The Spirituality of Mark: Responding to God

By Herron, Robert | Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, June 1999 | Go to article overview

The Spirituality of Mark: Responding to God


Herron, Robert, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society


The Spirituality of Mark: Responding to God. By Mitzi Minor. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1996, xi + 141 pp., n.p.

The author is associate professor of NT at Memphis Theological Seminary. This work is the fruit of her study in the academy, personal faith and *living with" the gospel of Mark since 1986. This personal journey culminated in her doctoral dissertation, which she describes as "the embryonic form of this book, which I hope is a more mature perspective on Mark's spirituality" (p. x).

Minor's methodology is a combination of *redaction, narrative, and sociological criticisms" (p. 8). With these tools she exegetes representative passages (3:1-6; 4:134; 4:35-41; 7:1-23; 7:24-30; 8:31-9:1; 9:14-29; 9:30-37; 10:32-45; 11:12-25; 13:137) with a view toward ascertaining authentic spirituality according to Mark. Her conclusions are three.

(1) Mark's understanding of God is that of a transcendent God who has "purposefully drawn near human beings in Jesus of Nazareth" (p. 96), who revealed the basileia of God to those with "eyes to see," and who is powerful to achieve God's purpose (p. 97). Minor chooses simply to transliterate the Greek word basiLeia, allowing Mark's text to "evoke its whole range of meanings" (p. 16), since traditional English translations, especially "kingdom," fall short of Mark's intent. She also avoids the use of masculine pronouns to refer to God.

(2) Authentic spirituality according to Mark is evidenced by the capacity to "see" and "hear" that God's basileia "has drawn near and become experientially available through Jesus" (p. 98) and the creation of an inclusive community that practices the discipleship of equals.

(3) Inauthentic spirituality does not "see" or "hear" the basileia of God, and this is evidenced chiefly in a propensity to focus on one's own or one's group's interests (p. …

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