Introduction to the Gospel of Mark

Introduction to the Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark is distinctive within the New testament. It may be the oldest Gospel, but it post-dates some of Paul’s letters, from which we already have a good picture of the preaching of Peter and Paul. Mark paints Jesus in down to earth human form, willing to change his mind, vulnerable to the opinions of others, and especially those of the ones who opposed him.

Course code: INT002

ECTS Credits: 6

Professor: Adrian Judd

Course description:

In this course you will be introduced to the Gospel of Mark and will become familiar with Jesus as the Good News that Mark’s Gospel introduces.

Alongside reading course materials, you will be given activities to do which will make you think about Mark’s Gospel and the Good News of Jesus Christ. You will focus on the primary text of Mark’s Gospel and build up your own understanding of what it means, based on a toolkit of tools with which you can study any Biblical text.

Who was Jesus? What was his understanding of his identity and mission? This course will help you answer these questions.



  1. To understand the Good News from the perspective of Mark
  2. To consider Jesus's self-understanding as son of God and Messiah
  3. To evaluate Wrede's theory of a Messianic secret


Learning outcomes:

  1. To practice using methods from the historical-critical method in the exegesis of Mark's Gospel
  2. To analyse the evidence for and against a messianic secret
  3. To distinguish the self-understanding of Jesus from Mark's understanding of Jesus and to evaluate the differences


Assessment methods:

A final assignment and a course quiz.


Study procedure : 

Read through the activities and respond to the questions one at a time, forming your own opinion based on the work that you do. The activities do not look for right answers, but the right method, and for you to apply critical thinking to the texts and to learn to justify your opinions and to evaluate the opinions of others. In addition to this there are excerpts from books to read. This reading will prepare you for the assignment in which you will demonstrate your understanding of Mark’s Gospel.

You are encouraged to keep a learning journal in which you write down your reflections about the course activities. 

In this course you will read the Gospel of Mark and observe what is apparent through that surface reading. The good news of Jesus Christ is proclaimed by Mark, and the nature of the suffering Messiah is discovered. 


Course overview:


Activity 1.1 Mark’s Gospel in Canonical context
Activity 1.2 Summarising Mark’s Gospel
Activity 1.3 Mark as a murder mystery


Activity 2.1 Authorship of Mark
Activity 2.2 Dating of Mark
Activity 2.3 Structuring the drama
Activity 2.4 Other Jewish miracle workers


Activity 3.1 Keeping a secret
Activity 3.2 Spotlight on the crucifixion of Jesus
Activity 3.3 Beginning to read Mark


Activity 4.1 The Three Stages of Gospel Formation
Activity 4.2 Reading the Gospel for its Surface Impression
Activity 4.3 Josephus on John the Baptist
Activity 4.4 The first preaching in Galilee


Activity 5.1 Narrative Criticism and Mark
Activity 5.2 Mark is not a biography
Activity 5.3 The shorter ending of Mark
Activity 5.4 The longer ending of Mark Activity
5.5 The Historical-Critical Method and Mark


Activity 6.1 Mark’s Messiah
Activity 6.2 The Messianic secret
Activity 6.3 Son of God and Son of Man
Activity 6.4 Apocalyptic in Mark
Activity 6.5 Eschatology in Mark’s Gospel
Activity 6.6 Mark and his Readers