Gospel of Mark

The Gospel According to Mark (Greek: Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον, translit. Euangélion katà Mârkon[1]) is one of the four canonical gospels and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death and burial and the discovery of the empty tomb – there is no genealogy of Jesus or birth narrative, nor, in the original ending at chapter 16, any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus. It portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. Jesus is also the Son of God, but he keeps his identity secret (the Messianic Secret), concealing it in parables so that even most of the disciples fail to understand. All this is in keeping with prophecy, which foretold the fate of the messiah as suffering servant.[2] The gospel ends, in its original version, with the discovery of the empty tomb, a promise to meet again in Galilee, and an unheeded instruction to spread the good news of the resurrection.[3]

Mark probably dates from AD 66–70.[4] Most scholars reject the tradition which ascribes it to John Mark, the companion of the apostle Peter, and regard it (and the other gospels) as anonymous, the work of an unknown author working with various sources including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative.[5]

Mark was traditionally placed second, and sometimes fourth, in the Christian canon, as a somewhat inferior abridgement of what was regarded as the most important gospel, Matthew. The Church has consequently derived its view of Jesus primarily from Matthew, secondarily from John, and only distantly from Mark. It was only in the 19th century that Mark came to be seen as the earliest of the four gospels, and as a source used by both Matthew and Luke. The hypothesis of Marcan priority (that Mark was written first) continues to be held by the majority of scholars today, and there is a new recognition of the author as an artist and theologian using a range of literary devices to convey his conception of Jesus as the authoritative yet suffering Son of God.[6]

Composition, genre, and setting

Synoptic problem, two-source hypothesis
The two-source hypothesis: Most scholars agree that Mark was the first of the gospels to be composed, and that the authors of Matthew and Luke used it plus a second document called the Q source when composing their own gospels. The blue sections indicate material original to Luke and Matthew.

Authorship and genre

The Gospel of Mark is anonymous.[7] It was probably written c. AD 66–70, during Nero's persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt, as suggested by internal references to war in Judea and to persecution.[4] The author used a variety of pre-existing sources, such as conflict stories (Mark 2:1–3:6), apocalyptic discourse (4:1–35), and collections of sayings (although not the Gospel of Thomas and probably not the Q source).[8] It was written in Greek for a gentile audience, and Rome, Galilee, Antioch (third-largest city in the Roman Empire, located in northern Syria), and southern Syria have all been offered as alternative places of composition.[9]

The Gospels represent a form of Greco-Roman biography,[10] but interpreters differ when it comes to understanding what purpose Mark had for writing the Gospel. Among some of the proposals include that Mark strictly had a theological agenda,[11] that Mark was written in order to distance Christianity from political connotations in light of the Roman-Jewish War,[12] or that Mark was responding to imperial Flavian propaganda.[13]

Synoptic problem and historicity

Mark the Evangelist, 16th-century Russian icon

The gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke bear a striking resemblance to each other, so much so that their contents can easily be set side by side in parallel columns. The fact that they share so much material verbatim and yet also exhibit important differences has led to a number of hypotheses explaining their interdependence, a phenomenon termed the Synoptic Problem. Traditionally, Mark was thought to be an epitome (summary) of Matthew: for example, Augustine of Hippo believed they were written in order, "first Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John" and that Mark followed Matthew as "his attendant and epitomizer".[14] Today, the most widely accepted hypothesis is that Mark was the first gospel (Marcan Priority) and was used as a source by both Matthew and Luke, together with considerable additional material. The strongest argument for this is the fact that Matthew and Luke agree with each other in their sequence of stories and events only when they also agree with Mark.[15]

Mark appears as the second New Testament gospel because it was traditionally thought to be an epitome (summary) of Matthew, but most scholars now regard it as the earliest written gospel.[16][17] In the 19th century this led to the belief that it must therefore be the most reliable.[11] This conclusion was shaken by two works published in the early decades of the 20th century: in 1901 William Wrede argued strongly that the "Messianic secret" motif in Mark was a creation of the early church rather than a reflection of the historical Jesus; and in 1919 Karl Ludwig Schmidt showed how the links between the episodes are the invention of the writer, thus undermining the claim that the gospel is a reliable guide to the chronology of Jesus' mission.[18] The gospel is nevertheless still seen as the most reliable of the four in terms of its overall description of Jesus's life and ministry.[19]


Christianity began within Judaism, with a Christian "church" (or ἐκκλησία, ekklesia, meaning "assembly") that arose shortly after his death, when some of his followers claimed to have witnessed him risen from the dead.[20] From the outset, Christians depended heavily on Jewish literature, supporting their convictions through the Jewish scriptures.[21] Those convictions involved a nucleus of key concepts: the messiah, the son of God and the son of man, the Day of the Lord, the kingdom of God. Uniting these ideas was the common thread of apocalyptic expectation: Both Jews and Christians believed that the end of history was at hand, that God would very soon come to punish their enemies and establish his own rule, and that they were at the centre of his plans. Christians read the Jewish scripture as a figure or type of Jesus Christ, so that the goal of Christian literature became an experience of the living Christ.[22] The new movement spread around the eastern Mediterranean and to Rome and further west, and assumed a distinct identity, although the groups within it remained extremely diverse.[20]

