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!