Mark's "biography" of Jesus is the earliest of the four gospels. The distinctive feature of this biography is the quality of "good news", which presupposes a world John Painter shows how the rhetorical and dramatic shaping of the book emphasizes the conflict of good and evil at many levels - between Jesus and the Jewish authorities, Jesus and the Roman authorities, and the conflict of values within the disciples themselves. These matters of content are integral to this original approach to Mark's theodicy, while the stylistic issue raises the question of Mark's intended readership. The author's treatment of Mark's gospel opens up not only these rhetorical issues, but the social context of the gospel, which Painter argues to be that of the Pauline mission to the nations.dominated by the forces of evil.
John Painter has taught New Testament Studies in England, South Africa and Australia. He is a member of Studiorum Novi Testamenti Societas. His publications include The Quest for the Messiah (1991) and Theology as Hermeneutics (1987).