This volume provides enough information about each story in the Gospel of Mark and about the gospel as a whole, in order to afford an informed understanding of the gospel. The evangelist was not writing a book for submission to a committee for inclusion in the Christian Bible. Rather, he was collecting existing oral and written tradition into a coherent narrative to promote, for his own Christian community, an understanding of the ""good news"" of Jesus the Messiah. The church to which the evangelist was writing, probably in Antioch of Syria, was likely already familiar with many of the stories from the church's evolving liturgy. Christians gathered in people's homes; there were no ""churches"" as we understand that word as a specific building for Christian worship. It was in such gatherings in homes that stories were told, perhaps as the basis for a message delivered by an elder of the church. Such stories illustrated some truth about Jesus or addressed an issue of importance to the church. In other words, these individual stories were developed to serve the needs of the Christian community. Historical accuracy was not a concern of the evangelist. Proclaiming Jesus as Messiah was his primary purpose. ""With intellectual rigor and heartfelt passion for the text, Arthur Bellinzoni gives his audience what he has always offered to his students: a chance to let the text speak first in its own context. What follows is a journey toward faith for seekers and a fresh perspective for pastors, engaging mind and spirit. Deep faith is nurtured by good information. Through this unique insight into Mark's view of Jesus we are enriched and challenged."" --Virginia Miner, Transitional General Presbyter, Presbytery of Lackawanna, Scranton, Pennsylvania ""Bold, informative, deep--Bellinzoni combines decades of scholarship to produce a systematic analysis of the first Christian gospel. He conclusively proves that Mark was a compilation of earlier written texts and that this 'gospel' was not meant to be an unbiased historical account. Like many powerful sermons, the writer of Mark calls upon historical facts, but also myths and ethical sayings to promote Jesus as the messiah. Bellinzoni's work is a must for serious students of the Bible "" --Rick McLain, State University of New York, Ononodaga Community College ""Bellinzoni invites study groups on a splendid journey, preparing them for informed discussion of the multiple sources and story forms used by the Gospel of Mark's author. Understanding their use helps us distinguish what are Jesus' authentic teachings, historical facts, and teachings of the nascent church. Readers are invited to struggle with Mark's deeper meaning in order to hear his proclamation of the good news, summed up in Jesus' commandment to love God and one's neighbor."" --Nancy Lane, Reverend Mother, Life-Professed Solitary ""In his latest book, Bellinzoni accomplished for me what five years of study at a main-line theological seminary did not--to pull together into a coherent whole all I knew, supposed and doubted on the subject. His method is rigorous while crystal clear, at the end culminating in a graceful, even moving summary of what he takes to be the evangelist's method and motive."" --Turhan Tirana, Reverend Father Arthur J. Bellinzoni is Professor of Religion Emeritus at Wells College and the author of The Sayings of Jesus in the Writings of Justin Martyr (1967), The Future or Christianity: Can It Survive? (2006), The Old Testament: An Introduction to Biblical Scholarship (2008), and The New Testament: An Introduction to Biblical Scholarship (2016), and co-editor and partial author of Intellectual Honesty and Religious Commitment (1969), and The Two-Source Hypothesis: A Critical Appraisal (1985), and the editor of The Influence of the Gospel of Saint Matthew on Christian Literature Before Saint Irenaeus (1992).