Brendan Byrne's brief and readable commentary on Mark completes his Synoptic Gospels `trilogy.' . . . Byrne is clearly passionate about, and an expert in, assisting preachers and those who hear them to interpret the Synoptic Gospels theologically.
The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Byrne's Costly Freedom is perhaps the best work on Mark that I have ever read. It is clear that Byrne, an Australian Jesuit, writes with an experienced hand, drawing from his years of teaching and preaching for the church. Byrne's book is an exhilarating commentary on an exhilarating gospel.
Concordia Theological Quarterly
The publication of Brendan Byrne's presentation of the Gospel of Mark brings to a close a series on the Synoptic Gospels that has generated a literary form in itself. In all three volumes Byrne has achieved a remarkable marriage between a serious and accurate reading of the text, highlighted by a close familiarity with contemporary scholarship. But this reading never moves away from the impact the message of each Gospel can make upon contemporary Christians. In A Costly Freedom the difficult text of Mark is consistently presented to a contemporary reader as the portrayal of a conflict between good and evil (Jesus and the demonic) that can only be resolved in the fragile disciple's journey into the future with the Risen Lord.
Francis J. Moloney, SDB, Salesians of Don Bosco, Australia-Pacific Province
With this book Byrne has added an important interpretation of the Gospel of Mark which stands alongside many of the best hermeneutical efforts rather than against them. Presented in this format, the book can be well-used as part of a substantial comparative exegesis project in an upper level undergraduate course.
Catholic Books Review
This book is the fruit of years of teaching and interpreting Mark. It is suitable as a college or university textbook, but also for personal study.
Catholic Library World
. . . a revitalizing study of the Markan narrative and a sure complement to any library. . . . [a]n incredibly rich and invaluable resource.
Anglican Theological Review
Byrne offers a cohesive reading of the Gospel of Mark, bringing mainline scholarly insights to a popular audience.
This is a very fine work by Australian Jesuit Brendan Byrne, which with The Hospitality of God (on Luke) and Lifting the Burden (on Matthew) completes a Synoptic trilogy. . . . I will return to this commentary again and again.
Review of Biblical Literature
Those searching for a sound and theologically rich commentary on Mark's gospel for this lectionary year might well consider this fine study by Australian biblical scholar Brendan Byrne.
The Bible Today
Brendan Byrne's commentary on Mark-A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark's Gospel-is a wonderfully lucid, succinct and well-written study of the Second Gospel. Its approach is theological and contemporary, yet without shirking the difficult, exegetical questions of the ancient text. The writer is one of those rare people who, while being an experienced scholar and theologian, knows how to communicate that scholarship in a lively and engaging way, to those outside the academic world. This is a beautiful book and a useful book: for clergy, for preachers and teachers, and for all who are concerned with the meaning of the Bible today.
Revd. Dr. Dorothy Lee, Frank Woods Distinguished Lecturer in Biblical Studies, Trinity College, Melbourne, Australia
The Australian Jesuit, Brendan Byrne, a very learned and pastorally sensitive biblical scholar, calls Mark the 'scariest gospel' because it addresses the darkness of unbelief and despair that characterize so much of human living in antiquity and today. His latest work is a fitting conclusion to his excellent trilogy of commentaries on the Synoptic gospels. The scholarship is sound, and the presentation is both clear and challenging.
Daniel J. Harrington, SJ, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry