IT WAS A TURNING POINT in my life when, in 1988, I read Bernhard Bischoff "Turning-Points in the History of Latin Exegesis in the Early Middle Ages." I was intrigued by what he had to say about a pseudo-Jerome Markan commentary. When I then read this Markan commentary in Migne's PL edition, my first thought was to provide an English translation. My initial attempt made it clear that a critical edition of the Latin text was a necessary first step. Years later, when I had completed this, I determined to provide an annotated English translation of what I had come to recognize as the first Markan commentary. In a sense, then, I am back where I started.
The introductory essay attempts to situate the Markan commentary in its English translation. A full introduction is to be found, properly, in the edition of the Latin text. To this, the reader is referred for a comprehensive and detailed discussion of the issues connected with the text. In the introduction, I have confined my remarks to what needs to be said to facilitate an intelligent reading of the text in English. Some key issues remain unresolved, and I have concentrated on what can be definitely said. The controversial matters can be pursued with the help of the notes and bibliography.
I have learned to live with the frustration of being unable to be more definite in regard to authorship and provenance. I frankly admit to being cautious in the use of conjecture. I see no point in resorting to a process of cumulative hypothesis. It is my hope that the appearance of the text in a new critical edition and in English translation will contribute to eventual certainty in these matters.
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Publication information: Book title: The First Commentary on Mark:An Annotated Translation. Contributors: Michael Cahill - Translator, Michael Cahill - Editor. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1998. Page number: vii.