Irenaeus on the Gospels

December 23, 2012

Although a fourfold Gospel canon probably preceded the great late second century heresiologist Irenaeus of Lyons, he was one of the first to explicitly rise to its defense.  Here are the traditions he provides on the evangelists.  Again, thinking back to Papias, how does Irenaeus understand that Matthew wrote among the Hebrews in “their own dialect” and, when he refers to Mark handing down Peter’s preaching in writing after the exodos of Peter and Paul, does he mean their “departure” from Rome or a euphemism for “death”?  Does Irenaeus identify Luke as the companion of Paul because, in Against Heresies 3.14.1, he combines the “we” of Acts with 2 Timothy 4:11 to suggest that Luke alone was with Paul in Rome?  Where did Irenaeus get the idea that John the disciple (= Apostle?) leaned on the Lord’s breast (see John 13:23) and resided in Ephesus (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39 on the confusion over whether there were one or two famous Christian leaders named John with memorials in Ephesus)?

Ita Mattheus in Hebraeis ipsorum lingua scrip­turam edidit Evan­gelii cum Petrus et Paulus Romae evange­lizarent et fun­da­rent Eccle­siam. Post vero ex­cessum Mar­cus disci­pulus et inter­pres Petri et ipse quae a Petro annun­tiata erant per scripta nobis tradidit, et Lucas autem secta­tor Pauli quod ab illo prae­dica­batur Evangelium in libro condidit. Postea et Johannes disci­pulus Domini qui et supra pectus ejus recum­bebat et ipse edidit Evangelium Ephesi Asiae com­morans. (Irenaeus, Adversus Haeresis 3.1.1)

ὁ μὲν δὴ Ματθαῖος ἐν τοῖς Ἑβραίοις τῇ ἰδίᾳ αὐτῶν διαλέκτῳ καὶ γραφὴν ἐξήνεγκεν εὐαγγέ­λιου τοῦ Πέτρου καὶ τοῦ Παύλου ἐν Ρώμῃ εὐαγγελι­ζομένων καὶ θεμε­λιούντων τὴν ἐκ­κλη­σίαν· μετὰ δὲ τὴν τούτων ἔξοδεν Μάρκος, ὁ μαθητὴς καὶ ἑρμη­νευτὴς Πέτρου, καὶ αὐτὸς τὰ ὑπὸ Πέτρου κηρυσσό­μενα ἐγ­γράφως ἡμῖν παρα­δέδωκεν· καὶ Λουκᾶς δέ, ὁ ἀκόλο­υθος Παύλου, τὸ ὑπ’ ἐκείνου κηρυσσό­μενον εὐαγγέ­λιον ἐν βίβλῳ κατ­έθετο. ἔπειτα Ἰωάννης, ὁ μα­θητὴς τοῦ κυρίου, ὁ καὶ ἐπὶ τὸ στῆθος αὐτοῦ ἀνα­πεσών, καὶ αὐτὸς ἐξ­έδωκεν τὸ εὐαγγέ­λιον, ἐν Ἐφέσῳ τῆς Ἀσίας διατρίβων. (Greek text quoted in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.8.2-4)

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia. (Alexander Roberts, William Rambaut)

Indeed Matthew, among the Hebrews in their own dialect, also bore forth a writing of the gospel, Peter and Paul evangelizing in Rome and founding the church.  But after the exodus of these men Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself also delivered to us in writing the things preached by Peter, and Luke also, the follower of Paul, set down in a book the gospel preached by that man.  Afterward John, the disciple of the Lord, who also leaned upon his breast, himself also published the gospel, passing his time in Ephesus of Asia. (Ben C. Smith)

So Matthew, among the Hebrews in their own dialect, brought forth a writing of the gospel when Peter and Paul in Rome were evan­geli­zing and founding the church; but after their depar­ture Mark, the disciple and inter­preter of Peter, he too handed what was preached by Peter down to us in writing, and Luke, the fol­lower of Paul, set forth in a book the gospel that was preached by him.  Then John, the disciple of the Lord and also the one who leaned against his chest, also pub­lished the gospel when re­siding in Ephesus of Asia. (Stephen Carlson)