The gospels were written for an audience already Christian – their purpose was to strengthen the faith of those who already believed, not to convert unbelievers.[23] Christian "churches" were small communities of believers, often based on households (an autocratic patriarch plus extended family, slaves, freedmen, and other clients), and the evangelists often wrote on two levels, one the "historical" presentation of the story of Jesus, the other dealing with the concerns of the author's own day.[24] Thus the proclamation of Jesus in Mark 1:14 and the following verses, for example, mixes the terms Jesus would have used as a 1st-century Jew ("kingdom of God") and those of the early church ("believe", "gospel").[24] More fundamentally, some scholars believe Mark's reason for writing was to counter believers who saw Jesus in a Greek way, as wonder-worker (the Greek term is "divine man"); Mark saw the suffering of the messiah as essential, so that the "Son of God" title (the Hellenistic "divine man") had to be corrected and amplified with the "Son of Man" title, which conveyed Christ's suffering.[25] Other scholars think Mark might have been writing as a Galilean Christian against those Jewish Christians in Jerusalem who saw the Jewish revolt against Rome (66–73 CE) as the beginning of the "end times": for Mark, the Second Coming would be in Galilee, not Jerusalem, and not until the generation following the revolt.[25]

Structure and content

Detailed content of Mark
1. Galilean ministry
John the Baptist (1:1–8)
Baptism of Jesus (1:9–11)
Temptation of Jesus (1:12–13)
Good News (1:15)
First disciples (1:16–20)
Capernaum's synagogue (1:21–28)
Peter's mother-in-law (1:29–31)
Exorcising at sunset (1:32–34)
A leper (1:35–45)
A paralytic (2:1–2:12)
Calling of Matthew (2:13–17)
Fasting and wineskins (2:18–22)
Lord of the Sabbath (2:23–28)
Man with withered hand (3:1–6)
Withdrawing to the sea (3:7–3:12)
Commissioning the Twelve (3:13–19)
Blind mute (3:20–26)
Strong man (3:27)
Eternal sin (3:28–30)
Jesus' true relatives (3:31–35)
Parable of the Sower (4:1–9,13-20)
Purpose of parables (4:10–12,33-34)
Lamp under a bushel (4:21–23)
Mote and Beam (4:24–25)
Growing seed and Mustard seed (4:26–32)
Calming the storm (4:35–41)
Demon named Legion (5:1–20)
Daughter of Jairus (5:21–43)
Hometown rejection (6:1–6)
Instructions for the Twelve (6:7–13)
Beheading of John (6:14–29)
Feeding the 5000 (6:30–44)
Walking on water (6:45–52)
Fringe of his cloak heals (6:53–56)
Discourse on Defilement (7:1–23)
Canaanite woman's daughter (7:24–30)
Deaf mute (7:31–37)
Feeding the 4000 (8:1–9)
No sign will be given (8:10–21)
Healing with spit (8:22–26)
Peter's confession (8:27–30)
Jesus predicts his death (8:31–33, 9:30–32, 10:32–34)
Instructions for followers (8:34–9:1)
Transfiguration (9:2–13)
Possessed boy (9:14–29)
Teaching in Capernaum (9:33–50)
2. Journey to Jerusalem
Entering Judea and Transjordan (10:1)
On divorce (10:2–12)
Little children (10:13–16)
Rich young man (10:17–31)
Son of man came to serve (10:35–45)
Blind Bartimaeus (10:46–52)
3. Events in Jerusalem
Entering Jerusalem (11:1–11)
Cursing the fig tree (11:12–14,20-24)
Temple incident (11:15–19)
Prayer for forgiveness (11:25–26)
Authority questioned (11:27–33)
Wicked husbandman (12:1–12)
Render unto Caesar... (12:13–17)
Resurrection of the Dead (12:18–27)
Great Commandment (12:28–34)
Is the Messiah the son of David? (12:35–40)
Widow's mite (12:41–44)
Olivet discourse (13)
Plot to kill Jesus (14:1–2)
Anointing (14:3–9)
Bargain of Judas (14:10–11)
Last Supper (14:12–26)
Denial of Peter (14:27–31,66-72)
Agony in the Garden (14:32–42)
Kiss of Judas (14:43–45)
Arrest (14:46–52)
Before the High Priest (14:53–65)
Pilate's court (15:1–15)
Soldiers mock Jesus (15:16–20)
Simon of Cyrene (15:21)
Crucifixion (15:22–41)
Entombment (15:42–47)
Empty tomb (16:1–8)
The Longer Ending (16:9–20)
Resurrection appearances (16:9–13)
Great Commission (16:14–18)
Ascension (16:19)
Dispersion of the Apostles (16:20)
Mark Bib Lat 1486 c.2 Bodleian Library
Page from Mark in a Latin bible dated 1486 (Bodleian Library)

There is no agreement on the structure of Mark.[26] There is, however, a widely recognised break at Mark 8:26–31: before 8:26 there are numerous miracle stories, the action is in Galilee, and Jesus preaches to the crowds, while after 8:31 there are hardly any miracles, the action shifts from Galilee to gentile areas or hostile Judea, and Jesus teaches the disciples.[27] Peter's confession at Mark 8:27–30 that Jesus is the messiah thus forms the watershed to the whole gospel.[28] A further generally recognised turning point comes at the end of chapter 10, when Jesus and his followers arrive in Jerusalem and the foreseen confrontation with the Temple authorities begins, leading R.T. France to characterise Mark as a three-act drama.[29] James Edwards in his 2002 commentary points out that the gospel can be seen as a series of questions asking first who Jesus is (the answer being that he is the messiah), then what form his mission takes (a mission of suffering culminating in the crucifixion and resurrection, events only to be understood when the questions are answered), while another scholar, C. Myers, has made what Edwards calls a "compelling case" for recognising the incidents of Jesus' baptism, transfiguration and crucifixion, at the beginning, middle and end of the gospel, as three key moments, each with common elements, and each portrayed in an apocalyptic light.[30] Stephen H. Smith has made the point that the structure of Mark is similar to the structure of a Greek tragedy[31]


