More Information
ISBN: 9781839730078
Imprint: Langham Monographs
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 16
Publication Date: 30/06/2020
Pages: 296
Language: English

Catalyzing Reader-Response to the Oral Gospel

A Rhetorical Analysis of the Markan Text’s Convincing and Convicting Devices


Dr. Mwaniki Karura provides fresh insight into the Gospel of Mark, its audience, and its purpose in this in-depth study of the Markan text and its oral context. Through careful analysis of the rhetorical layers in Mark, Karura establishes the use of Old Testament quotations, miracle stories, and the passion narratives as tools to galvanize its readers’ response to the oral gospel they had already received. Dr. Karura demonstrates how Mark’s gospel exists as both a challenge and an encouragement, utilizing parables such as the sower and that of the wicked tenants, to reflect its readers’ own hearts. In condemning its audience’s lukewarm response to the gospel they had heard preached, it simultaneously seeks to inspire obedience, faith, and whole-hearted passion for that same gospel.

This is an excellent resource for scholars and preachers alike, as they seek to further understand the Markan text, its first-century audience, and the context of the early church.

Author Bios

Mwaniki Karura

MWANIKI KARURA has a PhD in Theological Studies from Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya, and he has worked as a lecturer of New Testament Studies at various institutions in Kenya, including Africa International University, Pan Africa Christian University, and Saint Paul’s University. He is currently overseer and national board member of Gospel Outreach Church, where he has been involved in ministry and church planting since 1992.


This innovative and enduring book tackles an important topic which has been almost unnoticed in Markan scholarship, and it is highly endorsed to the reader due to its scholarly insights and eloquence. It is commended as one of the best books on the relationship between oral gospel and written gospel.

Rev. Kabiro wa Gatumu, PhD
Associate Professor, Senior Lecturer,
St. Paul’s University, Nairobi, Kenya

Africa has millions of consummate storytellers with an ingrained sensitivity to storytelling conventions. Dr. Karura is one of them. He employs several hermeneutical approaches to examine how the Markan text aims at convincing, convicting, and transforming the readers. I warmly welcome the publication of Karura’s study.

John F. Evans, DTh
Former Head of Biblical Studies Department,
Africa International University, Nairobi, Kenya

It is a good thing when Majority World scholars can bring their perspective on biblical studies to a discussion long dominated by Western voices. Particularly relevant to this work is the rich tradition of storytelling that flourishes in many Kenyan cultures, which Dr. Karura first encountered as a child hearing stories from his parents. This has enabled him to approach aspects of the Markan text which have been less apparent to scholars whose orientation toward the Scriptures is rooted in more text-centered, cultural traditions.

Joshua Harper, PhD
Department of Applied Linguistics,
Dallas International University, Dallas, Texas, USA

