Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016) p. 113
David E. Garland. A Theology of Mark’s Gospel: Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God. Biblical Theology of the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2015. 651 pp., $44.99 Hardcover.
The Gospel of Mark received little attention from those in early Christianity, especially compared to the Gospels of Matthew and John. Opinion on Mark underwent a polarized shift in attentiveness within modern scholarship—but generally related to the Synoptic problem and historical Jesus research. Thus, a theological reading of the Gospel of Mark is readily welcomed and David Garland has provided a tremendous service to scholarship. In A Theology of Mark’s Gospel, Garland opines 500+ pages on a theological and literary reading of the Gospel of Mark.
Garland begins A Theology of Mark’s Gospel with a host of historical observations and questions. He attends to historical and background questions in “Orientation and Historical Framework” (chapter 1). With a detailed authorship discussion (47-67)—both ancient testimony and modern assimilation—Garland opts for Mark “to be credited with organizing the wealth of previously unrelated stories from Peter into a historical narrative that also has a distinctive point of view” (67). Also, Garland remains unpersuaded of Gospel genre debates and sides with Claude Pavur that “Mark presumes that his gospel will be read with the same expectations that his audience brought to their reading of Scripture” (88) instead of sui generis or Graeco-Roman biography (85-88).
Following, then, is a “Literary and Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel” (chapter 2). Here, Garland offers a literary reading of Mark and a literary outline in a way “Mark intended for the story to be experienced” (44). Noting how the Gospel lends oral components, he favors a three-fold literary division: (1) 1:14-8:21 Jesus’s Ministry in Galilee and Surrounding Areas; (2) 8:22-10:52 Jesus on the Way to Jerusalem; (3) 11:1-16:8 Jesus in Jerusalem: The Temple, the Cross, and the Resurrection (99-100). The remaining theological and literary analysis is quite helpful (100-78), but I have one remaining question for this section. If the Gospel of Mark is
SBJT 20:3 (Fall 2016) p. 114
coalesced by means of oral features (99) and the chapter offers a “literary and theological reading,” then why does Garland offer an “outside of the text” reading of Mark that follows a chronology of the Life of Jesus? In other words, if Mark is structured through Mark’s redaction (67), then...
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