Papias of Hierapolis

December 20, 2012

Our first major authority on Mark is Papias, the bishop of Hierapolis, whose writings only survive in fragments quoted by other patristic authorities (see all the fragments or alleged fragments here).  If one asks where Papias received his information, the church historian Eusebius quotes the relevant passage in Papias in Ecclesiastical History 3.39.3-4.  Since every act of translation is also an interpretation, I have provided different translations below for the reader to see some of the interpretive decisions of different translations regarding whether Papias meant to identify the “elders” with the disciples or to distinguish them, whether John in the first list of seven disciples is to be identified with the elder John mentioned alongside Aristion or distinguished from him (cf. Irenaeus seems to follow the former interpretation and Eusebius the latter), and what Papias meant by his preference for a living word over books.

Οὐκ ὀκνήσω δέ σοι καὶ ὅσα ποτὲ παρὰ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων καλῶς ἔμαθον καὶ καλῶς ἐμνημόνευσα συγκατατάξαι ταῖς ἑρμηνείαις, διαβεβαιούμενος ὑπὲρ αὐτῶν ἀλήθειαν.  οὐ γὰρ τοῖς τὰ πολλὰ λέγουσιν ἔχαιρον ὥσπερ οἱ πολλοί, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τἀληθῆ διδάσκουσιν, οὐδὲ τοῖς τὰς ἀλλοτρίας ἐντολὰς μνηνεύουσιν, ἀλλὰ τοῖς τὰς παρὰ τοῦ κυρίου τῇ πίστει δεδομένας καὶ ἀπ’ αὐτῆς παραγιγνομένας τῆς ἀληθείας· εἰ δέ που καὶ παρηκολουθηκώς τις τοῖς πρεσβυτέροις ἔλθοι, τοὺς τῶν πρεσβυτέρων ἀνέκρινον λόγους, τί Ἀνδρέας ἢ τί Πέτρος εἴπεν ἢ τί Φίλιππος ἢ τί Θωμᾶς ἢ Ἰάκωβος ἢ τί Ἰωάννης ἢ Ματθαῖος ἢ τις ἕτερος τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν ἅ τε Ἀριστίων καὶ ὁ πρεσβύτερος Ἰωάννης, τοῦ κυρίου μαθηταί, λέγουσιν. οὐ γὰρ τὰ ἐκ τῶν βιβλίων τοσοῦτόν με ὠφελεῖν ὑπελάμβανον ὅσον τὰ παρὰ ζώσης φωνῆς καὶ μενούσης.

But I will not scruple also to give a place for you along with my interpretations to everything that I learnt carefully and remembered carefully in time past from the elders, guaranteeing its truth.  For, unlike the many, I did not take pleasure in those who have so very much to say, but in those who teach the truth; nor in those who relate foreign commandments, but in those (who record) such as were given from the Lord to the Faith, and are derived from the truth itself.  And again, on any occasion when a person came (in my way) who had been a follower of the Elders, I would inquire about the discourses of the Elders – what was said by Andrew, or by Peter, or by Philip, or by Thomas or James, or by John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and what Ariston and the Elder John, the disciples of the Lord, say.  For I did not think I could get so much profit from the contents of books as from the utterances of a living and abiding voice. (J.B. Lightfoot and J.R. Harmer, Fragment II)

“To confirm the correctness of my interpretations, I shall not fail to link up with them for you, first, all the sayings which I ever learnt carefully from the Elders [Disciples] and carefully drew from my memory. For, unlike the majority, I did not delight in those who have many clever things to say, but in those who teach what is true; not in those who recall the teachings of another [Paul ?] but in those who repeat the teachings given to the Faith by the Lord and springing from the Truth itself.  And, again, if anyone came who had consorted with the Elders [Disciples] I used to ask him about the sayings of the Elders [Disciples]—what Andrew or Peter had said, or Philip or Thomas, or James or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s followers.  And thirdly (I shall link up with my interpretations) things which Aristion and John the Elder [Disciple], followers of the Lord, say. For I have always thought to get more help from a surviving eyewitness than from the Books [i.e. ‘The Old Testament’; not ‘from books’]. (Rupert Annand, “Papias and the Four GospelsScottish Journal of Theology 9 (1956): 46.

