Home  >  Reading Mark's Gospel as a Text from Collective Memory
Share |
Reading Mark's Gospel as a Text from Collective Memory
Sandra Huebenthal
Foreword by Werner H. Kelber

HARDCOVER; Published: 5/28/2020
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7540-2
Price: $ 74.99
656 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6.125 x 9.25
Add To Cart

How did the Gospel of Mark come to exist? And how was the memory of Jesus shaped by the experiences of the earliest Christians? 

For centuries, biblical scholars examined texts as history, literature, theology, or even as story. Curiously absent, however, has been attention to processes of collective memory in the creation of biblical texts. 

Drawing on modern explorations of social memory, Sandra Huebenthal presents a model for reading biblical texts as collective memories. She demonstrates that the Gospel of Mark is a text evolving from collective narrative memory based on recollections of Jesus’s life and teachings. Huebenthal investigates the principles and structures of how groups remember and how their memory is structured and presented. In the case of Mark’s Gospel, this includes examining which image of Jesus, as well as which authorial self-image, this text as memory constructs. Reading Mark’s Gospel as a Text from Collective Memory serves less as a key to unlock questions about the historical Jesus and more as an examination of memory about him within a particular community, providing a new and important framework for interpreting the earliest canonical gospel in context.

Table of Contents

1. Exegetical Kaleidoscope: Images of the Genesis and Interpretation of Mark’s Gospel

Part I: Mark’s Gospel and Social Memory Theory

2. Social Recollection: The Construction of Memory Texts in Collective Memories
3. Mark’s Gospel as a Memory Text

Part II: Jesus Memories and Identity Formation in Mark 6:7–8:2

4. Structure of the Text and Its Orientation toward Available Patterns
5. Guiding Perspective
6. Transparency for the Community of Narration and Invitation to Familiarize
7. Prospects


“This translation of Sandra Huebenthal’s important work offers the English-language reader the chance to engage with her groundbreaking work on Mark as an artifact of collective memory, a narrative of commemoration and testimony that strengthened its readers’ sense of self-identity. Written with clarity and perception, this is a book that no Markan scholar will want to ignore.”
— Helen K. Bond
University of Edinburgh
“In Reading Mark’s Gospel as a Text from Collective Memory, Sandra Huebenthal turns her focus from Jesus as a figure from the past to the Gospel of Mark as a commemorative text, a product and example of collective memory. She recalibrates factors that are too often treated as mutually exclusive options (collective or individual, story or history, diachronic or synchronic, etc.) and situates Mark within the creative tension between these and other poles.”
— Rafael Rodríguez
Johnson University
“In this book Professor Huebenthal demonstrates her exceptional theoretical awareness and brings scholarship a significant step forward by challenging the bewildering outburst of memory studies to develop a more precise terminology and ideology of memory. In her own way, she paves the way for liberating contemporary memory studies from its occupation with the historical Jesus and opens up new possibilities for grasping the significance of what it meant to commemorate narratively the image of Jesus from the past. Needless to say, this study raises crucial hermeneutical issues concerning how to understand the presence of the past in early Christianity.”
— Samuel Byrskog
Lund University, Sweden
“Huebenthal’s (re)introduction of memory and orality rewards readers with a host of fresh insights into the history of gospel studies, the Gospel of Mark, and the gospel’s social environment and formation, and it invites them to raise entirely new questions.”
— Werner H. Kelber
from the foreword
“Huebenthal’s mastery of the secondary literature, spanning a host of methodological perspectives, disciplines, and languages, is nothing short of breathtaking and offers a valuable contribution to Gospel studies. Even those whose work is outside the Gospel narratives will find the survey of modern memory theory to be a helpful resource and guide.”
Review of Biblical Literature
“This is the collective memory in the written text of Mark with which Christian readers can readily identify.”