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The Gospel of Mark
|| I. OUR SECOND GOSPEL
II. CONTENTS AND GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS
2. Material Peculiar to Mark
4. A Book of Mighty Works
5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher
6. A Book of Graphic Details
III. THE TEXT
1. General Character
4. Original Language
1. External Evidence
2. Internal Evidence
VI. SOURCES AND INTEGRITY
VII. DATE AND PLACE OF COMPOSITION
IX. PURPOSE AND PLAN
1. The Gospel for Romans
2. Plan of the Gospel
X. LEADING DOCTRINES
2. The Trinity
I. Our Second Gospel.
The order of the Gospels in ouris probably due to the early conviction that this was the order in which the Gospels were written. It was not, however, the invariable order. The question of order only arose when the roll was superseded by the codex, our present book-form. That change was going on in the 3rd century. Origen found codices with the order John-Matthew-Mark-Luke--due probably to the desire to give the apostles the leading place. That and the one common today may be considered the two main groupings--the one in the order of dignity, the other in that of time. The former is Egyptian and Latin; the latter has the authority of most Greek manuscripts, Catalogues and Fathers, and is supported by the old Syriac.
Within these, however, there are variations. The former is varied thus: John-Matthew-Luke-Mark, and Matthew-John-Mark-Luke, and Matthew-John-Luke-Mark; the latter to Matthew-Mark-John-Luke. Mark is never first; when it follows Luke, the time consideration has given place to that of length.
II. Contents and General Characteristics.
The Gospel begins with the ministry of
2. Material Peculiar to Mark:
Matter peculiar to Mark is found in 4:26-29 (the seed growing secretly); 3:21 (his kindred’s fear); 7:32-37 (the deaf and dumb man); 8:22-26 (the blind man); 13:33-37 (the householder and the exhortation to watch); 14:51 (the young man who escaped). But, in addition to this, there are many vivid word-touches with which the common material is lighted up, and in not a few of the common incidents Mark’s account is very much fuller; e.g. 6:14-29 (death of John the Baptist);
In striking contrast to Matthew who, in parallel passages, calls attention to the fulfillment of prophecy by Jesus, Mark only once quotes the
4. A Book of Mighty Works:
Judged by the space occupied, Mark is a Gospel of deeds. Jesus is a worker. His life is one of strenuous activity. He hastens from one task to another with energy and decision. The word euthus, i.e. "straightway," is used 42 times as against Matthew’s 7 and Luke’s 1. In 14 of these, as compared with 2 in Matthew and none in Luke, the word is used of the personal activity of Jesus. It is not strange therefore that the uneventful early years should be passed over (compare
The following are the miracles recorded by Mark: the unclean spirit (1:21-28), the paralytic (2:1-12), the withered hand (3:1-5), the storm stilled (4:35-41), the Gerasene demoniac (5:1-17), Jairus’ daughter (5:22 ff), the woman with the issue (5:25-34), feeding the 5,000 (6:35-44), feeding the 4,000 (8:1-10), walking on the water (6:48 ff); the Syrophoenician’s daughter (7:24-30), the deaf mute (7:31-37), the blind man (8:22-26), the demoniac boy (9:14 ff), blind Bartimeus (10:46-52), the fig tree withered (11:20 ff), the resurrection (16:1 ff). For an interesting classification of these see Westcott’s Introduction to Study of the Gospels, 391. Only the last three belong to Judea.
5. The Worker Is Also a Teacher:
6. A Book of Graphic Details:
There is a multitude of graphic details: Mark mentions actions and gestures of Jesus (7:33; 9:36; 10:16) and His looks of inquiry (5:32), in prayer (6:41; 7:34), of approval (3:34), love (10:21), warning (to Judas especially 10:23), anger (3:5), and in judgment (11:11). Jesus hungers (11:12), seeks rest in seclusion (6:31) and sleeps on the boat cushion (4:38); He pities the multitude (6:34), wonders at men’s unbelief (6:6), sighs over their sorrow and blindness (6:34; 8:12), grieves at their hardening (3:5), and rebukes in sadness the wrong thought of His mother and brothers, and in indignation the mistaken zeal and selfish ambitions of His disciples (8:33; 10:14). Mark represents His miracles of healing usually as instantaneous (1:31; 2:11 f; 3:5), sometimes as gradual or difficult (1:26; 7:32-35; 9:26-28), and once as flatly impossible "because of their unbelief" (6:6). With many vivid touches we are told of the behavior of the people and the impression made on them by what Jesus said or did. They bring their sick along the streets and convert the market-place into a hospital (1:32), throng and jostle Him by the seaside (3:10), and express their astonishment at His note of authority (1:22) and power (2:12). Disciples are awed by His command over the sea (4:41), and disciples and others are surprised and alarmed at the strange look of dread as He walks ahead alone, going up to Jerusalem and the cross (10:32). Many other picturesque details are given, as in 1:13 (He was with the wild beasts); 2:4 (digging through the roof); 4:38 (lying asleep on the cushion); 5:4 (the description of the Gerasene demoniac); 6:39 (the companies, dressed in many colors and looking like flower beds on the green mountain-side). Other details peculiar to Mark are: names (1:29; 3:6; 13:3; 15:21), numbers (5:13; 6:7), time (1:35; 2:1; 11:19; 16:2), and place (2:13; 3:8; 7:31; 12:41; 13:3; 14:68 and 15:39). These strongly suggest the observation of an eyewitness as the final authority, and the geographical references suggest that even the writer understood the general features of the country, especially of Jerusalem and its neighborhood. (For complete lists see Lindsay, Mark’s Gospel, 26 ff.)
