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The Gospel of Mark

A Commentary

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"An accessible commentary by a great teacher. It combines historical and literary insights in a masterful way."--Adela Yarbro Collins, Yale Divinity School
The Gospel of Mark, addressed to an early Christian community perplexed by failure and suffering, presents Jesus as suffering Messiah and Son of God. Recognizing that failure and suffering continue to perplex Christians today, world-renowned New Testament scholar and theologian Francis Moloney marries the rich contributions of traditional historical scholarship with the contemporary approach to the Gospels as narrative. Now in paperback, this commentary combines the highest-level scholarship with pastoral sensitivity. It offers an accessible and thoughtful reading of Mark's narrative to bring the Gospel's story to life for contemporary readers.
1. Introduction to the Gospel of Mark
Section 1
Prologue: Mark 1:1-13
2. The Prologue (Mark 1:1-13)
Section 2
The Mystery of Jesus: Mark 1:14-8:30
3. Jesus and Israel (Mark 1:14-3:6)
4. Jesus and His New Family (Mark 3:7-6:6a)
5. Jesus and the Disciples (Mark 6:6b-8:30)
Section 3
Jesus, the Son of Man and Son of God: Mark 8:31-15:47
6. Jesus and the Disciples Journey to Jerusalem (Mark 8:31-10:52)
7. Endings in Jerusalem (Mark 11:1-13:37)
8. The Passion of Jesus (Mark 14:1-15:47)
Section 4
Epilogue: Mark 16:1-8
9. The Epilogue (Mark 16:1-8)
10. The Appendix (Mark 16:9-20)


"Here is an accessible commentary by a great teacher. It combines historical and literary insights in a masterful way."

Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

"Fr. Francis J. Moloney has given us a fine commentary on Mark that works on a number of different levels and therefore will be of use to a number of different audiences. The main part of the commentary, intelligible to any educated lay reader, sticks close to the text and story of Mark as it stands, providing a good sense of the overall story of Mark, with its own peculiar language, tone, structure, and theology. The numerous footnotes provide the more advanced reader with discussions of more detailed questions of history, traditions, sources, and modern-day debates among scholars. In sum, Fr. Moloney shows himself to be a first-class scholar and teacher."

John P. Meier, professor of theology, University of Notre Dame

"Moloney has provided the same detailed and thoughtful reading of Mark's narrative that scholars familiar with his earlier work on John would expect. He incorporates the latest results of modern scholarship to show how carefully the evangelist has crafted a narrative out of earlier Jesus traditions. Based on the Greek text, this book provides a study of the Gospel for pastors, seminary students, and intermediate-level students."

Pheme Perkins, professor of theology, Boston College

"In his major commentary, F. J. Moloney succeeds in interpreting Mark's Gospel at the highest scholarly level and also in a way that will be comprehensible to general readers. Moloney is one of those rare exegetes who is thoroughly familiar with the specialized literature on both sides of the Atlantic, so that this ranks as a truly 'international' commentary."

Udo Schnelle, professor of New Testament, University of Halle, Germany

"Francis Moloney has written an insightful commentary on the Gospel of Mark that will serve readers well--scholars and laity alike. Readers are treated to judicious treatment of important issues and troublesome passages. Moloney has a knack for clarifying Mark's goals and theological interests. This commentary is highly recommended."

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies, Acadia Divinity College

The Author

  1. Francis J. Moloney SDB
    © Peter Casamento

    Francis J. Moloney SDB

    Francis J. Moloney, SDB (DPhil, University of Oxford), is Senior Professorial Fellow at Catholic Theological College, University of Divinity, in Melbourne, Australia. He is the former Provincial Superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco for Australia and the...

    Continue reading about Francis J. Moloney SDB


"Throughout the commentary Moloney treats the text and its narrative flow while keeping technical discussions to the footnotes. This consistent format allows the work to contribute to scholarly discussions while remaining a resource for pastors and teachers. . . . Its layout is very clear, with discussions of discrete passages easy to locate. . . . I have found it immensely useful in both writing and preparation for homilies. . . . A supremely useful volume on Mark."--Timothy Gombis, Review of Biblical Literature

"It should be evident that Moloney has given us a commentary that is theologically rich and pastorally sensitive. Predictably, in a Gospel so puzzling as this, one may pick nits with him in isolated matters. In the aggregate, however, such quibbles would not touch the fundamental soundness of the author's procedure and judgment. If this volume's freestanding dissociation from any series of commentaries were to obscure its achievement, such would be a terrible pity."--C. Clifton Black, Interpretation

"The commentary is detailed, penetrating, and theologically rich and would be accessible to the biblically literate if not expert reader, so it should be useful for preachers and students as well as scholars. For the latter, Moloney also provides a wealth of footnotes where he interacts with other interpreters of the Gospel. An extensive introduction reviews the currents of scholarship on this Gospel."--The Bible Today