Table of Contents

  1. Acknowledgements
  2. Abstract
  3. Abbreviations
  4. Chapter 1 Introduction
    1. Background
    2. Problem Statement
    3. Thesis of the Study
    4. Why Undertake the Study?
      1. Contribution of the Research to Markan Studies
    5. Hypothesis
    6. Outline of the Study
    7. Limitations of the Study
    8. Delimitations
    9. Methodology
      1. Necessity of a Text: Foundation of Rhetoric
      2. Hebrew Rhetoric in Genesis
      3. Comparison of Genesis and the Markan Text
      4. Hebrew Rhetoric in the New Testament
      5. Rhetorical Criticism
      6. Rhetoric and Rhetorical Situation
      7. Rhetoric and Meaning
      8. Use of Rhetorical Criticism in the Markan Study
    10. Summary
  5. Chapter 2 “Gospelness” of the Markan Text
    1. Introduction
    2. The Salvific Episode and the Salvific Gospel
    3. Changes in the Referent of the Term Εὐαγγέλιον
      1. Etymology of the Word “Εὐαγγέλιον”
      2. Referents of the Word “Gospel” in Jesus’s Time
      3. From “Gospel of God” to the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”
      4. Gospel during the Apostolic Period
    4. Effect of the Destruction of Jerusalem on the Term “Gospel”
    5. Gospel in the Time of the Church Fathers
      1. Gospel in the Time of Clement of Rome
      2. Gospel in the Time of Papias Bishop of Hierapolis
      3. Marcion’s Understanding of Gospel
      4. Gospel in the Time of Justin Martyr
      5. Gospel in the Times of Tertullian
    6. Term “Gospel” in Mark’s Text
      1. Reference of the Term “Gospel” in Mark 1:1
    7. Content of the Oral Gospel
      1. Pointers to the Oral Gospel in the Markan Text
    8. Summary: “Gospelness” of the Markan Text
  6. Chapter 3 Contextual, Structural, and Form Analysis
    1. Introduction
    2. Socio-Religious Context of the Markan Text
      1. The Christ Event as a Setting and Context of the Markan Stories
    3. Structure of the Markan Text
      1. Outline of the Markan Text
    4. Contextual Structure of the Markan Text
      1. Observations from the Contextual Strata of the Markan Text
    5. Jesus’s Retold Parables as Portraits of the Text’s Occasion
      1. The Parable of the Sower as a Portrait of the Markan Audience
    6. Purpose of the Markan Text
    7. Literary Genre of the Markan Text
    8. Summary
  7. Chapter 4 Matrix of Interlocutors in the Markan Text
    1. Introduction
    2. Subject of Discussion in the Markan Text
    3. Interlocutors within the Matrix of the Markan Discourse
      1. The Markan Text
      2. The Audience
      3. The Oral Gospel
    4. Interlocutor Relationships in the Markan Discourse
      1. Dialogue between the Audience and the Oral Gospel
      2. Dialogue between the Markan Text and the Audience
      3. Relationship between Rhetorical Situation of the Audience of Jesus and the Rhetorical Situation of the Audience of Mark
      4. Relationship between the Markan Text and the Oral Gospel
      5. Dialogue between the Markan Text, Audience, and Oral Gospel
    5. Summary
  8. Chapter 5 Markan Old Testament Quotations as a Rhetorical Device
    1. Introduction
    2. Recent Trends in the Study of Old Testament Quotations in the Markan Text
      1. Review of R. E. Watts
      2. Review of Thomas R. Hatina
    3. Ideological and Religious Point of View
    4. Analysis of Old Testament Quotations in Mark 1:2–3
      1. Exegetical Analysis of Mark 1:1–3
      2. Rhetorical Reading of Mark 1:1-3
    5. Analysis of Old Testament Quotation in Mark 4:12
      1. Observations from Source Documents
      2. Comparative Outlines of Isaiah 1:1–6:10 and Mark 1:1–4:12
      3. Exegetical Analysis of Isaiah 6:9–10
      4. Exegetical Analysis of Mark 4:12
      5. Comparative Analysis of Isaiah 6:9–10 and Mark 4:12
    6. Summary
  9. Chapter 6 Markan Miracle Stories as a Rhetorical Device
    1. Introduction
    2. Definition of a Miracle
    3. Miracles in the Old Testament
    4. Miracles Stories in the New Testament
    5. Extra-Biblical Miracle Stories
    6. Miracles as a Function of the Eschatological Kingdom
    7. Miracle Stories in the Markan Text
      1. Current Trends in Research on Markan Miracle Stories
      2. Mark’s Commentaries in the Narration of Miracle Stories
      3. Genre of Miracle Stories
      4. Rhetorical Structuring of the Miracle Stories
      5. Function of Miracle Stories in the Markan Text
    8. Summary
  10. Chapter 7 Markan Passion Narratives as a Rhetorical Device
    1. Introduction
    2. Form of the Passion Story
    3. Passion Was God Willed
      1. Passion Was Anticipated in Scripture
      2. Jesus’s Predictions of the Passion
    4. Passion in the Parable of the Tenants
    5. Passion Was Sacrificial, Propitiatory, and Vicarious
      1. Interpreting the Passion in Light of Scripture
      2. Passion Foreboded in the Lord’s Supper Narratives
    6. Rhetorical Function of the Passion Narratives in Identifying Jesus
      1. Disclosure of the Person of Jesus in the Trial Narrative
      2. Disclosure of the Person of Jesus in the Crucifixion Narrative
    7. Rhetorical Function of the Narrative about Jesus’s Prayers in Gethsemane
    8. Rhetorical Function of the Narrative about Jesus’s Arrest
    9. Rhetorical Function of the Narrative about Jesus’s Trial
      1. Jesus’s Trial before the Sanhedrin
      2. Jesus’s Trial before Pilate
    10. Summary
  11. Chapter 8 Conclusion
    1. Introduction
    2. Excursus
      1. Importance of the Longer Ending (Mark 16:14–20)
    3. Summary
  12. Glossary
  13. Bibliography

Related Books

Related by Classification