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The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary Paperback – January 8, 2001

4.7 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Religious Studies Review
"Witherington intersperses homiletic asides within the flow of a clear, scientific treatise. . . His work deserves wide circulation."

Mark Allan Powell
"An impressive, reliable, and often surprising commentary on the Gospel of Mark."

About the Author

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 487 pages
  • Publisher: Eerdmans (January 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802845037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802845030
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #451,916 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dr. Marc Axelrod VINE VOICE on September 15, 2008
Format: Paperback
I took Dr. Witherington's class on the Gospel of Mark about 14 years ago, and so this book was a great refresher for me. The great strength of this book is that it comments on the entire Gospel of Mark, but reads like an engrossing investigative report. Ben begins with a 60 page discussion of introductory issues related to Mark. He believes that this was the first of the four gospels to be written and that the intended original audience was the Gentile Christian community in Rome in the wake and in the dust of Emperor Nero's harsh persecution of the church in the mid to late 60s A.D.

Ben sees this gospel as an ancient biography of Jesus with Christ himself as the main character. He notes that Mark spends approximately 40% of the gospel on the last week of Jesus' life. For Dr. Witherington, the key verses of this Gospel are 8:27-30, where Peter confesses Jesus as the Christ, and 10:45, where Jesus explains that He has come to give His life as a ransom for many. This is important because ancient biographies often focus on the lasting impact of both the life and the death of the subject.

Dr. Witherington holds to largely conservative evangelical stances on critical issues related to the Gospel of Mark. I appreciated the explanation of how Jesus ministered in Jewish lands in the first six chapters and then reprised many of his miracles in Gentile lands (the feeding of the 4000) to give a preview of the future scope of the gospel.

This book is very well written with a lot of exciting exposition and application. You will learn how Jesus being driven into the wilderness in Mark 1 and being with ther wild animals echoes the experience of King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4. The exception is that Jesus is being presented as the TRUE and rightful king of the world.
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Format: Paperback
I confess that I am not exactly a great fan of (most) bible commentaries much as I love reading the bible. The need to interpret the bible aright necessitates my going to good commentaries for background info and the pool of scholarly opinions. As such, reading bible commentaries often feels like consulting encyclopedias or some such reference books - one entry at a time. But not with Ben Witherington's socio-rhetorical commentaries! This creative writer exemplifies how bible commentaries should be written, not merely to inform but to bring the inspired, ancient texts to life! At once informative, interpretive and inspiring, the book offers much fodder to chew on as well as for sharing with others. But lest anyone thinks this book belongs to the glut of 'application-driven' lightweight devotional commentaries out there, this book represents a solid scholarly treatment of the pertinent issues that attend to interpreting the biblical text, in this case the gospel according to Mark.

Witherington sees the gospel of Mark as an ancient biography of Jesus with a special focus on the passion narrative. The over-riding question behind Mark's account is: Who is Jesus? Mark may not be as polished in the Greek language as the other NT writers but his masterful use of literary devices such as chiasm, intercalation, strategically placed questions and so on sets him apart as a powerful communicator. In Mark, you also see many of the rough edges of Jesus' words preserved, which led many scholars to place this gospel earliest among the others. There are many such observations made in the commentary that illuminate our reading of this particular telling of the good news and help us hear the distinctive voice of Mark as he presents the Son of God to non-Jewish readers.
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If there is one teacher in whose classes I wish I had the opportunity to sit, or whose tutorials I had the privilege to attend, it would be Prof Dr Ben Witherington. This book stands out amongst the many which have been published on the Gospel of Mark in recent years
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As always, Witherington's easy-to-follow writing style makes reading Bible commentaries fun and exciting. Before reading this, my opinion of the Gospel of Mark was uh...okay, only a less detailed version of Matthew and Luke. Witherington brings out the rhetorical function and purpose of Mark/Peter, and demonstrates how the Greek text describes Jesus as a radical and even emotional teacher who stirred the hearts of His listeners. Mark especially, is very critical of Jesus' disciples' lack of understanding and the Messianic Secret is kept until the very end in its fulness. I like how Witherington suggests that after 16:8, it is likely that the end of the scroll had rubbed off and was unreadable, and that later redactors summarized the end according to tradition (I still wish Witherington would have commented on 16:9-20, just for kicks). BWIII also does an excellent job against the critics who doubt Markan authorship or even early authorship. Mark was written in a primitive Greek (obviously not the first language of the author), and why would a psuedo-author use an ambiguous person like Mark as a title? In short, this is a must-have commentary for the student/teacher of the Gospels.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Don't care for having to have a dictionary next to me as I read a book, but even though it reads that way there is still a lot of great information to glean from this commentary.
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