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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition
Oden, Thomas C.

Downer's Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2011 pp. 279. $22.00


Description: We often regard the author of the Gospel of Mark as an obscure figure about whom we know little. Many would be surprised to learn how much fuller a picture of Mark exists within widespread African tradition, tradition that holds that Mark himself was from North Africa, that he founded the church in Alexandria, that he was an eyewitness to the Last Supper and Pentecost, that he was related not only to Barnabas but to Peter as well and accompanied him on many of his travels. In this provocative reassessment of early church tradition, Thomas C. Oden begins with the palette of New Testament evidence and adds to it the range of colors from traditional African sources, including synaxaries (compilations of short biographies of saints to be read on feast days), archaeological sites, non-Western historical documents and ancient churches. The result is a fresh and illuminating portrait of Mark, one that is deeply rooted in African memory and seldom viewed appreciatively in the West.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Mark, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation


Review by J. Christopher Edwards
Read the Review
Published 12/5/2012
Citation: J. Christopher Edwards, review of Thomas C. Oden, The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2012).


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