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Jesus’ “Journey” in Mark 7:31

Interpretation and Historical Implications For Markan Authorship and Both the Scope and Impact of Jesus’ Ministry

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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Several texts in Mark’s Gospel are routinely cited as being geographically problematic: e.g. 5:1; 6:45; 7:31; 10:1; 11:1. The present article looks specifically at 7:31. I argue that this text is not geographically problematic but actually (ironically) suggests that the evangelist had an excellent grasp of the roads of first century Palestine as well as its regional boundaries and demographics. Properly exposited, the text could have important implications for the authorship of Mark’s Gospel and, hence, the Gospel’s historical reliability. It could also have important implications as to the geographical reach of Jesus’ ministry—both in Mark’s Gospel and in actual history—as well its impact on the so-called “Gentile mission”, which became such an important emphasis in the early Church.

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