Images of Masculinity
in the Gospel of Mark

1. What image of masculinity does John the Baptist portray? (See Mark 1 and 6)

2. Describe Jesus’ relationship with his father (Mark 1, 9). What does this suggest about his personality?

3. Describe Jesus’ relationship with his disciples (Mark 1, 2, 3, 6, 8, 9, 16). What images of masculinity are suggested by this relationship? How does this relationship compare with that of Maximus the Gladiator with his soldiers and with his fellow gladiators?

4. Describe Jesus’ ministry. What sort of activities is he involved in? What does this say about him as a man?

5. How does Jesus describe his relationship with his mother and brothers? (Mark 3) Why? How does this compare with Maximus the Gladiator’s attitude towards his family?

6. Describe the transfiguration (9:1–8). What does this scene suggest about Jesus?

7. At Mark 9:33–37 and 10:35–45 Jesus’ disciples are concerned with rank. How does Jesus react? What does his reaction suggest about his code of behavior?

8. Compare Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem at 11:1–11 with Maximus the Gladiator’s relationship with the crowds in the Colosseum. How are these scenes similar? How are they different? Compare the images of masculinity in the two scenes.

9. What do the events surrounding Jesus’ death (14–15) suggest about Jesus’ personality? How do these events compare to those surrounding the death of Maximus the Gladiator?

10. Summarize the image of masculinity projected by Jesus in the Gospel of Mark. How does this compare with Maximus’ image of masculinity? What does Jesus have in common with Maximus? How are they different?

This material has been published on the web by Prof. Tom Sienkewicz for his students at Monmouth College. If you have any questions, you can contact him at

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