  • Jesus is first announced as the Messiah and then later as the Son of God; he is baptised by John and a heavenly voice announces him as the Son of God; he is tested in the wilderness by Satan; John is arrested, and Jesus begins to preach the good news of the kingdom of God.
  • Jesus gathers his disciples; he begins teaching, driving out demons, healing the sick, cleansing lepers, raising the dead, feeding the hungry, and giving sight to the blind; he delivers a long discourse in parables to the crowd, intended for the disciples, but they fail to understand; he performs mighty works, calming the storm and walking on water, but while God and demons recognise him, neither the crowds nor the disciples grasp his identity. He also has several run-ins with Jewish law keepers especially in chapters 2-3.
  • Jesus asks the disciples who people say he is, and then, "but you, who do you say I am?" Peter answers that he is the Christ, and Jesus commands him to silence; Jesus explains that the Son of Man must go to Jerusalem and be killed, but will rise again; Moses and Elijah appear with Jesus and God tells the disciples, "This is my son," but they remain uncomprehending.
  • Jesus goes to Jerusalem, where he is hailed as one who "comes in the name of the Lord" and will inaugurate the "kingdom of David"; he drives those who buy and sell animals from the Temple and debates with the Jewish authorities; on the Mount of Olives he announces the coming destruction of the Temple, the persecution of his followers, and the coming of the Son of Man in power and glory.
  • A woman perfumes Jesus' head with oil, and Jesus explains that this is a sign of his coming death; Jesus celebrates Passover with the disciples, declares the bread and wine to be his body and blood, and goes with them to Gethsemane to pray; there Judas betrays him to the Jews; interrogated by the high priest, he says that he is the Christ, the Son of God, and will return as Son of Man at God's right hand; the Jewish leaders turn him over to Pilate, who has him crucified as one who claims to be "king of the Jews"; Jesus, abandoned by the disciples, is buried in a rock tomb by a friendly member of the Jewish council.
  • The women who have followed Jesus come to the tomb on Sunday morning; they find it empty, and are told by a young man in a white robe to go and tell the others that Jesus has risen and has gone before them to Galilee; "but they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid ...."[3]


The earliest and most reliable manuscripts of Mark end at Mark 16:8, with the women fleeing in fear from the empty tomb: the majority of recent scholars believe this to be the original ending,[32] and this is supported by statements from the early Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome.[33] Two attempts were made to provide a more satisfactory conclusion.[34] A minority of later manuscripts have what is called the "shorter ending", an addition to Mark 16:8 telling how the women told "those around Peter" all that the angel had commanded and how the message of eternal life (or "proclamation of eternal salvation") was then sent out by Jesus himself.[34] This addition differs from the rest of Mark both in style and in its understanding of Jesus.[34] The overwhelming majority of manuscripts have the "longer ending", Mark 16:9–20, with accounts of the resurrected Jesus, the commissioning of the disciples to proclaim the gospel, and Christ's ascension.[33] This ending was possibly written in the early 2nd century and added later in the same century.[34]

Modern scholars have proposed many explanations for the abrupt original ending, though none with universal acceptance. It could indicate a connection to the theme of the "Messianic Secret". Whatever the case, it is clear that Mark's Jesus looks forward to a post-death meeting in Galilee, and it is likely that at that meeting, like the final meeting in Galilee that Matthew depicts, Mark's Jesus would command the disciples to take his message to the nations.[35]


Sargis Pitsak
First page of the Gospel of Mark: "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God", by Sargis Pitsak (14th century)
Archaic mark session
Minuscule 2427 – "Archaic Mark"


The author introduces his work as "gospel", meaning "good news", a literal translation of the Greek "evangelion"[36] – he uses the word more often than any other writer in the New Testament besides Paul.[37] Paul uses it to mean "the good news (of the saving significance of the death and resurrection) of Christ"; Mark extends it to the career of Christ as well as his death and resurrection.[36] Like the other gospels, Mark was written to confirm the identity of Jesus as eschatological deliverer – the purpose of terms such as "messiah" and "son of God".[38] As in all the gospels, the messianic identity of Jesus is supported by a number of themes, including: (1) the depiction of his disciples as obtuse, fearful and uncomprehending; (2) the refutation of the charge made by Jesus' enemies that he was a magician; (3) secrecy surrounding his true identity (this last is missing from John).[38]

