Friday, August 10, 2012

"Friday's with Focant and the Gospel of Mark": Introduction

Very recently, Wipf and Stock has provided all students of Mark's Gospel with an immense gift. They have published a translation by Leslie Keylock of French Markan scholar Camille Focant's, The Gospel of Mark.  Thanks to the wonderful folks at Wipf and Stock, I was provided with a review copy of this commentary.

What I would like to do over the coming weeks and months would be to write a series of posts concerning this commentary. Keeping with the "Friday's with Focant..." idea, I will post something of my reading of this immense commentary (740pp.) every Friday. The posts will in no way be comprehensive, but rather, will be comprised of my impressions, questions, observations and the like.

So, a bit of background on this commentary will suffice for this post. First, this commentary debuted in 2004 in French under the title L'evangile selon Marc for the Commentaire biblique Nouveau Testament (CBNT), a collection of scientific commentaries. Second, Focant's interpretive  focus is on the text as a whole, and thus a narrative one. Third, Focant's translation of Mark "is not intended for public reading," (21) but, rather "does not hesitate to disorient the reader accustomed to hearing the gospel read" (21). In other words, Focant eschews a dynamic equivalence translation for a more wooden one, reflecting Mark's "rough" Greek.

The format is welcome to this reader at least, as Focant succinctly spends a mere twenty-one pages on introductory issues. This is not to say that Focant brushes these issues aside as all of the relevant matters here are considered (genre: evangelical narration [2]; authorship: John Mark [6]; date: between 64-69 CE [7]; place of writing: Rome [9]; recipients: somewhere in the vast Roman Empire targeting former pagans [9]; etc.). Focant also discusses structure where he favors this format:

  • Prologue (1:1-13)
  • First Section (1:14-3:6)
  • Second Section (3:7-6:6a)
  • Third Section (6:6b-8:30)
  • Fourth Section (8:31-10:52)
  • Fifth Section (11:1-13:37)
  • Sixth Section (14:1-16:8) [13]
Focant then discusses textual matters briefly (13), before turning to the "theological aims" of Mark's Gospel (13-19). Finally, the author describes his hermeneutical approach in the commentary that follows (19-21).

I will delay in discussing Focant's section on the "Theological Aim" of Mark's Gospel for a separate post, as I believe it deserves a separate treatment.

1 comment:

Robert Gilbert said...

Looking forward to this. Camille was one of my professors in graduate school.