III. The Text.
The most important textual problem is that of
It is just possible that the Gospel did end at verse 8. The very abruptness would argue an early date when Christians lived in the atmosphere of the Resurrection and would form an even appropriate closing for the Gospel of the Servant (see below). A Servant comes, fulfills his task, and departs--we do not ask about his lineage, nor follow his subsequent history.
1. General Character:
Mark employs the common coloquial Greek of the day, understood everywhere throughout the Greek-Roman world. It was emphatically the language of the Character people, "known and read of all men." His vocabulary is equally removed from the technicalities of the schools and from the slang of the streets. It is the clean, vigorous, direct speech of the sturdy middle class.
Of his 1,330 words, 60 are proper names. Of the rest 79 are peculiar to Mark, so far as the New Testament is concerned; 203 are found elsewhere only in the Synoptics, 15 only in John’s Gospel, 23 only in Paul (including Hebrews), 2 in the
There are indications that the writer in earlier life was accustomed to think in Aramaic. Occasionally that fact shows itself in the retention of Aramaic words which are proportionately rather more numerous than in Matthew and twice as numerous as in Luke or John. The most interesting of these are taleitha koum, ephphatha, and Boanerges, each uttered at a time of intense feeling.
Latinisms in Mark are about half as numerous as Aramaisms. They number 11, the same as in Matthew, as compared with 6 in Luke and 7 in John. The greater proportion in Mark is the only really noteworthy fact in these figures. It suggests more of a Roman outlook and fits in with the common tradition as to its origin and authorship.
For certain words he has great fondness: euthus 42 times; akathartos 11 times; blepo, and its compounds very frequently; so eperotan, hupagein, exousia, euaggelion, proskaleisthai, epitiman compounds of poreuesthai, sunzetein, and such graphic words as ekthambeisthai, embrimasthai, enagkalizesthai, and phimousthai. The following he uses in an unusual sense: eneichen, pugme, apechei, epibalon.
The same exact and vivid representation of the facts of actual experience accounts for the anacolutha and other broken constructions, e.g.
The style is very simple. The common connective is kai. The stately periods of the classics are wholly absent. The narrative is commonly terse and concise. At times, however, a multitude of details are crowded in, resulting in unusual fullness of expression. This gives rise to numerous duplicate expressions as in
4. Original Language:
That the original language was Greek is the whole impression made by patristic references. Translations of the Gospel are always from, not into, Greek. It was the common language of the Roman world, especially for letters. Paul wrote to the Romans in Greek. Half a century later Clement wrote from Rome to Corinth in Greek. The Greek Mark bears the stamp of originality and of the individuality of the author.
Some have thought it was written in Latin. The only real support for that view is the subscription in a few manuscripts (e.g. 160, 161, egraphe Rhomaisti en Rhome) and in the Peshitta and Harclean Syriac. It is a mistaken deduction from the belief that it was written in Rome or due to the supposition that "interpreter of Peter" meant that Mark translated Peter’s discourses into Latin
Blass contended for an Aramaic original, believing that Luke, in the first part of Acts, followed an Aramaic source, and that that source was by the author of the Second Gospel which also, therefore, was written in Aramaic. He felt, moreover, that the text of Mark suggests several forms of the Gospel which are best explained as translations of a common original. Decisive against the view is the translation of the few Aramaic words which are retained.
1. External Evidence:
The external evidence for the authorship is found in the Fathers and the manuscripts. The most important patristic statements are the following:
Papias--Asia Minor, circa 125 AD--(quoted by Eus., HE, III, 39): "And this also the elder said: Mark, having become the interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, wrote accurately what he remembered (or recorded) of the things said or done by Christ, but not in order. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed Him; but afterward, as I said (he attached himself to) Peter who used to frame his teaching to meet the needs (of his hearers), but not as composing an orderly account (suntaxin) of the Lord’s discourses, so that Mark committed no error in thus writing down some things as he remembered them: for he took thought for one thing not to omit any of the things he had heard nor to falsify anything in them."
