Gospel of Mark

Last updated

The Gospel According to Mark (Greek : Εὐαγγέλιον κατὰ Μᾶρκον, romanized: Euangélion katà Mârkon) 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. [1] 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. [2]

Greek language Language spoken in Greece, Cyprus and Southern Albania

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus and other parts of the Eastern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. It has the longest documented history of any living Indo-European language, spanning more than 3000 years of written records. Its writing system has been the Greek alphabet for the major part of its history; other systems, such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary, were used previously. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Romanization of Greek is the transliteration (letter-mapping) or transcription (sound-mapping) of text from the Greek alphabet into the Latin alphabet. The conventions for writing and romanizing Ancient Greek and Modern Greek differ markedly, which can create confusion. The sound of the English letter B was written as β in ancient Greek but is now written as the digraph μπ, while the modern β sounds like the English letter V instead. The Greek name Ἰωάννης became Johannes in Latin and then John in English, but in Greek itself has instead become Γιάννης; this might be written as Yannis, Jani, Ioannis, Yiannis, or Giannis, but not Giannes or Giannēs as it would have been in ancient Greek. The masculine Greek word Ἅγιος or Άγιος might variously appear as Hagiοs, Agios, Aghios, or Ayios, or simply be translated as "Holy" or "Saint" in English forms of Greek placenames.

Ministry of Jesus

In the Christian gospels, the ministry of Jesus begins with his baptism in the countryside of Roman Judea and Transjordan, near the river Jordan, and ends in Jerusalem, following the Last Supper with his disciples. The Gospel of Luke states that Jesus was "about 30 years of age" at the start of his ministry. A chronology of Jesus typically has the date of the start of his ministry estimated at around AD 27–29 and the end in the range AD 30–36.

Contents

Mark probably dates from AD 66–70. [3] 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. [4]

Tradition belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past

A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. Common examples include holidays or impractical but socially meaningful clothes, but the idea has also been applied to social norms such as greetings. Traditions can persist and evolve for thousands of years—the word tradition itself derives from the Latin tradere literally meaning to transmit, to hand over, to give for safekeeping. While it is commonly assumed that traditions have ancient history, many traditions have been invented on purpose, whether that be political or cultural, over short periods of time. Various academic disciplines also use the word in a variety of ways.

John Mark Biblical saint

John Mark is named in the Acts of the Apostles as an assistant accompanying Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys. Traditionally he is regarded as identical with Mark the Evangelist.

Mark was traditionally placed second, and sometimes fourth, in the Christian canon, as an inferior abridgement of what was regarded as the most important gospel, Matthew. [5] The Church has consequently derived its view of Jesus primarily from Matthew, secondarily from John, and only distantly from Mark. [6] 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. [6] 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]

Gospel of Matthew Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Matthew is the first book of the New Testament and one of the three synoptic gospels. It tells how the promised Messiah, Jesus, rejected by Israel, is killed, is raised from the dead, and finally sends the disciples to preach the gospel to the whole world. Most scholars believe it was composed between AD 80 and 90, with a range of possibility between AD 70 to 110. The anonymous author was probably a male Jew, standing on the margin between traditional and non-traditional Jewish values, and familiar with technical legal aspects of scripture being debated in his time. Writing in a polished Semitic "synagogue Greek", he drew on the Gospel of Mark as a source, and likely used a hypothetical collection of sayings known as the Q source, although the existence of Q has been questioned by some scholars. He also used material unique to his own community, called the M source or "Special Matthew".

Gospel of John Book of the New Testament

The Gospel of John is the fourth of the canonical gospels. The work is anonymous, although it identifies an unnamed "disciple whom Jesus loved" as the source of its traditions. It is closely related in style and content to the three Johannine epistles, and most scholars treat the four books, along with the Book of Revelation, as a single corpus of Johannine literature, albeit not from the same author.

Gospel of Luke Book of the New Testament

The Gospel According to Luke, also called the Gospel of Luke, or simply Luke, is the third of the four canonical Gospels. It tells of the origins, birth, ministry, death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Composition, genre, and setting

Mantegna's St. Mark Andrea Mantegna 087.jpg
Mantegna's St. Mark
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. Synoptic problem, two-source hypothesis.svg
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 written in Greek for a gentile audience, probably in Rome, although Galilee, Antioch (third-largest city in the Roman Empire, located in northern Syria), and southern Syria have also been suggested. [8] Early Christian tradition attributes it to the John Mark mentioned in Acts, but scholars generally reject this as an attempt to link the gospel to an authoritative figure [4] 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. [3] 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). [9]

Nero Fifth Emperor of Ancient Rome

Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius' heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero's mother, Agrippina the Younger, was likely implicated in Claudius' death and Nero's nomination as emperor. She dominated Nero's early life and decisions until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered.

