Thoughts on the Gospel according to Mark #1

I am enrolled in an exegesis course on Mark at DTS this semester. We just finished introductory matters and are about to head into the text – I am pumped! One of the course requirements is to read one commentary (from a predetermined list set by Dr. Wallace) of our choice. I have chosen to climb the great depths of Joel Marcus’ 2 volume commentary on the Gospel in the Anchor Bible Series.

Toward the end of his nearly 100 page introduction, Marcus has a section entitled, ‘The Place of Mark in Christian Life and Thought’. I found one statement quite simple but quite profound. The following is under the subsection ‘Mark in the History of Religions’:

“Mark’s particular way of interpreting these writings, moreover, follows in the footsteps of Old Testament exegesis of Jewish writers. The God whose advent the Markan Jesus announces, to whom he calls his hearers to turn in penitence and faith, the God whom he trusts to raise him from the dead (an un-Hellenistic concept), is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. 12:26), and not of the philosophers.”

This comment follows a note that Mark only quotes from the Old Testament, which seems to me a quite profound statement in light of the buzzing conversations regarding Mark’s employment of popular rhetoric (Marcus goes against this recent trend – at least according to his introduction).

  1. #1 by James Snapp, Jr. on February 2, 2011 - 5:42 am

    Greetings Rex,

    In your studies on the Gospel of Mark you are bound to come across some text-critical issues, and I suspect that you might not get full access at DTS to a balanced survey of the evidence pertaining to those issues. You are welcome to visit the Resources for New Testament Textual Criticism page at http://www.curtisvillechristian.org/BasicTC.html and utilize the materials there; I would also be glad to share some other resources on request, including a chapter-by-chapter analytical review of the recent book “Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views.”

    Marcus, btw, has his facts mixed up regarding the Sahidic evidence. One and only one Sahidic MS ends Mark at the end of v. 8; the rest either have the Shorter Ending followed by 16:9-20 or, in one case (iirc), v. 8 is followed by 9-20. Marcus does not accurately present the testimony of Jerome, Severus, etc.; it is as if Marcus never read Burgon’s 1871 book focusing on this passage. And he doesn’t seem to grasp Croy’s point that the GAR-ending is fitting in speeches, dialogues, and essays, where the author is tying up loose ends, but is never the concluding word of narratives. Also, it would have been nice if Marcus, in a commentary of such depth, had bothered to mention the unusual features in Vaticanus and Sinaiticus at the end of Mark. Anyway, beware of jumping to conclusions about Mark’s conclusion! And may God bless your studies.

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.
    Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
    Indiana

    • #2 by rexhowe on February 4, 2011 - 3:44 pm

      Pastor James,

      Thanks for stopping by—I woke up to my yahoo tclist email and lo and behold, you were the responder! You are absolutely correct when you say that we will be getting into TC issues as we go through the Gospel according to Mark. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace is my professor, so such an endeavor is inevitable I presume! I appreciate your willingness to help. I will check out your link, and I would like to see your review. You can email it to me at rex.j.howe@gmail.com. Thank you.

      Regarding Marcus, I am not reading him for his interaction with TC issues per se. I pay attention to what he says in this regard, but primarily I chose to read him in order to interact with his perspectives on form criticism, narrative criticism, Markan theological themes and Mark’s (so-called) application of Apocalyptic genre.

      I hope to comment further on the ending of Mark later in the course; I’ll look forward to your interaction!

      In Christ,
      Rex

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