By Elaine Pagels

From the spiritual historian whose The Gnostic Gospels received either the nationwide publication Award and the nationwide publication Critics Circle Award comes a dramatic interpretation of devil and his function at the Christian culture. With magisterial studying and the elan of a born storyteller, Pagels turns Satan's tale into an audacious exploration of Christianity's shadow part, during which the gospel of affection supplies approach to irrational hatreds that proceed to hang-out Christians and non-Christians alike.

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Now Jesus invokes the phrases of the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, as though to talk for the Lord himself opposed to those that enable monetary transactions within the Temple courtyard: And he taught, and stated to them, “Is it no longer written, ‘My residence will likely be known as a home of prayer for all of the nations’? yet you may have made it a den of robbers. ” however the leader monks and the scribes heard it, and sought the way to damage him, for they have been fearful of him, as the complete crowd was once astonished at his educating (11:17-18). while the executive clergymen and scribes, joined by way of contributors of the Jewish council, call for to grasp through what authority he acts, Jesus refuses to respond to. as a substitute he retells Isaiah’s parable of God’s wrath opposed to Israel (12:1-12) in a fashion so obvious that even the executive monks, scribes, and elders realize that he's telling it “against them” (12:12). the subsequent scenes exhibit Jesus contending first opposed to the Pharisees and Herodians, who fail to trick him into making anti-Roman statements (12:13-15), after which opposed to the scribes (12:35). eventually he warns a superb crowd: 24 / THE beginning OF devil watch out for the scribes, who prefer to move round in lengthy gowns, and to have salutations within the marketplaces, and the simplest seats within the synagogues, and the locations of honor at feasts, who consume widows’ homes and for a pretense make lengthy prayers. they're going to obtain the higher condemnation (12:38-40). Then, as Jesus comes out of the Temple, Mark says, he responds to his disciples’ awestruck admiration for the sacred precincts via predicting the Temple’s destruction: “There aren't left one stone upon one other, that may not be thrown down” (13:2). whilst Peter, James, John, and Andrew privately ask what he capability, Jesus sits with them at the Mount of Olives contrary the Temple and explains. He predicts a sequence of frightening catastrophes (these are occasions within which Mark’s contemporaries might realize their very own instances, specifically the occasions of the conflict among sixty six and 70): “wars and rumors of war,” famine, public enthusiasm for fake messiahs. Jesus warns in veiled language that after they see “the desolating sacrilege manage the place it ought to not be”—the pagan desecration of the Temple—they may still flee into the mountains (13:7-14). Mark intends Jesus’ fans, dwelling in negative occasions, to take convenience in understanding that their chief had foreseen how they'd undergo, out in their loyalty to him (“for my sake”), ostracism and reprisals, hatred and betrayal, even—perhaps especially—from their family: “Take heed to yourselves; for they're going to bring you as much as councils; and you'll be overwhelmed in synagogues, and you may stand ahead of governors and rulers for my sake . . . and brother will convey up brother to demise, and the daddy his baby, and youngsters will upward thrust opposed to mom and dad and feature their mom and dad positioned to demise; and you'll be hated by way of fascinated about the sake of my identify” (13:9-13). what's the believer to do, dealing with betrayal, isolation, and mortal probability? Mark says that Jesus enjoined his fans to “endure to the tip.

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