With this study of the Gospel of Mark, Brendan Byrne completes his trilogy of works on the Synoptic Gospels. Mark, the "Cinderella gospel," as Byrne says, languished for millennia in the shadow of Matthew ("the first gospel") and Luke. Beginning in the nineteenth century, scholars uncovered what is now generally accepted as the more likely scenario: that Mark was the pioneer, creating a new literary genre ("gospel") in which to communicate the "Good News of Jesus Christ." This Good News according to Mark is essentially a message of freedom—a freedom, however, that does "not come about without cost: a cost to Jesus, a cost to the Father, and a cost to those called to associate themselves with his life and mission." Mark holds out to us both the price and the promise of freedom.
A Costly Freedom joins The Hospitality of God (on Luke) and Lifting the Burden (on Matthew) to make up a set of indispensable companions to the gospels for preachers, teachers, and those who simply want to read the gospels for understanding and a deepening of their spirituality and faith.
Brendan Byrne, SJ, is professor of New Testament at Jesuit Theological College, Parkville, Victoria, Australia. A member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission (1990–96) and Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities (2000–), he is the author of nine books and editor in chief of the theological journal Pacifica.
This is a very fine work by Australian Jesuit Brendan Byrne, which with The Hospitality of God (on Luke) and Lifting the Burden (on Matthew) completes a Synoptic trilogy. . . . I will return to this commentary again and again.
- Review of Biblical Literature
Brendan Byrne's commentary on Mark - A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark's Gospel - is a wonderfully lucid, succinct and well-written study of the Second Gospel. Its approach is theological and contemporary, yet without shirking the difficult, exegetical questions of the ancient text. The writer is one of those rare people who, while being an experienced scholar and theologian, knows how to communicate that scholarship in a lively and engaging way, to those outside the academic world. This is a beautiful book and a useful book: for clergy, for preachers and teachers, and for all who are concerned with the meaning of the Bible today.
- Revd. Dr. Dorothy Lee, Frank Woods Distinguished Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Trinity College, Melbourne, Australia
This book is the fruit of years of teaching and interpreting Mark. It is suitable as a college or university textbook, but also for personal study.
- Catholic Library World