Conference on Secret Mark

April 29, 2011

I wish I could have attended this today:  The York University Christian Apocrypha Symposium Series on “Secret Mark” (program available here).  Announcements for the conference were made here, here, here, here and here.  For those who have never heard of “Secret Mark”, the controvery surrounds the purported discovery by Morton Smith of a manuscript in the Mar Saba monastery in 1958.  Copied onto a 17th century book on the works of Ignatius was a letter attributed to Clement of Alexandria and written to Theodore.  The text alleges that the evangelist Mark wrote a second, esoteric edition of his Gospel in Alexandria, but Clement also denounces the Carpocratians for adding to and misusing this “secret (or mystic) gospel.”   The excerpts given seem to provide a back story to the young man in the linen garment who flees in the garden in Mark 14:51 (Secret Mark claims Jesus raised this young man and he was later instructed at night about the mystery of the Kingdom of God) and appears to be an alternate (earlier?) version of the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11.  To learn more about the debate over whether the text is authentic (and if so, was the secret gospel part of an earlier edition of Mark that was edited out of the final canonical version, written after our canonical Mark but by the same author, or a later second century pastiche of the gospels?) or an ancient or modern forgery, see the english translations online (or see Scott Brown’s translation in Mark’s Other Gospel, xvii-xxii available on google preview) and a short bibliography below to introduce the main contours of the debate.

For further bibliography, check out the blog of Timo S. Paananen which features a number of helpful posts on Secret Mark.

English Commentaries on Mark

April 27, 2011

Upon reading the list below of just commentaries in English (and I know there are probably a number that I missed), some might exclaim, “Of making many books there is no end.”  Nevertheless, there are many good commentaries on Mark out there and I would be interested in knowing which is your favourite(s) and why?  For instance, one could point to Adela Collin’s commentary for its wealth of information (as to be expected from Hermeneia) and supplying not only Jewish but also many Greco-Roman parallels, Joel Marcus for his thorough knowledge of the Jewish background of Mark, Ched Myers for setting the gospel in its political context and the liberation theology lens he brings to his reading, Nineham and Boring for representing the form-critical paradigm, Mary Ann Tolbert as a literary critic reading Mark as a literary whole, Gundry for his consistent focus on a single thesis (Mark is an apology for outsiders with an overarching Christology of Power) and most formidable defense of the Papias tradition of any conservative commentaries I have come across, or there may be reasons to pick another one as your favourite.  So of the options listed below, which commentary (or commentaries) do you prefer?


Black, C. Clifton.  Mark.  Abingdon New Testament Commentaries.  Nashville: Abingdon, 2010.

Boring, M. Eugene.  Mark: A Commentary.  The New Testament Library.  Westminster John Knox Press: Louisville, London, 2006.

Collins, Adela.  Mark: A Commentary.  Hermeneia; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2007.

Cranfield, C.E.B.  The Gospel According to St Mark.  The Cambridge Greek New Testament Commentary.  Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1959.

Donahue, John R. and Harrington, Daniel J.  The Gospel of Mark.  Sacra Pagina.  Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2002.

France, R.T.  The Gospel of Mark.  New International Greek Testament Commentary.  Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2002.

Guellich, Robert A.  Mark 1-8:26.  Dallas: Word, 1989.

Gundry, Robert H.  Mark: A Commentary on His Apology for the Cross. Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1993.

Hurtado, Larry.  Mark.  New International Biblical Commentary.  Peabody, Massachusetts:  Hendrickson Publishers, 1989..

Hooker, Morna D.  The Gospel According to St. Mark.  Black’s New Testament Commentary. PeabodyMassachusetts: Hendrickson, 1991.

Juel, Donald H.  Mark.  Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament.  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1990.

Lane, William L.  The Gospel According to Mark.  The New International Commentary on the New Testament.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1974.

Maloney, Francis J.  The Gospel of Mark.  Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002.

Marcus, Joel.  Mark 1-8.  Anchor Yale Bible.  New York: Doubleday, 2000.

                           Mark 8-16.  Anchor Yale Bible.  New York: Doubleday, 2009.

Myers, Ched.  Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.  Maryknoll: Orbis, 1988.

Nineham, D.E.  The Gospel of St Mark.  The Pelican New Testament Commentaries.  Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1963.

Painter, John.  Mark’s Gospel.  London and New York: Routledge, 1997.

Rawlingson, A.E.J.  The Gospel According to St. Mark.  London: Methuen & Co., 1925

Schweizer, Eduard.  The Good News According to Mark.  Translated by Donald H. Madvig.  Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1970.

Stein, Robert H.  Mark.  Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.  Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.

Taylor, Vincent.  The Gospel According to St. Mark. New York: St Martin’s Press, 1966.

Tolbert, Mary Ann.  Mark’s World in Literary Historical Perspective.  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989.

van Iersel, Bas M.F.  Mark: A Reader-Response Commentary.  Translated by W. H. Bisscheroux.  Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998.

Williamson Jr., Lamar.  Mark.  Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Louisville: John Knox, 1983.

Witherington, Ben.  The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.

Welcome to the Blog

April 25, 2011

Welcome to my new blog on the academic study of the “Gospel according to Mark.”  At the top right corner you will see pages that introduce myself and my comment policy, online resources for students, and a couple of reposts from my previous deleted blog that might be of interest to other bibliobloggers.  The main purpose of this blog is to have an interactive discussion on scholarly issues relating the second canonical gospel (authorship, date, provenance, theology or ideology, later reception), to look at different methodological approaches applied to it such as historical (source, form and redaction criticism), literary, social-scientific, rhetorical, or reader-response criticism, and to review some of the history of Markan scholarship and provide various reviews of books or articles relating to Mark.  The blog will also no doubt include a little bit of shameless self-promotion :)  Anyways, I hope this blog will be useful to all students of Mark’s text, whether fellow scholars and graduate students, a first year undergrad scrambling to complete a paper, a minister preparing a sermon or anyone interested in Mark as a hobby.  Thanks for stopping by and hope to interact with you in later posts.


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