Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Blogging Mark: Input Requested Please

At this year's International SBL, I am participating in the Gospel of Mark section along with Thomas Boomershine, Eve-Marie Becker, Jeremy Punt and Elizabeth Struthers-Malbon.  The theme of the session is "Communication, Pedagogy, and the Gospel of Mark".  My contribution is a discussion of "Blogs, Pods, Websites and Mark: How the Internet Affects the Teaching of Mark's Gospel" and I am working on my paper at the moment.

Since my paper focuses on the roles played by the internet and the blogs in the teaching of Mark, I would love to get some input from the blogging community on this one.  My problem is that I am fine talking about the generalities, and I have a good general sweep through.  However, when it comes down to using good, precise examples, I realize how few actual blog posts I can remember.  I can remember most of my own, but I really don't want this paper to be about me!

So I would like to ask my fellow bloggers if they have any ideas on this topic and, in particular, if they have any specific blog posts and series of posts that they think impact on this topic of teaching, researching and communicating Mark via the internet.  Many thanks in advance.  If you blog about this, please could you add a comment below too so that I don't miss anything good?  Thanks.

Here's my abstract so that you can get an idea of the lines along which my project is moving:
Teaching Mark's Gospel in the internet age presents multiple challenges and opportunities. The difficulty for most instructors is that they are digital immigrants, trained to access Mark in linear fashion in printed Greek New Testaments, Synopses of the Gospels and Biblical Translations, while their students are all digital natives, whose first access to the text may be via phone, tablet and laptop, with many navigational possibilities and different layers. So too with so-called secondary literature, the contemporary student is as likely to access Youtube, iTunes U and the blogosphere as they are the dusty articles and dated monographs that we love.
But to embrace the new opportunities provided by the internet encourages instructors to rethink their approach to Mark in several ways: (1) The informal, often colloquial nature of blog posts can make the scholarship far more accessible to students, as well as encouraging them to try their hand at blogging about Mark themselves; (2) Podcasts make access to scholarship for blind and visually impaired students more straightforward and they enable all students to study away from the desk; (3) Websites that use dynamic ways of representing the Gospels and Gospel scholarship open up new avenues for both instructors and their students. Examples (good and bad) of the these phenomena in the teaching of Mark illustrate how to get the best out of digital Mark and digital Marcan scholarship.


J. L. Watts said...


It was through reviewing books for the blog, specifically Adam Winn's monograph, that I first came to have passionate feelings about the Gospel of Mark. Added to this is the NT Gateway site and the Case Against Q site both ran by the best Farrer-Goulder Theory scholar on.the.planet.

James F. McGrath said...

Mike Kok's blog focuses on The Gospel of Mark (although not exclusively):

Anonymous said...

Mark, I have done a few posts on Mark as it relates to my teaching. Here are two posts in which I use illustrations that also come up in my teaching. Not sure if you will find them useful, but feel free to use them in your considerations if you do:

Mike K said...

Thanks James for the plug (though I think in the possibly near future I may change the name and widen the focus to Gospel literature). However, I have tried to categorize posts about Mark under clear topical headings like "author", "provenance", "date", "Christology", source/form/redaction/literary criticism, etc and I try to cite scholarly works to be of use for students who are researching these topics for various classes. Also, I was pleasantly surprised that Allen Black used my blog on a syllabus for a class he taught on Mark (, so probably just another anecdote about our informal musings on our blogs/podcasts are as open game as traditional peer-reviewed publications (as you discovered over the Gospel of Peter article :) ).

J. L. Watts said...

As I moved from the review of Winn's book to the exegesis spawning my book, I posted a considerable amount on my thought process, soliciting advice from others. Sometimes it was answered and often helped.

Unknown said...

Hey Mark,
This is something particularly dear to my heart. I am working on an edited volume on Markan characterization with Chris Skinner (LNTS) and am the co-chair of the SBL Seminar on Markan Literary Sources, but have yet to "blog" on the subject. However, a good friend of mine, Craig Anderson, and I have recently launched a podcast on the Book of Kings and are strongly considering the Gospel of Mark as our next text. I can say that information literacy appears to be a major obstacle for most digitally raised students - there is so much out there and they do not possess the tools to discern that which is good from that which is not. If I can help in any other way please let me know.

Mark Stevens said...

Hey Mark. Here are some posts from my blog. Hardly academic but they may help inform your paper...for good or bad! :)

Drewe said...

Timothy Tennant has been going through Mark at Asbury Chapel for a while now - - it's also on Asbury's itunes U

There are some parts there that certainly influence my thinking - and gives access and insight into the opinion of certainly one person with influence...

Anthony Le Donne said...

I can't really point you to an internet resource on this, but perhaps this comment will spur a post of my own.

One of the points that I try to make in Jesus among Friends and Enemies (eds. Hurtado and Keith) is that as the characterizations and plot of Mark unfold, the Jewish leadership is revealed as adversaries of Jesus. This much is old hat. But if one looks more closely, these supposed "enemies" are narrated as asking questions about Jesus' peculiarities. I.e. it is not necessary to read these early exchanges as charged with animosity. As these "controversies" escalate, it is Jesus who provokes the conflict.