"This is an eminently readable commentary. It is not lengthy, nor does it become bogged down in critical issues. Moloney takes readers to the heart of the matter quickly, but does provide fair, succinct summaries of the competing interpretations."--Craig A. Evans, Bulletin for Biblical Research

"The commentary is both a rich and insightful window into the Markan text. Many important textual issues are judiciously treated in the footnotes. However, such technical discussions do not deflect Moloney from his central purpose, illuminating the Markan story of God being operative in Jesus of Nazareth. As such, this work is a significant reading of Mark's Gospel and deserves careful study."--Paul Foster, Expository Times

"Moloney demonstrates the ability to simultaneously work at the highest scholarly level and yet write an exposition that is clear, concise, and comprehensible to any educated layperson. He provides numerous footnotes, including detailed scholarly discussions on a variety of interpretative issues--which would be of interest to the more advanced reader. This commentary, then, is useful to a wide readership and would be a valuable asset to any library."--Toronto Journal of Theology

"Moloney's work offers a fine description of the present status of exegetical, literary and theological research on the gospel of Mark."--Agusti Borelli, Biblica

"This book is very readable and would be appropriate for adult church groups as well as academic study." --Religious Studies Review

"A major work of exegetical scholarship."--International Review of Biblical Studies

"The Gospel of Mark is a taut text. Behind the text is a gifted storyteller who is also a thoughtful theologian. Aptly, Francis J. Moloney characterizes this gospel as a theology of Jesus and his followers. His commentary, which combines literary, historical and theological insights, provides at the highest scholarly level, and at the same time in a manner comprehensible to general readers, an excellent sense of the overall story of Mark. . . . In short, this fascinating and very readable commentary does justice to the storytelling genius and theological acumen of Mark. It is quite splendid."--Proceedings of the Irish Biblical Association (PIBA)

"The Gospel of Mark is a nicely written exposition of the biblical text which shows appreciation of the plot of Mark's narrative and his theological purpose. It is based on the Greek text and untranslated Greek script appears here and there, but it should be quite possible for readers without Greek to use it. The footnotes contain a great deal of helpful discussion of recent scholarship while the main text is allowed to flow freely."--Themelios

"Moloney has submitted a very comprehensible and persuasive interpretation of the earliest Gospel. By concentrating on Mark's achievements as storyteller and his interest in encountering human failure, Moloney necessarily must neglect certain aspects of tradition or theology, but this does not diminish the stimulating character of his commentary."--Review of Biblical Literature

"This commentary is well written and documented. . . . Every reader of the New Testament should wrestle with Moloney's method."--Graydon F. Snyder, Currents in Theology and Mission

"A useful resource for understanding Mark's Gospel. . . . The remarks on the text of the Gospel are written in a fairly easy-to-read narrative, rather than a phrase-by-phrase or word-by-word analysis. This approach seems most appropriate given the literary/narrative concerns of Moloney. . . . Overall, I find Moloney's thoughts and comments about Mark's Gospel insightful, helpful, and valuable. . . . I trust that Moloney's contribution to Markan studies will be well received by those seeking to understand and appreciate Mark's story of Jesus."--Kevin W. Larsen, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

"There are many useful literary insights and interesting pieces of historical information, the Greek being given where applicable, as well as a good number of passages where the text is elucidated in a new or well-focused manner. Very comprehensive and helpful material on Mark's use of the Old Testament as well as general comments on the Old Testament background are also provided. . . . [This commentary] is well researched, takes account of differing types of textual criticism, and keeps to its aim of tracing what this gospel narrative might be saying to a failing and suffering early Christian community."--Maxine West, Journal of Theological Studies

"[This] commentary serves as an intuitive, user-friendly exposition of Mark, thoroughly conversant with contemporary scholarship and excellent in every respect. . . . [It] would prove exceptionally helpful as a conversation partner among other voices."--Greg Carey, Lexington Theological Quarterly

"One of the most informative and best-researched Marcan commentaries available."--Tat-siong Benny Liew, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

"[This book] is scholarly and copiously annotated, drawing on a broad range of approaches to the material. . . . [It is] useful to a range of readers."--Nicholas H. Taylor, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"[This commentary] is scholarly and copiously annotated, drawing on a broad range of approaches to the material. . . . This new impression will accordingly be useful to a range of readers."--Nicholas H. Taylor, Journal for the Study of the New Testament

"[This work is] worthy of scholarly engagement. I commend this book to those interested in Mark."--Michael Halcomb, Stone-Campbell Journal

"Moloney's commentary is clearly laid out and stays focused on demonstrating how Mark's Christology foregrounds Jesus as the suffering Son of God. . . . Moloney's work on Mark has been proved by its usefulness in the church and academy. . . . It remains a good introductory resource for academics and a handy reference for pastors and lay people."--Mark Batluck, Expository Times