‘St Mark the Evangelist’ Vladimir Borovikovsky (1757-1825)

Course Description

For many centuries Mark’s Gospel took a backseat to its cousin, the Gospel of Matthew. In recent decades Mark has found its way back onto centre stage in the study of the four Gospels. Scholars are discovering the rich theological heritage left us by the author of this superb account of the life, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Unlike readers of most “stories,” the original Christian readers and hearers of Mark knew the ending: Jesus had been crucified and had risen from the dead! The plot of Mark is shot through with hints that look toward the end of the story. The Gospel of Mark is unique among the gospels and unlike most other narratives in that the crises which emerge during its course are not resolved by the end of the story. Although much is resolved by the end, especially with Jesus’ Resurrection, much of Mark’s plot is only resolved in and through the lives of those reading or hearing the story. A good story teller gives enough to the reader to make him or her sufficiently curious to continue reading – the reader is never given all the answers! Great narratives always keep promising the great prize of understanding, a prize that will come later. And the ‘later’ of Mark’s Gospel is the ‘now’ of the Christian reader.

In this course you will journey with the disciples on the way to discovering who Jesus really is. The course is designed to highlight the rich tapestry of themes that run throughout Mark’s Gospel, the main theme of which focuses on the very identity of Jesus. Through all the twists and turns that Mark presents in the ministry of Jesus and the disciples’ path of faith, you will be surprised and even shocked to discover the ultimate twist to the ending of this Gospel.

So come and join us in discovering Jesus through the eyes of Mark, an amazing story teller.

Course Objectives

  1. To discover how Mark beautifully draws you, the reader or hearer of this Gospel, into the drama set before you.
  2. To view the Gospel of Mark in terms of a play, in which the characters lead us to a greater appreciation and realisation of who Jesus really is.
  3. To see the difference between how the disciples (i.e., the ‘insiders’ of the Gospel) and those seemingly ‘outside’ of the Gospel view and react to Jesus’ call: where do you fit?
  4. To understand why Jesus charges many, who seemingly receive his attention and care, not to tell anyone what he has done for them – what scholars call, Jesus’ Messianic Secret.

Course Duration

6 Weeks: 12 Hours (i.e., two hours, one night a week).

Recommended Reading

Texts Recommended for Purchase by Course Participants:

Byrne, Brendan. A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2008.

Popular Reading Level:

Card, Michael. Mark: The Gospel of Passion. Downers Grove, IL: InterVasity Press, 2012.

Dewey, Joanna, Donald Michie and David Rhoads. Mark As Story: An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.

Gray, Timothy C. The Temple in the Gospel of Mark: A Study in its Narrative Role. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2008.

Hahn, Scott and Curtis Mitch. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: The New Testament. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010.

_________. The Ignatius Catholic Bible Study: Mark. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2001, 2nd ed. 2011.

Healy, Mary. The Gospel of Mark. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2008.

LaVerdiere, Eugene. The Beginning of the Gospel: Introducing the Gospel According to Mark. Vol.1. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1999.

_________. The Beginning of the Gospel: Introducing the Gospel According to Mark. Vol.2. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 1999.

Wright, N.T. Mark for Everyone: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.

Thematic Works for this Course:

Achtemeier, Paul J. Inspiration and Authority: Nature and Function of Christian Scripture. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 1999.

Béchard, Dean P. ed. and trans. The Scripture Documents: An Anthology of Official Catholic Teachings. Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Bruce, F.F. The New Testament Documents: Are they Reliable? Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1981.

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Homebush: St Pauls, 1994.

_________. The Historicity of the Gospels: Instruction of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 1964.

_________. The Interpretation of the Bible in the Church: Address of His Holiness John Paul II and Document of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. Boston: St Paul Books and Media, 1993.

_________. Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, New Revised Edition, vol. 1. Edited by Austin Flannery. New York: Costello Publishing Company, 1996.

Dauphinais, Michael and Matthew Levering. Holy People, Holy Land: A Theological Introduction to the Bible. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2005.

Farkasfalvy, Denis. Inspiration and Interpretation: A Theological Introduction to Sacred Scripture. Washington DC. The Catholic University of America Press, 2010.

Geisler, Norman L. and William C. Roach. Defending Inerrancy: Affirming the Accuracy of Scripture for a New Generation. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011.

Hahn, Scott. A Father Who Keeps His Promises: God’s Covenant Love in Scripture. Michigan: Servant Publications, 1998.

_________. A Pocket Guide to the Bible. Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor Division, 2008.

_________. Scripture Matters: Essays on Reading the Bible from the Heart of the Church. Steubenville, Ohio: Emmaus Road, 2003.

Shea, Mark P. Making Senses out of Scripture: Reading the Bible as the First Christians Did. San Diego: Basilica Press, 1999.

Sri, Edward. The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures. West Chester, PA: Ascension Press, 2009.

Stravinskas, Peter M.J. The Catholic Church and the Bible. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996.

Vanhoozer, Kevin J. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

_________. (ed.) Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2005, 2008.

Scholarly Reading Level:

France, R.T. The Gospel of Mark (NIGTC). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2002.

Harrington, Daniel J and John R. Donahue. The Gospel of Mark (Sacra Pagina Series, vol. 2). Collegeville, MN: The Liturgical Press, 2002.

Lane, William L. The Gospel of Mark (NICNT). Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1974.

Mann, C.S. Mark. (Anchor Bible Commentary Series). Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1986.

Marcus, Joel. Mark 1-8. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

_________. Mark 8-16. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Mauser, Ulrich W. Christ in the Wilderness. London: SCM Press, 1963.

Moloney, Francis J. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2002.

Stock, Augustine. The Method and Message of Mark. Wilmington, Delaware: Michael Glazier, 1989.