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Fortress Press Studies in Mark (6 vols.)

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Fortress Press Studies in Mark presents six volumes of fresh, scholarly insights into the Second Gospel. The collection analyzes oral tradition and the social history surrounding Christianity’s origins. It imagines Mark’s story as a performance—the author as composer, narrator as performer, audience as gathered community. It provides an interpretive retelling of the Markan version of Christ’s life and parallels Mark’s Gospel to the Parable of the Sower—a call to nonbelievers to have faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The collection concludes with an examination, questioning, and reinterpretation of Markan Christological research.

The Logos Bible Software edition of Fortress Press Studies in Mark is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Mark’s Gospel. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and to the original Greek text, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about Mark.

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  • Studies the Gospel of Mark as narrative
  • Presents two interpretive retellings of the Gospel
  • Analyzes the historical and cultural contexts surrounding Mark’s composition
  • Title: Fortress Press Studies in Mark
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Volumes: 6
  • Pages: 1,587
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A Myth of Innocence: Mark and Christian Origins

  • Author: Burton L. Mack
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1991
  • Pages: 456

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Throughout the centuries, scholars and theologians have studied, searched, and debated the origin of Christianity in the historical Jesus. In this volume, author Burton L. Mack “reconstruct[s] the outline of the social situations that gave rise to the Gospels” to “show how the picture of Christian origins might change with a single shift in perspective on the social history documented by the early texts.”

This imaginative book is not just a study of the Gospel of Mark, but of primitive Christianity in all its variegated forms, for which it represents a new paradigm . . . It deserves serious reflection and discussion at several levels, in a variety of contexts, by quite diversified discussion partners.

James M. Robinson, emeritus professor, Claremont Graduate University

This is an epic-making work because it turns scholarship on its head. Mack asks questions not about origins but about social meaning. The entire conception of what we want to know, why we want to know it, and how we shall find it out is new and compelling.

—Jacob Neusner, distinguished service professor of the history and theology of Judaism, Bard College

A Myth of Innocence is the most penetrating historical work on the origins of Christianity written by an American scholar in this century. Its strikingly innovative feature is the recombination of literary and social histories, and the placement of diverse Jesus movements into their respective social contexts.

Werner H. Kelber, Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies, emeritus, Rice University

A Myth of Innocence is surely one of the most important studies of the origins of Christianity since Schweitzer’s Quest. With a single stroke, Burton Mack has shifted the investigation from the quest for a singular genesis to the perspective of the social history and imaginative labor documented in the texts.

Ron Cameron, professor of religion, Wesleyan University

Burton L. Mack was professor of New Testament at Claremont School of Theology, and is the author of Rhetoric and the New Testament, The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins, Who Wrote the New Testament? The Making of the Christian Myth, and The Christian Myth: Origins, Logic, and Legacy.

Mark as Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel

  • Authors: David Rhoads, Joanna Dewey, and Donald Michie
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 208

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

In this third edition of Mark as Story, Rhoads, Dewey, and Michie take their treatment of the Gospel of Mark to new levels. While retaining their clear and thorough analysis of Mark as a narrative, they now place their study of Mark in the context of orality. The new preface explains the role of Mark in a predominantly oral culture. Throughout the study, they refer to the author as composer, the narrator as performer, the Gospel as oral composition, and the audience as gathered communities. The conclusion hypothesizes a performance scenario of Mark in Palestine shortly after the Roman-Judean War of 66 to 70 CE.

The new edition also highlights the dimensions of Mark that stand in contrast to imperial worldviews and values. The authors argue that the performance of Mark itself was a means to draw audiences into a non-imperial world based on mutual service rather than hierarchical domination. In so doing, they shift the Gospel’s center of gravity from the end of the story to the beginning, configuring it not as “a passion narrative with an extended introduction” but as “the arrival of the rule of God with an extended denouement.”

The appendices for students at the end of the book offer exercises to interpret the narrative of Mark now also include “Exercises for Learning and Telling Episodes” from the Gospel of Mark by heart as part of the learning process.

The Gospel of Mark is, by all accounts, one of the most important books ever written. And Mark as Story, better than any volume known to me, reveals the meaning of the Gospel of Mark in a way that comes pretty close to what most people, most of the time, mean when they talk about the meaning of a story. This third edition [invites us] to imagine the story being performed and heard within a particular social-cultural context and to imagine the nuances the story would acquire within that setting.

—From the Afterword, Mark Allan Powell, Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

David Rhoads is emeritus professor of New Testament at Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago and the author of The Challenge of Diversity: The Witness of Paul and the Gospels and Reading Mark: Engaging the Gospel. He is the editor of From Every People and Nation: The Book of Revelation in Intercultural Perspective and coeditor of The Season of Creation: A Preaching Commentary.

Joanna Dewey is the Harvey Guthrie Jr. Professor Emerita of Biblical Studies and the former academic dean at the Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, MA. She is the author of Disciples of the Way: Mark on Discipleship and Markan Public Debate, and editor of Orality and Textuality in Early Christian Literature.

