Mark on the Margins: Why Did the Gospel of Mark Survive?

In spite of the virtually unanimous ecclesiastical tradition that the evangelist Mark was the interpreter of Peter, the most prestigious leader among the Apostles in Christian memory, the Gospel of Mark was mostly neglected in the Patristic period. Moreover, the explicit Patristic comments about the evangelist Mark reveal some ambivalence about the Gospel’s literary and theological value. This paper will explore the reasons why some later Christian intellectuals were hesitant to embrace Mark, especially highlighting their concerns that Mark could be read as amenable to the theological views of their opponents. Michael Kok

I want to highly recommend Michael J. Kok’s new book, The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2015). This is a substantial work, running 400 pages, and the retail price might seem a bit steep to some, but you can get it through Fortress for 40% off (less than Amazon paperback or Kindle). I am not sure how long this sale will last so act fast if you have a serious interest in Christian Origins and add this book to your library and reading list.

Kok Gospel of Mark

Introduction: The Paradoxical Reception of Mark’s Gospel
Part I: The Construction of Mark as the Interpreter of Peter
1. The Decline of the Patristic Consensus
2. The Reemergence of the Patristic Tradition
3. From Paul’s Fellow Worker to Peter’s Interpreter
Part II: The Ideological Function of the Patristic Tradition
4. Toward a Theory of the Patristic Reception of Mark
5. The Gospel on the Margins of the Canon
6. The Clash of Rival Interpreters
Conclusion: The Centrist Christian Appropriation of Mark
Appendix: The Carpocratians and the Mystic Gospel of Mark

Michael offers a succinct overview of his work in an at Bible & Interpretation, “Why Did the Gospel of Mark Survive?” He also has a blog, “Euangelion Kata Markon,  dedicated just to studies of Mark with lots of links, resources, and posts–well worth bookmarking. I might note that the blog has a section “Student Resources,” useful for those teaching or beginning to study Christian Origins. Michael received his PhD in biblical studies at the University of Sheffield under the direction of James Crossley.