--Palestine and the West, circa 150 AD--(In Dial. with Trypho, cvi, Migne ed.): "And when it is said that He imposed on one of the apostles the name Peter, and when this is recorded in his `Memoirs’ with this other fact that He named the two sons of Zebedee `Boanerges,’ which means ` ,’ " etc.
Irenaeus--Asia Minor and Gaul, circa 175 AD--(Adv. Haer., iii. 1, quoted in part Eus., HE, V, 8): "After the apostles were clothed with the power of theand fully furnished for the work of universal evangelization, they went out ("exierunt," in Rufinus’ translation) to the ends of the earth preaching the gospel. Matthew went eastward to those of Hebrew descent and preached to them in their own tongue, in which language he also (had?) published a writing of the gospel, while Peter and Paul went westward and preached and founded the church in Rome. But after the departure (exodon. "exitum" in Rufinus) of the, Mark, the disciple and interpreter (hermeneutes) of Peter, even he has delivered to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter."
--circa 200 AD--(Hypotyp. in Eus., HE, VI, 14): "The occasion for writing the Gospel according to Mark was as follows: After Peter had publicly preached the word in Rome and declared the gospel by the Spirit, many who were present entreated Mark, as one who had followed him for a long time and remembered what he said, to write down what he had spoken, and Mark, after composing the Gospel, presented it to his petitioners. When Peter became aware of it he neither eagerly hindered nor promoted it."
Also (Eus., HE, II, 15): "So charmed were the Romans with the light that shone in upon their minds from the discourses of Peter, that, not contented with a single hearing and the viva voce proclamation of the truth, they urged with the utmost solicitation on Mark, whose Gospel is in circulation and who was Peter’s attendant, that he would leave them in writing a record of the teaching which they had received by word of mouth. They did not give over until they had prevailed on him; and thus they became the cause of the composition of the so-called Gospel according to Mk. It is said that when the apostle knew, by revelation of the Spirit, what was done, he was pleased with the eagerness of the men and authorized the writing to be read in the churches."
Tertullian--, circa 207 AD--(Adv. Marc., iv. 5): He speaks of the authority of the four Gospels, two by apostles and two by companions of apostles, "not excluding that which was published by Mark, for it may be ascribed to Peter, whose interpreter Mark was."
Origen--Alexandria and the East, c 240 AD--("Comm. on Mt" quoted in Eus., HE, VI, 25): "The second is that according to Mark who composed it, under the guidance of Peter (hos Petros huphegesato auto), who therefore, in his Catholic (universal) epistle, acknowledged the evangelist as his son."
Eusebius--Caesarea, circa 325 AD--(Dem. Evang., III, 5): "Though Peter did not undertake, through excess of diffidence, to write a Gospel, yet it had all along been currency reported, that Mark, who had become his familiar acquaintance and attendant (gnorimes kat phoitetes) made memoirs of (or recorded, apomnemoeusai) the discourses of Peter concerning the doings of Jesus." "Mark indeed writes this, but it is Peter who so testifies about himself, for all that is in Mark are memoirs (or records) of the discourses of Peter."
Epiphanius--Cyprus, circa 350 AD--(Haer., 41): "But immediately after Matthew, Mark, having become a follower (akolouthos) of the holy Peter in Rome, is entrusted in the putting forth of a gospel. Having completed his work, he was sent by the holy Peter into the country of the Egyptians."
Jerome--East and West, circa 350 AD--(De vir. illustr., viii): "Mark, disciple and interpreter of Peter, at the request of the brethren in Rome, wrote a brief Gospel in accordance with what he had heard Peter narrating. When Peter heard it he approved and authorized it to be read in the churches."
Also xi: "Accordingly he had Titus as interpreter just as the blessed Peter had Mark whose Gospel was composed, Peter narrating and Mark writing."
Preface Commentary on Matthew: "The second is Mark, interpreter of the apostle Peter, and first bishop of the Alexandrian church; who did not himself see the Lord Jesus, but accurately, rather than in order, narrated those of His deeds, which he had heard his teacher preaching."
To these should be added the--circa 170 AD--"which gives a list of the New Testament books with a brief account of the authorship of each. The account of Matthew and most of that of Mark are lost, only these words relating to Mark being left: `quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit’ " (see below).
These names represent the churches of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th centuries, and practically every quarter of the Roman world. Quite clearly the common opinion was that Mark had written a Gospel and in it had given us mainly the teaching of Peter.
That our second Gospel is the one referred to in these statements there can be no reasonable doubt. Our four were certainly the four of Irenaeus and Tatian; and Salmon (Introduction) has shown that the same four must have been accepted by Justin, Papias and their contemporaries, whether orthodox or Gnostics. Justin’s reference to the surname "Boanerges" supports this so far as Mark is concerned, for in thealone is that fact mentioned (3:17).