When teaching students, it might be helpful to ask a few leading questions like: what sort of tone do you imagine? Why? What in the narrative suggests hostility?

I think it is also helpful to explain how such conflicts have bled into Jewish-Xn relations over the centuries. Questions like: if you traced your spiritual and physical ancestry to the Pharisees, how might you read these exchanges differently.

two cents,


Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks for all these great suggestions -- just the kind of thing I was hoping for!

Peter M. Head said...

I do some lectures on Mark as part of our intermediate Greek course. The lecture notes don't interact explicitly with blogs at all, but occasionally I'll mention a particularly relevant blog of the moment. I do distribute a little list of "Mark things on the internet" (apologies for what is missed here):
Mark things on the internet:

Greek NT: parsable etc.

Audio resources:

Anonymous said...

You mention people who are blind and partially sighted being able to access 'podcasts'. As a partially sighted scholar, I have used the web for much of my research. Having digital media helps even if the material is not audio because things can be magnified or even read out by the computer.

Blogs and websites - with the help of search engines - have made a mass of teaching available and accessible to people around the whole world who lack the ability - for whatever reason - to learn in traditional ways.

The key concern has to be about the quality of learning: Will a wide spectrum of teaching be absorbed or does the learner stick with one or two blogs - one or two favourite teachers? The best learners will google around. They will also spend more time looking directly at early texts, checking out the sources for themselves. Sites which place 'early Christian writings' at your fingertips are extremely valuable and deserve comment.

Many problems in Biblical Scholarship stem from those who have been 'building on the shoulders of giants' without looking down at the feet of those giants: Was the ground they were standing on secure? (Many abuses of the 'Q' concept spring to mind!)

Back to podcasts: If you want to identify a key use of these, it has to be that you can learn while you're busy doing household tasks!

Unknown said...

Im wondering what you guys will think of this. I thought it interesting.

J. L. Watts said...

I guess since we are posting links to our posts on Mark... Gospel of Mark, the one Gospel to rule all other Gospels

Anthony Le Donne said...

Further to my comment above, see


Jim Deardorff said...

Mark, since you mentioned websites along with blogs: If one didn’t know better, recent work of the past two decades has found much reason for believing Mark to have been secondary to a Hebraic Matthew. In
are listed some 75 instances of Markan awareness of Matthew, with contrary arguments easily reversible. In
are listed some 58 examples of Markan improvements over Matthew. In
the Modified Augustinian Hypothesis is described and how it nullifies arguments in well known texts supposedly supporting Markan priority. As you should know, reasons why “editorial fatigue” on the part of the writer of Mark relative to Hebraic Matthew works much better than the reverse are also given in that web page. Of particular interest are certain modifications to Hebraic Matthew later made by its translator into Greek, which include some simple reverential upgrades.
Studies disclosing multiple Aramaisms and Hebraisms in the Greek Gospels, which support priority of a Hebraic Matthew, are given in:

Unknown said...

I think this increase in access will make it possible for the 'little guy' to increasingly participate in biblical studies. Increasingly the little guy and the masses can access papers and ideas that were previously - practically speaking - inaccessible. IMO, this process is occurring across the 'informational' board. Media is changing. Increasingly, it's the non-traditional media blogger who scoops traditional media. Increasingly, scientific papers and ideas are being scrutinized by the those outside the guild. It's just the way it's going to be. To some extent it will increasingly happen in Biblical related studies. How much, how quickly, with what impact, is hard to say.

Anonymous said...

Hi Mark,

I wish I could be in Baltimore this Nov to hear your paper.

I am presently constructing a website using Wordpress platform that I plan to use in the fall with my Four Gospels students. The "homepage" of this blog is, well, pretty much like every other blog I've seen. But the other pages are directly related to the course - a syllabus page, and a video page thus far.

I was imagining a "flipped" learning experience at first, but now know I cannot create enough of my own videos before the semester. So, I'll be populating that page with good videos I can find (and link to legally) that relate to the class material, as well as a few of my own.

I plan to use the homepage to "blog" about interesting stuff that I intend to bring up in the course.

Not about about the gospel of Mark & blogging, but I thought you might find it interesting, since it is an attempt to create a blended learning experience for a particular group of students, and anyone else who bothers to check it out.

Btw...links to some of your pod-casts will likely show up on it, too.

Best of luck in Baltimore.


Mike K said...

Mark, this is a bit late but I also want to add that I have a list of links here that may be useful to you ( You have been involved in blogs much longer than me so probably seen most (all?) of these before but maybe one or two links are new.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, everyone, for these further great suggestions. I will use as many of them as I can. Jas, may I quote / cite you in my section on how the internet helps with the teaching of blind and partially sighted students? If so, could I use your name? Thanks.

Roger Festa said...

Another late to the party comment:

I am currently working through a series on the Gospel of Mark through the blog of

My intent in this series (since space is limited) is to focus on the major theme of the Gospel of Mark (I argue The Kingdom of God), and interpret how each section exposes this theme.

If I were to write a book on the Gospel it would be DISTINCTIVELY different, though with a similar mission.

I can imagine others are using their internet space for the Gospel in such a way.

Hope this is a helpful contribution!