A Preface to Mark is a literary study which, from the standpoint of the newer critical methodologies, explores two questions. First, Bryan attempts to determine what kind of text Mark would have been seen to be, both by its author and by others who encountered it near the time of its writing. He examines whether Mark should be seen as an example of any particular literary type, and if so which. He concludes that a comparison of Mark with other texts of the period leads inevitably to the conclusion that Mark's contemporaries would broadly have characterized his work as a "life." Second, Bryan looks at the evidence that exists to indicate whether Mark, like so much else of its period, was written to be read aloud. He points out ways in which Mark's narrative would have worked particularly well as rhetoric. The first examination of Mark as a whole in the light of contemporary studies of orality and oral transmission, A Preface to Mark not only shows us Mark in its original setting, but also suggests ways in which our own encounter with Mark's text may be significantly enriched. Its accessible style will serve as a good introduction to the Gospel for students as well as the general reader.