The failure of the disciples

In Mark, the disciples, and especially the Twelve, move from lack of perception of Jesus to rejection of the "way of suffering" to flight and denial – even the women who received the first proclamation of his resurrection can be seen as failures for not reporting the good news. There is much discussion of this theme among scholars. Some argue that the author of Mark was using the disciples to correct "erroneous" views in his own community concerning the reality of the suffering messiah, others that it is an attack on the Jerusalem branch of the church for resisting the extension of the gospel to the gentiles, or a mirror of the convert's usual experience of the initial enthusiasm followed by growing awareness of the necessity for suffering. It certainly reflects the strong theme in Mark of Jesus as the "suffering just one" portrayed in so many of the books of the Jewish scriptures, from Jeremiah to Job and the Psalms, but especially in the "Suffering Servant" passages in Isaiah. It also reflects the Jewish scripture theme of God's love being met by infidelity and failure, only to be renewed by God. And in the real-world context in which the gospel was written, the persecutions of the Christians of Rome under Nero, the failure of the disciples and Jesus' denial by Peter himself would have been powerful symbols of faith, hope and reconciliation.[39]

The charge of magic

Mark contains twenty accounts of miracles and healings, accounting for almost a third of the gospel and half the first ten chapters, more, proportionally, than in any other gospel.[40] In the gospels as a whole, Jesus' miracles, prophecies, etc., are presented as evidence of God's rule, but Mark's descriptions of Jesus' healings are a partial exception to this, as his methods, using spittle to heal blindness (Mark 8:22–26) and magic formulae ("Talitha cumi," 5:41, "Ephphatha," 7:34), were those of a magician.[41][42] This is the charge the Jewish religious leaders bring against Jesus: they say he is performing exorcisms with the aid of an evil spirit (Mark 3:22) and calling up the spirit of John the Baptist (Mark 6:14).[41] "There was ... no period in the history of the [Roman] empire in which the magician was not considered an enemy of society," subject to penalties ranging from exile to death, says Classical scholar Ramsay MacMullen.[43] All the gospels defend Jesus against the charge, which, if true, would contradict their ultimate claims for him.[44] The point of the Beelzebub incident in Mark (Mark 3:20–30) is to set forth Jesus' claims to be an instrument of God, not Satan.[44]

Messianic secret

In 1901, William Wrede identified the "Messianic secret" – Jesus' secrecy about his identity as the messiah – as one of Mark's central themes. Wrede argued that the elements of the secret – Jesus' silencing of the demons, the obtuseness of the disciples regarding his identity, and the concealment of the truth inside parables, were fictions, and arose from the tension between the Church's post-resurrection messianic belief and the historical reality of Jesus. There remains continuing debate over how far the "secret" originated with Mark and how far he got it from tradition, and how far, if at all, it represents the self-understanding and practices of the historical Jesus.[45]


Christology means a doctrine or understanding concerning the person or nature of Christ.[46] In the New Testament writings it is frequently conveyed through the titles applied to Jesus. Most scholars agree that "Son of God" is the most important of these titles in Mark.[47] It appears on the lips of God himself at the baptism and the transfiguration, and is Jesus' own self-designation (Mark 13:32).[48] These and other instances provide reliable evidence of how the evangelist perceived Jesus, but it is not clear just what the title meant to Mark and his 1st century audience.[48] Where it appears in the Hebrew scriptures it meant Israel as God's people, or the king at his coronation, or angels, as well as the suffering righteous man.[49] In Hellenistic culture the same phrase meant a "divine man", a supernatural being.[48] There is little evidence that "son of God" was a title for the messiah in 1st century Judaism, and the attributes which Mark describes in Jesus are much more those of the Hellenistic miracle-working "divine man" than of the Jewish Davidic messiah.[48]

Mark does not explicitly state what he means by "Son of God", nor when the sonship was conferred.[50] The New Testament as a whole presents four different understandings:

  1. Jesus became God's son at his resurrection, God "begetting" Jesus to a new life by raising him from the dead – this was the earliest understanding, preserved in Paul's Epistle to the Romans, 1:3–4, and in Acts 13:33;
  2. Jesus became God's son at his baptism, the coming of the Holy Spirit marking him as messiah, while "Son of God" refers to the relationship then established for him by God – this is the understanding implied in Mark 1:9–11;
  3. Matthew and Luke present Jesus as "Son of God" from the moment of conception and birth, with God taking the place of a human father;
  4. John, the last of the gospels, presents the idea that the Christ was pre-existent and became flesh as Jesus – an idea also found in Paul.[51]

Mark also calls Jesus "christos" (Christ), translating the Hebrew "messiah," (anointed person).[52] In the Old Testament the term messiah ("anointed one") described prophets, priests and kings; by the time of Jesus, with the kingdom long vanished, it had come to mean an eschatological king (a king who would come at the end of time), one who would be entirely human though far greater than all God's previous messengers to Israel, endowed with miraculous powers, free from sin, ruling in justice and glory (as described in, for example, the Psalms of Solomon, a Jewish work from this period).[53] The most important occurrences are in the context of Jesus' death and suffering, suggesting that, for Mark, Jesus can only be fully understood in that context.[52]

A third important title, "Son of Man", has its roots in Ezekiel, the Book of Enoch, (a popular Jewish apocalyptic work of the period), and especially in Daniel 7:13–14, where the Son of Man is assigned royal roles of dominion, kingship and glory.[54][55] Mark 14:62 combines more scriptural allusions: before he comes on clouds (Daniel 7:13) the Son of Man will be seated on the right hand of God (Psalm 110:1), pointing to the equivalence of the three titles, Christ, Son of God, Son of Man, the common element being the reference to kingly power.[56]

