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Loosing the Lion: Proclaiming the Gospel of Mark Hardcover – December 1, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"For some time now, the first of the living beasts round the throne in heaven—the Markan Lion—has been kept in a cage by its academic zookeepers. They keep it around for exegetical tourism, but belittle it as short, haphazard, lacking in literary greatness, and wanting in theological complexity. What Huizenga sets out to do in this stimulating book is to set this Gospel-Lion free from our modern prejudices. He takes something precious, cleans it off, and gives it back to us to appreciate as if for the first time. The scholarship on which this book stands is impressive, but kept unobtrusive so as to be readable by laity and as a resource for preachers. Exegesis flows into liturgical preaching, confronting us with the awful beauty of the Cross."
—David W. Fagerberg, PhD
Professor of Theology
University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, IN
"Leroy Huizenga gives us the resurrected Aslan in his exciting book Loosing the Lion. For too long Mark's Gospel has been the little kid bullied on the playground of biblical scholarship. Derided by scholars who think it a literary disaster or a hodgepodge collection of disconnected Jesus stories, Dr. Huizenga shows the multileveled complexity and subtlety of Mark's dynamic account of Jesus—the hero who defeats the devil. Not just a scholarly treatise, Loosing the Lion is a powerful and practical source for preachers of the Word. Although written by a Catholic, this book should be a resource for preachers of all traditions to present once more Mark's ever ancient, ever new drama of the world's redemption."
—Fr. Dwight Longenecker
Author of The Mystery of the Magi:The Quest for the True Identity of the Three Wise Men
"Leroy Huizenga has composed a concise and informative entree into the Gospel of Mark for preachers and teachers. He writes within the Catholic tradition, but his insights transcend denominations and theology as he introduces readers to the Gospel of Mark, why Mark matters, and why one should read this beautiful story. A superb resource for anyone who wants to get better acquainted with the Gospel of Mark."
—Michael F. Bird, PhD
Lecturer in Theology
Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry
"Dr. Huizenga's extremely readable Loosing the Lion is marked by deep learning, creativity, and verve. Rooted in historic orthodoxy and sensitive to the needs of the Catholic Church today, this book will serve well those who desire to teach and preach from the oft-neglected Gospel of Mark."
—Jonathan Pennington, PhD
Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation
Director of Research Doctoral Studies
The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
About the Author
DR. LEROY A. HUIZENGA is Administrative Chair of Human and Divine Sciences at the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. He holds a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary and a PhD in New Testament from Duke University. During his doctoral studies he received a Fulbright Grant to study and teach at Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität in Frankfurt, Germany. Dr. Huizenga is the author of The New Isaac: Tradition and Intertextuality in the Gospel of Matthew (Brill, 2012), co-editor of Reading the Bible Intertextually (Baylor, 2009), and is currently writing a major theological commentary on the Gospel of Mark for Bloomsbury T&T Clark's International Theological Commentary series.
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Dr. Huizenga's book avoids both of these pitfalls. The work is not only accessible to those who have little theological training, but also provides great detail for those of us who do. "Loosing the Lion" should be seen first and foremost as an aid to grasping the divine as it is revealed in the Gospel of Mark, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to all.
To be honest, with the credentials of the author, and recommendations it received, I expected a book less approachable and exciting. Instead, this book is shockingly void of theological jargon and posturing. Rather, it is full of vivid, lively examples that are an opportunity to bring the gospels alive to those who might not have deep knowledge. Better yet, it also provides substance for deeper reflection.
The timing is perfect with the start of the year of Mark - buy it now for anyone who tracks the daily readings.
this book is the perfect gift for your pastor! I recommend “Loosing the Lion” to priests, deacons, seminarians, teachers, and educated lay people - to everyone who loves Sacred Scripture." This unfortunate shill for the book did it no service, and one would be much better informed by one of the endorsements written on the book's cover describing it as "an informative entree into the Gospel of Mark." Yes, I would agree that it would be a good entree, but I would certainly not agree that this is an essential book for your Pastor's library. Probably a good book for an undergraduate theology student or interested lay person. Personally, I kept waiting for the roaring LION to appear, and found that it never really did. When it did, I found it in some strange territory that the author seemed to be staking out as his perspective. For example, the author seems definitive in his assertion that the centurion who witnessed Jesus die at his crucifixion was certainly 'insincere' in his supposed (ironic) profession of faith, "Truly this man was the Son of God!"While that thought had never crossed my mind, I can't say I was impressed by the novelty assertion, "And so the best read is that the centurion is sarcastic, mocking and deriding Jesus here as everyone else has at the crucifixion." To be fair, perhaps was my own high expectations of the book that cause me to be critical, and in the author's introduction he acknowledges that the style will be somewhat homilitic, though I wasn't particularly moved by the style.
Part One begins by talking about the modern age and how we have grown numb in a post-Christian culture. There is also the problem of accommodation and moralism. We try too hard to make the Gospel approachable, but in doing so, we lose the beauty of it. This leads to how pastors should preach the Gospel using the fourfold sense method, which involves literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical. This method is designed to make saints and gives us the true story of salvation history. Dr. Leroy Huizenga goes on to suggest that The Gospel According to Mark is "an ancient biography, an index of Jesus, and a sacramental narrative icon." Lastly, Part One provides us with a brief summary of Mark's Gospel, which includes how it was written and the theological themes and motifs the author used. Part Two is the meat of this book, and is broken into eight thematic chapters that walk us through the entire book of Mark. What I found most helpful in Part Two was the Table of Contents. Each section of Scripture tells us the day and week of the Liturgical Calendar where this section of the Gospel is read.
One could argue that this book is merely a commentary on The Gospel According to Mark, and while it is that, it is so much more than that. Dr. Huizenga goes into such great detail on each section of Mark, but does so in an approachable way. There are times you read through this book and you have to go back and read what you just read, but that is because you are not used to reading Mark this way. However, on a second reading of the text, the message clicks and makes sense. There are two ways you can read this book, and I'd honestly recommend both ways. The first is to read through the book cover to cover, thus reading through Mark from beginning to end. The second way is to follow along with the Liturgical Calendar. This way will require some skipping around of chapters and sections, but if you are in Year B, I honestly think it is a great way to read this book. This book offered me a lot of thought-provoking insight into Mark's Gospel and caused me to slow down reading and appreciate the words in a way I have never done before. I highly recommend this book.
The book doesn’t really get into the authorship of the gospel, but if you’re looking for a