The Gospel According to Saint Mark injects fresh life into the series! Basing her observations on her own new translation of the Greek text, Hooker explores, pericope by pericope, what the author of Mark's Gospel wanted his original readers to understand, what he says about the historical Jesus and the early community of the faithful, and what he conveys theologically throughout the entire Gospel.
“It seems best to conclude that Mark does not intend us to understand Jesus’ anger as directed against the leper at all, but against the evil forces which have claimed the man as their victim. The responsibility of Satan for illness is referred to in Luke 13:16, and is probably assumed here, even though Satan is not specifically mentioned. Anger is an appropriate emotion when one is confronted with the devastating effects of disease.” (Page 80)
“The gospel was almost certainly intended to be read aloud in a congregation, not privately.” (Page 15)
“Jesus reproved (ἐπετίμησεν) the wind. The form of the verb is 39 exactly that used in 1:25, where Jesus reproved an unclean spirit; since the sea, in ancient mythology, symbolized the powers of chaos and evil, it is not surprising that storms were thought to be caused by rebellious powers, or that the narrative is so closely parallel to accounts of exorcisms. The command Be silent also echoes the narrative of 1:25, using another form of the verb (φιμόω) used there in silencing the unclean spirit.” (Page 139)
“The account is indeed intrinsically improbable, since we find experienced fishermen, not merely taken by surprise by the weather, but apparently scared out of their wits by a sudden storm, while Jesus, the landlubber, sleeps calmly in the stern; the unlikelihood of these events suggests that we are meant to see a deeper significance in the narrative. Whatever the origin of the story, its point for Mark is the divine power at work in Jesus, a power which was experienced by the disciples during his ministry and affirmed by subsequent generations of men and women who had faith in him.” (Page 139)
For the better part of her distinguished career, Morna Hooker has been a keen student of Mark's Gospel. In this commentary, she forges from twenty years of research her understanding of Mark's presentation of Jesus. With the sure touch of a mature scholar, she guides the reader through the text of Mark in a non-technical way that is both insightful and eminently readable. At a time in which pastors and students face a veritable flood of new commentaries, this one commends itself as a valuable yet manageable resource. Those who use it will find it stimulating and enriching.
—Jack Dean Kingsbury, Aubrey Lee Brooks Professor of Biblical Theology, Union Theological Seminary
In view of some recent commentaries and interpretations of the Marcan Gospel, this is a welcome relief. All readers, theologians, pastors, campus and hospital ministers, and especially educated lay folk, will profit from the study of Mark's Gospel with this commentary. It is a balanced attempt to interpret Mark 'at every level,' but primarily from that of 'the evangelist himself'—how he understood 'the nature of the good news about Jesus Christ.' Hooker has wisely sought to summarize the theology of the Marcan Gospel, and she does it well.
—Joseph A. Fitzmyer, SJ, Catholic University of America