Christ's death, resurrection and return

Eschatology means the study of the end-times, and the Jews expected the messiah to be an eschatological figure, a deliverer who would appear at the end of the age to usher in an earthly kingdom.[57] The earliest Jewish Christian community saw Jesus as a messiah in this Jewish sense, a human figure appointed by God as his earthly regent; but they also believed in Jesus' resurrection and exultation to heaven, and for this reason they also viewed him as God's agent (the "son of God") who would return in glory ushering in the Kingdom of God.[58]

The term "Son of God" likewise had a specific Jewish meaning, or range of meanings,[59] one of the most significant being the earthly king adopted by God as his son at his enthronement, legitimising his rule over Israel.[60] In Hellenistic culture, in contrast, the phrase meant a "divine man", covering legendary heroes like Hercules, god-kings like the Egyptian pharaohs, or famous philosophers like Plato.[61] When the gospels call Jesus "Son of God" the intention is to place him in the class of Hellenistic and Greek divine men, the 'sons of God" who were endowed with supernatural power to perform healings, exorcisms and other wonderful deeds.[60] Mark's "Son of David" is Hellenistic, his Jesus predicting that his mission involves suffering, death and resurrection, and, by implication, not military glory and conquest.[62] This reflects a move away from the Jewish-Christian apocalyptic tradition and towards the Hellenistic message preached by Paul, for whom Christ's death and resurrection, rather than the establishment of the apocalyptic Jewish kingdom, is the meaning of salvation, the "gospel".[58]

Comparison with other writings

"Entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment" – Mark's description of the discovery of the empty tomb (from the Pericopes of Henry II)

Mark and the New Testament

All four gospels tell a story in which Jesus' death and resurrection are the crucial redemptive events.[63] There are, however, important differences between the four: Unlike John, Mark never calls Jesus "God", or claims that Jesus existed prior to his earthly life;[64] unlike Matthew and Luke, the author does not mention a virgin birth, and apparently believes that Jesus had a normal human parentage and birth;[64] unlike Matthew and Luke, he makes no attempt to trace Jesus' ancestry back to King David or Adam with a genealogy.[64]

Christians of Mark's time expected Jesus to return as Messiah in their own lifetime – Mark, like the other gospels, attributes the promise to Jesus himself (Mark 9:1 and 13:30), and it is reflected in the letters of Paul, in the epistle of James, in Hebrews, and in Revelation. When return failed, the early Christians revised their understanding. Some acknowledged that the Second Coming had been delayed, but still expected it; others redefined the focus of the promise, the Gospel of John, for example, speaking of "eternal life" as something available in the present; while still others concluded that Jesus would not return at all (2 Peter argues against those who held this view).[65]

Mark's despairing death of Jesus was changed to a more victorious one in subsequent gospels.[66] Mark's Christ dies with the cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"; Matthew, the next gospel to be written, repeats this word for word but manages to make clear that Jesus's death is the beginning of the resurrection of Israel; Luke has a still more positive picture, replacing Mark's (and Matthew's) cry of despair with one of submission to God's will ("Father, into your hands I commend my spirit"); while John, the last gospel, has Jesus dying without apparent suffering in fulfillment of the divine plan.[66]

Sayings unique to Mark

  • 8:1–9 – Feeding of the four thousand;
  • 8:10 – Crossing of the lake;
  • 8:11–13 – Dispute with the Pharisees;
  • 8:14–21 – Incident of no bread and discourse about the leaven of the Pharisees.

See also


  1. ^ Similar to a rabbinical saying from the 2nd century BC, "The Sabbath is given over to you ["the son of man"], and not you to the Sabbath." Misunderstood Passages
  2. ^ The verb katharizo means both "to declare to be clean" and "to purify." The Scholars Version has: "This is how everything we eat is purified", Gaus' Unvarnished New Testament has: "purging all that is eaten."
  3. ^ Willker, Wieland. "A Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels. Vol. 2: Mark, p. 448" (PDF). TCG 2007: An Online Textual Commentary on the Greek Gospels, 5th ed. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-01-09.



