Ephobounto gar: Fear and the unfinished theological task of speaking gospel
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Citation (published version)David Jacobsen. "Ephobounto gar: Fear and the Unfinished Theological Task of Speaking Gospel." 2018 Meeting of Societas Homiletica and Duke University, Durham, NC (August 7, 2018).
Mark’s Gospel ends surprisingly at 16:8 with the women telling no one anything about the news they received at the tomb, “for they were afraid.” This strange, less-than-satisfying ending to the Markan narrative may well have inspired Matthew and Luke to fix Mark’s conclusion and even explain the alternative endings to the Gospel of Mark in the manuscript tradition. This paper, however, draws on a perspective of the New Testament as “grief literature” and on elements of Serene Jones’ book Trauma and Grace to envision ways of preaching theologically that do not “fix” the problem of Mark’s ending and the fear with which it concludes. Instead, it assumes that problematic texts of grief, trauma, and fear invite preachers to take up again the gospel Mark announces in 1:1; 1:14-15 haltingly and humbly as mystery, an “unfinished” constructive-theological task.