Sharyn Dowd examines the Gospel of Mark from literary and theological perspectives, suggesting what the text may have meant to its first-century audience of Gentile and Jewish Christians. Dowd sees the gospel of Mark as a Greco-Roman biography written in an apocalyptic mode, its theology based on the message of the prophet Isaiah—the proclamation of release from bondage and a march toward freedom along the “way of the Lord.”
Though Sharyn Dowd’s Reading Mark admirably lives up to its subtitle, A Literary and Theological Commentary, it also shows surprising strength—especially for a commentary of limited length—in Jewish and especially Greco-Roman cultural background. Dowd puts this information to excellent interpretive use. Nor does she disappoint in tracing the flow of Mark’s narrative and bringing to light his concentric and chiastic arrangements of material. Regardless of one’s agreement or disagreement with her interpretation, Reading Mark not only makes Mark more readable, but also proves itself to be highly readable.
—Robert H. Gundry, Scholar in Residence, Professor Emeritus, Religious Studies, Westmont College
Sharyn Dowd is an associate professor of religion at Baylor University. She received a B.A. from Wake Forest University, an M. Div. from The Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Emory University. She served six years on the staff of First Baptist Church, Winston-Salem, N.C., coordinating inner-city ministry and outreach programs. She taught New Testament and Greek at Lexington Theological Seminary from 1987-1999, and joined the Baylor faculty in 1999. She has contributed to Mercer Dictionary of the Bible, The Women’s Bible Commentary and Mercer Commentary on the Bible, and is the author of Prayer, Power, and the Problem of Suffering.