This work in New Testament scholarship is the culmination of forty years study by A.Q. Morton. During this time his principal aim has been to establish objectively (that is by scientific means) exactly what is the nature of the canonical texts which form the basis of the New Testament - the four Gospels, the Epistles, and Revelation - and also to discover how they came into being. The study addresses the historical question of its form - was it produced on a roll or a codex? The answer, suggests Morton, is found in the numerical regularity that comprises the divisions within the book. Morton inquires into the role of the scribe in the ancient world. What influence did the Jewish-Roman War have upon the production of the book? Is Mark, in the end, a Gospel, (as the Ancient World understood that particular genre), or a Memorial from a generation of eye-witnesses, a faithful recording required by the urgency of the times, of what those associated with Jesus the man remembered of his life and death, a record that would be testimony to the significance of their experiences with Jesus and what they believed his story meant for them and others.
Morton's hypothesis is that Mark was a book subject to the current means of book production and the circumstances of its time. This makes sense of what has often puzzled earlier commentators. Morton attributes the various sequences of sentences in the four quarters of the Mark codex, he is able to show how "the medium is the message": that is, how the form of Mark, with its 20 different contributors (according to custom) governs what is included and where it is inserted: such decisions depend on the form of the book.