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"This book makes an important, indeed a groundbreaking, contribution to Markan studies. Not only does it address a lacuna in these studies, but it does so by means of an innovative methodology. . .that permits a satisfying integration of the Jewish background of Mark's Gospel with its Greco-Roman background while retaining a sensitivity to the literary dimensions of the text as well as an interest in its reader. Robbins has accomplished a remarkable feat. . . . Markan studies are certain to benefit greatly from this work."-Jouette M. BasslerJournal of Biblical Literature"Robbins proposes a challenging alternative to current approaches to the study of Mark by demonstrating that its literary qualities are inseparable from ancient social conventions in which Greco-Roman traditions are no less relevant than those of the Old Testament and early Judaism. This book is a major contribution to Markan scholarship as well as an incisive critique of some of the self-imposed limitations of contemporary New Testament research."-David E. AuneUniversity of Notre Dame"In this important contribution of Markan studies, Robbins demonstrates that contemporary approaches to the New Testament can lead to genuinely new and fruitful insights."-Richard I. PervoAnglican Theological Review"This volume breaks new ground in Markan study in the areas of historical background, genre, structure, plot, and theology. . . . It contains more fresh ideas than most books of its size."-Daniel J. Harrington, S.J.Catholic Biblical QuarterlyVernon K. Robbins is Professor of New Testament and Comparative Sacred Texts in the Department and Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University in Atlanta. He was appointed Winship Distinguished Research Professor in the Humanities in 2001. Among his many books are The Tapestry of Early Christian Discourse and Exploring the Texture of Texts.