Nick Cave on the Gospel of Mark

Nick Cave, dark and malevolent, is the singer of the amazing post-punk band Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Much of his music is graphically evil, yet beautifully written and performed. It takes serious the depravity of human nature by entering into it and offering a psychological evaluation from the inside. While many wince when listening to his lyrics, a good number of his songs are overtly influenced by Christian themes (For example, Get Ready for Love). In fact, Nick Cave considers himself to be a Christian. 
Born an Anglican in Australia, I sometimes wish that he had come into contact with men like T.C. Hammond or Peter O’Brien instead of the tepid Anglicanism that he has in some sense rejected. He says that their version of Christ as a placid figure waving from the cross repulsed him and in turn drove him to the violent God of the Old Testament.
In 1998 Canongate published a copy of The Gospel of Mark in the King James Version and had Cave write an introduction. As a writer and poet himself, his insights into Mark’s authorial perspective is very insightful. Take for instance,

“Scholars generally agree that Mark’s was the first of the four gospels to be written. Mark took from the mouths of teachers and prophets the jumble of events that comprised Christ’s life and fixed these events into some kind of biographicalform. He did this with such breathless insistence, such compulsive narrative intensity, that one is reminded of a child recounting some amazing tale, piling fact upon fact, as if the whole world depended upon it – which ,of course, to Mark it did. ‘Straightway’ and ‘immediately’ link one event to another, everyone ‘runs’, ‘shouts’, is ‘amazed’, inflaming Christ’s mission with a dazzling urgency. Mark’s Gospel is a clatter of bones, so raw, nervy and lean on information that the narrative aches with the melancholy of absence. Scenes of deep tragedy are treated with such a matter of factness and raw economy they become almost palpable in their unprotected sorrowfulness.”


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