Capernaum: A ‘Hub’ for the Historical Jesus or the Markan Evangelist?

In: Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus
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One of the less controversial points among Jesus scholars is the importance of Capernaum to the historical Jesus, variously described as his ‘hub,’ ‘headquarters,’ ‘centre,’ etc. This article instead suggests that the importance of Capernaum may be understood as a specific to Mark’s depiction of Jesus and that Mark’s redactional interest in Capernaum prematurely treated as a datum concerning the historical Jesus. Indeed, exegetical insights about Mark’s interest in Galilee have more recently developed into arguments that the Second Gospel was composed somewhere in that region. This article will survey Mark’s characterization of the region to not only argue that Capernaum is a distinctively Markan point of interest, but that there is ample reason to believe that the Gospel was composed in that village.