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series: Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament

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"Balanced in judgment and offering numerous astute observations, this work should prove highly useful, especially to serious readers seeking a reliable introduction and companion for their study of Mark's account of Jesus's ministry."--Larry W. Hurtado, New College, University of Edinburgh

In this addition to the well-received Paideia series, Mary Ann Beavis examines cultural context and theological meaning in Mark. Students, pastors, and other readers will appreciate the insights that Beavis derives from interrogating the text through multiple perspectives.

About the Series

Paideia commentaries explore how New Testament texts form Christian readers by

Editorial Board

Paul J. Achtemeier (emeritus, Union Theological Seminary in Virginia)
Loveday Alexander (University of Sheffield)
C. Clifton Black (Princeton Theological Seminary)
Susan R. Garrett (Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary)
Francis J. Moloney, SDB (Salesian Province of Australia)
List of Figures
Mark 1:1-13 Prologue: John and Jesus
Mark 1:14-15 Transition: Summary of the Good News
Mark 1:16-3:35 Act 1: Jesus in Galilee
Mark 4:1-34 Interlude: Teaching in Parables
Mark 4:35-6:56 Act 2: Beyond Galilee
Mark 7:1-23 Interlude: Teaching on Ritual and Moral Purity
Mark 7:24-9:29 Act 3: Mission in Gentile Regions
Mark 9:30-10:52 Interlude: Teaching on the Way to Jerusalem
Mark 11:1-12:44 Act 4: Opposition in Jerusalem
Mark 13:1-37 Interlude: Teaching on the End Times
Mark 14:1-15:47 Act 5: Passion Narrative
Mark 16:1-8 Epilogue: The Empty Tomb


"Beavis brings to this commentary ample familiarity with the text of Mark and with ancient literature more broadly. Balanced in judgment and offering numerous astute observations, this work should prove highly useful, especially to serious readers seeking a reliable introduction and companion for their study of Mark's account of Jesus's ministry."

Larry W. Hurtado, professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology, New College, University of Edinburgh

"In this new commentary on Mark, Mary Ann Beavis focuses on the story told by the evangelist and what it would have meant for its earliest hearers. Building on her previous work on the Gospel, she concentrates on the 'narrative flow' as she traces the way in which Mark's story develops as a story in five acts. Students just beginning their exploration of the Gospel will find this commentary especially useful, but every reader is certain to find in it something new and illuminating."

Morna D. Hooker, Lady Margaret's Professor Emerita, University of Cambridge

"This is exactly the kind of commentary I would want to put in the hands of students who have taken my introductory course on the Gospels and are eager to go deeper. Mary Ann Beavis has already established herself as a careful reader of Mark's Gospel, and here she skillfully guides less-experienced readers into an informed engagement with Mark's dramatic story of Jesus as it unfolds from beginning to end. The guidance she provides into the narrative flow of the Gospel is enriched by a variety of other elements, including maps and sidebars, insights into the first-century world, carefully chosen excerpts from commentators ancient and modern, and bracing theological reflection. Warmly recommended."

Terence L. Donaldson, Lord and Lady Coggan Professor of New Testament Studies, Wycliffe College, Toronto

"While deftly drawing on patterns of Greek tragedy to illuminate Mark's Gospel, this commentary is a marvelous triumph! Thoroughly engaged with ancient sources and contemporary scholarship, Beavis offers a historically rich, literarily astute, and theologically sensitive exposition of Mark, chock-full of valuable information and insight for a wide range of readers. This work provides an immensely satisfying guidebook through Mark's narrative for both introductory and more advanced students."

F. Scott Spencer, author of Passions of the Christ

The Author

  1. Mary Ann Beavis

    Mary Ann Beavis

    Mary Ann Beavis (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor emeritus of religion and culture at St. Thomas More College, University of Saskatchewan, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is the author of Jesus and Utopia: Looking for the Kingdom of God in the...

    Continue reading about Mary Ann Beavis


"Mary Ann Beavis has established herself as a leading scholar on Mark's gospel. It is, therefore, with some expectation that one looks forward to her commentary on the gospel. Expectations are not disappointed. Beavis is fully aware of the aims of the Paideia series and writes consciously and elegantly with those expectations in mind. . . . The exegesis is sure-footed throughout, and the additional use of text boxes, diagrams, and pictures, adds much to this commentary as a pedagogical tool. That comment is not meant to imply that this commentary has nothing of value for the seasoned scholar. There is much here that is worthwhile, and deserving of reflection and study. Beavis has produced an incisive and instructive commentary. It will be highly prized by students, and regularly consulted by scholars. This is a welcome addition to the impressive Paideia series."