A second point is equally clear--that the Gospel of Mark is substantially Peter’s. Mark is called disciple, follower, interpreter of Peter. Origen expressly quotes "Marcus, my son" (
There is no clear declaration that Mark himself was a disciple of Jesus or an eyewitness of what he records. Indeed the statement of Papias seems to affirm the contrary. However, that statement may mean simply that he was not a personal disciple of Jesus, not that he had never seen Him at all.
The Muratorian Fragment is not clear. Its broken sentence has been differently understood. Zahn completes it thus: "(ali) quibus tamen interfuit, et ita posuit," and understands it to mean that "at some incidents (in the life of Jesus), however, he was present and so put them down." Chase (HDB) and others regard "quibus tamen" as a literal translation of the Greek hois de, and believe the meaning to be that Mark, who had probably just been spoken of as not continuously with Peter, "was present at some of this discourses and so recorded them." Chase feels that the phrase following respecting Luke: "Dominum tamen nec ipse vidit in carne," compels the belief that Mark like Luke had not seen the Lord. But Paul, not Mark, may be there in mind, and further, this interpretation rather belittles Mark’s association with Peter.
The patristic testimony may be regarded as summarized in the title of the work in our earliest manuscripts, namely, kata Markon. This phrase must refer to the author, not his source of information, for then it would necessarily have been kata Petron. This is important as throwing light on the judgment of antiquity as to the authorship of the first Gospel, which the manuscripts all entitle kata Matthaion.
2. Internal Evidence:
The internal evidence offers much to confirm the tradition and practically nothing to the contrary. That Peter is back of it is congruous with such facts as the following:
(1) The many vivid details referred to above (III, 6) must have come from an eyewitness. The frequent use of legei, in Mark and Matthew where Luke uses eipen, works in the same direction.
(2) Certain awkward expressions in lists of names can best be explained as Mark’s turning of Peter’s original, e.g.
(3) Two passages (
(5) Generally Mark, like Matthew, writes from the standpoint of the Twelve more frequently than Luke; and Mark, more frequently than Matthew, from the standpoint of the three most honored by Jesus. Compare
(6) The scope of the Gospel which corresponds to that outlined in Peter’s address to Cornelius (
(7) The book suits Peter’s character--impressionable rather than reflective, and emotional rather than logical. To such men arguments are of minor importance. It is deeds that count (Burton, Short Intro).
It may seem to militate against all this that the three striking incidents in Peter’s career narrated in
As to Mark’s authorship, the internal evidence appears slight. Like the others, he does not obtrude himself. Yet for that very reason what hints there are become the more impressive.
There may be something in Zahn’s point that the description of John as brother of James is an unconscious betrayal of the fact that the author’s own name was John. There are two other passages, however, which are clearer and which reinforce each other. The story of the youth in
VI. Sources and Integrity.
We have seen that, according to the testimony of the Fathers, Peter’s preaching and teaching are at least the main source, and that many features of the Gospel support that view. We have seen, also, subtle but weighty reasons for believing that Mark added a little himself. Need we seek further sources, or does inquiry resolve itself into an analysis of Peter’s teaching?
B. Weiss believes that Mark used a document now lost containing mainly sayings of Jesus, called Logia (L) in the earlier discussions, but now commonly known as Q (Quelle). In that opinion he has recently been joined by Sanday and Streeter. Harnack, Sir John Hawkins and Wellhausen have sought to reconstruct Q on the basis of the non-Markan matter in Matthew and Luke. Allen extracts it from Matthew alone, thinking that Mark also may have drawn a few sayings from it. Some assign a distinct source for Mark 13. Streeter considers it a document written shortly after the fall of Jerusalem, incorporating a few utterances by Jesus and itself incorporated bodily by Mark. Other sources, oral or written, are postulated by Bacon for smaller portions and grouped under X. He calls the final redactor R--not Mark but a Paulinist of a radical type.
