Click here to get the answers to the most commonly asked RBL questions.

Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Mark: Shaping the Life and Legacy of Jesus
Smith, Abraham

Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2015 pp. xiii + 101. €14.95

Series Information
Phoenix Guides to the New Testament, 2

Description: This Guide reads the Gospel of Mark as a first-century CE story about Jesus, for his followers, and against tyranny or the abusive use of power. First, the book examines how the Gospel uses the form of a traditional laudatory biography (a ‘Life’) to reshape the memory of the shame-ridden trials and suffering of Jesus. Such a biography portrayed Jesus’ descent (as a son of God), his deeds, and his heroic death, dispelling any notion that the teacher Jesus was a charlatan or huckster. Second, by examining how the Gospel devotes so much space to Jesus’ training of his disciples—as he calls, commissions, and corrects them in preparation for the difficult moments of their journey—, this Guide also presents Mark’s biography as an inspirational story for disciples. Such learners would be eager to profit from the mistakes that the Markan disciples made in their journey. Third, by highlighting the Gospel’s special characterizations of Jesus—as a prophetic envoy, a man of authority, and a philosophical hero—this Guide contrasts Jesus’ use of power (authorized, liberating, lasting, and others-directed) with the abusive use of power by Rome’s representatives (Herod Antipas and Pilate). The Gospel of Mark sets itself against any type of tyranny: the tyranny associated with bad courts and the tyranny associated with bad choices. So if readers of Mark display the values of Jesus, they will be able to stand as valiantly as he did when they face their own sufferings (as in Mark 13.9-13) at the hands of established authorities.

Subjects: Bible, New Testament, Synoptic Gospels, Mark, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, Theological Approaches

Login to Read the Review(s)

You must be a member of SBL to read the review(s). In May 2019, SBL improved security of its main site with a new login procedure that requires an email address and a password, instead of an SBL member number. RBL’s login procedure is now synched to SBL’s. Please use your email address and SBL password to log in to RBL. Your use of this site indicates your acceptance of RBL’s Terms of Use.

Email Address
SBL Password
 Forgot Your Password
 Join SBL or Renew Membership

Review by Abson Joseph
Published 10/4/2018
Citation: Abson Joseph, review of Abraham Smith, Mark: Shaping the Life and Legacy of Jesus, Review of Biblical Literature [] (2018).

Adobe Acrobat Reader
All RBL reviews are published in PDF format. To view these reviews, you must have downloaded and installed the FREE version of Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the Reader or you have an older version of the Reader, you can download the most recent version now.


Privacy PolicyTerms of UseContact Us