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Dramatized Irony, Markan Intercalations, and the Godfather

February 6, 2012

Commentators on the Gospel of Mark have been aware of the so-called “Markan Sandwich” passages for some time. There are some good treatments of this subject but I have always found Tom Shepherd’s dissertation, Markan Sandwich Stories, to be most helpful. I especially appreciate his emphasis on “dramatized irony” as one of the most important elements of these carefully intercalated passages. It’s been my experience that many undergraduates are unfamiliar with literary concepts like “irony,” so lately I’ve been using as many examples from the movies and television as I can find to illustrate these concepts.

I have found the famous baptismal scene from the original Godfather movie (1972) to be the most effective for explaining to students what “dramatized irony” is and how it works. When I show students this clip and then read passages like Mark 5:21-43 or 11: 12-25, the text seems to come alive (and, they seem to understand what “dramatized irony” is much better than when I simply define it).

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Jim F. permalink
    February 6, 2012 3:06 pm

    The Baptismal scene in the Godfather is one of my favorites in the movie – although I think you knew that because we have discussed it before. This is a really great example.

  2. February 6, 2012 3:35 pm

    Anytime you can work in a Godfather reference, it’s gold!

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