Item description for Mark 1-8 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries) by Joel Marcus...
Overview About this Volume: Mark 1-8Although it appears second in the New Testament, Mark is generally recognized as the first Gospel to be written. Captivating nonstop narrative characterizes this earliest account of the life and teachings of Jesus. In the first installment of his two-volume commentary on Mark, New Testament scholar Joel Marcus recaptures the power of Mark's enigmatic narrative and capitalizes on its lively pace to lead readers through familiar and not-so-familiar episodes from the ministry of Jesus.As Marcus points out, the Gospel of Mark can be understood only against the backdrop of the apocalyptic atmosphere of the Jewish rebellions of 66-73 c.e., during which the Roman army destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem (70 c.e.). While the Jewish revolutionaries believed that the war was "the beginning of the end" and that a messianic redeemer would soon appear to lead his people to victory over their human enemies (the Romans) and cosmic foes (the demons), for Mark the redeemer had already come in the person of Jesus. Paradoxically, however, Jesus had won the decisive holy-war victory when he was rejected by his own people and executed on a Roman cross.The student of two of this generation's most respected Bible scholars and Anchor Bible authors, Raymond E. Brown and J. Louis Martyn, Marcus helps readers understand the history, social customs, economic realities, religious movements, and spiritual and personal circumstances that made Jesus who he was. The result is a Bible commentary of the quality and originality readers have come to expect of the renowned Anchor Bible series. Challenging to scholars and enlightening to laypeople, Mark 1-8 is an invaluable tool for anyone reading the Gospel story.About the Anchor Yale Bible SeriesThe Anchor Yale ible Commentary Series is a project of international and interfaith scope in which Protestant, Catholic, and Jewish scholars from many countries contribute individual volumes. The project is not sponsored by any ecclesiastical organization and is not intended to reflect any particular theological doctrine.The Anchor Yale Series is committed to producing commentaries in the tradition established half a century ago by the founders of the series, William Foxwell Albright and David Noel Freedman. It aims to present the best contemporary scholarship in a way that is accessible not only to scholars but also to the educated nonspecialist. Its approach is grounded in exact translation of the ancient languages and an appreciation of the historical and cultural context in which the biblical books were written supplemented by insights from modern methods, such as sociological and literary criticism.
Publishers Description Although it appears second in the New Testament, Mark is generally recognized as the first Gospel to be written. Captivating nonstop narrative characterizes this earliest account of the life and teachings of Jesus. In the first installment of his two-volume commentary on Mark, New Testament scholar Joel Marcus recaptures the power of Mark's enigmatic narrative and capitalizes on its lively pace to lead readers through familiar and not-so-familiar episodes from the ministry of Jesus. As Marcus points out, the Gospel of Mark can be understood only against the backdrop of the apocalyptic atmosphere of the Jewish rebellions of 66-73 c.e., during which the Roman army destroyed the Temple of Jerusalem (70 c.e.). While the Jewish revolutionaries believed that the war was "the beginning of the end" and that a messianic redeemer would soon appear to lead his people to victory over their human enemies (the Romans) and cosmic foes (the demons), for Mark the redeemer had already come in the person of Jesus. Paradoxically, however, Jesus had won the decisive holy-war victory when he was rejected by his own people and executed on a Roman cross. The student of two of this generation's most respected Bible scholars and Anchor Bible authors, Raymond E. Brown and J. Louis Martyn, Marcus helps readers understand the history, social customs, economic realities, religious movements, and spiritual and personal circumstances that made Jesus who he was. The result is a Bible commentary of the quality and originality readers have come to expect of the renowned Anchor Bible series. Challenging to scholars and enlightening to laypeople, "Mark 1-8" is an invaluable tool for anyone reading the Gospelstory.
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Studio: Yale University Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.95" Width: 6.02" Height: 1.32" Weight: 1.8 lbs.
Release Date May 21, 2002
Publisher Yale University Press
Series Anchor Bible Commentary
ISBN 0300139799 ISBN13 9780300139792
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More About Joel Marcus
Joel Marcus is professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, Duke Divinity School, and the author of Mark 1-8, available from Yale University Press. He lives in Durham, NC.
Joel Marcus has published or released items in the following series...
Anchor Yale Bible (Paper)
Dissertation Series / Society of Biblical Literature
Reviews - What do customers think about Mark 1-8 (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries)?
The Messiah prophesied by Isaiah has come Apr 16, 2009
Mark Chapters 1 - 8, translation and commentary by Joel Marcus My edition is paperback, Doubleday/Anchor Bible, 2005/2007.