“I also will not hesitate to draw up for you, along with these expositions, an orderly account of all the things I carefully learned and have carefully recalled from the elders; for I have certified their truth.  For unlike most people, I took no pleasure in hearing those who had a lot to say, but only those who taught the truth, and not those who recalled commandments from strangers, but only those who recalled the commandments which have been given faithfully by the Lord and which proceed from the truth itself.  But whenever someone arrived who had been a companion of one of the elders, I would carefully inquire about their words, what Andrew or Peter had said, or what Philip or Thomas had said, or James or John or Matthew or any of the other disciples of the Lord, and what things Aristion and the elder John, disciples of the Lord, were saying.  For I did not suppose that what came out of books would benefit me as much as that which came from a living and abiding voice” (Bart Ehrman, LOEB, page 99)

“I shall not hesitate also to put into properly ordered form for you [singular] everything I learned carefully in the past from the elders and noted down well, for the truth of which I vouch.  For unlike most people I did not enjoy those who have a great deal to say, but those who teach the truth.  Nor did I enjoy those who recall someone else’s commandments, but those who remember the commandments given by the Lord to the faith and proceeding from the truth itself.  And if by chance anyone who has been in attendance on the elders should come my way, I inquired about the words of the elders – [that is,] what [according to the elders] Andrew or Peter said, or Philip, or Thomas, or James, or John or Matthew or any other of the Lord’s disciples, and whatever Aristion and the elder John, the Lord’s disciples, were saying.  For I did not think the information from books would profit me as much as information from a living and surviving voice.” (Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the Eyewitnesses, page 15-16)

But I will not hesitate to supplement at any time for you too the interpretations with whatever I learned thoroughly and remembered thoroughly from the presbyters, since I am confident in the truth on their account. For unlike many I was not delighted with those who say many things but with those who teach the truth, or with those who remember not the commandments of others but those given by the Lord to the faith and derived from truth itself.  But whenever someone who had followed the presbyters came along, I would carefully ask about the words of the presbyters, what Andrew or what Peter had said or what Philip or what Thomas or James or what John or Matthew or any other of the disciples of the Lord, and which Aristion and the presbyter John, disciples of the Lord say too. For I did not assume that whatever comes from books is as helpful to me as what comes from a living and lasting voice. (Stephen Carlson)


The next important quote of Papias on Mark (and Matthew) is found in Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15-16.  Again, it is interesting to look at the interpretive decisions of the translators and in what they insert in brackets:  who is the one doing the remembering (Peter or Mark), did Peter adapt his teaching according to the needs of his audiences or in a certain literary form (chreiai or anecdotes), what does it mean that Mark did not write in order (taxis – literary arrangement, chronology, completeness) or only wrote down some things as he (Mark or Peter?) remembered them, and what does it mean that Matthew put the logia (oracles) into a Hebrew dialect (Hebrew or Aramaic language or style?) and that each (who?) interpreted them as were able?

καὶ τοῦθ’ ὁ πρεσβύτερος ἔλεγεν· Μάρκος μὲν ἑρμηνευτὴς Πέτρου γενόμενος, ὅσα ἐμνημόνευσεν, ἀκριβῶς ἔγραψεν, οὐ μέντοι τάξει τὰ ὐπὸ τοῦ κυρίου η λεχθέντα ἢ πραχθέντα. οὔτε γὰρ ἤκουσεν τοῦ κυρίου οὔτε παρηκολούθησεν αὐτῷ, ὕστερον δὲ, ὡς ἔφην, Πέτρῳ· ὃς πρὸς τὰς χρείας ἐποιεῖτο τὰς διδασκαλίας, ἀλλ’ οὐχ ὥσπερ σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν ποιούμενος λογίων, ὥστε οὐδὲν ἥμαρτεν Μάρκος οὕτως ἔνια γράψας ὡς ἀπεμνημόσευσεν. ἐνὸς γὰρ ἐποιήσατο πρόνοιαν, τοῦ μηδὲν ὧν ἤκουσεν παραλιπεῖν ἢ ψεύσασθαί τι ἐν αὐτοῖς.  ταῦτα μὲν οὖν ἱστόρηται τῷ Παπίᾳ περὶ τοῦ Μάρκου· περὶ δὲ τοῦ Ματθαῖου ταῦτ’ εἴρηται· Ματθαῖος μὲν οὖν Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ τὰ λόγια συνετάξατο, ἡρμήνευσεν δ’ αὐτὰ ὡς ἧν δυνατὸς ἕκαστος.

