W R Telford


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© Cambridge University Press 1999 This edition © Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing) 2002

First published in printed format 1999

A catalogue record for the original printed book is available from the British Library and from the Library of Congress Original ISBN 0 521 43366 5 hardback Original ISBN 0 521 43977 9 paperback

ISBN 0 511 00934 8 virtual (netLibrary Edition)

For Andrena

Editor's preface page xi

Preface xiii

List of abbreviations xv

The historical setting of the Gospel of Mark i

Introduction i

Authorship, date and provenance 9

The Markan community 15

The tradition before Mark 18

The message of Mark 21

2 The theology of Mark 30

The person ofjesus 30

The message ofjesus 54

The mission ofjesus 88 Support and opposition: heroes and villains in the Markan drama 116

The purpose of Mark's Gospel 137

3 Mark and the New Testament 164

Mark and Paul 164

Mark and Q 170

Mark and the Gospels 173

Mark and Acts 182

Mark and the Letters of Peter 188

Mark and Hebrews 198

Mark and Revelation 205

4 Mark in the church and in the world 214

Mark in history 2i4

The contemporary significance of Mark 217

Select bibliography 242

Index of references 249

Index of names 268

Index of subjects 273

Although the New Testament is usually taught within Departments or Schools or Faculties of Theology/Divinity/Religion, theological study of the individual New Testament writings is often minimal or at best patchy. The reasons for this are not hard to discern.

For one thing, the traditional style of studying a New Testament document is by means of straight exegesis, often verse by verse. Theological concerns jostle with interesting historical, textual, grammatical and literary issues, often at the cost of the theological. Such exegesis is usually very time-consuming, so that only one or two key writings can be treated in any depth within a crowded three-year syllabus.

For another, there is a marked lack of suitable textbooks round which courses could be developed. Commentaries are likely to lose theological comment within a mass of other detail in the same way as exegetical lectures. The section on the theology of a document in the Introduction to a commentary is often very brief and may do little more than pick out elements within the writing under a sequence of headings drawn from systematic theology. Excursuses usually deal with only one or two selected topics. Likewise larger works on New Testament Theology usually treat Paul's letters as a whole and, having devoted the great bulk of their space to Jesus, Paul and John, can spare only a few pages for others.

In consequence, there is little incentive on the part of teacher or student to engage with a particular New Testament document, and students have to be content with a general overview, at best complemented by in-depth study of (parts of) two or three New Testament writings. A serious corrollary to this is the degree to which students are thereby incapacitated in the task of integrating their New Testament study with the rest of their Theology or Religion courses, since often they are capable only of drawing on the general overview or on a sequence of particular verses treated atomistically. The growing importance of a literary-critical approach to individual documents simply highlights the present deficiencies even more. Having been given little experience in handling individual New Testament writings as such at a theological level, most students are very ill-prepared to develop a properly integrated literary and theological response to particular texts. Ordinands too need more help than they currently receive from textbooks, so that their preaching from particular passages may be better informed theologically.

There is need therefore for a series to bridge the gap between too brief an introduction and too full a commentary where theological discussion is lost among too many other concerns. It is our aim to provide such a series. That is, a series where New Testament specialists are able to write at a greater length on the theology of individual writings than is usually possible in the introductions to commentaries or as part of New Testament Theologies, and to explore the theological themes and issues of these writings without being tied to a commentary format or to a thematic structure provided from elsewhere. The volumes seek both to describe each document's theology, and to engage theologically with it, noting also its canonical context and any specific influence it may have had on the history of Christian faith and life. They are directed at those who already have one or two years of full-time New Testament and theological study behind them.

University of Durham

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