Donald Michie is an emeritus professor of English at Cartharge College, Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Mark’s Story of Jesus

  • Author: Werner H. Kelber
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1979
  • Pages: 96

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

This book is designed to introduce the reader to a single coherent story, Mark’s story of Jesus’ life and death. From a literary perspective, the reader is therefore advised to approach the Markan story as he or she would any other story: to read the whole story from beginning to end, to observe the characters and the interplay among them, to watch for the author’s clues regarding the plot, to discern the plot development, to identify scenes of crisis and recognition, and to view the story’s resolution in the light of its antecedent logic.

The book is a very noble achievement of haut vulgarisation—that marvelous type of work ‘for hearers of all faculties’ that can be utilized in college work immediately and without hesitation. It is clear as a bell, interesting, not confessionally slanted, and the underlying scholarship, which never intrudes, is evident in the toughness and strength of the arguments.

William G. Doty, emeritus professor, University of Alabama

A specialist on Mark probes the heart and mind of the Gospel writer, assesses the times in which he wrote, and offers and interpretive retelling of the Markan version of the life of Christ. A thought-expander for the general reader.

The New Review of Books and Religion

Werner H. Kelber, Turner Professor of Religious Studies at Rice University, Houston, Texas, is the author of The Kingdom in Mark and The Oral and the Written Gospel.

Performing the Gospel: Orality, Memory, and Mark

  • Editors: Jonathan A. Draper, John Miles Foley, and Richard A. Horsley
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 260

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Before the written Gospel there was—what? Previous thinking regarding “oral tradition” imagined a one-way process of transmission, handing down the fairly intact textual chunks that would constitute what we know as the end result, the written Gospels. That picture—and the implicit understanding of the Gospel writers as “editors”—has changed. The groundbreaking work gathered in this volume presents new insights into the fluidity of story in a cultural context of oral performance; into the power of cultural memory to transmit and shape community; and into the dramatically new picture of Mark’s Gospel that emerges from the results.

This book is organized around the three central foci in this discipline—narrative, orality and literacy, and memory.

To get a glimpse into a field that will certainly gain even more prominence in biblical studies over the next generation, this book will serve as a good taste of that kind of thinking.

Trinity Lutheran Seminary Review

Performing the Gospel hints at the broad impact of narrative, orality, and memory studies for New Testament interpretation. Indeed, these essays urge the necessity of coming to terms with the spoken character of the New Testament. Understanding orality and memory is no longer optional but rather is a necessary precondition for all hermeneutical issues and approaches, from studies of the historical Jesus to textual criticism to research on the canon. Performing the Gospel furnishes a fascinating compendium of interpretative approaches enlighted by new appreciations of orality and memory inspired by Kelber’s insights.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Richard A. Horsley is distinguished professor of liberal arts and the study of religion at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. He is the author of The Message and the Kingdom, Jesus and the Spiral of Violence, and Jesus and the Powers.

Jonathan A. Draper is professor of New Testament at the School of Religion and Theology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

John Miles Foley (1947–2012) was the W. H. Byler Chair in the Humanities and directed the Center for Studies in Oral Tradition at the University of Missouri.

Sowing the Gospel: Mark’s World in Literary-Historical Perspective

  • Author: Mary Ann Tolbert
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1996
  • Pages: 362

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Mark, says Tolbert, intends to sow abroad the good news of God’s imminent coup d’etat over the murderous authorities of his generation, thus disclosing the good earth of God’s kingdom before the final devastation of the cosmos and the coming of the Son of Man. Mark’s purpose, she says, is not to provide data about Jesus or to debate ecclesiastical controversies, but rather, to persuade its hearers to have faith in the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to follow the way he forged into inevitable persecutions, and to become themselves sowers of the good news of God’s kingdom.

. . . one of the freshest interpretations of Mark’s Gospel I have ever had the privilege to read . . . It marks a milestone in the recent history of Markan research.

—Jack Dean Kingsbury, emeritus professor of biblical theology, Union Theological Seminary

Mary Ann Tolbert is the George H. Atkinson Professor of Biblical Studies at the Pacific School of Religion, Graduate Theological Union.

The Christology of Mark’s Gospel

  • Author: Jack Dean Kingsbury
  • Publisher: Fortress Press
  • Publication Date: 1983
  • Pages: 205

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

In The Christology of Mark’s Gospel, author Jack Kingsbury presents a history of Markan research and the dominant methods used by scholars to interpret Mark’s Christology. Kingsbury poses interpretive problems and provides his own analysis of Christ’s identity as found in Mark’s Gospel.

Kingsbury acts as an exemplary pedagogue in this step-by-step exposition. This reviewer finds his overall argument persuasive.

Gerard S. Sloyan, emeritus professor of religion, Temple University

This important work represents a major methodological advance in the study of the Gospels. . . . The result is a significant reassessment of Mark’s Christology and a stunning, new interpretation of the secrecy motif.

David M. Rhoads, emeritus professor of New Testament, Lutheran School of Theology

Kingsbury provides a novel combination of a titular approach to Markan Christology and a literary critical reading of Mark’s Gospel. By refracting the major titles of majesty through the prism of Mark’s story woven around the plot of the secret of Jesus’ identity, Kingsbury produces a lucid, integrated spectrum of Mark’s Christology. Written in Kingsbury’s typically cogent, clear, interactive style, this work offers a greatly needed corrective for Mark’s Christology(ies) often seen as (intentionally or unintentionally) obtuse and incoherent.

Robert A. Guelich, emeritus professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Jack Dean Kingsbury is emeritus professor of biblical theology, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia.


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