“And the Elder said this also: ‘Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately everything that he remembered, without however recording in order what was either said or done by Christ. For neither did he hear the Lord, nor did he follow Him; but afterwards, as I said, (attended) Peter, who adapted his instructions to the needs (of his hearers) but had no design of giving a connected account of the Lord’s oracles.  So then Mark made no mistake, while he thus wrote down some things as he remembered them; for he made it his one care not to omit anything that he heard, or to set down any false statement therein.’  Such then is the account given by Papias concerning Mark. But concerning Matthew, the following statement is made (by him):  ‘So then Matthew composed the oracles in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as he could.'” (JB Lightfoot and JR Harmer, Fragment II)

“And the elder was saying this:  ‘On the one hand, Mark, becoming Peter’s interpreter, wrote accurately as many things as he remembered.  On the other hand, [he did] not [write] in order the things either said or done by the Lord.  For he had neither heard the Lord nor followed him.  But later, as I said, [he had followed] Peter, who was teaching in accord with the anecdotes yet not as it were arranging the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong by writing some things as he related [them] from memory.  For he was thinking one thing beforehand of one thing, [i.e.] to omit not a single one of the things that he had heard or to falsify anything in them.’  Therefore, on the one hand, these things are related by Papias [or ‘to Papias’ as the one who heard the tradition]  concerning Mark.  Concerning Matthew, on the other hand, these things were said:  ‘On the one hand, therefore, Matthew did arrange the oracles in Hebrew ‘dialect.’  On the other hand, each one interpreted them as he was able.'” (Robert Gundry, “The Apostolically Johannine Pre-Papian Tradition concerning the Gospels of Mark and Matthew,” page 49-50)

“And this is what the elder used to say, ‘when Mark was the interpreter [or translator] of Peter, he wrote down accurately everything that he recalled of the Lord’s words and deeds – but not in order.  For he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him, but later, as I indicated, he accompanied Peter, who used to adapt his teachings for the needs at hand, not arranging, as it were, an orderly composition of the Lord’s sayings.  And so Mark did nothing wrong by writing some of the matters as he remembered them.  For he was intent on just one purpose: to leave out nothing that he had heard or to include any falsehood among them…  And this is what he says about Matthew:  And Matthew composed the sayings in the Hebrew tongue, and each one interpreted [or translated] them to the best of his ability.’” (Bart Ehrman, Loeb, pg. 103)

“The Elder used to say: ‘Mark, in his capacity as Peter’s interpreter, wrote down accurately as many things as he [Peter?] recalled from memory – though not in an ordered form – of the things said or done by the Lord. For he [Mark] neither heard the Lord nor accompanied him, but later, as I said, [he heard and accompanied] Peter, who used to give his teachings in the form of chreiai, but had no intention of providing an ordered arrangement [suntaxin] of the logia of the Lord.  Consequently Mark did nothing wrong when he wrote down some things just as he [Peter?] related them from memory.  For he made it his one concern not to omit anything he had heard or to falsify anything.  This, then, is the account given by Papias about Mark.  But about Matthew the following was said:  ‘Therefore Matthew put the logia in an ordered arrangement [sunetaxato] in the Hebrew language [hebraidi dialectō], but each person interpreted them as best he could’” (Richard Bauckham, Jesus
and the Eyewitnesses
, pg. 203)

