Over the last several decades, the Jewishness of Jesus has been at the forefront of scholarship and students of the New Testament are more than ever aware of the importance of understanding Jesus and the Gospels in their Jewish context. Reading Mark in Context helps students see the contour and texture of Jesus’ engagement with his Jewish environment. It brings together a series of accessible essays that compare and contrast viewpoints, theologies, and hermeneutical practices of Mark and his various Jewish contemporaries.
Going beyond an introduction that merely surveys historical events and theological themes, this textbook examines individual passages in Second Temple Jewish literature in order to illuminate the context of Mark’s theology and the nuances of his thinking. Following the narrative progression of Mark’s Gospel, each chapter in this textbook (1) pairs a major unit of the Gospel with one or more sections of a thematically-related Jewish text, (2) introduces and explores the historical and theological nuances of the comparative text, and (3) shows how the ideas in the comparative text illuminate those expressed in Mark.
How does one best learn relevant historical background material to theGospels? Traditionally, one reads a brief introduction to overall trends andthen looks for where they might illuminate individual passages. More interesting,if done well, is to begin with the biblical text and then read portionsof the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, or even theoldest of the rabbinic literature that allows close comparisons and contrastswith the biblical subject matter. This anthology takes the latter approach,makes excellent and relevant selections from the noncanonical material, anduses a broad range of good scholars who briefly make the relevant comparisonswith selections from most all the major passages in the Gospel of Mark.The task is done well so that this volume has excellent textbook potential aswell as satisfying the curiosity of many other readers. – Craig L. Blomberg, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
This work is brilliantly designed to provide a maximum benefit in a relativelyconcise space, with contributors highlighting various sample passagesrelevant to Mark’s Gospel. Readers familiar with the New Testament are farmore likely to remember elements of the New Testament’s ancient milieuwhen they are pegged to New Testament material. This offers a brilliantintroduction of the relevance of early Jewish context for readers of the NewTestament, as well as windows into Mark. – Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary
The idea behind this volume–slice Mark into sections and introduce each via extracanonical Jewish materials–is splendid. Happily, so too is the execution. Reading Mark in Context will expand students’ horizons and motivatethem to go looking for more of the same. – Dale C. Allison Jr., Princeton Theological Seminary
Reading Mark in Context is consistently informative, respectful towards the primary texts, and eminently readable, written by scholars who have published on the Gospel of Mark, and thus a helpful guide for students and pastors who seek a better understanding of the most concise of the canonical Gospels. – Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
Reading Mark in Context is consistently informative, respectful towards theprimary texts, and eminently readable, written by scholars who havepublished on the Gospel of Mark, and thus a helpful guide for students andpastors who seek a better understanding of the most concise of the canonicalGospels. – Eckhard J. Schnabel, Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary
While the Judaic context of the Gospel of Mark has given rise to interminablespeculations regarding sources, the fruitful task of comparative analysisis a rarity in scholarly discourse. Now, in Reading Mark in Context the novicereader is presented with the fruit of a comparative inquiry at its finest. TheJewish writings function like a light upon the narrative, making visible to theattentive reader the profundity of the Markan account of Jesus of Nazarethand illustrating the riches therein with contextual clarity. This is a uniqueand valuable collection that balances competent usage of the Jewish textswith judicious insights into the Gospel of Mark. – Daniel M. Gurtner, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
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