This is an excellent book.
First come about 80 pages of Introduction, dealing with the author, `Mark', his intended readership (the Marcan - US `Markan' - Community), date (and place) of composition, inter-gospel relationships, Mark and Paul, Mark's Christology and his apocalyptic eschatology, and especially the influence on Mark and his community of the Jewish revolt of AD 66-73 against Rome.
Secondly come 50 pages of bibliography (about 1,000 books/articles).
Then, thirdly, comes the heart of the book: the Translation, Notes and Comments, pericope by periscope, of /on 1.1 to 8.21, occupying about 380 pages. Usefully, the Note on each phrase or verse almost always includes the full original Greek text - but in an unobtrusive transliterated script, not in Greek characters.
Fourthly, 14 pages of Appendices, which are all-too-brief `excursuses' on The Scribes and the Pharisees, The Messianic Secret Motif, and The Son of Man.
Finally, a brief Glossary, and then indexes of modern authors, subjects, and biblical, extra-biblical-Jewish (Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinical, etc.) and other ancient sources, Christian and non-Christian.
What particularly appeals to me is the power of Joel Marcus's rooting of the Marcan Jesus in the Jewish background. The key source is of course the Old Testament, but the intertestamental and rabbinic literatures are shown to contribute to authenticating almost every sentence of Mark's picture of Jesus. Marcus strongly links many Marcan texts to Genesis (especially ch.1) and Exodus (passim - the Crossing, the Mosaic role, the manna, the `temptation'). Exodus, like Gen 1, prefigures Christians: a new creation, new people of God through baptism and the manna/Marcan-bread-multiplications/Eucharist connection). Everywhere, Mark's Jesus echoes/fulfils Psalms, Isaiah (massively: proto-, deutero- and trito-), Daniel and 1 Enoch. Usefully, Marcus frequently quotes the exact words of the LXX (the pre-Christian Jewish translation of the Hebrew OT into Greek, used both by diaspora Jews and by the first Christian communities and the NT writers), words that Mark in his turn uses when describing a parallel feature of the person and activity of Jesus.
Of course, all modern exegetes make such relevant connections and emphases, reading back the New Testament story into the Old Testament and reading forward the Old Testament into the New, but Marcus does it splendidly.
Marcus highlights the constant Marcan portrayal, already in Mark's chapter 1, of Jesus' mission as a conflict with Satan, constantly broadened to include two parties: Jesus, the Spirit, God acting in Jesus, good angels and righteous human beings, ranged against Satan with his demonic associates and human agents.
Marcus concludes that Mark was written between 69 and 75 AD, certainly in the context of the Jewish revolt against the Romans (66-73 AD) and the confidently prophesied or actually completed destruction of the temple in 70 AD. Its addressees would be a Christian community (in the region of Syria?) actually already enduring the sufferings of internal divisions and external persecutions resulting from this war, which broke out because of the apocalyptic dreams of `the false Messiahs and false prophets' (Mark 13) who looked for a conquering Davidic military messiah.
This leads me to suggest that Marcus's book could profitably have included an excursus discussing `the kingdom (Greek `basileia') of God'. Marcus translates the four occurrences of `basileia tou theou' in chapters 1-8 (in 1.15, 4.11, 4.26, 4.30) as `the dominion of God', which other translations render as the familiar `the kingdom of God'. Marcus's index is informative: he lists 33 references under the entry `Dominion of God', but the entry `Kingdom of God' says simply: "See `Dominion of God' "! I do not yet know how Marcus translates these words in his forthcoming book on chapters 9-16, where the expression occurs a further 10 times.
Marcus's first treatment of the Kingdom/Dominion of God is in his note on 1.15 (p. 172): "This is the first Markan reference to `he basileia tou theou', a phrase that the King James translators rendered as `the kingdom of God' but that most modern scholars have recognized as the fact [`fact' italicized by Marcus] that he rules or the power [`power' in italics again] by which he manifests his sovereignty, hence the translation `dominion of God'. This is the basic nuance of the Hebrew and Aramaic expression `dominion of heaven' ... which is reflected by the NT phrase ..."
Marcus's verdict here should itself be nuanced. Many other `nuances' need to be taken into account. Other NT texts speak of "entering the kingdom of God, reclining in the kingdom of God"; serious sinners "shall not inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6.10, Gal 5.21); the kingdom of God is like ... "; "The kingdom of God will be taken away from you" (Matt 21.43); the disciples in Acts 1.6 say to the risen Jesus: "Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?" (NRSV). And so on. The New Revised Standard Version(1989) still translates 159 of the 161 occurrences of `basileia' in the whole NT as `kingdom'. The only 2 exceptions are Luke 19.12,15, where the ruler goes `to get royal power (basileia)'.
