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Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament
by Mary Ann Beavis
Publisher:Baker Academic imprint of Baker Publishing from SPCK
The Paideia series of commentaries sets out to pay attention to the rhetorical and narrative techniques of the ancient societies which form the literary context of a particular book of the New Testament. The aim is to recreate the impact of the writings on the original audience which, inevitably, has ears 'tuned' differently to a twenty-first century reader.
Beavis presents the Gospel of Mark as a work in five acts, which correspond to five scenes: Galilee; beyond Galilee; Gentile Regions; Jerusalem; and the Passion. In between these acts there are interludes in which teaching on a particular theme is presented, and it is suggested that the gospel is structured using the act / chorus / act formula of ancient Greek drama. Parables are presented as works of Greek (or Jewish) rhetoric, which yields a fresh aspect, although in places one would like some more detail. Having said that, this might be the price of accessibility.
It is fair to say this commentary does not set out to be exhaustive, nor is it a strongly exegetical work. However, its intent is to place Mark into a literary context and to highlight the insights which this might bring. As such, it is a suggestive work and helpfully sits alongside its larger, hardback cousins.
Reviewer: Chris Moore (29/07/13)