In forming a judgment much depends upon one’s conception of the teaching method of Jesus and the apostles. Teaching and preaching are not synonymous terms. Matthew sums up the early ministry in Galilee under "teaching, preaching and healing," and gives us the substance of that teaching as it impressed itself upon him. Mark reports less of it, but speaks of it more frequently than either Matthew or Luke. Jesus evidently gave teaching a very large place, and a large proportion of the time thus spent was devoted to the special instruction of the inner circle of disciples. The range of that instruction was not wide. It was intensive rather than extensive. He held Himself to the vital topic of the kingdom of God. He must have gone over it again and again. He would not hesitate to repeat instructions which even chosen men found it so difficult to understand. Teaching by repetition was common then as it is now in the East. The word "catechize" (katecheo) implies that, and that word is used by Paul of Jewish (
The novelty in His teaching was not in method so much as in content, authority and accompanying miraculous power (
Thus before His death the general character of that kingdom, its principles and prospects, were taught. That furnished the warp for the future Gospels. The essence, the substance and general form were the same for all the Twelve; but each from the standpoint of his own individually saw particular aspects and was impressed with special details. No one of them was large enough to grasp it all, for no one was so great as the Master. And it would be strange indeed, though perhaps not so strange as among us, if none of them wrote down any of it. Ramsay, Salmon and Palmer are quit justified in feeling that it may have been put in writing before the death of Jesus. It may well be that Matthew wrote it as it lay in his mind, giving us substantially Harnack’s Q. John and James may have done the same and furnished Luke his main special source. But whether it was written down then or not, the main fact to be noted is that it was lodged in their minds, and that the substance was, and the details through mutual conference increasingly became, their common possession. They did not understand it all--His rising from the dead, for example. But the words were lodged in memory, and subsequent events made their meaning clear.
Then follow the great events of His death and resurrection, and for forty days in frequent appearances He taught them the things concerning the kingdom of God and expounded in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself, especially the necessity of His death and resurrection. These furnished the woof of the future Gospels. But even yet they are not equipped for their task. So He promises them His Spirit, a main part of whose work will be to bring to their remembrance all He had said, to lead them into all the truth, and show them things to come. When He has come they will be ready to witness in power.
The apostles’ conception of their task is indicated in some measure by Peter when he insisted that an indispensable qualification in a successor to Judas was that he must have been with them from the beginning to the end of Christ’s ministry, and so be conversant with His words and deeds. From the day of Pentecost onward they gave themselves preeminently to teaching. The thousands converted on that day continued in the teaching of the apostles. When the trouble broke out between Hebrews and Hellenists, the Seven were appointed because the apostles could not leave the word of God to serve tables. The urgency of this business may have been one reason why they stayed in Jerusalem when persecution scattered so many of the church (
Of that company Peter was the recognized leader, and did more than any other to determine the mold into which at least the post-resurrection teachings were cast. Luke tells us of many attempts to record them. He himself in his brief reports of Peter’s addresses sketches their broad outlines. Mark, at the request of Roman Christians and with Peter’s approval, undertook to give an adequate account. Two special facts influenced the result--one, the character of the people for whom he wrote; the other, the existence (as we may assume) of Matthew’s Q. It would be natural for him to supplement rather than duplicate that apostolic summary. Moreover, since Q presented mainly the ethical or law side of Christianity the supplement would naturally present the gospel side of it--and so become its complement--while at the same time this presentation and the needs of the people for whom he specially writes make it necessary to add something from the body of catechetical material, oral or written, not included in Q, as his frequent kai elegen, seems to imply (Buckley, 152 ff). So Mk’s is "the beginning of the Gospel." He introduces Jesus in the act of symbolically devoting Himself to that death for our sins and rising again, which constitutes the gospel and then entering upon His ministry by calling upon the people to "repent and believe in the gospel." The book is written from the standpoint of the resurrection, and gives the story of the passion and of the ministry in a perspective thus determined. About the same time it may be, Matthew, writing for Jewish Christians, combines this gospel side of the teaching with his own Q side of it, adding from the common stock or abridging as his purpose might suggest or space might demand. Later Luke does a similar service for Greek Christians (compare Harnack, The Twofold Gospel in the New Testament).
The only serious question about the integrity of the book concerns the last twelve verses, for a discussion of which see under III above. Some have suggested that
VII. Date and Place of Composition.
Ancient testimony is sharply divided. The Paschal Chronicle puts it in 40 AD, and many manuscripts, both uncial and cursive (Harnack, Chronologie, 70, 124) 10 or 12 years after the Ascension. These Swete sets aside as due to the mistaken tradition that Peter began work in Rome in the 2nd year of Claudius (42 AD). Similarly he would set aside the opinion of Chrysostom (which has some manuscripts subscriptions to support it) that it was written in Alexandria, as an error growing out of the statement of Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, II, 16) that Mark went to Egypt and preached there the Gospel he composed. This he does in deference to the strong body of evidence that it was written in Rome about the time of Peter’s death. Still there remains a discrepancy between Irenaeus, as commonly understood, and the other Fathers. For, so understood, Irenaeus places it after the death of Peter, whereas Jerome, Epiphanius, Origen and Clement of Alexandria clearly place it within Peter’s lifetime. But it does not seem necessary so to understand Irenaeus. It may be that it was composed while Peter was living, but only published after his death. Christopherson (1570 AD) had suggested that and supported it by the conjectural emendation of ekdosin, "surrendering," "imprisonment" for exodon, in Irenaeus. Grabe, Mill and others thought Irenaeus referred, not to Peter’s death, but to his departure from Rome on further missionary tours. But if we take exodon in that sense, it is better to understand by it departure from Palestine or Syria, rather than from Rome. Irenaeus’ statement that the apostles were now fully furnished for the work of evangelization (Adv. Haer., iii.1) certainly seems to imply that they were now ready to leave Palestine; and his next statement is that Matthew and Mark wrote their respective Gospels. And Eusebius (Historia Ecclesiastica, III, 24) states explicitly that Matthew committed his Gospel to writing "when he was about" to leave Palestine "to go to other peoples." The same may very possibly be true of Mark. If the fact be that Romans in Caesarea or Antioch made the request of Mark, we can easily understand how, by the time of Irenaeus, the whole incident might be transferred to Rome.
