This volume by respected scholar, R. T. France, now in a more economical paperback edition, is simply one of the best commentaries that exists for the Gospel of Mark. I was intrigued on page 1 when Mr. France explained the type of commentary that he was writing. Specifically, he chose not to write a commentary on the commentaries of Mark, but on Mark itself. He went with a fresh view of what was important from all his scholarly studies. It was exciting to read: “my concern is with the exegesis of the text of Mark, not with theories about its prehistory or the process of its composition.”
He covered everything in his Introduction to the Gospel of Mark that you would expect in a major commentary. He was at his best when he discussed the structure of the book. His seeing this gospel as “drama in three acts”, as well as other possibilities of the design of Mark, was riveting. He really opened up several wonderful lines of thought for me on this Gospel.
You will appreciate as well his discussion of Christology in Mark. His discussion of subthemes like discipleship, the Kingdom of God, secrecy, and eschatology were all well done. He paid keen attention to geography as well. I particularly loved his brevity on the Synoptic Problem followed by this conclusion: “In the light of that situation, I do not need a solution to the Synoptic Problem.”
The commentary proper also lived up to expectations. There was depth and insight tied to succinctness throughout. He kept the more obscure information in the textual notes at the end of each section of commentary.
This is an important commentary on the Gospel of Mark that every serious Bible student will need on his or her shelves. I warmly recommend it.
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.