|Dr. Anne Wire publishes new book on the Gospel of Mark
If you came to the 2010 San Francisco Theological Seminary Alumni Reunion last April you may have heard Dr. Anne Wire, SFTS Professor Emerita, deliver the Faith and Common Good Lecture on the "God of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark." In 2009, SFTS also hosted an international conference on Orality and Writing in which Wire was a key presenter.
Now Wire’s book on Mark entitled The Case for Mark Composed in Performance has recently been published by Wipf & Stock Publishers. (http://www.wipfandstock.com)
Moving upstream against the current of scholarship on Mark, Wire argues that this story was not the product of a literary author but was composed by those who told it in early Christian communities over several decades.
After groundwork in oral tradition research, the case begins by tracing the Mark we know back to early manuscripts. In their substantial difference we see the flexibility of oral ancestors. Examining the language in Mark we find it characterized by the special phrases and rhythms of speech. Its episodes reflect traditional forms used in storytelling. And its overall narrative follows the shape of stories about prophets’ signs widely told in that time.
Finally we are asked to consider how oral composition helps to answer three questions in this gospel: Who is Jesus? When is God’s kingdom coming? And who told the story attributed to Mark? Mark’s writer turns out to be the one who finally writes down a treasured oral tradition, probably keeping close to the known story so the account in this new medium of writing would be accepted.
Colleague Holly L. Hearon, affiliated with SFTS as she completed her doctorate at GTU and now Professor of New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary, wrote of the book: “In this exquisitely argued book, Anne Wire presents a compelling case ... Rarely does one have the pleasure of reading a book that presents its argument with such precision, clarity and elegance.”