If this view be adopted, the date would probably not be before the council at Jerusalem and the events of
Two other slight hints may be mentioned. The omission by the synoptists of the raising of Lazarus, and of the name of Mary in connection with the anointing of Jesus argues an early date when mention of them might have been unpleasant for the family. When the Fourth Gospel was published, they may have been no longer alive. The description of John as the brother of James (
The relation of Mark to Matthew and Luke is important if the very widespread conviction of the priority of Mark be true. For the most likely date for Ac is 62 AD, as suggested by the mention of Paul’s two years’ residence in Rome, and Luke’s Gospel is earlier than the Acts. It may well have been written at Caesarea about 60 AD; that again throws Mark back into the fifties.
The great objection to so early a date is the amount of detail given of the destruction of Jerusalem. Abbott and others have marshalled numerous other objections, but they have very little weight--most of them indeed are puerile. The real crux is that to accept an earlier date than 70 AD is to admit predictive prophecy. Yet to deny that, especially for a believer in Christ, is an unwarranted pre-judgment, and even so far to reduce it as to deny its presence in this passage is to charge Luke--a confessedly careful historian--with ascribing to Jesus statements which He never made.
The eagerness to date Matthew not earlier than 70 is due to the same feeling. But the problem here is complicated by the word "immediately" (24:29). Some regard that as proof positive that it must have been written before the destruction of Jerusalem. Others (e.g. Allen and Plummer) feel that it absolutely forbids a date much later than 70 AD, and consider 75 AD as a limit. But is it not possible that by by eutheos (not parachrema), Christ, speaking as a prophet, may have meant no more than that the next great event comparable with the epochal overthrow of Judaism would be His own return and that the Divine purpose marches straight on from the one to the other? The New Testament nowhere says that the second advent would take place within that generation. See below under "Eschatology." There is therefore no sufficient reason in the Olivet discourse for dating Luke or Matthew later than 60 AD, and if Mark is earlier, it goes back into the fifties.
Older rationalists, like Paulus, not denying Mark’s authorship, regarded the miraculous elements as misconceptions of actual events. Strauss, regarding these as mythical, was compelled to postulate a 2nd-century date. When, however, the date was pushed back to the neighborhood of 70 AD, the historicity was felt to be largely established. But recently theory of "pragmatic values" has been developed; Bacon thus states it: "The key to all genuinely scientific appreciation of Biblical narrative .... is the recognition of motive. The motive .... is never strictly historical but always etiological and frequently apologetic. .... The evangelic tradition consists of so and so many anecdotes, told and retold for the purpose of explaining or defending beliefs and practices of the contemporary church" (Modern Commentary, Beginnings of Gospel Story, 9). Bacon works out the method with the result that Mark is charged again and again with historical and other blunders. This view, like Baur’s tendency-theory, has elements of truth. One is that the vocabulary of a later day may be a sort of necessary translation of the original expression. But translation is neither invention nor perversion. The other is that each author has his purpose, but that simply determines his selection and arrangement of material; it neither creates nor misrepresents it if the author be honest and well informed. The word "selection" is advisedly chosen. The evangelists did not lack material. Each of the Twelve had personal knowledge beyond the content of Q or of Mark. These represent the central orb--the one the ethical, the other the evangelic side of it--but there were rays of exceeding brightness radiating from it in all directions. Luke’s introduction and John’s explicit declaration attest that fact. And neither John nor Luke throws the slightest suspicion on the reliability of the material they did not use. There is no sufficient reason for charging them with misstating the facts to make a point. Bacon seems to trust any other ancient writers or even his own imagination rather than the evangelists. The test becomes altogether too subjective. Yet since Christianity is a historical revelation, perversion of history may become perversion of most vital religious teaching. In the last analysis, the critic undertakes to decide just what Jesus could or could not have done or said. The utter uncertainty of the result is seen by a comparison of Schmiedel and Bacon. The former is sure that the cry "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me" is one of the very few genuine sayings of Jesus; Bacon is equally sure that Jesus could not have uttered it. Bacon also charges Mark with "immoral crudity" because in 10:45 he reports Jesus as saying that He came "to give his life a ransom for (anti) many." Thus, on two most vital matters he charges the evangelists with error because they run counter to his own religious opinions.
