Review: Mark (NCCS)

27131107Kim Huat Tan is Academic Dean and Chen Su Lan Professor of New Testament at Trinity Theological College in Singapore. Tan has a Ph.D. from the University of London and is the author of The Zion Tradition and the aims of Jesus (Cambridge University Press, 2005). Most recently, Tan has contributed and excellent volume on the Second Gospel in the acclaimed New Covenant Commentary series, Mark: A New Covenant Commentary.

Mark: A New Covenant Commentary is an exegetically informed exposition that provides much to embraced. It is important to recognize that Tan is in no way looking to overturn the many valuable commentaries now available on the Gospel of Mark. In fact, he states this explicitly in the preface (p. xi). Nevertheless, Tan has delivered an exceptional and unique contribution that is sure to be enjoyed by many. First, this volume is well-informed with much of the contemporary trends within Markan scholarship. However, Tan has removed the scholarly jargon and targeted an audience that would benefit most from the summation of such material. Second, as with the previous volumes in the series, this volume looks to display the interconnectedness of the Gospel of Mark and the Hebrew Scriptures. Those familiar with the success and usefulness of the other volumes will applauded the level of detail Tan provides. Third, and possibly the most important reason for those already boasting a larger collection of commentaries on the Gospel of Mark, this volume brings with it a fresh and important set of Asian insights (p. xi).

The commentary itself is excellent and the reader is sure to utilize it often. It is well-written and appropriately oriented for the targeted audience, and Tan has certainly done the reader a service throughout. Moreover, the reader is likely to appreciate the plethora, and I mean a plethora of excursus material scattered around the commentary. Much more than the previous volumes that I have seen. These excursus sections include topics such as the famous textual variant in Mark 1:41, Mark and Josephus on John the Baptist, Mark and the hour of crucifixion, and much, much more. Also, similar to the other volumes in the series, Tan has provided a number of “Fusing the Horizons” sections on topics such as marriage, social inequality, and wealth, as well as a fascinating, and yet, practically helpful discussion on the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Lastly, the commentary concludes with a short section on the theology of the Gospel of Mark, including Markan themes of Christology, the Kingdom of God, and Discipleship.

Like previous volumes in the New Covenant Commentary series, Mark: A New Covenant Commentary by Kim Huat Tan is destined for useful acquisition into the hands of the busy pastor and student. Tan is clear and thoughtful throughout, and his familiarity with Markan scholarship, both old and new is evident. Still, even for those of us who own an overabundance of commentaries on the Second Gospel, Tan has provided a pair of fresh and unique non-western lenses that will benefit all. In short, if you are looking for a well-documented and up-to-date engagement with the Gospel of Mark, one that provides a unique perspective with clear and accessible language, this present volume is a perfect addition to your growing library. It comes highly recommended!


I received a review copy of these books in exchange for and honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

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