Paul Foster,

Expository Times

"Beavis's long-standing interest in Mark has borne fruit in this succinct and helpful commentary. She is clear on her own reading but fair to those who differ. . . . This is a very readable, attractively produced and accessible commentary. It has sufficient detail--and helpful sidebars--to serve historical interests, but consistently reflects theological interests as well."

Kent E. Brower,

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"A well-written and easy-to-use addition to the Paideia Commentary Series on the NT. In keeping with the series, it is aimed at students in religious studies programs, theological colleges, and seminaries, while also trying to address the needs of pastors and scholars. . . . The work includes many sidebars that address specific issues related to understanding Mark. It also contains figures and photographs that visually illustrate concepts and make historical references concrete for the reader. . . . Coming from a teaching background, Beavis writes a commentary with many summaries of topics relevant to both the study of the Gospels in general . . . and issues in Mark in particular. . . . These summaries lay the necessary ground work making the commentary useful to first-year students and would be one of the reasons why it could be included in a recommended reading list for a course on Mark."

Matthew D. Jensen,

Bulletin for Biblical Research

"This valuable new commentary series is geared to students of the New Testament who are also interested in the theological dimension of the biblical text. . . . [Beavis] provides a rich and thoughtful commentary on Mark. . . . Her commentary is judicious and interacts with a wide variety of modern and classic interpretations. The intended readers will find this a reliable guide to Mark's gospel and its challenging theology."

Donald Senior, CP,

The Bible Today

"Beavis distinguishes her book from other commentaries on Mark by her sustained focus on classroom needs. . . . Teachers who order this book for their students will find their classrooms enriched. In the introduction Beavis details vital issues for reading Mark in light of its literary and historical contexts. . . . Beavis is excellent at introducing these subjects, because, while she makes her own interpretive decisions clear, she always does so in a way that leaves students room to consider all the major scholarly alternatives for themselves. . . . This work will contribute to the task of making classrooms where students are studying Mark into vital learning environments because even works with which one disagrees foster the give and take of critical dialogue and the conflict of interpretations, which are what make for educational excellence."

Jeff Jay,

Review of Biblical Literature

"[Beavis] draw[s] on a career of substantial work on the Gospel of Mark and an impressive familiarity with other scholarly works in the field. Beavis follows her own translation of Mark and provides a number of helpful text insets by which readers can explore related topics. . . . The great strength of this commentary is its effective integration at two main levels. The first is the level of scholarly opinion. Given the relatively brief space with which she must work, Beavis does a remarkable job describing a spectrum of perspectives on the major interpretive issues, but without compromising the coherence of her own exegetical voice. The second level of integration pertains to Mark's cultural background, at once both Jewish and Greco-Roman. Beavis rightly draws more heavily on Mark's Jewish background. . . . But her work in Greco-Roman literature and culture produces many insights as well. . . . Pastors and lay leaders can trust that this commentary represents mainstream scholarship quite well. . . . Beavis' reflections on 'theological issues' (following each section of commentary) discern some interesting and thought-provoking intersections between Mark and contemporary culture. . . . The commentary could also work well in courses within a more secular academic department."

Ira Brent Driggers,


"Beavis's excellent commentary, in a series emphasizing the pedagogical aims of NT texts, is written for contemporary students. It is an impressive work of scholarship and will be valuable for a wide variety of NT readers. Beavis's knowledge of Greco-Roman and Jewish sources is extensive, and the text contains numerous relevant photos of architectural and historical locations, diagrams, quotes from ancient sources, and sidebars with discussions of key issues that help to contextualize the gospel for students. . . . The text is both erudite and accessible, making it an ideal text for a variety of courses on the gospel from the undergraduate level to graduate level introductions to the gospel or NT. Beavis has solidified her importance as a Markan interpreter and provided a resource for contemporary and future readers of Mark."

Thomas M. Anderson,

Religious Studies Review

"A helpful, brief commentary."

Ray Van Neste,


Praise for the Paideia series

"The Paideia commentary series has established itself as a solid series of concise works that focus on the final form of the biblical text, highlighting narrative flow, rhetorical devices and structure, and commenting particularly on relevant historical background and theological significance."

Craig L. Blomberg,

Denver Journal

"[I] continue to be impressed by the contributors' skill in combining academic rigor with accessibility. . . . The [series] authors . . . combine historical and linguistic analysis with theological reflection, which makes these commentaries useful for those interested in bridging the gap between the ancient world and contemporary Christianity (seminarians, clergy). . . . Frequent inserts with asides [offer] additional explanations or attempts to relate ancient texts to contemporary issues."

Michael Gilmour,

Catholic Biblical Quarterly