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The Theology of the Gospel of Mark (New Testament Theology) [Paperback]

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Item Specifications...

Pages   275
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.36" Width: 5.39" Height: 0.57"
Weight:   0.76 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Dec 29, 2008
Publisher   Cambridge University Press
ISBN  0521439779  
EAN  9780521439770  

Availability  0 units.

New Testament Theology - Full Series Preview
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  The Theology of the Pastoral Letters (New Testament Theology)   $ 46.45   In Stock  

Item Description...
The product of a number of years of reflection on the Gospel of Mark, this book explains in a clear and understandable way the contribution that the evangelist has made to the theology of the developing Jesus tradition. Joining forces with those who see Mark as a theologian of some considerable creativity, Dr. Telford emphasizes the importance of context (the historical and the contemporary) and method (the historical-critical approach with insights drawn from the newer literary approaches) for the proper understanding of Mark.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
The Theology of W. R. Telford  Mar 21, 2003
Telford's treatment of the theology of Mark's gospel follows an expected pattern - introduction, theology, place in canon, relevance for today - but seems to entirely miss the point of the series of books of which this one is a part.

Telford's style and format are excellent. He constantly moves in linear progression from one thought to the next, building his arugments and then summarizing where he has just taken the reader before tranisitioning to the next topic. By far he has done a much better job of maintaining focus and coherency than many other writings in this series. And for this reason he gets two stars and not one.

Professor Telford seems to exemplify what Kierkergaard wrote concerning the biblical scholars of his day - that most scholarship is an attempt not to know and understand the NT more intimately but instead to put more and more padding between it and oneself. Telford seems to make all the right arugments concerning Mark's composition, theology and place in the canon and yet seems so far from the message that Mark has to give. It is as if Telford were constructing an enormous jigsaw puzzle but, when completed, didn't care for the picture it created.

Telford's overriding thurst is that Mark's gospel was written to combat what the author saw as errant christologies by replacing it with a Son of God Christology. The use of the secret motif, the debate with the Jewish opponents, and the disciples inability are all supposed to point to this supreme center.

However, I find Telford's construction tedious at best. Assuming that literary criticism and redactional methods (among other tools) enable historical truth, he makes assumptions that I find hard to maintain. The confidence he places in viewing so much of Mark through his christological lens, for example, is found wanting when he makes virtually no effort to explain his preponderance for assuming not only the existence of Q - the hypothetical source that he admits is hypothetical - but also its exact content to the extent that it can be compared with Mark's final product. Furthermore, his insistence on "the historical Jesus" over and against the evangelist's presentation comes across as veiled smugness that anyone would believe such mythic nonsense.

In reality, it is not hard to see why Telford has so little interest is Jesus - historical or otherwise. His specialty is in Christian Origins and he treats the whole of this book as though he were writing the history of the early church. It is utterly apparent that Telford has a strong inclination toward seeing not only a competing Jewish/Gentile Christianity (no doubt reminsicent of Bauer's theory) but to a clash of nearly every early Christian movement with another. His treatment on Mark in the canon is no less than a thorough look at every book in the NT (with little real interest in comparing it with Mark) and how they all compete with one another. Telford is doing Christian Origins in this book!

Finally, his treatment on Mark's relevance for today is laughable. On staff with a church I find his input completely useless. In fact, he hardly refers to the church at all, maintaining that since Mark was written in such an alien environment it has little bearing on today's world. Moving on to the secular world he does little more than ask questions and provide no answer. Does Mark promote or denigrate women? Well, we don't know. Does Mark promote anti-Semitism? Well, who's to say? Does Mark promote non-violent resistance? Too hard to tell. It is clear that Telford has no interest in Mark's message at all apart from what it can tell him about the schematization of early Christianity.

In the end it is clear that the academy's insights to church documents provide little in the way of help to the church itself when the academy is indifferent (or hostile) to the message of the church. As should be clear, I would not suggest this book and will only keep it to have a complete collection of the New Testament Theology series which as otherwise proved very good overall so far.


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