The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

The First Commentary on Mark: An Annotated Translation

Synopsis

This book is the first English translation of a text that Michael Cahill identifies as the first formal commentary on Mark's Gospel. Thought to have been written by an early seventh-century abbot, the commentary was for almost 1000 years attributed to St. Jerome and as such exercised incalculable influence on subsequent commentary. St. Thomas Aquinas drew on it freely in his Catena Aurea, for example, as did the highly influential Counter-Reformation commentary of Cornelius a Lapide. Renaissance scholarship demoted the work to the pseudepigrapha of Jerome and it clearly lost status as a result. However, the contemporary recovery of interest in the commentary tradition ensures a welcome for the publication of this translation. Irrespective of authorship, the text is important in the history of biblical interpretation--it is the first commentary on Mark, and has had wide influence in the Latin west. It is written in the allegorical style, and attempts to provide an application of the gospel text to the practice of Christian discipleship. It is characterized by the use of other biblical texts, and through the use of bold face and italics in the translation, the reader is able to see the extent of quotation, paraphrase, and allusion. The extensive notes are designed to provide information on source material and on the author's technique. As the first Markan commentary this text holds a unique place in the history of biblical exegesis. This translation will make it available to scholars who do not read Latin, and will serve as a useful introduction to early and medieval Bible commentary, both in format and content.

Excerpt

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.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.