Women “Key to understanding Mark’s Gospel”

Women “Key to understanding Mark’s Gospel”

Jeff Aernie lectures in New Testament Studies at United Theological College. Released last year, his book, Narrative Discipleship: Portraits of Women in the Gospel of Mark is a timely work headed into Christmas, a time when the church reflects on Jesus’ life.

The book’s main thesis is that women are key to understanding Mark’s gospel and what it has to say about the life of Jesus.    

“Mark’s inclusion of the narratives of these women contributes to what I refer to as narrative discipleship—a set of actions and attributes associated with the identity of Jesus which Mark portrays in the Gospel as essential for those who desire to be a part of God’s in-breaking kingdom,” Dr Aernie said.

“My key aim is to show how Mark sets out to shape the lives of his audience—to encourage them to be disciples marked by restored life, kingdom speech, sacrificial action, and cruciformity.”

Dr Aernie said that the project began by exploring the “striking conclusion of Mark’s Gospel”—“Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid” (Mark 16:8).

“Exploring the action of these women sent me back through Mark’s Gospel to see how other women engaged with Jesus. It became clear that from Mark 1 to Mark 16, women were key to understanding the shape and meaning of Mark’s Gospel.”

“Mark’s dramatic narrative of God’s kingdom breaking into the world in Jesus calls us to participate in this new kingdom as those who faithfully embody its reality in belief and action. In that sense, I argue that Mark’s Gospel helps us to develop Christian virtue—a holistic re-imagination of our existence as inhabitants of God’s kingdom and participants in the life of discipleship.”

Narrative Discipleship: Portraits of Women in the Gospel of Mark is available now from Wipf and Stock Publishers  for $16.80.

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