Somewhere along the way, says Bonnie Thurston, the wild unlikelihood of the Christian message has been reined in and made to fit more conventional categories of thought. That it is good and moral to be Christian we understand. That it is feral and almost uncontrollably countercultural is something that has been largely forgotten or suppressed. This taming has been especially effective in the case of the first gospel. In Maverick Mark, Thurston sets out to rediscover the radicalism of Mark's original message.
Thurston focuses on Mark's conception of discipleship, economic justice, and personal lifestyle. She demonstrates that this gospel raises fundamental questions about some common contemporary Christian assumptions. This is an accessible introduction to Mark, ideal for interested adult readers of all kinds, which incorporates the most reliable and up-to-date Scripture scholarship.
Bonnie B. Thurston, after years as a university and seminary professor, lives quietly in her home state of West Virginia. She is the author of many books of scripture and theology, including The Spiritual Landscape of Mark and Philippians in the Sacra Pagina series. Her poetry appears frequently in religious periodicals and among her published collections is Belonging to Borders: A Sojourn in the Celtic Tradition.
This is a book that I will enthusiastically recommend not only to students of Scripture but to contemporary disciples of Jesus who seek to "see" or understand and follow more clearly the Gospel message of the kingdom of God he proclaimed.
Anne Elizabeth Sweet, OCSO, Tautra Mariakloster, Cistercian Studies Quarterly
With a distinctive combination of scholarship, originality and vibrant prose, Maverick Mark captures the power and fascination of the Gospel. It offers striking new insights into the radical character of an often domesticated Gospel. Student and teacher alike will learn much when engaging this stimulating work.
John R. Donahue, SJ, St. Mary's Seminary and University, Baltimore, MD
"This book is an absorbing read and would be of particular interests to students currently studying Mark and anyone else who ever did. Because of the easy writing style and lack of academic pomposity (but with significant academic sources), it is a very accessible book, very much in the vein of Wilfrid Harrington's work."
Angela Hanley, Spirituality
In Maverick Mark, the reader encounters not only a tightly focused but a downright urgent guide through the shortest Gospel text. This is a book that can be given a first reading in a few hours but one its readers will not quickly forget.
Jim Forest, Author of All Is Grace: A Biography of Dorothy Day
Maverick Mark is intentionally-and prophetically-challenging to think, but it is also quite delightful to read. As one who has also experienced appreciation for this dynamic, even subversive Gospel, I am grateful for Thurston's powerful communication of these insights to a broad audience in a moving and memorable way.
Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech), Author of Mark's Jesus and Hearing Mark
One of the books strengths is that it is written by one who has, for decades, steeped herself in both this Gospel and the scholarship devoted to it. Thus, her treatment of the text distills prior findings even as it pushes beyond them to offer her own choice insights. . . . The book will prove helpful for those who seek a thematic approach to Mark that engages a wide range of Markan scholarship. . . . Pastors and other Christian readers will find, in Maverick Mark, a reminder that Jesus? Kingdom of God mission entails a much more radical posture toward dominant culture than we often acknowledge.
Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology
A lively book that one can happily put into the hands of students starting out on their journey with Mark. It is also likely to be profitable for any reader committed to going deeper into the mystery of the second (or first) Gospel, not least because of its opening chapter on the state of play in Marcan studies; but its reach goes wider than that.
Nicholas King, SJ, The Way: a review of Christian Spirituality published by the British Jesuits