Peter Bolt explores the impact of Mark's Gospel on its early readers in the first-century Graeco-Roman world. His book focuses upon the thirteen characters in Mark who come to Jesus for healing or exorcism and, using analytical tools of narrative and reader-response criticism, explores their crucial role in the communication of the Gospel. Bolt suggests that early readers of Mark would be persuaded that Jesus' dealings with the suppliants show him casting back the shadow of death and that this in itself is preparatory for Jesus' final defeat of death in resurrection. Enlisting a variety of ancient literary and non-literary sources in an attempt to illuminate this first-century world, this book gives special attention to illness, magic and the Roman imperial system. This is a new approach to Mark which attempts to break the impasse between narrative and historical studies and will appeal to scholars and students alike.