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.
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 motivate them to go looking for more of the same. —Dale C. Allison Jr., Princeton Theological Seminary
This work is brilliantly designed to provide a maximum benefit in a relatively concise space, with contributors highlighting various sample passages relevant to Mark’s Gospel. Readers familiar with the New Testament are far more likely to remember elements of the New Testament’s ancient milieu when they are pegged to New Testament material. This offers a brilliant introduction of the relevance of early Jewish context for readers of the New Testament, as well as windows into Mark.
—Craig S. Keener, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury 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
How does one best learn relevant historical background material to the Gospels? Traditionally, one reads a brief introduction to overall trends and then looks for where they might illuminate individual passages. More interesting, if done well, is to begin with the biblical text and then read portions of the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, or even the oldest of the rabbinic literature that allows close comparisons and contrasts with the biblical subject matter. This anthology takes the latter approach, makes excellent and relevant selections from the noncanonical material, and uses a broad range of good scholars who briefly make the relevant comparisons with 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 as well as satisfying the curiosity of many other readers. —Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary
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