First Jewish–Roman War The first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire

The First Jewish–Roman War, sometimes called the Great Revolt, or The Jewish War, was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews against the Roman Empire, fought in Roman-controlled Judea, resulting in the destruction of Jewish towns, the displacement of its people and the appropriation of land for Roman military usage, besides the destruction of the Jewish Temple and polity.

Apocalyptic literature is a genre of prophetical writing that developed in post-Exilic Jewish culture and was popular among millennialist early Christians.

Synoptic problem and historicity

Mark the Evangelist, 16th-century Russian icon MarkEvangelist.jpg
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. It is widely accepted that this was the first gospel (Marcan Priority) and was used as a source by both Matthew and Luke, who agree with each other in their sequence of stories and events only when they also agree with Mark. [10]

Marcan priority hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark was used as a source by the other synoptic gospels (Matthew and Luke)

Marcan priority, the hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark was the first-written of the three Synoptic Gospels and was used as a source by the other two is a central element in discussion of the synoptic problem – the question of the documentary relationship among these three Gospels.

In the 19th century the acceptance of Mark's status as the earliest gospel 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. [12] 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. [13]

William Wrede German Lutheran theologian

Georg Friedrich Eduard William Wrede was a German Lutheran theologian.

Setting

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. [14] From the outset, Christians depended heavily on Jewish literature, supporting their convictions through the Jewish scriptures. [15] Those convictions involved a nucleus of key concepts: the messiah, the son of God and the son of man, the suffering servant, the Day of the Lord, and 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. [16] 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. [14]

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. [17] 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. [18] 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"). [18] 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. [19] Some 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. [19]

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)
Page from Mark in a Latin bible dated 1486 (Bodleian Library) Mark Bib Lat 1486 c.2 Bodleian Library.jpg
Page from Mark in a Latin bible dated 1486 (Bodleian Library)

There is no agreement on the structure of Mark. [20] 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. [21] Peter's confession at Mark 8:27–30 that Jesus is the messiah thus forms the watershed to the whole gospel. [22] 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. [23] 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. [24] Stephen H. Smith has made the point that the structure of Mark is similar to the structure of a Greek tragedy. [25]

Content

Ending

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, [26] and this is supported by statements from the early Church Fathers Eusebius and Jerome. [27] Two attempts were made to provide a more satisfactory conclusion. [28] 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. [28] This addition differs from the rest of Mark both in style and in its understanding of Jesus. [28] 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. [27] This ending was possibly written in the early 2nd century and added later in the same century. [28]

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. [29]

Theology

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

Gospel

The author introduces his work as "gospel", meaning "good news", a literal translation of the Greek "evangelion" [30]  – he uses the word more often than any other writer in the New Testament besides Paul. [31] 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. [30] 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". [32] 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). [32]

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[ verification needed ], the failure of the disciples and Jesus' denial by Peter himself would have been powerful symbols of faith, hope and reconciliation. [33]

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. [34] 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. [35] [36] 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). [35] "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. [37] All the gospels defend Jesus against the charge, which, if true, would contradict their ultimate claims for him. [38] 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. [38]

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. [39]

Christology

Christology means a doctrine or understanding concerning the person or nature of Christ. [40] 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. [41] It appears on the lips of God himself at the baptism and the transfiguration, and is Jesus' own self-designation (Mark 13:32). [41] 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. [41] 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. [42] In Hellenistic culture the same phrase meant a "divine man", a supernatural being. [41] 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. [41]

Mark does not explicitly state what he means by "Son of God", nor when the sonship was conferred. [43] 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. [44]

Mark also calls Jesus "christos" (Christ), translating the Hebrew "messiah," (anointed person). [45] 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). [46] 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. [45]

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. [47] [48] 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. [49]

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. [50] 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. [51]

The term "Son of God" likewise had a specific Jewish meaning, or range of meanings, [52] one of the most significant being the earthly king adopted by God as his son at his enthronement, legitimising his rule over Israel. [53] 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. [54] 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. [53] 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. [55] 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". [51]

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) PericopesHenryIIFol117rAngelOnTomb.jpg
"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. [56] 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; [57] unlike Matthew and Luke, the author does not mention a virgin birth, and apparently believes that Jesus had a normal human parentage and birth; [57] unlike Matthew and Luke, he makes no attempt to trace Jesus' ancestry back to King David or Adam with a genealogy. [57]

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). [58]

Mark's despairing death of Jesus was changed to a more victorious one in subsequent gospels. [59] 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. [59]

Sayings unique to Mark

Then:
  • 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

Notes

  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 9 January 2008.

