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|Title||:||A Myth of Innocence: Mark & Christian Origins (Foundations & Facets)|
|Number of Pages||:||448 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
A Myth of Innocence: Mark & Christian Origins (Foundations & Facets) Reviews
Excellent detailed critical analysis of the Gospel of Mark in its historical context.Extensive historical analysis of the academic literature on Mark and related biblical literature.Makes sense of Mark as an etiological myth for the Markan community that historicizes a mythic Jesus as a response to the aftermath of the Roman-Jewish War.
In "A Myth of Innocence" Burton L. Mack builds off of past scholarship to demonstrate how Mark developed his gospel by use of intertexuality, elements from the Jesus movement, Christ cult and other Hellenistic influences. Mack's style can come off dry at times and he certainly writes in an academic style akin to other scholars within the umbrella of biblical criticism. I would not say this book is necessarily written for lay persons, but it by no means is an arduous read. It is thoroughly researched and cited, but has enough meat on the bone to keep the reader interested throughout. I found myself agreeing with Mack's overarching points, but I do consider myself a Q skeptic. If you have not read Mack's book on Q, it may be of some interest prior to taking on this book. For the most Q was unnecessary and unrelated to Mack's overall points, much like the source itself. "A Myth of Innocence" is good enough to force me to hear Mack out on this point of departure. Any skepticism of Q should be handled prior to the book, or ignored all together, because it is presupposed here. Mack ceases to mention Q communities in the latter half of the book and I think his best work is there. By the end of the book he effectively deconstructs the entire gospel, leaving no sign of anything historical. Mack capitalizes on his methodical deconstruction with a hard hitting conclusion that is worth the investment.
This is the most difficult book I've ever read. It covers so much that it takes short reading-sessions to consume everything. The author does not shy away from indulging in overkill. The footnotes are incredibly lengthy and in some cases even ridiculously long. Furthermore, Mack burns over 150 pages just to shape the context and setting of Mark. This could have been done more briefly for the sake of the reader and it would have made reading it more fun.The book is full of references for further studies, making it useful for the omnivorous Bible-geek. I noticed that I needed to read several paragraphs over and over again until i fully understood the point that Mack was making and what the arguments really entailed. In other words; this book is not that user-friendly. Mack also provides illustrated models on the gospel of Mark which help to show the way its composed and how well its crafted by the original author(s). That was a big plus for me, because I had never seen it done so well before. All-in-all I think that there are most likely books on Mark that make the same points as this one, but presented in a better way. I still consider this book a treasure trove of information nonetheless.
I came to this book because I was highly impressed by one of Mack's later works, 'Who Wrote the New Testament?' and was impressed by the quality of Mack's prose. In 'A Myth of Innocence', Mack lays out a model of nascent Christianity, stripped of 2,000 years of devotional tradition and magical presupposition, through a deep analysis of the Gospel of Mark. As such, the book is both extremely rare in its treatment and valuable for its historical insight. I'm yet to find a book about how Christianity got started that I think puts all the pieces of the jigsaw together correctly, but Mack deserves credit for the best attempt I've read so far.'A Myth of Innocence' is not for the popular market, and some parts of it are particularly heavy going. I feel I'll have to return to it in a couple of years and re-read it to get the most out of it. If there is one criticism, it is in the concluding pages, where he strays into a discourse on Reagan's America; all in context, but perhaps a bit dated now.
Mack is a little academic in this book. However, it did a wonderful job of opening my mind to what the Gospel of Mark is really about. I gained a deeper understanding of many of the disparate communities that made up the nascent Christian faith.