For many people today the Gospel of Mark is the most basic Gospel: the shortest, the simplest, the least literary, and the earliest. This has certainly been the view of the majority of New Testament scholars since the middle of the nineteenth century (especially following the work of H.J. Holtzmann), and it endures even to today. The move to such an evaluation began already in the early part of the nineteenth century, however, when Mark’s Gospel came to the fore in synoptic studies for a number of reasons, some of them theological, some cultural, and some political. It is the contention of this commentary that, apart from the matter of length, these widespread and popular views of the Gospel of Mark are wrong, namely, that, in addition to being God’s Word and his address to his people, this Gospel is not basic, neither is it simple. It is not un-literary, neither is it the earliest. (from the Introduction)
James W. Voelz begins his commentary by examining the linguistic and literary features of Mark’s Gospel as well as traditional major isagogical issues. He then offers theological exposition of the first portion of Mark, from chapter 1 to 8:26.
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James Voelz’s concentration on the distinctiveness and precision of Mark’s language and style distinguishes this learned and readable commentary from others on the market. The clarity of his articulate expositions, the abundance of helpful examples given and the alertness to contrary views testify to the book’s origins in decades of inspiring teaching. Now a world-wide readership is able to participate in this meticulous analysis of Mark’s Gospel.
—J. Keith Elliott, emeritus professor of New Testament textual criticism, University of Leeds, UK
Voelz brings to his task years of engagement with the Gospel of Mark, an enthusiasm for exegesis, a particular focus on linguistic matters, and a scholarly voice of his own. This weighty commentary will repay consulting it.
—L.W. Hurtado, professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology, University of Edinburgh
This is a first: a commentary whose primary focus is the significance of the syntax and structure of the Greek text. Insightful, at times helpfully provocative, and always stimulating, this volume is guaranteed a spot within easy reach on my shelf. A must for all serious students and readers of Mark.
—Rikk Watts, professor of New Testament, Regent College, Vancouver
James W. Voelz is professor of exegetical theology (New Testament) at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri, where he has taught since 1989. Previously he taught at Concordia Theological Seminary, Springfield, Illinois/Fort Wayne, Indiana (1975–1989), and served as pastoral assistant at Zion Lutheran Church, Fort Wayne (1984–1988). Voelz is a graduate of Concordia College, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, and Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. He earned his PhD in biblical studies from Cambridge University. He is a member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas (SNTS), the international NT society, and has been co-chair of seminars for over 20 years. He has presented numerous papers at the SNTS and at the Society of Biblical Literature, in which he is also on the steering committee of the Mark Section. His Fundamental Greek Grammar has been published by Concordia Publishing House since 1986, and his hermeneutics textbook, What Does This Mean? Principles of Biblical Interpretation in the Post-Modern World, since 1995. Voelz has lectured widely throughout The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod at conferences for pastors and laity alike.