dinsdag 29 januari 2013

Review of: Mary Ann Beavis, Mark (PAIDEIA), Baker Academic, 2011

Mary Ann Beavis, Mark (PAIDEIA), Baker Academic, 2011

Review in: The Expository Times 2012 124: 88
Review door: Paul Foster
Gevonden op: http://ext.sagepub.com/content/124/2/88.full.pdf+html

Paideia Commentary on Mark
Mary Ann Beavis, Mark – Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Academic, 2011. $27.99. pp. xvii + 302. ISBN: 978-0-8010-3437-4).

Mary Ann Beavis has established herself as a leading scholar on Mark’s gospel. It is, therefore, with some expectation that one looks forward to her commentary on the gospel. Expectations are not disappointed. Beavis is fully aware of the aims of the Paideia series and writes consciously and elegantly with those expectations in mind. The commentary is shaped by pedagogical concerns, and a desire to focus upon the text in its ‘current form’ (p.28). The approach taken is multi-faceted with the exegesis informed by insights from ‘source, form, redaction, reader/audience response, rhetorical, social scientific, feminist’ criticism. In the introduction the standard questions are addressed, with the gospel seen to be written by a certain Mark (although not necessarily the John Mark known elsewhere in the NT), Rome is seen as the most likely place for composition – although Galilee or nearby southern Syria are seen as viable alternatives, and the content of the gospel ‘points to a date near the Roman defeat of Jerusalem’ (p. 12). Other topics treated in the introduction relate to genre, literary features, major themes, and the structure of the gospel.

The major exegetical sections of the commentary are divided into ‘introductory matters’, ‘tracing the narrative flow’, and ‘theological issues’. Mark 1.1-13 is treated as the prologue, Mark 1.14-15 as a transitional summary statement. In some ways this attempts to break the scholarly impasse of whether vv. 14-15 belong to the prologue or to the body of the gospel. Thereafter, Beavis structures the gospel into five acts, each followed by a teaching interlude, and concluded with the epilogue of the women at the tomb. There is no attempt to treat any of the ‘endings’ of Mark which follow on from Mark 16.8. Given that the commentary states that it is treating the ‘current form’ of the text, maybe this should have been glossed to explain that statement presumably means the earliest recoverable form of the text, or the text form as printed in major critical editions of the Greek NT. The exegesis is sure-footed throughout, and the additional use of text boxes, diagrams, and pictures, adds much to this commentary as a pedagogical tool. That comment is not meant to imply that this commentary has nothing of value for the seasoned scholar. There is much here that is worthwhile, and deserving of reflection and study.

Beavis has produced an incisive and instructive commentary. It will be highly prized by students, and regularly consulted by scholars. This is a welcome addition to the impressive Paideia series.

School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh


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