Narrative Structure and Message in Mark: A Rhetorical Analysis

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Students of the gospel of Mark have been convinced for some time that it is carefully structured so as to communicate the message its author intended, and a number of proposals have been advanced as to the nature of this structure. This book examines the major rhetorical strategies employed in the narrative in the hope of developing a suggestion that will gain wide acceptance and shed additional light on the message of this gospel. This study focuses on three rhetorical devices: chiasmus, orality, and midrash


“As a preacher of the word…., I found this book offered valuable insights for my homilies…..this book focuses on three key narrative moments, three major sections, and six major narrative sequences: Baptism, Transfiguration, and Crucifixion. Dr. Humphrey shows in great detail how these work together to construct Mark's total rhetoric landscape…..the appended bibliography is well worth the purchase of this book. It is one of the most thorough and complete I have found to date. The work is well researched and the footnotes are clear and helpful. It is indeed a labor of love.” Paul R. Demers, Chaplain and Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Rivier College

“Dr. Humphrey’s discussions of chiasmus, orality, and midrash are especially helpful in shaping this rhetorical analysis of the Markan narrative. Each of these plays an important role in his interpretation of the text, and throughout his analysis he continually returns to the ways in which Mark employs chiasmus and midrash. But it is his discussion of orality that forms the backdrop for his rhetorical analysis….Being attentive to oral hermeneutics in analyzing the gospel provides a fruitful avenue for understanding its central structure and message….Dr. Humphrey has made an important contribution to the field of Markan studies….He knows the gospel thoroughly, moving easily through its episodes, themes, characters and language. His comprehensive understanding of the Hebrew scriptures makes him an especially knowledgeable interpreter of the midrash found throughout the gospel of Mark.” – Arthur J. Kubick, Rivier College

"Humphrey's "rhetorical analysis" of Mark is a convincing example of the merits of the rhetorical approach: it unveils Mark's narrative techniques and presents his message loud and clear, to Mark's contemporaries and to readers today." - Prof. James Zeitz, Our Lady of the Lake University for Catholic Books Review

Table of Contents

Foreword by Canon John C. Fenton
1. Introduction
2. The Three Key Narrative Moments
3. The Opening Section
4. The Middle Section
5. The Closing Section
6. The Major Narrative Sequences
7. The Message of Mark

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