This unit provides an in-depth and comprehensive 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 theories of composition and the priority of Mark in relation to the other Synoptic Gospels; the history of its interpretation in the pre- and post-Enlightenment periods; and the influence of the Old Testament, especially the Book of Daniel. The unit will explore different theories of authorship, place and dating, particularly in relation to the Jewish War. It will consider the social setting of the Markan community and the context of persecution in which it appears to be set. The unit 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: BN9609T (Approved)

Points: 24.0

Unit level: Postgraduate Elective

Unit discipline: New Testament

Delivery mode: Online

Proposing College: Trinity College Theological School

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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 priority


Discuss different theories of the genre of Mark’s Gospel in relation to ancient biography and historiography.


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 way in which narrative, plot, imagery, irony and characterisation communicate the main Markan themes.


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

Unit sequence

Foundation Unit in Field B


Online guided readings, tutorial forums


Type Description Word count Weight (%)
Exegetical Essay

3000-word exegetical essay

3000 40.0

Forum Posts 1,000 words

1000 20.0

3000-word thematic essay

3000 40.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 8 Oct, 2019

Unit record last updated: 2019-10-21 14:45:13 +1100