In case you haven’t heard, I will be doing a live, eight-lecture online course on the Gospel of Mark on Feb. 18-19.  The course is not connected with the blog — it is part of my separate venture for a series I’m publishing called How Scholars Read the Bible.  But I mention here because some of you may be interested.  Even if you can’t make the live sessions and Q&A, you can purchase the course to watch at your leisure.  You can learn about it here:

The course will consist of  four lectures and Q&A each day.  The lectures will be 45 minutes each, so a bit longer with more substance than the other courses I’ve done.

I’m completely pumped about this course.  Mark is my favorite Gospel and, in fact, probably my favorite book of the Bible.  It is a book that is widely misunderstood, in part because casual readers often think of it as a Readers Digest version of Matthew and Luke, a kind of no-frills, nuts-and-bolts account of Jesus’ life without much substance.  Oh boy is THAT ever wrong.  I’ll be going into depth to explain why in the course.

Here are some of the issues I’ll be dealing with:

  • Why don’t most readers today recognize the highly unusual way Mark portrays Jesus and the meaning of his life?
  • For Mark, how can Jesus be the expected destroyer of God’s enemies and the king of the Jewish people, if he was himself rejected by them, captured, and publicly tortured to death? Isn’t that the opposite of the “Messiah”?
  • Why in Mark (unlike the other Gospels) does none of Jesus’ close relations realize who he really is? Not the Jewish leaders? Not those hearing his message? His neighbors? His companions? His closest disciples? His mother?
  • Does the Gospel of Mark portray Jesus as God?
  • Is Mark’s account an accurate portrayal of what the historical Jesus himself said and did? Or is it a portrayal that shapes Jesus’ life and ministry according to Mark’s own theological understanding of Jesus? Could it be both?
  • Did Mark have first-hand knowledge of Jesus’ life, or is most of his information second-, third-, or fourth-hand? Is he just makin’ stuff up?
  • How did later copyists of Mark’s Gospel change what he said to create a different story? Have any of these changes misled readers away from Mark’s original message?

Again, if you’re interested in learning more, go here:

As I indicated, you can purchase a ticket for the course and come live to hear me deliver the lectures and to participate in the Q&A.  OR, if you don’t want the live version, you can simply purchase the course to watch at your convenience.  If you do come to the live lectures, you will also get the video of the course, along with all the extra materials that come with it (Questions for Reflection on each lecture, suggested readings, etc.)

I hope to see some of you there!