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Title: Beyond Fear and Silence: A Feminist-Literary Reading of Mark
Author: Mitchell, Joan L
Publisher: Continuum International Pub Inc; Publication Date: 2001
Paperback; ISBN: 9780826413543
Volumes: 1; Pages: 160
List Price in Paper: $19.95 Our price: $12.99
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The Gospel of Mark ends in a curious way. Three women disciples go to the tomb and find it empty, save for a young man in a white robe who tells them that Jesus has been raised and they should "tell his disciples and Peter, 'He is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.'" The gospel concludes with the statement: "Then they went out and fled from the tomb, seized with trembling and bewilderment. They said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid." This downbeat ending was so unsatisfying to some early gospel editors that they added two other conclusions, the longer one drawn from Matthew and Luke, including post-resurrection appearances, the commissioning of the eleven apostles, and the ascension of Jesus.
Focusing on the fear and silence of the women in the last verse, Joan Mitchell offers a brilliant interpretation and a powerful encouragement to Christian women. She uses the feminist hermeneutic developed by Elisabeth Schssler Fiorenza to deal with the absence or presence of women in the text, but she also employs literary methods to provide a convincing and aesthetically satisfying interpretation of the gospel as a whole. Although the women in Mark may be few and mostly nameless, they play a powerful role in the narrative, as indeed they are called upon to do in every generation of the preaching of the gospel.
"Mitchell goes beyond the hermeneutic of suspicion to employ literary and narrative approaches to the text, suggesting an alternative interpretation of the unsatisfactory original ending [of the Gospel of Mark]. Those with little experience with the jargon of the feminist hermeneutic of liberation should learn the lingo elsewhere before mining this book for its considerable fruits."--Publishers Weekly
"Sister Joan gives us a feminist investigation of Mark's Gospel but--equally important--she show us how a careful, informed reader struggles to discover what lies behind the words of Scripture and how that discovery can lead us all to new, important insights."--Catechist
"The author provides a reading of Mark's theology that is expressly feminist in perspective and draws deeply on her experience in the Catholic Church as a woman religious as well as a student of the New Testament."--Bible Today