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© Cambridge University Press 1999 This edition © Cambridge University Press (Virtual Publishing) 2002
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)
Editor's preface page xi
List of abbreviations xv
The historical setting of the Gospel of Mark 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
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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