Books to Read: Mike Kok’s The Gospel on the Margins (Skinner)

MarginsI have just finished reading Michael J. Kok’s book, The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century (I’m currently reviewing it for Biblical Theology Bulletin) and I must recommend it to those with interests in the Gospel of Mark, the formation of the NT canon, and reception history. Those around the blogosphere should be acquainted with Mike from his years blogging over at Euangelion Kata Markon (others will know him from his work here). This book is Mike’s first–a revision of his doctoral dissertation, which was written under the direction of James Crossley at the University of Sheffield.

It is a strange fact of Christian history that the Gospel of Mark made its way into the NT canon and was then promptly ignored by commentators for centuries in favor of the more “doctrine-friendly” Gospels of Matthew and John. In this book, Kok meticulously traces the reception of Mark in the second century from the secondhand report of Papias of Hierapolis to Clement of Alexandria. He is especially concerned to examine and test the historical veracity of early testimony regarding Mark’s supposed connection to Peter and then to answer, in light of Mark’s *connection* with Peter, why it fell into the shadow cast by the other gospels.

Overall, I found Mike’s treatment of the subject compelling and fair, and I actually learned a fair bit in the process of reading. I hope to post my full review in due course, but while I had the book on the brain I wanted to give it a shout out. Nice work, Mike!

5 thoughts on “Books to Read: Mike Kok’s The Gospel on the Margins (Skinner)

      1. Hi Pastor Chuck, I am honored that you want to add the book to your reading list. 🙂 The technical stuff in it are the remnants of it being a dissertation, but I gave a summary on my argument here ( and try to back up my case with more detail in the book. I also give an overview of 20th century Gospel scholarship, the date of various NT books and other Church Fathers, and the interesting traditions that grew up around the figure of Mark that I hope will be found useful.

      2. Your welcome Dr. Kok,
        I enjoyed the summary and look forward to more details available in the book. I have always enjoyed Mark spiritually but have grown to be even more interested academically in the Gospel of Mark. After recently reading Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History, I have become increasingly interested in the development of Patristic Theology of the early church. Again, I look forward to the personal research in the future.

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