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  • 1.
    Berglund, Carl Johan
    Åbo Akademi.
    Mimetic Mediators in Mark: How Graeco-Roman Biographies Use Secondary Characters to Offer Multiple Patterns of Imitation2024In: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, ISSN 0142-064X, E-ISSN 1745-5294, Vol. 46, no 4, p. 464-488Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Can the Markan disciples still be viewed as potential role models for the Gospel audience if Mark’s writing is identified as a biography? This long-standing line of narrative interpretation has recently been rejected as anachronistic by Helen K. Bond, who maintains that in Graeco-Roman biographies, secondary characters are only included for what they bring to the portrait of the protagonist. In response, this paper demonstrates that ancient biographies regularly use followers of their main characters to provide multiple mimetic patterns that clarify, broaden, and mitigate what it means to imitate their heroes. In particular, Mark’s cast of secondary characters offers three alternative patterns of behaviour for potential followers of Jesus: apostles, who emulate his itinerant lifestyle of preaching, healing, and exorcism; hosts, who provide apostles with food and shelter in their homes; and supporters, who serve the movement in other ways in accordance with their abilities and social status.

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  • 2.
    Berglund, Carl Johan
    University College Stockholm, Stockholm School of Theology, Department of Religious Studies and Theology. Åbo Akademi University, Finland.
    Paul’s Rhetorical Efforts to Establish Good Will in First Thessalonians2022In: Journal for the Study of the New Testament, ISSN 0142-064X, E-ISSN 1745-5294, Vol. 44, no 4, p. 539-560Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Ancient oratory ordinarily begins with an effort of captatio benevolentiae – the rhetorical strategy of praising and lauding the audience to make them well-disposed toward the speaker, attentive and receptive to your message – especially before controversial claims or challenging demands. In First Thessalonians, such efforts are manifest not only in the introduction in ch. 1, but throughout the narration in chs. 2–3, which implies that the senders are preparing for a particularly sensitive topic. The first exhortation to appear after these efforts cease, the exhortation to sexual holiness in 1 Thess. 4.3-8, must therefore represent the primary purpose of the letter. The euphemistic language used in this request makes it difficult to understand what kind of πορνεία (‘sexual immorality’) Paul, Silvanus and Timothy are arguing against, but the most likely interpretation is that they want the Thessalonian Christians to stop using their slaves and former slaves for sexual purposes.

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