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The First Biography of Jesus

Genre and Meaning in Mark's Gospel
  • By Helen K. Bond
Product Description

What difference does it make to identify Mark's gospel as an ancient biography?

Reading the gospels as ancient biographies makes a profound difference to the way that we interpret them. Biography immortalizes the memory of the subject, creating a literary monument to the person's life and teaching. Yet it is also a bid to legitimize a specific view of that figure and to position an author and his audience as appropriate "gatekeepers" of that memory. Biography was well suited to the articulation of shared values and commitments, the formation of group identity, and the binding together of a past story, present concerns, and future hopes.

Helen Bond argues that Mark's author used the genre of biography to extend the gospel from an earlier narrow focus on the death and resurrection of Jesus so that it included the way of life of its founding figure. Situating Jesus at the heart of a biography was a bold step in outlining a radical form of Christian discipleship patterned on the life - and death - of Jesus.

Table of Contents


The Present Volume
Time, Place and Author

Chapter 1 - Mark as a bios

From the Ancients to Votaw
The Eclipse of Biography
A Jewish Background?
The Return of Graeco-Roman Biography
The Last 25 Years

Chapter 2 - Ancient bioi

The Emergence of Biography
Biography and Morality
Depictions of Death
Biographical Fact and Fiction
The Preserve of the Elite?
Sub-Groups and Sub-Types?

Chapter 3 - Mark the Biographer

Profile of a Biographer
Mark's Christian Readers
Mark's Structure
Pre-Markan Tradition
Authorial Voice

Chapter 4 - A Life of Jesus

Mark's Opening Section (1:1-15)
Temptation and Resolve
Jesus in Galilee (1:16-8:21)
Teaching on Discipleship (8:22-10:52)
Jerusalem (11:1-13:44)
Imitation of Jesus
Jesus' Appearance

Chapter 5 - Other Characters

Peripheral Characters
Markan Intercalations - a form of synkrisis?
"King Herod"
The High Priest/Pilate
The Twelve
"Minor Characters"

Chapter 6 - The Death of Jesus

A Slave's Death
Setting up an Ending
King of the Jews
Events Around Jesus' Death
The Disappearance of the Body

Final Reflections


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  • Additional Details
  • Additional Details
    Product Specs
    • SKU: 9780802874603
    • Manufacturer: William B Eerdmans Pub Co
    • ISBN 13: 9780802874603
    • Publication Date: 04/30/2020
    • Format: Paperback
    • Author: Helen K. Bond
    • Width: 1.00 inches
    • Height: 1.00 inches
    • Length: 1.00 inches
    • Weight: 0.06 pounds

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