“And the presbyter would say this:  ‘Mark, who had indeed been Peter’s interpreter [hermēneutēs],  accurately wrote as much as he remembered, yet not in order, about that which  was either said or did by the Lord. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but later, as I said, Peter, who would make the teachings anecdotally but not exactly an arrangement of the Lord’s reports, so that Mark did not fail by writing certain things as he recalled. For he had one purpose, not to omit what he heard or falsify them.’  Now this is reported by Papias about Mark, but about Matthew this was said, ‘Now Matthew compiled the reports in a Hebrew manner of speech, but each interpreted them as he could.'” (Stephen Carlson)

The Christology of Mark

December 5, 2012

Scholars debate whether anything in Mark rises above the categories of Jewish agency or, to borrow the terminology of Bauckham and Hurtado, presupposes that Jesus is included within the divine identity or exalted far above other intermediary figures as the co-recipient of a dyadic devotional pattern.  On the one hand, there are texts in Mark that seem to distance Jesus from God: Jesus undergoes John’s baptism rite of repentance (1:4, 9; see how this is dealt with in Matt 3:14-5; Luke 3:20; John 1:26-34), has seemingly limited power to heal at times (6:5-6; 8:23-6; cf. Matt 13:58 rewords the former and Matt/Luke omit the latter), redirects the adjective good as appropriate only for the one God (10:17; Luke 18:19; reworded in Matt 10:16-7), admitted his ignorance about who in the crowd touched him (5:31; cf. Luke 8:45; omitted in Matthew) or the end times (13:32; cf. Matt 24:36; omitted in Luke), and felt abandoned by God (15:34; cf. Matt 27:46; replaced by other words in Luke 23:46; John 19:30).  Alternatively, other scholars note that Mark 1:2-3 rewords scriptural texts about preparing Yahweh’s way to preparing the way of Jesus (=the Lord) and Gathercole argues that the I have come + purpose clause in the infinitive sayings (Mk 1:24 [par Lk 4:34]; Matt 18:29; Mk 1:38 [Lk 4:33]; Mk 2:7 [par Matt 9:13/Lk 5:32]; Matt 5:17; Lk 12:49; Matt 10:34/Lk 12:51; Matt 10:35; Mk 10:45 [par Matt 20:28]; Lk 19:10) are paralleled in angels, the heavenly Elijah, or theophanies (Preexistent Son, 92-145; audio in three parts; criticisms by James Dunn).  Further, they argue that Jesus claims prerogatives or perform deeds that only the God of Israel could do.  I will look at two examples below, but for a further bibliography see:

Jesus’ Authority to Forgive Sins?

In what came to be known as the famous trilemma that Jesus is a liar, lunatic, or Lord, C.S. Lewis (Mere Christianity) builds his case that Jesus had a divine self-understanding on the basis of his claim to forgive the paralytic.  Countless commentators agree that, in Mark 2:1-12 (cf. Matt 9:1-8/Luke 5:17-26), Jesus exercises a divine prerogative and the omniscient narrator reveals the inner thoughts of the scribes who took offense at Jesus’ blasphemy (2:6-7).  N.T. Wright has an appreciative article about Lewis (“Simply Lewis“), but adds that Lewis took a shortcut in his case that Jesus is making himself out to be God when it is more accurate, Wright presumes, to say that people find in Jesus what they would normally get in the temple where the divine presence was housed and sins forgiven.  Yet other scholars (Geza Vermes, E.P. Sanders) point out the passive tense “your sins are forgiven” suggests forgiveness is attributed to God, so Jesus is not necessarily going beyond what priests do or the exorcist who forgave the sins of the Babylonian king in the Qumran Prayer of Nabonidus (yet 4Q242 may be too fragmentary to be sure of the translation).

