A Blog Notice of my Book

October 9, 2015

A German blog under the name Kata Markon has written a post that highlights my book The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century and surveys some of the external references to Mark in the New Testament and early Patristic literature. The blogger, Kunigunde Kreuzerin, has included a number of other helpful links on the text of Mark as well as a page on other books or articles available online. Students of the Gospel of Mark should check out this blog.


Matthew Ferguson Reviews my Book

September 3, 2015

Matthew Ferguson has written a thorough and fair review of my book The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century over at his blog Κέλσος (his blog’s name alludes to a philosopher who composed one of the earliest learned critiques of Christianity, but I do not think my work has to be controversial in that I am contesting second century traditions about the evangelist rather than the main content of the Gospel itself). I left a few clarifications in his comments section, but I am pleased with how well he has summarized and engaged with the heart of my argument. I also appreciate his feedback since his PhD research interests are in the authorship of the Gospels from the perspective of a classicist. Check out his review and leave some feedback over at his blog if you are interested.


My Bible and Interpretation Article about Christology

July 31, 2015

I have posted an article that critically interacts with the “Early High Christology Club” for the online journal Bible and Interpretation. I really do believe that the scholarly proponents of this model have made a genuine advance beyond older proposals about how a “high Christology” could only emerge at the end of a lengthy process of development in a non-Jewish milieu and that neglected the Second Temple literary evidence in favour of strained parallels to later or diffuse texts (e.g., the theios aner or “divine man”, the Gnostic redeemer myth). Yet, I have raised some theoretical questions about the rhetoric that sometimes seems to surface that a “high Christology” was the earliest, unanimous, and exclusively-Jewish influenced viewpoint of the Christ congregations. I also make some remarks about the relationship between historical and theological concerns, an issue that is important to me since I currently teach in a Christian confessional context. Larry Hurtado has already added written an extensive response on his blog and Michael Bird has offered a response as well, and the article has received some positive feedback from Daniel O McClellan, Jim West, and others on Facebook. I hope all the parties concerned are anticipating the debate about Markan Christology at this upcoming SBL. Let the conversation continue.


Christopher Skinner Recommends the Gospel on the Margins

June 22, 2015

I appreciate the latest shout out for my book The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century over at the blog Crux Sola. Christopher Skinner, an expert on the Gospels of Thomas and John as well as literary characterization in the Gospels, writes, “I must recommend it to those with interests in the Gospel of Mark, the formation of the NT canon, and reception history.” I will look forward to responding when he posts his full review and keeping the conversation going. Thanks Chris!


My RBL Review of “Who Do People Say I Am? Rewriting Gospel in Emerging Christianity”

May 1, 2015

I just received an email that my review of Vernon K. Robbin’s Who Do People Say I Am?: Rewriting Gospel in Emerging Christianity (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013) has been published at the Review of Biblical Literature. Basically, Robbins looks at the different representations of Jesus in 11 ancient “gospels”:

  1. Q (*note: Robbins takes the existence of the hypothetical Q source as his starting point and, while he cites the Synoptic “double tradition” passages in Matthew and Luke, I followed the convention of Q scholars in citing this “text” according to the Lukan references in the interests of saving space. I evaluated Robbins’s proposals about Q on his terms (i.e. assuming the Two Source Theory), but I recognize the growing skepticism about Q from proponents of the Farrer, Griesbach or more chaotic theories.
  2. The Gospel of Mark
  3. The Gospel of Matthew
  4. The Gospel of Luke
  5. The Gospel of John
  6. The Gospel of Thomas
  7. The Infancy Gospel of Thomas
  8. The Infancy Gospel of James (or the Protevangelium of James)
  9. The Gospel of Mary
  10. The Gospel of Judas
  11. The Acts of John

My review attempts to cover the main points that Robbins made about each Gospel as well as offer some praise or constructive criticism on his reading of select texts. I conclude that the strength of this popular introduction to Gospel literature is that it models for students how a historian tries to empathetically enter into the worldview of another from the past and explain how he or she found meaning in a certain set of beliefs and practices. Please pass on any comments or questions about the review in the comments.

*Update: see also the recent review by Brian LePort.


Looking for reviewers

April 13, 2015

There is a copy of The Gospel on the Margins: the Reception of Mark in the Second Century that is available on the Review of Biblical Literature. It would also be great to see if anyone wants to review it on other open access journals such as Marginalia or Relegere: Studies in Religion and Reception. I always find book reviews to be a nice way to get a new book and to build up the CV a little bit. I also am trying to pass on the links of any bloggers who post a review, so, if I missed you, please let me know!


James Tabor recommends my book

April 10, 2015

James Tabor, professor of Ancient Judaism & Early Christianity in the Department of Religious Studies at UNC Charlotte, has written the following endorsement about my new book:

I want to highly recommend Michael J. Kok’s new book, The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2015). This is a substantial work, running 400 pages, and the retail price might seem a bit steep to some, but you can get it through Fortress for 40% off (less than Amazon paperback or Kindle). I am not sure how long this sale will last so act fast if you have a serious interest in Christian Origins and add this book to your library and reading list.

I thought that even the price on Amazon was reasonable given how high monographs can cost these days, but interested readers should definitely buy as long as there is a sale going on at Fortress Press (I also noted you can now read a few sample chapters for free on there). Thanks Dr. Tabor!