The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition  -     By: Thomas C. Oden
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The African Memory of Mark: Reassessing Early Church Tradition

IVP Academic / 2011 / Paperback

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Product Description

* An illuminating portrait of John Mark, Gospel author, Paul's companion, and founder of the Alexandrian church. Calling for a radical reassessement of early church history, Oden draws on archaeological evidence, as well as African synaxaries and other little known sources, to reveal how the African understanding of Mark's life correlates with established biblical tradition. 240 pages, softcover from InterVarsity.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 240
Vendor: IVP Academic
Publication Date: 2011
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 (inches)
ISBN: 083083933X
ISBN-13: 9780830839339
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Publisher's Description

We often regard the author of the Gospel of Mark as an obscure figure about whom we know little. Many would be surprised to learn how much fuller a picture of Mark exists within widespread African tradition, tradition that holds that Mark himself was from North Africa, that he founded the church in Alexandria, that he was an eyewitness to the Last Supper and Pentecost, that he was related not only to Barnabas but to Peter as well and accompanied him on many of his travels. In this provocative reassessment of early church tradition, Thomas C. Oden begins with the palette of New Testament evidence and adds to it the range of colors from traditional African sources, including synaxaries (compilations of short biographies of saints to be read on feast days), archaeological sites, non-Western historical documents and ancient churches. The result is a fresh and illuminating portrait of Mark, one that is deeply rooted in African memory and seldom viewed appreciatively in the West.

Author Bio

Thomas C. Oden (PhD, Yale University), is the general editor of the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture and the Ancient Christian Doctrine series as well as the author of , a revision of his three-volume systematic theology. He is the director of the Center for Early African Christianity at Eastern University in Pennsylvania and he formerly served as the Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological School of Drew University in Madison, New Jersey. Oden is active in the Confessing Movement in America, particularly within the United Methodist Church and is president of The Institute for Classical Christian Studies. He suggests that Christians need to rely upon the wisdom of the historical Church, particularly the early Church, rather than on modern scholarship and theology and says his mission is "to begin to prepare the postmodern Christian community for its third millennium by returning again to the careful study and respectful following of the central tradition of classical Christianity."

Endorsements

The African Memory of Mark is a timely reassessment of Mark, Gospel writer and propagator of the message of Christ to Africa. It rehabilitates a neglected tradition and deserves serious consideration by everyone who has been influenced by the historicist understanding of Mark's life and work.
-Tite TiƩnou,
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The African Memory of Mark honors the way the Coptic Church has been the faithful, preeminent carrier of the Markan tradition in the church, and does that by weaving the different genres of sources into a narrative whole. Oden is not unaware of standard depictions of Mark and the Gospel that bears his name in which the African note is rather marginal--where it is acknowledged at all--but he challenges established scholarship by marshaling the evidence and refocusing it on the continuity of the Coptic memory of Mark. Whether or not the reader agrees with the argument of the book, Oden has raised the bar of scrutiny and challenged many of the unstated assumptions of conventional scholarship. From critic and fan alike, Oden deserves credit.
-Lamin Sanneh,
D. Willis James Professor of Missions & World Christianity, Yale University

A fresh and unusual perspective on early Church history, this text will surely interest both believers and church historians alike.
-Publishers Weekly,
July 11, 2011

Publisher's Weekly

The history and legacy of Mark is revisited in African tradition and contested in Western historiography in this thorough account of the saint's life and influence. Largely regarded as a shadow figure in biblical texts, the author of the gospel has a rich and varied story in "African memory." Pulling from Latin, Arabic, and both ancient and modern Coptic sources, Oden challenges the Western notion that Paul was the only father of modern Christianity and posits that Mark's influence in African Christianity has been largely ignored by the Western canon at the expense of the whole Christian church. Oden (After Modernity... What?) writes a well-crafted, convincing analysis of Mark's life, work, and contribution. While the tone of this book may be more oriented toward clergy and lay people than scholars, his project to recover Mark's prominence for Western believers is fascinating. A fresh and unusual perspective on early Church history, this text will surely interest both believers and church historians alike. (Aug.) Copyright 2011 Reed Business Information.

Editorial Reviews

" The African Memory of Mark honors the way the Coptic Church has been the faithful, preeminent carrier of the Markan tradition in the church, and does that by weaving the different genres of sources into a narrative whole. Oden is not unaware of standard depictions of Mark and the Gospel that bears his name in which the African note is rather marginal—where it is acknowledged at all—but he challenges established scholarship by marshaling the evidence and refocusing it on the continuity of the Coptic memory of Mark. Whether or not the reader agrees with the argument of the book, Oden has raised the bar of scrutiny and challenged many of the unstated assumptions of conventional scholarship. From critic and fan alike, Oden deserves credit."
" The African Memory of Mark is a timely reassessment of Mark, Gospel writer and propagator of the message of Christ to Africa. It rehabilitates a neglected tradition and deserves serious consideration by everyone who has been influenced by the historicist understanding of Mark's life and work."

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