Exercise #1 - Initial Impressions
of the Gospel according to Mark (due Friday, 8/27/99)
for students to gain a foundational knowledge of the life, teachings, and
actions of Jesus of Nazareth
for you to begin thinking about the role of the evangelists in the literary
production of the Gospels
for you to become aware of some of the different levels of history affecting
the historical man named Jesus (ca. 30 AD)
the original author & readers (several decades later)
the modern interpreters (i.e. all of us today)
for me to get an early sample of the quality of your reading and writing
Read the entire Gospel according to Mark quickly, but carefully,
if possible at one sitting:
for now, read the Gospel itself, not what Powell or any other scholar
says about Mark
for now, read only the text and the brief introduction in your HCSB,
not all the detailed footnotes
pick a time when you can read the whole thing without interruption (only
35 pages in the HCSB)
it should only take you between one and two hours, depending on how fast
Right after you've read the whole Gospel, make some notes about your
overall impressions of this text:
What did you notice that surprised or impressed you about
the way JESUS is portrayed here?
How would you summarize the main message that MARK wanted to send
to his original readers?
What major images and themes stood out as most important for YOU
as you read this Gospel?
Note: If you have read all of Mark's Gospel before, or have heard
most of its material in small pieces in the past (e.g. in church services),
then please also contrast your new impressions with your previous perceptions.
A) Write 1½ to 2 pages about your impressions
of Mark, but also answering all three of the questions above:
do not just outline or retell the contents of all 16 chapters, but deal
with the Gospel as a whole
do not restate what the HCSB or any biblical scholar says about
this Gospel; write about your own impressions
try to use Markan language; avoid mixing in words and ideas from
other Gospels or from later theology
support your claims with some specific examples from Mark (give
chapter and verse references).
B) At the end, append a simple list of 3 or 4 other questions
about Jesus, Mark, and/or early Christianity that were raised for you as
you read this Gospel. These could be simple questions for clarification,
or more complex issues for discussion.