And what carried a wallop of revelation to me—both as I prepared and as I taught—was how much my Christian faith owes to this land. Not just because of Athanasius, or his fellow North African bishop Augustine. On the plane and in the Kuwaiti terminal I had been reading Thomas Oden's startling book, The African Memory of Mark. Oden reclaims ancient African traditions that link Mark, of the gospel that bears his name, to Africa. Mark not only grew up in modern-day Libya, according to the old traditions Oden retrieves, he also established a Christian beachhead in Alexandria—the very city in which I found myself.