Friday 11 March 2022

The Gospel According to Mark - Henry Wansbrough OSB - CTS Scriptures

The Gospel According to Mark
Henry Wansbrough OSB (Introduction)
ISBN 9781860826030
CTS Booklet SC72
Larger Print Edition
ISBN 9781860826030
CTS Booklet SC91

I love the books and booklets from the Catholic Truth Society. Over the last 5 years I have read 275 books and booklets from the CTS. And have many more on my ‘to be read’ list. Late last year I read three books from the CTS that were The Gospel According to Luke, a regular one, a larger print edition and a special edition from The Year of Mercy. I enjoyed them so much I ordered copies for the other three gospels. I picked up a mix of the Larger Print Editions and the regular. This time I am looking at:

The Gospel According to Mark  
The Gospel According to Mark Larger print Edition

The only difference between the two versions is that they are printed-on paper that is twice the size. As with the other two Gospels I have read in this format, I particularly enjoyed the introduction by Dom Henry Wansbrough OSB. The chapters and sections in all three are:

The Gospel According to Mark
     I.         Prelude to the Public Ministry of Jesus
     II. The Galilean Ministry
     III. Journeys Outside Galilee
     IV. The Jerusalem Ministry
     V. Passion and Ressurection

The description of this specific edition is:

“Mark's Gospel was written for gentile Christians and is widely considered to be the most ancient of the four Gospels. It is not known exactly who Mark was but his Gospel has been linked with the teaching of the Apostle Peter. Mark's is the shortest and easiest to read of the gospels but often the most concise and vibrant introduction to the Good News.”

The description of the Larger Print Edition is:

““Holiness and prayer is inconceivable without a renewed listening to the word of God – a life-giving encounter, which directs and shapes our lives.” – John Paul II

Mark’s Gospel was written for gentile Christians, and is widely considered to be the most ancient of the four Gospels. It is not known exactly who Mark was but his Gospel has been linked with the teaching of the Apostle Peter. Mark’s is the shortest and easiest to read of the gospels but often the most concise and vibrant introduction to the good news.

The Gospel is introduced by Henry Wansbrough OSB who also gives practical guidance for personal reading and reflection. The Jerusalem Bible translation is that read in Church.

Larger print edition in font size 14pt.”

I have now read three of the four gospels in these editions. And now have on order Acts, Psalms, and The Letters of Paul. I have also been reading Companion to the Sunday Gospels Year C with commentary by Dom Henry. I love them as booklets for reading. I wish they were available as eBooks. 

I highlighted a few passages in the introduction. The introduction actually ends with these words:

“The brevity, simplicity and vividness of Mark make this the easiest gospel to read straight through. Try reading it through as though you had never heard of Jesus before, and meet this personality and his message afresh! But also read it prayerfully and meditatively, remembering that it is the record of the Good News of God, given two thousand years ago to a particular group of people, but addressed as a message of salvation to the whole world.”

And that is sage advice. I read this through three times over 2 days immersing myself in the message. Some of the other passages I highlighted were:

“The overwhelming majority of scholars agree that the gospel according to Mark is the earliest of the three ‘synoptic’ gospels (so called because they share roughly the same outline, and so can be viewed concurrently at one glance) to be written down. Mark was chosen to put together a record of the stories which formed the Good News of Jesus Christ. He did not write a biography of Jesus in the modern sense, for he leaves out many details which would be fascinating to a modern reader: the appearance of Jesus, his childhood, his psychological developments. He chooses and presents the incidents in order to convey the message of Jesus Christ, son of God.”

“With this simple style Mark combines a brilliantly artistic pattern of arrangement, not necessarily in chronological order, but often grouping incidents of the same kind. So he gives a sample day of Jesus’ activities on a Sabbath day in Capernaum (1:21-34), or assembles a group of Jesus’ parables together (4:1-34). He balances a collection of controversies between Jesus and the Jewish authorities in Galilee early in his ministry (2:1-28) with another collection of controversies with the Jewish authorities at Jerusalem in the final stages of his ministry there (12:1-40). Even the final week in Jerusalem may result from Mark’s arrangement, for John depicts four different visits to Jerusalem.”

“Mark often ‘sandwiches’ a story between two other stories to bring out its meaning. He ‘sandwiches’ the story of the cleansing of the Temple between Jesus’ curse on the fig-tree and the return of Jesus and the disciples to find the fig-tree withered (11:12-21). This is to hint that the worship conducted in the Temple was corrupt – the fig-tree of Israel was withered. The positioning of events is often symbolic.” 

I also highlighted the section at the very beginning about The Jerusalem Bible Translation again:

“The Jerusalem Bible was first published in 1966. It was produced by a team of distinguished English scholars (including J.R.R. Tolkien), working under Alexander Jones. It made available for English readers the finding of French Bible de Jerusalem Published a decade earlier by the famous French biblical school in Jerusalem, the first Catholic Bible edition to incorporate all the advances of modern biblical study. The Jerusalem Bible was the first translation of the whole Bible into modern English, and as such has maintained its status as authorised for use in the liturgy.”

I have said it before and I say it again of all the different bible translations that I have read, the Jerusalem Bible is my favourite for just sitting and reading. This booklet and the Larger Print counterparts are excellent resources. I recommend them to you. And this Gospel of Mark can easily be read in a single sitting. 

My son who is 14 has become fascinated with these little booklets, he has asked for each of the gospel ones after I finish them. He takes them and reads them. I am not sure he would pick up his full bible yet and read a whole book, but with these booklets he has been doing just that. It is an excellent resource from the Catholic Truth Society! It is great to pick up and read in a sitting or to pass on to a friend.

Note: This book is part of a series of reviews: 2022 Catholic Reading Plan! For other reviews of books from the Catholic Truth Society click here.

Books by Henry Wansbrough OSB:
CTS Books:
36 Days & 36 Ways Daily Meditations from Advent to the Epiphany Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year A
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year B
40 Days and 40 Ways Daily Meditations for Lent Year C
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: The Year of Mercy
Companion to the Sunday Gospels: Year B
Jesus: The Real Evidence
The CTS New Catholic Bible (Editor)

Other Books:
40 Days With Paul
Benedictines In Oxford (Editor)
Children's Atlas Of The Bible: A Photographic Account Of The Journeys In The Bible From Abraham To St. Paul
Doubleday Bible Commentary: Genesis
Doubleday Bible Commentary: The Gospel of Luke
Event And Interpretation
In the Beginning
Introducing the New Testament
Jesus and the Oral Gospel Tradition
Luke: A Bible Commentary For Every Day
Mark and Matthew
Risen from the Dead
Sunday Word: A Commentary on the Sunday Readings
The Bible A Reader's Guide: Summaries, Commentaries, Color Coding for Key Themes
The Gospel of Matthew: Take and Read (Editor)
The Gospels: Take and Read
The Holy Spirit
The Incarnation
The Lion and the Bull: The Gospels of Mark and Luke
The New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The New Testament of the New Jerusalem Bible (Editor)
The Passion
The Passion And Death Of Jesus
The Resurrection
The Spck Bible Guide
The Story of Jesus
The Story of Jesus: Photographed as If You Were There!
The Story Of The Bible: How It Came To Us
The Use and Abuse of the Bible: A Brief History of Biblical Interpretation

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