  1. ^ http://khazarzar.skeptik.net/books/titles.pdf
  2. ^ Boring 2006, pp. 252–53.
  3. ^ a b Boring 2006, pp. 1–3.
  4. ^ a b Perkins 1998, p. 241.
  5. ^ Burkett 2002, p. 156.
  6. ^ Edwards 2002, pp. 1–3.
  7. ^ Sanders 1995, pp. 63–64.
  8. ^ Boring 2006, pp. 13–14.
  9. ^ Burkett 2002, p. 157.
  10. ^ France 2002, p. 5.
  11. ^ a b Williamson 1983, p. 17.
  12. ^ Roskam 2004, pp. 237-238.
  13. ^ Winn 2008, pp. 202-204.
  14. ^ Augustine of Hippo, Harmony of the Gospels, Book 1, Chapter 2
  15. ^ Koester 2000, pp. 44–46.
  16. ^ Perkins 2009, p. 16.
  17. ^ Beaver 2009, p. 189.
  18. ^ Joel 2000, p. 859.
  19. ^ Powell 1998, p. 37.
  20. ^ a b Lössl 2010, p. 43.
  21. ^ Gamble 1995, p. 23.
  22. ^ Collins 2000, p. 6.
  23. ^ Aune 1987, p. 59.
  24. ^ a b Aune 1987, p. 60.
  25. ^ a b Aune 1987, p. 61.
  26. ^ Twelftree 1999, p. 68.
  27. ^ Cole 1989, p. 86.
  28. ^ Cole 1989, pp. 86–87.
  29. ^ France 2002, p. 11.
  30. ^ Edwards 2002, pp. 38–39.
  31. ^ Smith 1995, pp. 209–31.
  32. ^ Edwards 2002, pp. 500–01.
  33. ^ a b Schröter 2010, p. 279.
  34. ^ a b c d Horsely 2007, p. 91.
  35. ^ Edwards 2002, p. 500.
  36. ^ a b Aune 1987, p. 17.
  37. ^ Morris 1990, p. 95.
  38. ^ a b Aune 1987, p. 55.
  39. ^ Donahue 2005, pp. 33–34.
  40. ^ Twelftree 1999, p. 57.
  41. ^ a b Kee 1993, p. 483.
  42. ^ Powell 1998, p. 57.
  43. ^ Welch 2006, p. 362.
  44. ^ a b Aune 1987, p. 56.
  45. ^ Cross & Livingstone 2005, p. 1083.
  46. ^ Telford 1999, p. 3.
  47. ^ Telford 1999, pp. 38–9.
  48. ^ a b c d Telford 1999, pp. 38–39.
  49. ^ Donahue 2005, p. 25.
  50. ^ Ehrman 1993, p. 74.
  51. ^ Burkett 2002, pp. 68–69.
  52. ^ a b Donahue 2005, pp. 25–26.
  53. ^ Edwards 2002, p. 250.
  54. ^ Witherington 2001, p. 51.
  55. ^ Donahue 2005, pp. 26–27.
  56. ^ Witherington 2001, p. 52.
  57. ^ Burkett 2002, p. 69.
  58. ^ a b Telford 1999, p. 155.
  59. ^ Dunn 2003, pp. 709–10.
  60. ^ a b Strecker 2000, pp. 81–82.
  61. ^ Dunn 2003, p. 69.
  62. ^ Telford 1999, p. 52.
  63. ^ Hurtado 2005, p. 587.
  64. ^ a b c Burkett 2002, p. 158.
  65. ^ Burkett 2002, pp. 69–70.
  66. ^ a b Moyise 2013, p. unpaginated.
  67. ^ Twelftree 1999, p. 79.


Further reading

External links

Online translations of the Gospel of Mark
Related articles
Gospel of Mark
Preceded by
Gospel of
New Testament
Books of the Bible
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Gospel of
Blind man of Bethsaida

The Blind Man of Bethsaida is the subject of one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels. It is found only in Mark 8:22-26. The exact location of Bethsaida in this pericope is subject to debate among scholars, but is likely to have been Bethsaida Julias, on the north shore of Lake Galilee.According to the Mark's account, when Jesus came to Bethsaida, a town in Galilee, he was asked to heal a blind man. Jesus took the man by the hand and led him out of the town, put some spittle on his eyes, and laid hands on him. "I see men like trees, walking", said the man. Jesus repeated the procedure, resulting in clear and perfect eyesight. "Neither go into the town," commanded Jesus, "nor tell anyone in the town." (New King James Version). Even though the story is found only in Mark, it is strongly supported by the criterion of embarrassment, since it could be argued that early Christians would not have been happy that Jesus had to give two blessings to achieve a proper result. Bede argues that "by this miracle, Christ teaches us how great is the spiritual blindness of man, which only by degrees, and by successive stages, can come to the light of Divine knowledge".The New Testament describes only one other miracle performed in Bethsaida, the feeding of the multitude in Luke 9:16, although John 21:25 states that many more things were done by Jesus than have been recorded.

According to Matthew 11:21, Jesus cursed the city for its lack of belief in him despite "the mighty works done in you". Methodist founder John Wesley suggests that Jesus escorted the man out of the town before healing him "in just displeasure against the inhabitants of Bethsaida for their obstinate infidelity".

Commissioning of the Twelve Apostles

The commissioning of the Twelve Apostles is an episode in the ministry of Jesus that appears in all three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 10:1–4, Mark 3:13–19 and Luke 6:12–16. It relates the initial selection of the Twelve Apostles among the disciples of Jesus.According to Luke:

One of those days Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came, he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles: Simon (whom he named Peter), his brother Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James son of Alphaeus, Simon who was called the Zealot, Judas son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

In the Gospel of Matthew, this episode takes place shortly before the miracle of the man with a withered hand. In the Gospel of Mark and Gospel of Luke it appears shortly after that miracle.This commissioning of the apostles takes place before the crucifixion of Jesus, while the Great Commission in Matthew 28:16-20 takes place after his resurrection.

Exorcism of the Syrophoenician woman's daughter

The Exorcism of the Syrophoenician woman's daughter is one of the miracles of Jesus in the Gospels and is recounted in the Gospel of Mark in Chapter 7 (Mark 7:24-30) and in the Gospel of Matthew in Chapter 15 (Matthew 15:21-28). In Matthew, the story is recounted as the healing of a Canaanite woman's daughter. According to both accounts, Jesus exorcised the woman's daughter whilst travelling in the region of Tyre and Sidon, on account of the faith shown by the woman.

