Stephen O’Leary’s theory of apocalyptic rhetoric proves helpful for understanding Mark’s intentions for the apocalyptic motifs employed in his Gospel. The details of the discourse in Mark 13 ought not be correlated with specific historical events but should be understood as rhetorical ornaments that underscore watchfulness and wakefulness. O’Leary’s comic framework of apocalyptic rhetoric provides new exegetical insight into how Mark uses apocalyptic topoi to jolt an audience that had grown complacent. Mark’s apocalyptic components serve the Gospel’s broader theological agenda, to profile a God for whom there is an open horizon for dramatic future action.
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