This unit offers the opportunity to study various narrative approaches to Mark’s Gospel. Students will explore the literary conventions and devices used by Mark, including characterization, dialogue and the use of irony. The unit examines reader-response methods, structuralist and post-structuralist readings and ideological approaches to the text.

Unit code: BN3796B

Unit status: Approved (New unit)

Points: 18.0

Unit level: Undergraduate Level 3

Unit discipline: New Testament

Proposing College: Eva Burrows College

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Learning outcomes


Apply research skills in the area of narrative criticism


Articulate an understanding of the major narrative devices and reading strategies in relation to Mark’s gospel


Assess the debate concerning Markan genre.


Critically evaluate the hermeneutical foundations of relevant approaches to gospel studies within literary critical theory


Demonstrate the effective use of literary critical tools in the exegesis of specific Markan texts.

Unit sequence

54 points in Field B, with at least 36 points in BN


Lectures, group work, online forums, videos

Indicative Bibliography

  • Bennema, Cornelis. A theory of character in New Testament narrative. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2014.
  • Danove, Paul L. The Rhetoric of Characterization of God, Jesus, and Jesus' Disciples in the Gospel of Mark. New York: T&T Clark, 2005.
  • Fowler, Robert M. Let the reader understand: reader-response criticism and the Gospel of Mark. London: Bloomsbury (T&T Clark), 2001.
  • Horsley, Richard A., Jonathan Draper, and John Miles Foley, eds. Performing the Gospel: Orality, Memory, and Mark. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2011.
  • Levine, Amy-Jill, ed. A feminist companion to Mark. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001.
  • MacDonald, Dennis R. The Homeric epics and the Gospel of Mark. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.
  • Malbon, Elizabeth S. In the company of Jesus. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2000.
  • ______. Mark’s Jesus: characterization as narrative Christology. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2009.
  • ______. Between author and audience in Mark: narrative, characterization, interpretation. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix, 2013.
  • Moore, Stephen D. Mark and Luke in post-structuralist perspectives: Jesus begins to write. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1992
  • Rhoads, David, Joanna Dewey & Donald Michie, Mark as story: An introduction to the narrative of a Gospel. Third edition. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2012.
  • Rhoads, David & Kari Syreeni. Characterization in the Gospels: Reconceiving narrative criticism. JSNT Supp 184, Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
  • Vines, Michael E. The problem of Markan genre: the Gospel of Mark and the Jewish novel. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2002.
  • Webb, Geoff R. Mark at the Threshold: Applying Bakhtinian Categories to Markan Characterization. Leiden: Brill, 2008.


Type Description Word count Weight (%)

3,000 Word research essay

0 70.0
Critical Review

1,500 Word critical review of readings

0 30.0

Unit approved for the University of Divinity by John Capper on 1 Nov, 2017

Unit record last updated: 2020-11-13 16:14:34 +1100