Understanding as the Embodiment of Mystery: Approaching Discipleship in Mark on a Postcolonial Feminist Key
Choi, Jin Young
This study aims to provide a novel interpretation of discipleship as presented in the Gospel of Mark. Traditional Markan scholarship on this theme has emphasized the disciples’ failure to know Jesus’ identity and follow him. Situating such interpretation, which highlights rationality and autonomy, in the context of the Enlightenment, I propose an alternative understanding of discipleship based on embodied knowing, relationality, and spiritual experience within an Asian and Asian American context. For such a task, I employ a postcolonial feminist approach, guided and informed by a hermeneutics of phronesis, along with three theoretical frameworks—Postcolonial Studies, Feminist Studies, and Postcolonial Feminist Biblical Criticism. The first two chapter addresses problems found in the history of Markan scholarship on discipleship and interpretive frameworks. The third chapter, “The Phantasmic Body,” analyzes Mark 6:45-52, arguing that Jesus’ ghostly appearance (phantasma) can be interpreted in light of postcolonial haunting, which illuminates early Christians’ social memory of Jesus’ execution on the cross, not as representing the disciples’ misperception. The fourth chapter, “The Consumed Body,” analyzes Mark 7:24-30 in which the Syrophoenician woman appears to be one of those who “understand” the transcorporeality and transterritoriality of Jesus’ broken and shared body. The fifth chapter, “The Passive Body,” focuses on the shackle holding the deaf and dumb man’s tongue in Mark 7:31-37. In this chapter I argue that although the societal law such as language is inscribed in the body, particularly female, feminine, and repressed bodies, the agency of the body operates, evading and resisting the imperial rule. The final chapter, “Conclusion,” summarizes the findings of interpretation and provides hermeneutical implications and assessment. In and through this writing, I perform an interpretation of discipleship, which resists western male-dominant scholarship that has constructed the body of knowledge in Markan Studies, and reclaim the placeless place of the displaced and the voice of the voiceless.