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4 Stars Out Of 5
Great technical commentary
July 26, 2013
This commentary is just what it says it is: a commentary on the Greek text. If you are looking for a pastoral or devotional commentary. this is not for you. Recommended for students of New Testament Greek, or for pastors who are doing serious preparation for a sermon or Bible study.
R.T. France's commentary on Mark focuses on the Greek text, but I'd recommend it to anyone interested in carefully working through the Gospel of Mark, regardless of Greek knowledge. France takes the utmost care to interpret the text, providing much relevant background and comparison with other Gospels. Even as he is exegeting a single word or phrase from one verse, he always has the whole contour of the book in mind. While he does not formally have an application section as such, the conclusions he draws from the text are such that the careful reader could easily come up with applications from France's insights.
France's work is technical, yet easy enough to read, especially for a commentary. Beyond its superb quality as a technical/academic commentary, it has even gone so far as to more deeply inspire me in my own view of Jesus and his ministry. It's well worth the money to purchase this book, and well worth the effort to work one's way through it.
Sadly, France just passed away in February. I was fortunate to be taking a class this past semester where this commentary was the primary textbook.
Like all of the commentaries in this series, France has provided us with a detailed study on this Gospel. The flow of the commentary is simple yet technical, so that even the layperson will be comfortable using it. France deals with most of the textual issues that are raised in Mark, especially the text of 15:39; but he fails to comment on Mark 16:9-20. He only gives a brief summary of the so-called missing verses. This is one of the best commentaries on Mark that is available today, and I recommend it to anybody wanting to get a better understanding on this book even if you already own the WBC and NICNT ones.
This is the one that so many have been waiting for! Richard France has far exceeded expectations with this colossal work on the Greek text of Mark. France recognizes the importance of Redaction and Form Criticism, but chooses to focus on the exegesis of the canonical text. France argues for Markan priority (although in a somewhat revised form), but makes it clear that the development of the gospel traditions is too complex to be dogmatic. France thinks that the abrupt ending of Mark's gospel at 16:8 is not what Mark intended, but that vs.9-20 are surely an interpolation. France's commentary is somewhat unique in treating Mark's gospel as a "drama in three acts" **1)Jesus' public ministry in Galilee **2)Jesus' journey with his disciples to Jerusalem **3)Jesus' public ministry in Jerusalem which includes everything leading up to and involving his crucifixion, death, burial, and resurrection. You will need to know, to some degree, basic Greek in order to use this commentary. It is gratifying that we now have so many good commentaries on Mark's gospel. **1)France's great commentary **2)Robert Gundry's excellent commentary **3)Ben Witherington's tremendous socio-rhetorical commentary **4)William Lane's classic commentary **5)James Edwards' practical commentary **6)Joel Marcus' new detailed Anchor commentary.