On Your Mark

Reading Scripture Without a Teacher
William O'Malley, SJ

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ISBN: 9780814633502, 3350
Details: 224 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 02/01/2011

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Literalism shackles the liberating message of Jesus.

If my eyes make me sin, must I tear them out (Mark 9:47)? Can anyone human be "perfect" (Matt 5:48)? Is self-esteem a sin (Luke 1:51)? Sadly, some good Christians feel those statements must be true.

Expecting any literate person can pick up the gospels and read them as they were intended is foolhardy. The profound effect of the culture the gospel writers lived and wrote in, their use of references unfamiliar to us today, and the personal understanding of the audience they had in mind versus today's impersonal scientific method are real barriers to understanding the message as the authors intended.

Most Bible commentaries are geared to professionals, too meticulously detailed to engage even the best-intentioned reader. This book first addresses the differences in approaching what still is an ancient text, how the gospel Jesus preached became the written gospels, and how the writer Mark's attitudes and interests agree and differ with his fellow evangelists. Then it opens up all of Mark, step by step.

On Your Mark is for those who want to "get set" before they "go"-those who want to learn to walk confidently before they try to run.

William O'Malley, SJ, has taught religion to high school seniors for 45 years, presently at Fordham Prep in the Bronx. He has published 37 books and over 100 articles, received four best-article awards and one best-book award from The Catholic Press Association, and directed 99 plays and musicals with both students and adults.

It will surely be instructive-and inspiring-to those who teach high school students and young adults.
The Bible Today

Deeper understanding of this Gospel calls for some knowledge of literary techniques (e.g. metaphor), religious history, Middle East and Roman culture of the period, and the life of Jesus-which the author covers succinctly in the front matter before the detailed literary, religious, and biographical analysis of Mark. Having taught high-school senior religious classes for more than four decades, O'Malley has the ability to convey the material in a useful and instructive style for the general reader.
Midwest Book Review

With engaging honesty and graceful humility, William O'Malley shows why he is a master teacher. On Your Mark is like no other introduction to Mark's gospel I know of. Here's why. The reader is drawn into the complex world of Mark with unfailing clarity from the superb `Introduction' to O'Malley's `A Sort-of Conclusion.' In spite of the book's subtitle: Reading Scripture Without a Teacher, settle in for the adventure of an intelligent, mind-opening, virtual conversation with one of America's master teachers.
Rev. Donald Cozzens
Writer in Residence, John Carroll University
Author of Freeing Celibacy

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