"The Lord your God is one": A redaction critical analysis of Mark 12:28-34

James Patrick McIlhone, Marquette University


This dissertation applies redaction criticism to study Mark 12:28-34. My approach differs from previous redactional analyses because I use the microcomputer to isolate data for analysis. Through a careful redactional anlysis applying the grammatical and syntactical characteristics isolated through computer analysis, I show that Mark has constructed the unit to emphasize the concept of the "oneness of God". The imperative to Israel that Yahweh is One (Deut 6:4) grounds the ethical norms of love of God and neighbor (Deut 6:5; Lev 19:18) which the unit declares. Having noted the importance of the concept of the "oneness of God" in the unit, I examine the origin and use of that concept from a double perspective:1) examination of the Old Testament understanding of the oneness of God in Deuteronomy 6:4f, 2) its development in Judaism through the Rabbinic period. This will show how this text was understood at the time of the composition of Mark. Second, I present a redaction critical analysis of other Markan texts which contain traditions concerning the "one God". The analysis shows these texts are insertions transforming apophthegms into controversy stories which concern the nature and authority of Jesus. In each case, attributes of God are being applied to Jesus. Finally, I examine the context of Mark 12:28-34 to see whether Mark's theology of "one God" is found in the units forming its context. This will determine whether the text of Mark 12:28-34 is from the same hand as the rest of the Gospel. From this study, I conclude that the redaction of this unit reflects a situation in which there is friction between the community and Judaism stemming from misunderstanding in three areas: (1) discussion concerning the nature of Jesus, (2) the attitude of the community toward the traditions of Judaism, and (3) the understanding of the Kingdom of God which was prevelant in the community. Mark, thus, uses the concept of One God in his gospel as an apologetic against the objections of Jews to the stances of the community in those areas.

Recommended Citation

McIlhone, James Patrick, ""The Lord your God is one": A redaction critical analysis of Mark 12:28-34" (1987). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI8811063.