Sources: Graham Stanton, The Gospels and Jesus (Oxford, 1989); David Wenham and Steve Walton, Exploring the New Testament: A Guide to the Gospels and Acts (IVP, 2001); Paul J. Achtemeier et al., Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology (Eerdmans, 2001).
Historical versus Narrative Criticism The early Church tended to ignore Mark since most of it was also in Matthew.
Historical critics preferred it as earlier and presumably historically superior.
Mark was thought an unimaginative arranger of oral traditions of Jesus.
Starting with Wrede's Messianic Secret, narrative critics have since identified striking features in Mark's storytelling. Mark's message comes through his narrative:
The powerful teacher is the rejected Messiah.
The cross is definitive of the Kingdom, Sonship, discipleship, opposition, and ransom.
Stages and Highlights of Mark's Story Prologue: The gospel of the Son begins prophetically (1:1-13).
The Kingdom of God approaches: Calling, healings, teaching, rejection, feedings yield only partial success (1:14-8:25).
The man with the withered hand, and the multitude at the seaside (3:1-12).
The parable of the sower, and the reason for the parables (4:1-12).
The Gerasene demoniac (5:1-20, cf. 16:5?).
A summary? The double half-healing of the blind man of Bethsaida (8:22-26).
The way to the cross is revealed: The disciples confess him and the Son corrects them (8:26-10:52).
"You are the Messiah": Peter's confession (8:27-30).
"The Son of Man must suffer": Crucifixion and resurrection thrice foretold (8:31-9:1, 9:30-32, 10:32-34).
"What do you want me to do?" two contrasting stories (10:35-52).
Confrontations at Jerusalem: Opposition mounts and the Son suffers (11:1-15:47).
The Temple and the fig tree (11:11-25).
The parable of the wicked tenants (12:1-12).
The apocalyptic discourse (13:1-36).
The passion narrative (14:1-15:47).
The final outcome: We shall see the risen Jesus (16:1-8).