Gospel of Mark

Book of the New Testament / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Gospel of Mark[lower-alpha 1] is the second of the four canonical gospels and of the three synoptic Gospels. It tells of the ministry of Jesus from his baptism by John the Baptist to his death, burial, and the discovery of his empty tomb. There is no miraculous birth or doctrine of divine pre-existence,[3] nor, in the original ending (Mark 16:1–8), any post-resurrection appearances of Jesus.[4] It portrays Jesus as a teacher, an exorcist, a healer, and a miracle worker. He refers to himself as the Son of Man. He is called the Son of God, but keeps his messianic nature secret; even his disciples fail to understand him.[5] All this is in keeping with Christian interpretation of prophecy, which is believed to foretell the fate of the messiah as suffering servant.[6] 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 of Jesus.[7]

The end of Mark 15 (excluding v. 47), along with Mark 16:1 in Codex Sinaiticus (c.AD 350)

Most scholars date Mark to c.66–74 AD, either shortly before or after the destruction of the Second Temple in 70 AD.[8] They reject the traditional ascription to Mark the Evangelist, the companion of the Apostle Peter – which probably arose from the desire of early Christians to link the work to an authoritative figure – and believe it to be the work of an author working with various sources including collections of miracle stories, controversy stories, parables, and a passion narrative.[9] It 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; the Church has consequently derived its view of Jesus primarily from Matthew, secondarily from John, and only distantly from Mark.[10]

In the 19th century, 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 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.[11]