Johansson (2011; cf. Media CTS Symposia 2012 – “Jesus and the Forgiveness of Sins: An Indicator of Jesus’ Divine Identity”) and Hägerland (2011, unpublished paper) offer up-to-date surveys of the Jewish evidence to see if there are parallels to intermediary figures (prophets, priests, Messiah, angels, Angel of Yahweh) personally forgiving or mediating forgiveness of sins on God’s behalf, even agreeing that there is no evidence that priests pronounced an absolution for the forgiveness of sins, though they disagree whether it is totally unparalleled (cf. Josephus, Antiquities 6.92-93).  If Johansson is right that the action is without precedent, with the exception of the Angel of Yahweh who may have once been held to be the physical manifestation of the deity (Exod 23:20-1), one could see Jesus usurping an exclusive divine right.  But with the use of the divine passive and claim that the Son of Man has authority “on earth” to forgive sins, presumably it is God who granted this authority and ratifies the judgment in heaven and the parallel in Matthew 9:8 celebrates that God gave such authority to humans.  Likewise, in Mark 11:25 divine forgiveness is predicated on the disciples forgiving each other and in John 11:23 Jesus’ authorizes the disciples to forgive or retains sins.  See the debate between Michael Bird and James Crossley on Unbelievable:  Bird defends the traditional view of Jesus’ high self-understanding while Crossley insists that Jesus is not doing anything radical, translating the Greek as your sins are loosed” meaning that the paralytic’s limbs are set free of satanic bondage (cf. Luke 13:16) and that the blasphemy charge may just be over where Jesus received his authority (see Mark 3:22, 29 on the charge that Jesus is in league with Beelzebub; cf. CD 4.12-8) rather than a reaction to an implicit claim to divinity.

Power over the Waters?

When Jesus walks on water in Mark 6:48-51, many scholars see allusions to Yahweh’s power over the water (Job 9:8; Psalm 89:9), a theophany in the remark that Jesus intended “to pass by” (Exod 33:19), and the divine name in the command to not fear because “I am” (egō eimi) (Exod 3:14; Isa 43:10, 13, 25; John 8:58; 18:5) (Gundry 1993: 336-7; Hurtado 2003: 285-6; Gathercole 2006: 63-4).  This last point may be countered by the fact that the Greek could also just mean “it is I” and the disciples do not fall prostrate before him as in John 18:6.  Yet Mark’s disciples are pretty obtuse because their hearts were hardened (Mark 6:51-52), while in Matthew the disciples respond with the appropriate reverence (Matt 14:33).

Alternatively, Jesus may be compared to a liberating prophet like Moses who divided the sea in the exodus (Horsley 2001: 105).  Crossley (2010: 140-1) adds that the natural elements obey Moses who is called a god (theos) (Philo, Life of Moses 1.155-6, 158; cf. Theudas wishing to divide the waters or Rabbi Eliezer’s mastery over the elements) and the spirit of the Messiah hovers over the waters (Genesis Rabba 2.4 on Genesis 1:2).  Horsley (2001: 105) further objects that Mark would not sharply challenge Roman imperial ideology to turn around to support an Ancient Near Eastern imperial myth of the divine king who subdues the waters representing the forces of chaos.  Contrastingly, Daniel Kirk and Stephen L. Young identify Jesus as the Davidic Messiah who rules on the deity’s behalf and notice that Yahweh sets the hand of the king over the Sea (Psalm 89:25), in a Psalm that laments that God has not upheld the promises to the Davidic kingdom and may have fed into messianic hopes for the restoration of David’s line.


Literary and Reader-Centered Approaches to Mark

December 5, 2012

This blog has focused on the history behind the text:  who wrote the Gospel of Mark, when was it written, where was it written, to whom was it written, what are its sources and how was it used as a source, what form did its oral or written traditions take before they were included in it, how did the evangelist edit the traditions, is the text a window into the life of Jesus or a mirror into the beliefs of the Christ community?  I have spent less time on literary-critical approaches that tend to bracket such historical-critical questions, for reconstructions of the “authorial intention” or the historical situation behind the text is always tentative, to closely read the text itself.  This approach may be interested in the elements of the narrative (plot, setting, characters, implied author or audience, narrative point of view, rhetorical techniques, etc) and how meaning is produced in the interaction between text and reader.  This has also led to ideological approaches that emphasize the reader’s own location and brought new perspectives to bear on the text, which may be a corrective to blind-spots of past interpreters who pursued different questions or helps to reveal ways the text can be read as liberating or alternatively the voices it may have marginalized or excluded.  Here is a sample of literary or ideological studies of Mark:

