2021 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM On Demand Save the Date
This paper addresses the question of Jesus’ eschatology in the Gospel of Mark via a close study of Mark 8:38. It argues that Mark 8:38 employs apocalyptic symbolism drawn from Daniel 7:13, and elsewhere, to present the “coming” of “the Son of Man” as the final “coming of God” to reign on earth.
In recent scholarship, it has been common to argue that Mark 8:38 draws on Daniel 7:13 to refer to “the S/son of M/man’s” post-mortem “vindication,” “heavenly enthronement,” or “sovereign authority,” manifested in the destruction of the Jerusalem temple (Wright 1996, 2019; France 2002; Hatina 1996, 2002; Dyer 1998, 2002; Gray 2010; Bird 2019, 2020). Even those who recognize that Mark 8:38 refers to Jesus’ eschatological return argue that Mark has reversed the “son of man’s” direction of travel under the influence of other texts, especially Zechariah 14:5 (Adams 2005; Marcus 2009; Sloan 2019).
The striking innovation in Jesus’ words in Mark 8:38 is not that he reverses “the Son of Man’s” direction of travel, but that he places himself at the centre of the vision.
Against these readings, the first part of the paper shows that Daniel 7:1–14 presents a vison of “new creation” in which the “one like a son of man” appears as an eschatological Adam who “comes” from heaven to earth to exercise universal dominion over the nations. The second part of the paper shows that in Mark 8:38, Jesus combines Daniel 7:13 with other features of Israel’s “coming of God” tradition — “shame,” “glory,” and “holy angels” (cf. Isa 66; Zech 14; 1 En 46) — to present his own return as the final “coming of God” to reign on earth. In this way, Mark invites his readers to enter a symbolic world in which Jesus plays the role of Daniel’s “son of man,” and appears as an eschatological Adam destined to embody the reign of God on earth. The striking innovation in Jesus’ words in Mark 8:38 is not that he reverses “the Son of Man’s” direction of travel, but that he places himself at the centre of the vision.
- The Eschatological Coherence of Jesus’ “Random Sayings on Faith, Prayer, and Forgiveness” in Mark 11:22–25(26)
- Jesus and the Promise of Time
- The Markan Alphabet Theory: Eschatological Origins of the Gospel of Mark
- ʻIf your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off’: Self-Mutilation for the Kingdom in Mark 9:42-48