Plummer’s remark is just (Commentary on Matthew, xxxiii): "To decide a priori that Deity cannot become incarnate, or that incarnate Deity must exhibit such and such characteristics, is neither true philosophy nor scientific criticism." And A.T. Robertson ("Matthew" in Bible for Home and School, 26): "The closer we get to the historic Jesus the surer we feel that He lived and wrought as He is reported in the." The evangelists had opportunities to know the facts such as we have not. The whole method of their training was such as to secure accuracy. They support each other. They have given us sketches of unparalleled beauty, vigor and power, and have portrayed for us a Person moving among men absolutely without sin--a standing miracle. If we cannot trust them for the facts, there is little hope of ever getting at the facts at all.
IX. Purpose and Plan.
1. The Gospel for Romans:
Mark’s purpose was to write down the Gospel as Peter had presented it to Romans, so say the Fathers, at least, and internal evidence supports them. In any additions made by himself he had the same persons in mind. That the Gospel was for Gentiles can be seen (a) from the translation of the Aramaic expressions in
That it was for Romans is seen in
(a) the explanation of a Greek term by a Latin in
(b) the preponderance of works of power, the emphasis on authority (2:10), patience and heroic endurance (10:17 ff);
(c) 10:12 which forbids a practice that was not Jewish but Roman.
Those who believe it was written at Rome find further hints in the mention of Rufus (15:21; compare
But one cannot escape the feeling that we have in this Gospel the antitype of the. A.B. Davidson (Old Testament Theology, 365) tells us that there are two great figures around which Isaiah’s thoughts gather--the King and the Servant. The former rises "to the unsurpassable height of `God with us,’ `mighty God,’ teaching that in Him God shall be wholly present with His people." The Servant is the other. The former is depicted in Mt, who also identifies Him with the Servant (12:18 f); the latter by Mr who identifies Him with the Messianic King (11:10; 14:62). Davidson summarizes the description of the Servant: "
(1) He is God’s chosen;
(2) He has a mission to establish judgment on the earth. .... The word is His instrument and the Lord is in the Word, or rather He Himself is the impersonation of it;
(3) His endowment is the Spirit and an invincible faith;
(4) There is in Him a marvelous combination of greatness and lowliness;
(5) There are inevitable sufferings--bearing the penalty of others’ sins;
(6) He thus redeems Israel and brings light to the Gentiles.
(7) Israel’s repentance and restoration precede that broader blessing."
It is not strange that this Servant-conception--this remarkable blend of strength and submission, achieving victory through apparent defeat--should appeal to Peter. He was himself an ardent, whole-souled man who knew both defeat and victory. Moreover, he himself had hired servants (
2. Plan of the Gospel:
The plan of the Gospel seems to have been influenced by this conception. Christ’s kingship was apprehended by the Twelve at a comparatively early date. It was not until after the resurrection, when Jesus opened to them the Scriptures, that they saw Him as the Suffering Servant of
Title: Mark 1:1
1. The Baptist preparing the way:
2. Devotement of Jesus to death for us and endowment by the Spirit: Mr 1:9-3; compare
3. His greatness--the Galilean Ministry:
(1) In the synagogue: period of popular favor leading to break with Pharisaic Judaism:
(2) Outside the synagogue: parabolic teaching of the multitude, choice and training of the Twelve and their Great Confession:
4. His lowliness--mainly beyond Galilee: Mr 8:31-15; compare
(1) In the north--announcement of death:
(2) On the way to Jerusalem and the cross--through Galilee (
(3) The triumphal entry into Jerusalem (
(4) In Jerusalem and vicinity--opposed by the leaders (
5. His victory--the resurrection: Mark 16; compare
Generally speaking the plan is chronological, but it is plain that the material is sometimes grouped according to subject-matter.
This Servant-conception may also be the real explanation of some of the striking features of this Gospel, e.g. the absence of a genealogy and any record of His early life; the frequent use of the word "straightway"; the predominance of deeds; the Son’s not knowing the day (
X. Leading Doctrines.
1. Person of Christ:
The main one, naturally, is the Person of Christ. The thesis is that He is Messiah,
2. The Trinity:
The Father speaks in
The works marked with the asterisk are specially commended; for very full list see Moffat’s Introduction.
Fritzsche, 1830; Olshausen, translated 1863; J.A. Alexander, 1863; Lange, translated 1866; Meyer, 1866, American edition, 1884; Cook, Speaker’s Commentary, 1878; Plumptre, Ellicott’s, 1879; Riddle, Schaff’s, 1879; W.N. Clarke, Amer. Comm., 1881; Lindsay, 1883; Broadus, 1881 and 1905; Morison, 1889; H.G. Holtzmann(3), 1901; Maclean, Cambridge Bible, 1893; Gould, International Critical Commentary, 1896; Bruce, The Expositor Greek Testament, 1897; B. Weiss, Meyer, 1901; Menzies, The Earliest Gospel, 1901; Salmond, Century Bible; Wellhausen2, 1909; Swete, 1908; Bacon, The Beginnings of Gospel Story, 1909; Wohlenberg, Zahn’s Series, Das Evangelium des Markus, 1910. For the earlier see Swete.