  • Anderson, Janice Capel and Moore, Stephen D.  Editors.  Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies.  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1992.
  • Belo, Fernando.  A Materialist Reading of the Gospel of Mark.  Translated by Matthew J. O’Connel.  Maryknoll: Orbis, 1981.
  • Best, Ernest.  Mark: The Gospel as Story.  Revised Edition.  Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 2000.
  • Dewey, Joanna.  Markan Public Debate:  Literary Technique, Concentric Structure and Theology in Mark 2:1-3:6.  Chicago: Scholars Press, 1980.
  • Fowler, Robert.  Loaves and Fishes: The Function of the Feeding Stories in the Gospel of Mark.  Chicago: Scholars Press, 1981.
  • Fowler, Rober M.  Let the Reader Understand:  Reader-Response Criticism and the Gospel of Mark.  Harrisburg: Trinity, 1991.
  • Gray, Timothy C.  The Temple in the Gospel of Mark: A Study in Its Narrative Role.  Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2010.
  • Horsley, Richard.  Hearing the Whole Story: The Politics of Plot in Mark’s Gospel.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2001.
  • Humphrey, Hugh M.  ‘He is Risen!’:  A New Reading of Mark’s Gospel.  New York: Paulist, 1992.
  • Iverson, Kelly R. and Skinner, Christopher W.  Editors.  Mark as Story: Retrospect and Prospect.  Atlanta: SBL, 2011.
  • Kingsbury, Jack Dean.  Conflict in Mark: Jesus, Authorities, Disciples.  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989.
  • Jack Dean Kingsbury, The Christology of Mark’s Gospel.  Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1989.
  • Levine, Amy-Jill.  Editor.  A Feminist Companion to Mark.  Sheffield: Sheffield University Press, 2001.
  • Liew, Tat-siong Benny. “Tyranny, Boundary and Might: Colonial Mimicry in Mark’s Gospel.”  Journal for the Study of the New Testament 73 (1999): 7-31.
  • Politics of Parousia: Reading Mark Inter(con)textually.  Biblical Interpretation Series 44; Leiden: Brill, 1999.
  • Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers. “Fallible Followers Women and Men m the Gospel of Mark.”  Semeia 28 (1983): 29-48. 
  • Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers.  Narrative Space and Mythic Meaning in Mark.  San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986.
  • Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers.  In the Company of Jesus: Characters in Mark’s Gospel.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2000.
  • Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers.  Mark’s Jesus: Characterization as Narrative Christology.  Waco: Baylor University Press, 2009.
  • Maloney, Francis J.  Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist.  Peabody: Hendrickson, 2004.
  • Moore, Stephen D.  Mark and Luke in Poststructuralist Perspectives: Jesus Begins to Write. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1992.
  • Moore, Stephen D.  “Mark and Empire.” Pages 70-90 in Recognizing the Margins: Developments in Biblical and Theological Studies. Essays in Honor of Sean Freyne.  Edited by Werner G. Jeanrond and A. D. H. Mayes. Dublin, Ireland: Columba, 2006.
  • Myers, Ched.  Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus.  Maryknoll: Orbis, 1988.
  • Peterson, Dwight N.  The Origins of Mark: The Markan Community in Current Debate.  Leiden: Brill, 2000.
  • Powell, Mark Allan.  “Toward a Narrative-Critical Understanding of Mark.”  Interpretation 47 (1993): 341-46.
  • Rhoads, David and Michie, Donald.  Mark as Story:  An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel.  Philadelphia: Fortress, 1982.
  • Rhodes, David, Joanna Dewey, and Donald Michie.  Mark as Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel.  Second Edition.  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1999.
  • Smith, Stephen H.  A Lion With Wings: A Narrative-Critical Approach to Mark’s Gospel.  The Biblical Seminar 38.  Sheffield:
    Sheffield Academic Press, 1996.
  • Tannehill, Robert C. “The Disciples in Mark: The Function of a Narrative Role.”  The Journal of Religion 57 (1977): 386-405
  • Tolbert, Mary Ann.  Sowing the Gospel:  Mark’s World in a Literary-Historical Perspective.  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1989.
  • Van Iersel, Bas M.F.  Mark: A Reader-Response Commentary.  London and New York: T&T Clark, 1998.