How the Disciples Of Jesus Actually Acted Historically

Christian - Devotion/Study
103 Pages
Reviewed on 03/05/2022
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Astrid Iustulin for Readers' Favorite

There are many issues about the Gospels that are interesting to investigate. One of them is how Jesus' disciples behave in the Gospel of Mark. Is it possible that they did not understand Jesus' prophecy of his crucifixion and death? Could they really have mistaken him for a political messiah? Unsok Hur answers these questions in How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically, a book that adds new material to the content already published in the Biblical Theology Bulletin Journal. In this illuminating volume, Hur explains how it is much more likely that the disciples' behavior is a literary device rather than a historical fact. Furthermore, he gives a convincing explanation of the reason why the author of the Gospel depicted them in this way. What you will read is a thought-provoking analysis.

Although How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically is a book written mainly for other scholars interested in the subject, I found it very interesting and easy to read. Hur deals with the topic with competence and exhaustiveness, examining how the writer of the Gospel prepared the lack of understanding of the disciples throughout the book. With this analysis, the author invites a profound reflection on the literary structure of the Gospel of Mark. Moreover, I found the comparison (placed at the end of the book) with the other Gospels very useful. It is always a pleasure to find books that help one understand better how the Gospels were written, and the present one was undoubtedly an enriching read.

Michaela Gordoni

Once a scholarly article and now a book, How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically is about Unsok Hur’s findings and beliefs regarding the attitudes and behaviors of Jesus’s disciples. It is a brief academic theological analysis of the disciples in the Bible. Unsok Hur, using supporting arguments from others, argues that accounts of the disciples' reactions to some of Jesus’s teachings had to be fictional. He argues that they were created by the authors of the Gospel books. How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically includes similar conclusions from other academics. Unsok Hur expresses similar beliefs and his different reasons for why he believes them. His main argument for why the disciples' reactions were fictional is that they are too unbelievable and unconvincing.

I thought that How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically was well done and succinct. It covers many passages of scripture, but it does not go into so much detail that it is hard to follow, as many theology books can be. Unsok Hur does not overburden the reader by taking the time to knock down opposing views and explain why he is right. He writes in quite simple terms and uses only minimal theological jargon. I appreciated that because it made it very easy for me to understand and follow along. I believe that this book is ideal for those looking for brief opinions on why the disciples are often recorded as behaving very ignorantly, without comprehension of what was being told to them.

Vincent Dublado

How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically by Unsok Hur is based on a paper called The Disciples' Lack of Comprehension in the Gospel of Mark that he wrote in the Journal of Biblical Theology Bulletin. With diligent research and scholarly panache, the author digs deep into the comprehension competence of Christ’s disciples on how they interpret the Gospel of Mark. He wastes no time in citing New Testament scholars on the issue of the disciples’ incomprehension described in Mark’s gospel while taking a different route to develop his own argument and conclusion. As an example of one of his arguments, he examines the portrayal of the disciples’ lack of comprehension in several scenes as a literary device and argues that such a device is used to prepare for the disciples’ incomprehension when Jesus predicts his death.

The gist of How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically is free inquiry on the foundations of scriptural doctrine that religious believers have been following. It is a thought-provoking and scholarly work that will likely ignite fires in your mind. It is a study that may not appeal to everyone, but it is definitely one that we all need to read with an open mind. Unsok Hur opens the floodgates of critical thinking for those who explore questions and are finding new answers—and this has become inevitable in an age where religious orthodoxy is becoming more open to scrutiny. This book is not expected to create any rapture, but it can anticipate a strong response from anyone who has ever been concerned with philosophy, free thought, and the tenets of belief. How the Disciples of Jesus Actually Acted Historically is a must-read for its thought-provoking inquiry into a crucial religious issue.

Cassie Widjaja

Among the most prominent figures in the Bible are Jesus' twelve disciples. In How the Disciples Of Jesus Actually Acted Historically, Unsok Hur analyzes their behavior and questions whether it's a realistic portrayal. He argues that since the disciples have witnessed Jesus' miraculous work and have also formed a very close relationship with Jesus, it is unlikely that they do not comprehend what Jesus is saying plainly. Hur assumes that the scenes showing their lack of comprehension when Jesus predicts His death are a writer's creation. He believes that, in reality, the disciples were powerless to prevent the crucifixion instead of not understanding what was going on.

Despite having been raised a Christian by Christian parents all my life, I have never really looked deeper into the stories that the disciples did not understand Jesus when He predicted His death and resurrection. When I first read How the Disciples Of Jesus Actually Acted Historically by Unsok Hur, my mind was blown away by how much his arguments made sense. I greatly appreciated how Hur set up his case as each point flowed logically and smoothly from one to the next. I also loved how one did not need to be an expert on the Bible to read and understand Hur's book. Hur has done his research, as is shown when he included several other experts' opinions to make the work more comprehensive. For anyone looking for a greater understanding of the Bible, especially regarding Jesus' crucifixion, this book is for you!

Pikasho Deka

Based on Unsok Hur's 2019 article, The Disciples' Lack of Comprehension in the Gospel of Mark, published in the Journal of Biblical Theology Bulletin, How The Disciples Of Jesus Actually Acted Historically is a book that seeks to clarify the disciples' role during the crucifixion of Jesus as interpreted in the Gospel of Mark. Author Unsok Hur argues that Jesus didn't predict his crucifixion; instead, he had an ambiguous sense of his destiny. However, Jesus' arrest and his death on the cross were unexpected for both Jesus and his followers. According to the author, Jesus' prediction of crucifixion must have been used as a literary device by the Gospel writer Mark to manifest Jesus' authority and his power to foresee the future. Hence, the reason to portray the disciples as flawed, ordinary people, unlike Jesus.

As someone who is admittedly not well-versed in theology, Unsok Hur's book offers a lot to ponder on. Hur cites multiple notable scholars of history and theology to make well-reasoned arguments why Jesus' teachings were taken to be politically driven by his disciples instead of being spiritual in their content. The author argues that the reason Mark chose to showcase the disciples' lack of comprehension in interpreting Jesus' teachings is to highlight their inability in preventing his crucifixion. Hur incorporates multiple biblical verses in the narrative to emphasize his arguments, trying to paint a more historically accurate picture. How The Disciples Of Jesus Actually Acted Historically offers a fresh perspective of the Gospel of Mark. Highly recommended to anyone interested in biblical history or theology.


The approach Unsok is taking is creative, genuine and so embracing. This can be a great book to nourish and care our souls as after reading this book, we will revise or perhaps renew our understanding of God and us in relatiom to God. Thank You Unsok for this work. Highly recommend who wanta to deepen or refresh their understanding and relationship with God.