Eichhorn, 1827; Credner, 1836; Schleiermacher, 1845; De Wette, 1860; Bleek, 1866, translated 1883; Reuss, 1874, translated 1884; B. Weiss. 2nd edition, translated 1886; 3rd edition, 1897; H.J. Holtzmann, 1892; Th. Zahn, 1897, translated 1909; Godet, 1899; Julicher(6), 1906; von Soden, 1905, translated 1906; Wendling, Ur-Marcus, 1905; A. Muller, Geschichtskerne in den Evang., 1905; Wrede, Origin of New Testament Scriptures, 1907, translated 1909; Horne, 1875; Westcott, Introduction to Study of Gospels, 7th edition, 1888, and The Canon, 6th edition, 1889; Salmon, 1897; Adeney, 1899; Bacon, 1900; Burton, 1904; Moffat, Historical New Testament, 1901; Introduction to the Literature of New Testament, 1911; Peake, 1909; Gregory, Einleitung., 1909; Charteris, Canonicity, 1881; The New Testament Scriptures, 1882, and popular Intros by Plumptre, 1883; Lumby, 1883; Kerr, 1892; McClymont, 1893; Dods, 1894; Lightfoot, Essays on the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion, 1889; Sanday, Gospels in the 2nd Century, 1874; Stanton, Gospels as Historical Documents, I, 1903; II, 1909.
Mark and the:
Rushbrooke, Synopticon, 1880; Wright, Synopsis of the Gospels in Greek, 3rd edition, 1906; Composition of the Four Gospels, 1890; Some New Testament Problems, 1898; H.J. Holtzmann, Die synopt. Evang., 1863; Weizsacker, Untersuch. uber die evang. Gesch., 2nd edition, 1901; Wernle, Die synopt. Frage, 1899; Loisy, Les ev. syn., 1908; Wellhausen, Einleitung in die drei ersten Evang., 1905; Blass, Origin and Char. of Our Gospels, English translation, xviii; Norton, Internal Evid. of the Genuineness of the Gospels, 1847; F.H. Woods, Stud. Bibl., II, 594; Palmer, Gospel Problems and Their Solution, 1899; J.A. Robinson, The Study of the Gospels, 1902; Gloag, Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels; Burton, Some Principles of Literary Criticism and Their Application to the Synoptic Problem, 1904; Stanton, as above, and in Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), II, 234 ff; Turner, "Chronology of New Testament," Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), I, 403 ff; J.J. Scott, The Making of the Gospels, 1905; Burkitt, Gospel History and Its Transmission, 1906; Salmon, Human Element in the Gospels, 1907; Harnack, Gesch. der altchristl. Lit., I, 1893; II, 2nd edition, 1904; Beitrage zur Einleitung in das New Testament, 4 volumes, translated in "Crown Theol. Lib.," Luke the Physician, 1907; The, 1908; The Ac of the Apostles, 1909; The Date of the Ac and of the Synoptic Gospels, 1911; Montefiore, The Synoptic Gospels, 1909; Hawkins, Horae Synopticae, 2nd edition, 1909; Denney, Jesus and the Gospel; Cambridge Biblical Essays, edition by Swete, 1909; Oxford Studies in the Syn. Problem, edition by Sanday, 1911; Salmond, Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible (five volumes), III, 248 ff; Maclean, Hastings, Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, II, 120 f; Petrie, Growth of Gospels Shown by Structural Criticism, 1910; Buckley, Introduction to Synoptic Problem, 1912.
Dalman, Words of Jesus, translated 1909; Deissmann, Bible Studies, translated 1901; Light from the Ancient East, translated 1910; Allen, The Expositor, I, English translation, 1902; Marshall, The Expositor, 1891-94; Wellhausen, Einleitung.; Hatch, Essays in Biblical Greek, 1889; Swete and Hawkins.
Westcott and Hort, The New Testament in Greek, Introduction to the New Testament in Greek; Salmon, Introduction, chapter ix; Gregory, Text and Canon; Morison and Swete, in Commentary; Burgon, The Last Twelve Verses of Mark.
Schweizer, Quest of the Historical Jesus, 1910; Sanday, Life of Christ in Recent Research; Emmet, Eschatological Question in the Gospels, 1911; Hogg, Christ’s Message of the Kingdom, 1911; Forbes, The, 1890; Davidson, Old Testament Theology.
J. H. Farmer