The Gospel of Mark: Chapter and Verse
It is said, ‘You can’t judge a book by the cover.’ Well, with this book you can. The cover artwork summarises much of the book!
‘Chapter and Verse’ interprets as ‘in thorough and exact detail’: consider, ‘She gave chapter and verse on the incident when she got home.’ Thorough and exact detail is what is offered in this book which promotes a first-century approach to reading Mark’s Gospel, to secure the reading the writer always intended, chiefly for memorising and recital, but also for the clarity of its message. This book’s purely literary analysis is one that the Church and Academe have been denied for at least seventeen-hundred years.
Dr Palmer first published his successful doctoral thesis under the title: The Markan Matrix: A Literary-Structural Analysis of the Gospel of Mark (1999; ISBN: 0-9513661-2-2). Twenty-one years later, with time on his hands because of the UK ‘lock-down’ (due to the Coronavirus pandemic), he has seen fit to re-visit it and re-title it. He includes important revisions, a simpler presentation of the Greek and a very helpful literal-English translation. He has shared new insights too, on the importance of Mark’s Gospel to the Church’s developing understanding of its Faith and its requirement of literature.
Because of what is presented, we can now:
• identify the writer’s writing style
• locate with pinpoint precision the original divisions of his text
• describe the book’s structure
• jettison ‘chapter and verse’ and use again the book’s own self-referencing system
• establish the book’s leading ideas and purposes
• reconstitute/critically restore the original text
• read, teach and preach this Gospel in the way that the writer always intended
• delight in reading its poetic presentation, and
• assess the Gospel’s contribution to Christian Faith and its influence on the Literature that followed it.
Dr Palmer adds, ‘To say we can now jettison chapter and verse gives me much joy. When we do this, we will liberate this Gospel, its writer, our minds, the Church and Academe!’
In the 30s, after ‘one died’, Christianity launched itself into the world. In the 70s, after ‘a million died’, it re-launched itself with the help of Mark’s Gospel, a Greek Tragedy of a Drama shaped for popular public performance. To a point, Dr Palmer’s book is asking how the Christian Church will re-launch itself in the 2020s after the pandemic.
Rev Dr David G Palmer is both a Methodist Minister and Architect whose research