Fraser alphabet

The Fraser alphabet or Old Lisu Alphabet is an artificial script invented around 1915 by Sara Ba Thaw, a Karen preacher from Myanmar, and improved by the missionary James O. Fraser, to write the Lisu language. It is a single-case (unicameral) alphabet. It was also used for the Naxi language, e.g. the 1932 Naxi Gospel of Mark., and used in the Zaiwa or Atsi language e.g. the 1938 Atsi Gospel of Mark.

The alphabet uses uppercase letters from the Latin script, and rotated versions thereof, to write consonants and vowels. Tones and nasalization are written with Roman punctuation marks, identical to those found on a typewriter. Like the Indic abugidas, the vowel [a] is not written. However, unlike those scripts, the other vowels are written with full letters.

The Chinese government recognized the alphabet in 1992 as the official script for writing in Lisu.

Great Commandment

The Great Commandment (or Greatest Commandment) is a name used in the New Testament to describe the first of two commandments cited by Jesus in Matthew 22:35–40 and Mark 12:28–34. These two commandments are paraphrases taken from the Old Testament and are commonly seen as important to Jewish and Christian ethics.

In Mark, when asked "which is the great commandment in the law?", the Greek New Testament reports that Jesus answered, "Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God, The Lord is One; Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind", before also referring to a second commandment, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself." Most Christian denominations consider these two commandments to be the core of correct Christian lifestyle.

Healing the blind near Jericho

Each of the three Synoptic Gospels tells of Jesus healing the blind near Jericho, as he passed through that town, shortly before his passion.

The Gospel of Mark tells of the cure of a man named Bartimaeus healed by Jesus as he is leaving Jericho. The Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke include different versions of this story.

Mark 1

Mark 1 is the first chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible.

Mark 16

Mark 16 is the final chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It begins with the discovery of the empty tomb by Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome. There they encounter a young man dressed in white who announces the Resurrection of Jesus (16:1-6). The two oldest manuscripts of Mark 16 (from the 300s) then conclude with verse 8, which ends with the women fleeing from the empty tomb, and saying "nothing to anyone, because they were too frightened."Textual critics have identified two distinct alternative endings: the "Longer Ending" (vv. 9-20) and the "Shorter Ending" or "lost ending", which appear together in six Greek manuscripts, and in dozens of Ethiopic copies. Modern versions of the New Testament generally include the Longer Ending.

Mark 5

Mark 5 is the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Mark in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. It relates the story of three miracles of Jesus; an exorcism, a healing, and the raising of Jairus' daughter.

Mark the Evangelist

Mark the Evangelist (Latin: Mārcus; Greek: Μᾶρκος, translit. Mârkos; Coptic: Ⲙⲁⲣⲕⲟⲥ Markos; Hebrew: מרקוס‎ Marqos; Arabic: مَرْقُس‎ Marqus; Amharic: ማርቆስ Marḳos; Berber languages: ⵎⴰⵔⵇⵓⵙ) is the traditionally ascribed author of the Gospel of Mark. Mark is said to have founded the Church of Alexandria, one of the most important episcopal sees of early Christianity. His feast day is celebrated on April 25, and his symbol is the winged lion.

Naked fugitive

The naked fugitive (or naked runaway or naked youth) is an unidentified figure mentioned briefly in the Gospel of Mark, immediately after the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane and the fleeing of all his disciples:

And a certain young man followed him, wearing nothing but a linen cloth; and they seized him, but he left the linen cloth and ran away naked.[Mk 14:51–52]

The parallel accounts in the other canonical Gospels make no mention of this incident.

The wearing of a single cloth would not have been indecent or extraordinary, and there are many ancient accounts of how easily such garments would come loose, especially with sudden movements.

Overbrook School for the Blind

The Overbrook School for the Blind was established in 1832 in Overbrook, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They produced the first embossed book in America, the Gospel of Mark and the first magazine for the blind. It is one of four approved charter schools—along with the Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, the Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children, the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf—in Pennsylvania for blind and deaf children.

Papyrus 45

Papyrus 45 (45 or P. Chester Beatty I) is an early New Testament manuscript which is a part of the Chester Beatty Papyri. It was probably created around 250 in Egypt. It contains the texts of Matthew 20-21 and 25-26; Mark 4-9 and 11-12; Luke 6-7 and 9-14; John 4-5 and 10-11; and Acts 4-17. The manuscript is currently housed at the Chester Beatty Library, Dublin, Ireland, except for one leaf containing Matt. 25:41-26:39 which is at the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna (Pap. Vindob. G. 31974).

Papyrus 84

Papyrus 84 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 84, is a copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the four Gospels. The surviving texts of Gospels are verses Mark 2:2-5,8-9; 6:30-31,33-34,36-37,39-41; John 5:5; 17:3,7-8. The manuscript paleographically has been assigned to the 6th century.


The Greek text of this codex probably is mixed with strong element of the Byzantine text-type. Aland placed it in Category III.


It is currently housed at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Library (P. A. M. Khirbet Mird, Greek 1-3; formerly P. A. M. Khirbet Mird 4, 11, 26, 27).

Papyrus 88

Papyrus 88 (in the Gregory-Aland numbering), designated by 88, is a single leaf from an early copy of the New Testament in Greek. It is a papyrus manuscript of the Gospel of Mark. The surviving texts of Mark are verses 2:1-26. The manuscript palaeographically has been assigned to the 4th century.

Don Barker proposes a wider and earlier range of dates for Papyrus 88, along with Uncial 0232, Papyrus 39 and Uncial 0206; and states that all four could be dated as early as the late second century or as late as the end of the fourth century.


