In this essay Gibson argues that the writer of Mark intended to compare the Sanhedrin who tried Jesus to the Zealots of the Jewish rebellion. Gibson locates parallels between the trial before Jesus and the sham trial of Zachariah son of Baruch by the Zealots:
"Here, as in Mk 14:54-63, we have a capital trial before a hastily summoned Sanhedrin. Here, as in Mk. 14:54-63, the trial occurs in the Temple precincts and in an atmosphere not only of crisis but of eschatological expectation centering in the God of Israel's imminent deliverance of his people from oppression and the destruction of Israel's enemies. Here, as in Mk. 14:54-63, those who convene the trial believe in holy war. Here, as in Mark, we have the appearance of false witnesses and the sounding of the theme of a predetermined verdict. Here, as in Mark, the one brought into court is a figure who is known and identified as standing in opposition to the ideology of those who have convened his trial. Here, as in Mark, the accused speaks out forcefully against the ideology of those who would condemn him. Here, as in Mark, the remarks of the accused evoke from his accusers both physical and verbal expressions of rage and indignation. Here, as in Mark, we find an outworking of a theme that standing on the side of the accused creates risks for those who might do so. And here, as in Mark, the one accused is handed over to mockery and an ignominious death."(p11)
Gibson follows Joel Marcus and the majority of exegetes in seeing Mark 13 as a reference to the Jewish War of 66-70. I argued several months ago on my blog that Mark 13 actually refers to the Bar Kochba revolt of 135. One part of my argument was that the writer of Mark coded a reference to the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus that Hadrian built on the Temple Mount. That makes a far better candidate for the "abomination of the desolation/makes desolation" than anything that happened prior.
The sequence in Mark 13 acts as a typology for the experience of Jesus during his Passion. The parallels run:
Disciples before Councils
Jesus before Sanhedrin
Disciples beaten in Synagogues
Jesus beaten after Sanhedrin Trial
Disciples before Governors
Jesus before Pilate
Disciples brought to trial and "handed over"
Jesus on trial and "handed over"
Brother betrays brother
Judas betrays Jesus
Disciples hated in Jesus' name
Reaction to Jesus' claim to be the Blessed One.
The very next verse is of course the "abomination of the desolation" which of course, if it completes the typology, is a reference to where Jesus died. Where was that?
TE Schmidt argued that Jesus' procession out to Golgotha was essentially a mock triumph. Schmidt was among a small number of exegetes who have observed that Golgotha may also be translated as head as well as skull. That would make Golgotha the Place of the Head. A Roman legend records that in Rome when a temple was being built on a hill, a human head was found with its features still intact. According to the legend, the soothsayers then said this meant the hill would be the head of all Italy. The hill was thus named Capitoline Hill. The significance of this should not be missed: the Temple of Jupiter Capitolinus on Capitoline Hill, the Capitolium, the placed named after the Death's Head, was the terminus of every Roman triumph.
But as I just noted, there was also a hill in Jerusalem surmounted by a Capitoline Temple, the Temple Mount itself. The writer of Mark may be making an oblique reference to that Temple to Jupiter installed by Hadrian. Jesus was led out in triumph to a Capitoline hill, but it was another one, in Judea. That is what the author is trying to tell us.
That brings us back to Gibson, for Gibson's parallels imply a second vector on the question of the location of Jesus' death in Mark: Zachariah was killed in the Temple. Just like Jesus?
[Christianity] [Gospel of Mark] [historical Jesus]