Mark as Story
An Introduction to the Narrative of a Gospel
Publication Year: 2012
In this third edition of Mark as Story, Rhoads, Dewey, and Michie take their treatment of the Gospel of Mark to new levels. While retaining their clear and thorough analysis of Mark as a narrative, they now place their study of Mark in the context of orality. The new preface explains the role of Mark in a predominantly oral culture. Throughout the study, they refer to the author as composer, the narrator as performer, the Gospel as oral composition, and the audience as gathered communities. The conclusion hypothesizes a performance scenario of Mark in Palestine shortly after the Roman-Judean War of 66 to 70 CE.
The new edition also highlights the dimensions of Mark that stand in contrast to imperial worldviews and values. The authors argue that the performance of Mark itself was a means to draw audiences into a non-imperial world based on mutual service rather than hierarchical domination. In so doing, they shift the Gospel’s center of gravity from the end of the story to the beginning, configuring it not as "a passion narrative with an extended introduction" but as "the arrival of the rule of God with an extended denouement."
Performing Mark: The appendices for students at the end of the book that offer exercises to interpret the narrative of Mark now also include "Exercises for Learning and Telling Episodes" from the Gospel of Mark by heart as part of the learning process.
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright
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Preface to the Third Edition
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...the primary purpose of all three editions of this book is the same: to serve as an introduction to the Gospel of Mark as a story. We are not so much trying to give an interpretation of Mark—though of course we do that—as we are endeav-oring to show how narrative analysis can illuminate a text, using Mark as our example. The approach followed in the successive editions of this book has come to be known in biblical studies as narrative criticism—the analysis of formal fea-...
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When we enter the story of the Gospel of Mark, we enter a world of con-flict and suspense, a world of surprising reversals and strange ironies, a world of riddles and hidden meanings, a world of subversive actions and political intrigues. And the protagonist—Jesus—is most surprising of all. The Gospel of Mark deals with the great issues—life and death, good and evil, God and Satan, triumph and failure, human morality and human destiny, and the ...
Chapter 1: The Gospel of Mark
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The translation that follows is set out as a short story without chapter and verse designations, so that readers may experience the narrative as an integrated whole.1 The paragraph divisions mark a shift in scene, a change of speaker, or the end of a conflict. Punctuation often serves to establish connections in the narrative and to emphasize the developing action. None of these features appears in the early ...
Chapter 2: The Narrator
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...stories that share the same basic content can be told in many ways. Each author or composer will have a different style of narrating, a different point of view, and different objectives in telling a story. One way, therefore, to get at the distinc-tiveness of a story is to explore the dynamics of storytelling. Because the narrator of a story represents the sum total of the author’s choices in getting a story told, we will deal with the key categories of storytelling under the rubric of the narra-...
Chapter 3: The Settings
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...settings provide the narrative with a “world” where events take place and char-acters act. Settings in a narrative include the cosmic depiction of space and time, the cultural ethos, and the political configurations of the story world, geo-In an unfolding story world, settings are not incidental backdrops to events. Rather, settings serve many functions: generating atmosphere, providing the occasion for a conflict, revealing traits of the characters as they interact with the ...
Chapter 4: The Plot
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Plot has to do with events: how they are arranged, how they are connected, and what they reveal. Events are actions or happenings that bring about change. Events, of course, are inseparable from settings and characters: settings provide the conditions for events, and characters are the agents who cause and react to events. But to focus on plot enables us to see the design of events that gives a nar-In this chapter, we will look at Mark’s plot briefly from several different angles ...
Chapter 5: The Characters I: Jesus
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...an analysis of the characters in Mark’s story overlaps the analysis of the con-flicts, because characters are integrally related to plot. At one level, charac-ters are agents in a plot—a character aspires to a goal, a character is the object of an action, other characters help to further goals or become obstacles to them, and so on. Yet the reverse is also true: the actions of the plot are expressions of the characters, and they reveal the characters for who they are. In this sense, char-...
Chapter 6: The Characters II: The Authorities, the Disciples, and the Minor Characters
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In this chapter, we turn our attention from Jesus the protagonist to the characters with whom Jesus interacts: the authorities with whom Jesus is in conflict from the beginning, because they reject Jesus and the rule of God he proclaims; the disciples, who struggle to follow Jesus and enter the rule of God; and finally the minor characters with whom Jesus interacts briefly but who nevertheless help to In Mark, the Judean and Roman authorities in Israel hold positions of power, share the same basic traits, and are united by their common opposition to Jesus ...
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We have been focusing on the storytelling and the story. Now we focus on the hearers, or audiences, as they engage in the process of experiencing the story in performance. Like a reader, the audience responds to the story in a linear, temporal fashion from the first word to the last.1 Unlike a reader, hearers cannot skip ahead, skim, or look back. What is the audience experiencing, and how is the audience being affected by that experience? Here we shift from asking ...
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...ancient audiences interacted with performers; performers would adapt per-formances to the interests and situation of their audiences. Modern readers cannot affect the printed text in direct interaction, but they can think of reading as a dialogue—a meaningful exchange between the story and the reader.1 Each partner has power over what happens in the dialogue. On the one hand, a story seeks to influence readers—to affect them for good or for ill, to change people, ...
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In 1980, while serving as a parish pastor in southeast Texas, I talked with a direc-tor of theological education about the possibility of pursuing a PhD in New Tes-tament. He encouraged the postgraduate study, but not my choice of fields. “Every verse of that poor book,” he told me, “has been so thoroughly analyzed, that there is just nothing more to say. Unless something new comes along . . .”This was disappointing. I wanted to study the New Testament, but I did not ...
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Selected Bibliography for the Third Edition
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Page Count: 208
Publication Year: 2012