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The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis…

The Gospel According to Mark (1970)

by Jorge Luis Borges

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The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges is very similar to the story of Jesus Christ in the Bible. This is interesting because it is the Jesus story while also referencing the Jesus Story. This strikes me as similar to the movie Inception; it’s the Jesus story within the Jesus story. There are many examples of how the biblical Jesus and the short story’s Baltasar Espinosa are similar. First, both Jesus and Espinosa are “freethinkers” who “reject traditional beliefs, especially religious dogma”. Second, both Jesus and Espinosa are more educated people who teach the commoners; Espinosa when he reads to the Gutres and Jesus when he educated the people on God’s teachings. Finally, both Espinosa and Jesus were killed on the cross by the people that he taught.
The main difference between the original biblical gospel according to St. Mark and Borges’ Gospel According to Mark is the tone. In Borges’ telling, Espinosa isn’t nearly revered as Jesus is in the Bible. For example, the narrator describes Espinosa as a person with “wide intelligence” who “still had not qualified for graduation”. On the other hand, Jesus is described as infinitely intelligent and praised, even though he never had a career or reached any of the typical distinguishing milestones that men of that time strived to reach, such as career, marriage, children, etc.
  Lampe102 | May 12, 2011 |
Reading The Gospel According to Mark, written by Jorge Luis Borges, created inspiration for me. I absolutely consider myself religious, and while a lot of the story is reflected in a pious tone, that is not what struck me most. Parts of Christian ideals center on teaching Christianity to others who either have not found their faith, or were not fortunate enough to have been exposed to The Bible or a church. In Borges account, Espenosa is a dedicated medical student, focusing solely on academics. In my opinion, “schooling can sometimes get in the way of learning.” (I think that might be a paraphrased version of a quote I heard somewhere else. It stuck with me nonetheless!) Fortunately Espenosa realizes his duties elsewhere, and teaches things like reading and the Bible to others. This proves to be a passion of his, and much more fulfilling than medical school. He saves a lamb and grows a beard, similar acts of those of Jesus. Subtle things such as this make the story extremely religious, but at the same time not overbearing. This story portrays Espenosa as a hero, and readers could take that two ways. One being he’s a hero for spreading the word or Christ, but others could view him as a hero for following his heart and helping others, regardless of the religious undertone. I chose to see Espenosa as a hero because of his disregard for responsibilities placed on him by society (school) and doing what he loves. As a college student, I am trying to find my passion and place in the world - If I am lucky enough to find something I love like Espenosa did, I hope I would have the courage to pursue it.
  cma1991 | Apr 25, 2011 |
On my first read of The Gospel According to Mark by Jorge Luis Borges, It was not until the last sentence that I realized that it was religious. I was just doing a general overview and wasn't really analyzing the Christian religious symbols. Over the next few reads, and a trip to sparknotes, I began to understand the Christian themes behind the story, and therefore began to pick up on the symbols. The story utilizes the archetype of a hero, and portrays Espinosa as a Jesus type figure. This story followed the theme of Hemingways 7/8ths of the iceberg and there was much more beneath the surface. Borges starts using religious symbols starting with the flood, referring to the story of Noahs Ark, and then continued them by telling the reader that Espinosa grows his beard out, and helps the animal with the hurt leg recover, which refers to him being the sheppard, much like Jesus. The story then talked about the Gutres, who were symbolic of the disciples, as they followed Espinosa from room to room. Then finally at the end of the story, the Gutres' pull down planks from the house on which to crucify Espinosa. Being raised in a Jewish family, and having limited knowledge of the story of christ, I did not recognize the symbols and even after multiple reads, I am sure there is a lot that I am missing due to my cultural differences. I did enjoy the story, however someone with a larger background of the story of Christ, and the new testament may have gotten more out of it than I.
  smyth104 | Feb 21, 2011 |
This story intrigued me because each person has their own interpretation due to their personal background. I know that my interpretation of the story was much more religious because I attended a Jesuit high school and took four years of religion classes. I appreciated the way that the religious symbolism was woven into the story because it was indiscrete enough that you could read the story without realizing the religion aspect until the Gutre family built the cross. I feel that this story emphasized literary reading because there is not one single interpretation of a text, just good and bad arguments. One of the largest metaphors in the story for me was the lamb. When Espinosa gives the lamb some pills and heals the lamb of its wounds, it reminds me of how Jesus saved the lowest of the people by forgiving and healing them.
I believe that the moral of this story is to not take anything at face value. Though you should believe much of what you hear, you should take everything with some skepticism. The characters in “The Gospel According to Mark” should take into account literary reading because they are using literal reading, not taking any of their own interpretations or life experiences and connecting them to the Gospel
  peck107 | Feb 21, 2011 |
In “The Gospel of Mark” the heroes journey but in doing so shows that often times the hero must learn in unexpected place. Espenosa the main character of this short story seems to be a hero before the story begins. He is a medical student working hard. It is not until he moves to the area of farm life in Colorado that is becomes apparent that he was needed for more then just medical school. He had a greater calling. It is often times that people in society need to find this greater calling in life in order to find a true passion. I feel that this is the reason that the author intertwined religion in the short story so much because it is so often religion that helps us find this greater passion.
Espenosa found that he was needed. The kids needed him to read to them. They needed him to teach them the bible. This feeling of being needed was far more rewarding the studying for medical school.
Society places high value on those who help others. It natural for us to have a want to help others and it is a feeling that people with a religions attachment often yearn for. This is why it is seen as such a heroic act.
  hoffm130 | Feb 19, 2011 |
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