Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, online learning, videoconferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Unit rationale, description and aim

Throughout the liturgical year, hearers and readers regularly encounter the faith and testimony of the first followers of Christ. At the same time, the on-going engagement with the gospel in a liturgical context is an invitation to contemporary believers to experience Christ in the present and to make sense of the complexity of human experience today.

In this unit, you will have the opportunity to critically and reflexively interpret the gospel of Mark, which predominates in Year B of the liturgical calendar in the Common Revised Lectionary of the Roman Catholic Church. You will apply various methods and approaches to the critical analysis of Mark’s gospel. You will also examine processes for biblical interpretation and appropriation in their own contemporary context. This unit aims to support those in education and ministry to enter a critical dialogue with the Gospel of Mark.  

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Examine the historical, literary and theological dimensions of Mark’s gospel as a unified, theologically inspired narrative (GA5);

LO2 - Apply the skills, tools and resources of exegesis and biblical criticism to selected texts from the Gospel of Mark (GA4, GA5, GA8); 

LO3 - Construct an interpretation of a text in Mark’s gospel that addresses contemporary experiences. (GA 4, GA8, GA9).

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include:

  • An exploration of the connection between the Bible and the liturgy
  • A critical study of selected passages from the gospel of Mark within its narrative, social and religious settings.
  • A study of the literary traits, special interests and core theological themes in the gospel of Mark.
  • An examination of how the gospel of Mark addresses contemporary experience today.

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

You are asked to engage critically with current approaches to the interpretation of Mark’s gospel, and to examine the implications of these for encountering the gospel in a liturgical context. THBS609 positions the participants as active partners in the learning and interpretive process. Participants in this unit are recognized as adult learners who develop deep understanding when their learning is relevant to them and connected to the context in which they work or minister. Participants are thus expected to accept responsibility for their own learning in this unit. Active engagement with, and contribution to, the learning of others is essential throughout the unit.

The learning and teaching strategy for this unit follows a constructivist model of (a) Examine (b) Apply and (c) Construct. You will find these three components aligned, both with each other in a developmentally constructive sequence, and with all other components of the unit curriculum, particularly the learning outcomes and the assessment items.

This unit is normally offered in attendance mode.

This unit involves 150 hours of focused learning, or the equivalent of 10 hours per week for 15 weeks. The total includes formally structured learning activities such as lectures, tutorials, workshops, online learning, videoconferencing, or supervision. The remaining hours typically involve reading, research, and the preparation of tasks for assessment.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategies for this unit are designed to align with the learning outcomes. The cumulative aim of all tasks is to build your capacity for critical examination and reflexive interpretation of the Gospel of Mark. Each assessment task provides opportunities for you to expand the knowledge and skills you are developing through your own reading and research as well as during face-to-face learning sessions. They require you to extrapolate on the understandings you have developed in the course to consider specific biblical texts for your own current context. Each task will also enable you to monitor how well you are engaging with the content of the unit and how you relate it to your context.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

1. Written Task - This formative task requires students to articulate their knowledge of the key concepts of the unit.


LO1, LO3


2. Critical analysis - This formative task allows students to assess their capacity to interpret a biblical text critically.


LO1, LO2

GA5, GA8, GA9

3. Research Essay - This task is designed to allow students to enter into a critical dialogue with the gospel, considering how it may address the experiences of their local and/or global contexts.



GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9

Representative texts and references

Schneiders, Sandra M. The Revelatory Text: Interpreting the New Testament As Scripture. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 1999.

Byrne, Brendan. A Costly Freedom: A Theological Reading of Mark's Gospel. Australian ed. Strathfield, NSW: St Pauls Publications, 2008.

Collins, Adela Yarbro. Mark: A Commentary. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2007.

Culpepper, R. Alan. Mark. Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2007.

Donahue, John R. and Daniel J. Harrington. The Gospel of Mark. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2002.

Marcus, Joel. Mark 1-8: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 2000.

Marcus, Joel. Mark 8-16 A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Yale Bible. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009.

Moloney, Francis J. Gospel of Mark: A Commentary. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2014.

Perkins, P. Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007.

Pfatteicher, P.H. Journey into the Heart of God: Living the Liturgical Year. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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