The Greek text of this codex is mixed. Aland placed it in Category III.


It is currently housed at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (P. Med. Inv. no. 69.24) in Milan.

Parable of the Growing Seed

The Parable of the Growing Seed (also called the Seed Growing Secretly) is a parable of Jesus which appears only in Mark 4:26-29. It is a parable about growth in the Kingdom of God. It follows the Parable of the Sower and the Lamp under a bushel, and precedes the Parable of the Mustard Seed.

Salome (disciple)

Salome (Hebrew: שלומית‬, Shelomit), or Mary Salome, was a follower of Jesus who appears briefly in the canonical gospels and in more detail in apocryphal writings. She is named by Mark as present at the crucifixion and as one of the women who found Jesus's tomb empty. Interpretation has further identified her with other women who are mentioned but not named in the canonical gospels. In particular, she is often identified as the wife of Zebedee, the mother of James and John, two of the Apostles of Jesus. In Roman Catholic tradition Salome (as Mary Salome) is, or at least was in the Middle Ages, counted as one of the Three Marys who were daughters of Saint Anne, so making her the sister or half-sister of Mary, mother of Jesus.She is not to be confused with the dancing Salome, who demanded the head of John the Baptist, and in the gospels is only referred to as "the daughter of Herodias".

Secret Gospel of Mark

The Secret Gospel of Mark or the Mystic Gospel of Mark (Greek: τοῦ Μάρκου τὸ μυστικὸν εὐαγγέλιον, tou Markou to mystikon euangelion), also the Longer Gospel of Mark, is a putative longer and secret or mystic version of the Gospel of Mark. The gospel is mentioned exclusively in the Mar Saba letter, a document of disputed authenticity, which is said to be written by the Alexandrian Church Father Clement (c. 150–215 C.E.). This letter, in turn, is preserved only in photographs of a Greek handwritten copy seemingly transcribed in the eighteenth century into the endpapers of a seventeenth-century printed edition of the works of Ignatius of Antioch.In 1958, Morton Smith, a professor of ancient history at Columbia University, found a previously unknown letter of Clement of Alexandria in the monastery of Mar Saba situated 20 kilometers south-east of Jerusalem. He made a formal announcement of the discovery in 1960 and published his study of the text in 1973. The original manuscript was subsequently transferred to the library of the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem, and sometime after 1990, it was lost. Further research has relied upon photographs and copies, including those made by Smith himself.In the letter, addressed to one otherwise unknown Theodore (Theodoros), Clement says that “when Peter died a martyr, Mark [i.e. Mark the Evangelist] came over to Alexandria, bringing both his own notes and those of Peter, from which he transferred to his former book [i.e. the Gospel of Mark] the things suitable to whatever makes for progress toward knowledge.” He further says that Mark left this extended version, known today as the Secret Gospel of Mark, “to the church in Alexandria, where it even yet is most carefully guarded, being read only to those who are being initiated into the great mysteries.” Clement quotes two passages from this Secret Gospel of Mark, where Jesus in the longer passage is said to have raised a rich young man from the dead in Bethany; a story which shares many similarities with the story of the raising of Lazarus in the Gospel of John.The revelation of the letter caused a sensation at the time but was soon met with accusations of forgery and misrepresentation. Although most patristic Clement scholars have accepted the letter as genuine, there is no consensus on the authenticity among Biblical scholars, and the opinion is split. As the text is made up of two texts, both may be inauthentic or both may be authentic, or maybe one is authentic and the other inauthentic. Those who think the letter is a forgery mostly think it is a modern forgery, with its discoverer, Morton Smith, being the most often denounced perpetrator. If the letter is a modern forgery, also the excerpts from the Secret Gospel of Mark would be forgeries. Some accept the letter as genuine but do not believe in Clement's account, and instead argue that the gospel is a second century (gnostic) pastiche. Others think Clement's information is accurate and that the secret gospel is a second edition of the Gospel of Mark expanded by Mark himself. Still others see the Secret Gospel of Mark as the original gospel which predates the canonical Gospel of Mark, and where canonical Mark is the result of the Secret Mark passages quoted by Clement and other passages being removed, either by Mark himself or by someone else at a later stage.There is an ongoing controversy surrounding the authenticity of the Mar Saba letter. The scholarly community is divided as to the authenticity and the studies of Secret Mark is in a state of stalemate, but the debate continues.

Two-source hypothesis

The two-source hypothesis (or 2SH) is an explanation for the synoptic problem, the pattern of similarities and differences between the three Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. It posits that the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke were based on the Gospel of Mark and a hypothetical sayings collection from the Christian oral tradition called Q.

The two-source hypothesis emerged in the 19th century. B. H. Streeter definitively stated the case in 1924, adding that two other sources, referred to as M and L, lie behind the material in Matthew and Luke respectively. The strengths of the hypothesis are its explanatory power regarding the shared and non-shared material in the three gospels; its weaknesses lie in the exceptions to those patterns, and in the hypothetical nature of its proposed collection of Jesus-sayings. Later scholars have advanced numerous elaborations and variations on the basic hypothesis, and even completely alternative hypotheses. Nevertheless, "the 2SH commands the support of most biblical critics from all continents and denominations."When Streeter's two additional sources, M and L, are taken into account, this hypothesis is sometimes referred to as the four-document hypothesis.

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