This unit provides an in-depth study of the Gospel of Mark. The focus is on the structure, narrative shape, characterisation and other literary devices which make this Gospel unique. Attention will be paid to the priority of Mark and the history of its interpretation. The unit will also explore questions of authorship, place and dating, and examine the community setting out of which the Gospel arose. It will explore the theological and spiritual themes which arise from the form and shape of the Gospel narrative and make connections to the contemporary context.

Unit code: BN3600T

Unit status: Approved (Major revision)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: New Testament

Delivery Mode: Face to Face

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

Show when this unit is running

Learning outcomes


Analyse and articulate the history of interpretation of Mark’s Gospel, the reasons for its comparative neglect in pre-Enlightenment thinking and the rise of belief in Markan priorit


Critically interpret key aspects of the Gospel within its social and religious setting, including questions of authorship, dating and venue.


Provide a critically informed account of the core theological themes of the Gospel, including its Christology, its understanding of discipleship, its apocalyptic focus, the role of women and the emphasis on the cross and suffering.


Articulate the ways in which narrative, plot, imagery, irony and characterisation communicate the core Markan themes


Evaluate the various proposals for application of Mark’s Gospel to contemporary life.

Unit sequence

BN1000T/BN11009T Introduction to the New Testament


Indicative Bibliography

  • Byrne, B. A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark’s Gospel. Collegeville: Liturgical, 2008. (recommended for purchase)
  • Carmody, T.R. The Gospel of Mark. New York: Paulist, 2010.
  • Healy, M. The Gospel of Mark. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.
  • Hooker, M.D. & J.J. Vincent, The Drama of Mark. Peterborough: Epworth, 2009.
  • Hooker, M.D. The Gospel According to Saint Mark. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1993. (recommended for purchase)
  • France, R.T. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary on the Greek Text. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002. (recommended for purchase)
  • Levine, A.-J. & M. Blickenstaff (eds.), A Feminist Companion to Mark. Sheffield Academic Press, 2004.
  • Malbon, E. Struthers, Mark’s Jesus: Characterization as Narrative Christology. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2009.
  • Moloney, F.J. The Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002. (recommended for purchase)
  • Witherington, B. The Gospel of Mark: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2001.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

Variant 1

Book Review 1500 30.0
Exegetical Essay 3500 70.0

Variant 2

Exegetical Essay

3000 word exegetical essay

3000 50.0

3000-word thematic essay

3000 50.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by Maggie Kappelhoff on 13 Oct, 2020

Unit record last updated: 2021-06-07 08:43:51 +1000