The Jewish Gospel of Mark

Dr. John Van Maaren, Lecturer in Jewish and Biblical Studies

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Course info
Audio lessons

Course Info

It is often assumed that the Gospel of Mark was written for the benefit of a primarily gentile, non-Jewish Christian audience.  Dr. John Van Maaren proposes that Mark’s Gospel is firmly rooted in first-century Judaism, albeit differently from Matthew or Luke. The lectures consider the reasons why Mark has been read as a non-Jewish Gospel, address the early traditions of Mark’s composition, and seek to establish its social location (i.e., Jewish/non-Jewish). This intriguing course looks closely at how Jews and Gentiles are portrayed in Mark’s stories, arguing that it should be read within Judaism. Questions considered include: How is Torah observance portrayed in Mark? What are the criteria to be a part of God’s Kingdom that Mark describes? How central are the people of Israel for Mark’s salvation message and why is the gentile mission nearly absent in Mark’s narrative?

About Author

Dr. John Van Maaren

Lecturer in Jewish and Biblical Studies

John Van Maaren has a PhD in Early Christianity and Early Judaism from McMaster University (Canada). He was a fellow at Tantur Ecumenical Institute for Theological Studies in Jerusalem during the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 academic years. His research focuses on changing conceptions of Jewishness in the Southern Levant during the Hellenistic and early Roman periods (200 BCE-135 CE) and the gradual emergence of a distinct, non-Jewish, Christian identity. His dissertation, The Gospel of Mark within Judaism: Reading the Second Gospel in Its Ethnic Landscape, is the first systematic argument that Mark should be read as Jewish literature.  

  • 23 Sessions With historical background and more
  • Earn your certificate in:
    • Jewish Context and Culture
    • Jewish New Testament
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  • Lecture Notes for this Course
  • Plain Text Notes for this Course

Audio lessons

  • 02. Did Mark Write His Gospel for non-Jews? (Part1) 15:46
  • 03. Did Mark Write His Gospel for non-Jews? (Part2) 11:16
  • 04. The Social Setting of Mark's Gospel 08:29
  • 05. Early Traditions about Mark 14:15
  • 06. Understanding Mark as a Jewish Text 12:16
  • 07. Mark's Categories of Israel and the Nations 12:59
  • 08. Mark's Social Groupings 05:45
  • 09. Mark's Divisions of the Jewish World 08:27
  • 10. Mark's Take on the Kingdom (Part1) 16:01
  • 11. Mark's Take on the Kingdom (Part2) 16:33
  • 12. Are non-Jews a part of Mark's Kingdom? 09:03
  • 13. Is There a Mission to the Nations in Mark? 12:16
  • 14. Syro-Phonetician Woman and Roman Centurion 13:12
  • 15. Future Gentile Mission in Mark 14:14
  • 16. Is Israel Dispossessed in Mark? 07:43
  • 17. Five-Minute Review and Summary 04:56
  • 18. Jerusalem Temple in Mark 09:25
  • 19. The Fig Tree and The Torn Veil 12:27
  • 20. The Torn Veil and Jesus' Death 13:54
  • 21. The Role of Torah in Mark (Part 1) 13:26
  • 22. The Role of Torah in Mark (Part 2) 11:43
  • 23. Mark's Themes of Temple and Torah 09:01

Student Reviews


Overall student rates

Overall rating based on 22 reviews
5 Stars 22
4 Stars 0
3 Stars 0
2 Stars 0
1 Star 0
22 Total
  • Tim Brown

    Posted 1 week ago
    Great! Thanks
  • Dr Tichaona Banda

    Posted 1 month ago
    eye opening
  • Irene

    Posted 1 month ago
    I enjoyed the course, overall. Questions came to mind but at that moment I did not ask. Thank you.
  • Kathy Berry

    Posted 1 month ago
    Great information, great research, but a bit mono-toned.

    Posted 1 month ago

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