dinsdag 16 februari 2016

The Gospel According to Mark

In the Pillar New Testament Commentary James R. Edwards, pro-fessor of theology at Whitworth College in Spokane, Washington, wrote a volume on the gospel according to Mark. He notes that the weight of evidence rest firmly in the favor of the ecclesiastical tradition that John Mark was his author.
The tradition is not unanimous about its date. According to Irenaeus and the testimony of the Anti-Marcionite Prologue it was written after the death of Peter. However, Clemens of Alexandria and Origin report that it was written in Rome during Peter’s lifetime. Edwards thinks we must date Mark’s gospel between the fire of Rome in 64 and the fall of Jerusalem in 70. I myself think that an earlier date already in the end of the fifties remains a vital option.
In accordance with the great majority of New Testament scholars Edwards thinks that the longer ending of the gospel of Mark is secondary. He typifies it as an early Christian resur­rec­tion mosaic based on several gospel traditions about the resurrection.  It testi-fies that the gospel of Jesus Christ was handled down by commu-nities of faith.
I admit the differences in style and language between the longer ending of Mark with the main part of his gospel. I prefer the suggestion of – among others – made by David Alan Black that the longer ending is a Markan supplement.
In this supplement in which he used less the words he actually heard out the mouth of Peter than in this ending. We must not forget that the great majority of manuscripts has this ending. The Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are the exception. We must not to easily conclude that we must always prefer the testimony of these manuscripts.
With regard the ways in which Mark narrates the gospel which bears his name, Edwards points to the sandwich technique. We have some ten examples of this technique in Mark. Each sandwich unit consists of an A-B-A’-sequence. The B-component functions as the theological key to the flanking halves. A clear example is the woman with hemorrhage who interrupts Jesus en route to Jairus’ house. Only after recording the woman’s healing Mark resumes with the healing of Jairus’ daughter. This particular sandwich is about faith.
The gospel according to Mark is the gospel of Jesus Christ as the divine and suffering Son of God. In his sufferings Jesus fulfills the prophecy of the Servant song of Isaiah 53. When Jesus is declared by his Father that he is his beloved son, the word ‘beloved’ is an allusion to Isaiah 42:1. There we read that God has a delight in his Servant. Edwards point to the fact that in Mark’s gospel the person of Jesus receives much more attention than his teaching. The focus is on what Christ did.
The gospel according to Mark gives us not only a portrait of Jesus but also of his disciples. Discipleship is a major theme of the second gospel. To Jesus as the Jesus suffering Son of God belongs suffe-ring discipleship. A great example of faith a discipleship is the centurion at the cross. Witnessing Jesus suffering and death he confesses him as Son of God.
The faith response of the inner circle of the Eleven (Judas excluded) disciples is halting and incomplete, but nevertheless real true. By repeatedly hearing and receiving their faith and its fruits grows slowly. Hearing to Jesus all our life is what we have to do when we want to be his disciples. 
Remarkable is the patience of Jesus with his disciples who again and again show lack of insight, but Jesus continues to teach them especially by what he does. The climax is his death on the cross followed by his resurrection. In 2012 a reprint of the useful com-mentary of James Edwards on Mark was published

James R. Edwards, The Gospel According to Mark, The Pillar New Testament Commentary, Eerdmans Publshing Co., Grand Rapids/Cambridge 2002 (reprint 2012); ISBN 978-0-85111-778-23; hardcover 552 pp., price $52,--