Related Research Articles

Acts of the Apostles Book of the New Testament

The Acts of the Apostles, often referred to simply as Acts, or formally the Book of Acts, is the fifth book of the New Testament; it tells of the founding of the Christian church and the spread of its message to the Roman Empire.

Matthew the Apostle Christian evangelist and apostle

Matthew the Apostle, also known as Saint Matthew and as Levi, was, according to the New Testament, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. According to Christian tradition, he was also one of the four Evangelists and thus is also known as Matthew the Evangelist.

Resurrection of Jesus Christian belief that God raised Jesus after his crucifixion

The resurrection of Jesus, or anastasis is the Christian belief that God raised Jesus after his crucifixion as first of the dead, starting his exalted life as Christ and Lord. In Christian theology, the death and resurrection of Jesus are the most important events, a foundation of the Christian faith, and commemorated by Easter. His resurrection is the guarantee that all the Christian dead will be resurrected at Christ's parousia. For the Christian tradition, the bodily resurrection was the restoration to life of a transformed body powered by spirit, as described by Paul and the Gospels, that led to the establishment of Christianity.

Ascension of Jesus The departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God

The ascension of Jesus is the departure of Christ from Earth into the presence of God in heaven. In the Christian tradition, reflected in the major Christian creeds and confessional statements, God exaltated Jesus after his death, raising Him as first of the dead, and taking Him to heaven, where Jesus took his seat at the right hand of God. While in modern times a literal reading of the ascension-accounts has become problematic, as its cosmology is incompatible with the modern, scientific worldview, the real relevance of Jesus' ascension lies in this exaltation.

Nativity of Jesus Birth of Jesus

The nativity of Jesus or birth of Jesus is described in the gospels of Luke and Matthew. The two accounts differ, but agree that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea during the reign of King Herod the Great, his mother Mary was married to a man named Joseph, who was descended from King David and was not his biological father, and that his birth was caused by divine intervention.

Jesus in Christianity Jesus in Christianity

In Christianity, Jesus is believed to be the Son of God and the second Person of the Holy Trinity. Christians believe that through his crucifixion and subsequent resurrection, God offered humans salvation and eternal life. He is believed to be the Jewish messiah prophesied in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament. These teachings emphasize that as the Lamb of God, Jesus chose to suffer on the cross at Calvary as a sign of his obedience to the will of God, as an "agent and servant of God". Jesus died to atone for sin to make us right with God. Jesus' choice positions him as a man of obedience, in contrast to Adam's disobedience.

Names and titles of Jesus in the New Testament Designations for Jesus used in the New Testament

Two names and a variety of titles are used to refer to Jesus in the New Testament.

Jesus The central figure of Christianity

Jesus, also referred to as Jesus of Nazareth and Jesus Christ, was a first-century Jewish preacher and religious leader. He is the central figure of Christianity. Most Christians believe he is the incarnation of God the Son and the awaited Messiah (Christ) prophesied in the Old Testament.

Life of Jesus in the New Testament life of Jesus as told in the New Testament

The life of Jesus in the New Testament is primarily outlined in the four canonical gospels, which includes his genealogy and nativity, public ministry, passion, resurrection and ascension. Other parts of the New Testament – such as the Pauline epistles which were likely written within 20–30 years of each other, and which include references to key episodes in Jesus' life, such as the Last Supper, and the Acts of the Apostles, (1:1–11) which includes more references to the Ascension episode than the canonical gospels - also expound upon the life of Jesus. In addition to these biblical texts, there are extra-biblical texts that Christians believe make reference to certain events in the life of Jesus, such as Josephus on Jesus and Tacitus on Christ.

Baptism of Jesus event that marks the beginning of Jesus public ministry

The baptism of Jesus is described in the gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. John's gospel does not directly describe Jesus' baptism.

Post-Resurrection appearances of Jesus

The post-resurrection appearances of Jesus are the earthly appearances of Jesus to his followers after his death and burial. Believers point to them as evidence of his resurrection and identity as Messiah, seated in heaven on the right hand of God.