I end with a suggestion for yet another excursus, except that the subject here is really too vast for an excursus. Libraries are written on it. This would deal with Mark's treatment of Jesus' divinity. Marcus has an index entry which is headed: "Divinity/quasi-divinity of Jesus", with 14 references, also cross-referenced from the index entry " [high] Christology (with three references, then) `see also Divinity/quasi-divinity of Jesus' ". Commenting on Mk 2.6-10a, Marcus writes: "Our passage thus evidences a characteristic Markan ambiguity about whether Jesus himself is acting or whether God is acting through him; in Mark's view both perspectives contain aspects of the truth ... (p. 224)".
Not even this large volume on Mark 1-8 can deal exhaustively with every aspect of Mark's thought. But I never failed to find a thorough examination and convincing evaluation of any question that I brought to my reading of this admirable commentary.
Mixed bag Apr 7, 2007
Believes John Mark might have written the gospel, and somewhat skeptical about the historical Jesus. However, his commentary includes three brief appedices, "The Scribes and the Pharisees," The Messianic Secret Motif," and "The Son of Man." The latter is particularly valuable, tracing its development back to Daniel.
An excellent reference for the rest of us Oct 22, 2001
The Anchor Bible series continues to provide excellent material for the inquiring Christian. The almost word-for-word translations and discussions of the alternate usages of the Greek give an excellent understanding of the meaning of the words. The commentary ties into the translation notes well and goes on to provide a scholarly understanding of the text. While it is difficult to not use the arcane language of the Biblical scholar, these books at least make the effort to minimize it. The perfect resource for a small town Sunday School bible teacher like myself.
But this book today! Jul 17, 2001
This is an excellent commentary, and surely all around the best now available on Mark in English, or perhaps any language. It is up-to-date, thoroughly conversant with the primary sources and secondary literature, and often original in its exegesis. It is also well written, so that while it must, of necessity, sometimes discuss involved topics, such as the meanings of Greek words, the author's meaning is always perfectly clear. Particularly important for scholars are the keen attention paid to the scriptural subtexts beneath Mark's surface and the consistent attempt to understand Mark within the context of the Jewish war. But this is a book for pastors as well as academics, full of intimations about the possibilities of contemporary meaning. Its length is just right -- the discussions are never too long to bore, nor too short to leave one unsatisfied. In sum, this is a worthy addition to the prestigious series to which it belongs, The Anchor Bible. Buy it.
Marcus Finally Makes His Mark! Mar 4, 2001
Those of us who were familiar with Joel Marcus' monograph, "The Way of The Lord", have long awaited the day he would write a commentary on the Gospel of Mark. It seems fitting that a strong commentary like this one be used to replace the astonishingly lame commentary by C.S. Mann.
The objective of the Anchor Bible commentary series is to make the Bible accessible to the modern reader by providing an exact translation, extended exposition and a reconstruction of the ancient setting. The targeted readership is the general reader with no formal training in biblical studies. Marcus' commentary does an outstanding job in reaching these objectives. His translation is fairly literal but is still readable for those of us whose first language is English. His crisp exposition also goes a long way in helping the general reader follow his arguments.
With regard to some specifics about his interprative decisions Marcus believes that the Second Gospel was written by someone named Mark but probably not the one associated with Peter as the Papian tradition would suggest. He also denies that the gospel was written for a general audience (aka Richard Bauckham) or as an evangelistic tool (aka Robert Gundry) but instead argues the pervasive opinion that Mark is addressing a particular 'Markan' community. Marcus also argues that this community probably resided in Syria. He suggests that the purpose of the Gospel was to address a community under persecution during the Jewish War and that Mark presents Jesus as a paradigm for suffering.
Undoubtedly this commentary is hefty and due serious consideration by students of the Gospel but nonetheless, I suspect, that many readers will find Marcus guilty of over-interpretation and straining to find subtle echoes of the OT where there probably is none to be found. For example, many readers may be bewildered by how Marcus can understand the author of the second Gospel to have felt on one hand the need to explain the OT Jewish custom of handwashing (7:3-4) and then on the other hand expect his readers to pick up on Jonah imagery in a storm on the lake.
Even though some may disagree with various issues of 'Introduction' and may see places where Marcus' interpretations seem strained and overworked, I suspect, it will be found useful to many studying the second Gospel.
If you are intending to study the Gospel of Mark definitly consider purchasing this book.
I would have given the book a three and three quarter stars if possible.