Okay, I finished the Greek-reading of the Gospel of Mark last night, with some sense of accomplishment. It's a short and simple text and it is (merely) Biblical and not (gasp) classical--but it was still a stretch and it was nice to get all the way to the end. I guess two summary thoughts crowd out others. One, it is a rather different Jesus than I remember from the movies in Vacation Bible School--crankier, more contentious and challenging. Or to turn it round, a whole lot more interesting than the picture of gossamer serenity that dominates so many readings. And two, it's a pretty strong piece of story telling. You could certainly read it in an evening (if reading in a language you understood, heh heh). I have heard it said it could be read aloud in just two hours, and I suppose it is plausible to speculate that here (as with Homer?) we have a text that had an oral (here, perhaps a collaborative) life before it was ever written down.
It does seem a bit improvisational in structure. Things get repeated--perhaps most notably that feeding of the multitude, leading the reader to speculate on whether it's just accidental or whether there is a larger purpose. The "little apocalypse" does seem to have been just lowered in through the ceiling. Even so, though, he whole moves with a directness and energy that settle it firmly into the catalog of good stories.
I think I'll go on with this reading/translating stuff, although I need a breather, and I think for the next round I may move away from the Gospel--Revelations sounds like fun, and the Greek looks doable. I'm not sure how much I'll blog it: I am glad to have the commitment device (and I have just lately learned about StickK. But reading back, I'd say I find some of my own comments a bit cheesy--not wrong precisely, but stuff that is likely to be irritating to perfectly nice people who never did me any harm. There ought to be better uses for my time.