Hellenistic Influence and Twins in the Gospel of Mark: Fiery Angels examines Jesus’ twin disciples James and John. Jesus gives them the name Boanerges, “Sons of Zeus” referring to the Dioscuri, mythological figures known for their saving action in times of human danger and distress. This book addresses various questions prompted by Jesus’ naming of James and John. Is the author embracing Hellenistic myth and mythology as part of his story? Does he portray Jesus as one who himself is influenced by Hellenistic culture, and if so, to what extent? To gain insight into these questions, Jeffrey B. Pettis examines various sources—dioscuric figures in Second Maccabees 3, three visitors in Genesis 18-19, traces of dioscurism in the Markan boat stories. Major themes include fire and sacrifice, theophany, personal saviors, and old and new religion. Of particular interest is the extent to which myth and mythology grasp the hearer’s attention and occur as something which makes an impression. Does the author of Mark make use of myth for just this reason—to capture attention and to make and awaken his community to a larger world?
Jeffrey B. Pettis teaches in the Biblical Studies Department at New Brunswick Seminary, and the Theology Department at Fordham University.
Introduction: Approach to the Subject
Chapter One: Fiery Twins Conflict and Rising
Chapter Two: Angels in the Temple Fire and Sacrifice
Chapter Three: Theophany and Three Visitors
Chapter Four: Personal Saviors Mastery of the Storm
Chapter Five: Old and New Religion and Journey of The Argos
Appendix A: Luke 16.19-31
About the Author
What does Zeus the God of Thunder and his fiery sons the Dioscuri have to do with the gospel story written by Mark? Pettis’ fascinating book investigates the curious surname Boanerges given by Jesus to James and John in the Gospel of Mark. Working at the intersection of Greek mythology, Jewish apocalypticism, gospel composition, and narrative aesthetics, Pettis takes us on a sea journey to find the Golden Fleece, to understand how mythology operates to bring the human into contact with the divine.