Confession of Peter An episode in the New Testament in which the Apostle Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Christ

In Christianity, the Confession of Peter refers to an episode in the New Testament in which the Apostle Peter proclaims Jesus to be the Christ. The proclamation is described in the three Synoptic Gospels: Matthew 16:13-20, Mark 8:27–30 and Luke 9:18–20. Specifically, Peter declares, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."

Crucifixion of Jesus Jesus crucifixion as described in the four canonical gospels

The crucifixion of Jesus occurred in 1st-century Judea, most likely between AD 30 and 33. Jesus' crucifixion is described in the four canonical gospels, referred to in the New Testament epistles, attested to by other ancient sources, and is established as a historical event confirmed by non-Christian sources, although there is no consensus among historians on the exact details.

Oral gospel traditions

Oral gospel traditions, cultural information passed on from one generation to the next by word of mouth, were the first stage in the formation of the written gospels. These oral traditions included different types of stories about Jesus. For example, people told anecdotes about Jesus healing the sick and debating with his opponents. The traditions also included sayings attributed to Jesus, such as parables and teachings on various subjects which, along with other sayings, formed the oral gospel tradition.

The terms "son of God" and "son of the LORD" are found in several passages of the Old Testament. In Christianity, the title Son of God refers to the status of Jesus as the divine son of God the Father.

References

Citations

  1. Boring 2006, pp. 252–53.
  2. 1 2 Boring 2006, pp. 1–3.
  3. 1 2 Perkins 1998, p. 241.
  4. 1 2 Burkett 2002, p. 156.
  5. Edwards 2002, p. 2.
  6. 1 2 3 Edwards 2002, pp. 1–3.
  7. Sanders 1995, pp. 63–64.
  8. Burkett 2002, p. 157.
  9. Boring 2006, pp. 13–14.
  10. Koester 2000, pp. 44–46.
  11. Williamson 1983, p. 17.
  12. Joel 2000, p. 859.
  13. Powell 1998, p. 37.
  14. 1 2 Lössl 2010, p. 43.
  15. Gamble 1995, p. 23.
  16. Collins 2000, p. 6.
  17. Aune 1987, p. 59.
  18. 1 2 Aune 1987, p. 60.
  19. 1 2 Aune 1987, p. 61.
  20. Twelftree 1999, p. 68.
  21. Cole 1989, p. 86.
  22. Cole 1989, pp. 86–87.
  23. France 2002, p. 11.
  24. Edwards 2002, pp. 38–39.
  25. Smith 1995, pp. 209–31.
  26. Edwards 2002, pp. 500–01.
  27. 1 2 Schröter 2010, p. 279.
  28. 1 2 3 4 Horsely 2007, p. 91.
  29. Edwards 2002, p. 500.
  30. 1 2 Aune 1987, p. 17.
  31. Morris 1990, p. 95.
  32. 1 2 Aune 1987, p. 55.
  33. Donahue 2005, pp. 33–34.
  34. Twelftree 1999, p. 57.
  35. 1 2 Kee 1993, p. 483.
  36. Powell 1998, p. 57.
  37. Welch 2006, p. 362.
  38. 1 2 Aune 1987, p. 56.
  39. Cross & Livingstone 2005, p. 1083.
  40. Telford 1999, p. 3.
  41. 1 2 3 4 5 Telford 1999, pp. 38–39.
  42. Donahue 2005, p. 25.
  43. Ehrman 1993, p. 74.
  44. Burkett 2002, pp. 68–69.
  45. 1 2 Donahue 2005, pp. 25–26.
  46. Edwards 2002, p. 250.
  47. Witherington 2001, p. 51.
  48. Donahue 2005, pp. 26–27.
  49. Witherington 2001, p. 52.
  50. Burkett 2002, p. 69.
  51. 1 2 Telford 1999, p. 155.
  52. Dunn 2003, pp. 709–10.
  53. 1 2 Strecker 2000, pp. 81–82.
  54. Dunn 2003, p. 69.
  55. Telford 1999, p. 52.
  56. Hurtado 2005, p. 587.
  57. 1 2 3 Burkett 2002, p. 158.
  58. Burkett 2002, pp. 69–70.
  59. 1 2 Moyise 2013, p. unpaginated.
  60. Twelftree 1999, p. 79.

Bibliography

Further reading

Online translations of the Gospel of Mark
Related articles
Gospel of Mark
Preceded by
Gospel of
Matthew
New Testament
Books of the Bible
Succeeded by
Gospel of
Luke