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The Gospel of Mark (Gk. ) is the second of the four Canonical Gospels in the New Testament, but is believed by most contemporary scholars to be the first gospel written, on which the other two synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke, were partially based.

The gospel narrates the life of Jesus of Nazareth from his baptism by John the Baptist to the resurrection (or to the empty tomb in the earliest manuscripts), but it concentrates particularly on the last week of his life (chapters 11-16, the trip to Jerusalem). Its swift narrative portrays Jesus as a heroic man of action, an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker. It calls him the Son of Man, the Son of God, and the Christ(the Greek translation of Messiah).

Two important themes of Mark are the Messianic secret and the obtuseness of the disciples. In Mark, Jesus often commands secrecy regarding aspects of his identity and certain actions. Jesus uses parables to explain his message and fulfill prophecy ( ). At times, the disciples have trouble understanding the parables, but Jesus explains what they mean, in secret ( , ). They also fail to understand the implication of the miracles that he performs before them.


The Gospel of Mark was written anonymously, but has been traditionally ascribed to Mark the Evangelist (also known as John Mark), a cousin of Barnabas. There is also evidence that the author of the Gospel of Mark was Peter's scribe.

Following Augustine of Hippo, see also Augustinian hypothesis, the Gospel of Mark was traditionally believed by Christian churches to be based on the Gospel of Matthew, an epitome, and accordingly, it is placed after that gospel in most Bibles. However, most contemporary scholars regard it as the earliest of the canonical gospels (c 70).


The gospel itself is anonymous, but as early as Papias in the early 2nd century, a text was attributed to Mark, a cousin of Barnabas., who is said to have recorded the Apostle's discourses. Papias' authority in this was John the Presbyter. While the text of Papias is no longer extant, it was quoted by Eusebius of Caesarea:

This, too, the presbyter used to say. ‘Mark, who had been Peter's interpreter, wrote down carefully, but not in order, all that he remembered of the Lord’s sayings and doings. For he had not heard the Lord or been one of his followers, but later, as I said, one of Peter’s. Peter used to adapt his teachings to the occasion, without making a systematic arrangement of the Lord’s sayings, so that Mark was quite justified in writing down some of the things as he remembered them. For he had one purpose only – to leave out nothing that he had heard, and to make no misstatement about it.

Irenaeus concurred with this tradition, as did Origen of Alexandria, Tertullian, and others. Clement of Alexandria, writing at the end of the 2nd century, reported an ancient tradition that Mark was urged by those who had heard Peter's speeches in Romemarker to write what the apostle had said. Following this tradition, scholars have generally thought that this gospel was written at Rome. Among recent alternate suggestions are Syriamarker, Alexandriamarker, or more broadly any area within the Roman Empire. In any case, many scholars do not accept the Papias citation as a reliable representation of the Gospel's history, pointing out that there is no distinctive Petrine tradition in Mark.

It has been argued that there is an impending sense of persecution in the Gospel, and that this could indicate it being written to sustain the faith of a community under such a threat. As the main Christian persecution at that time was in Rome under Nero, this has been used to place the writing of the Gospel in Rome. Furthermore, it has been argued that the Latinized vocabulary employed in Mark (and in neither Matthew nor Luke) shows that the Gospel was written in Rome. Also cited in support is a passage in First Peter: "The chosen one at Babylon sends you greeting, as does Mark, my son."; Babylon being interpreted as a derogatory or code name for Rome, as the famous ancient city of Babylonmarker ceased to exist in 275 BC.

However, the Rome-Peter theory has been questioned in recent decades. Some scholars believe that the Gospel of Mark contains mistakes concerning Galilean geography and customs, supporting that the author, or his sources, were unfamiliar with the actual geography of that area and its customs, unlike the historical Peter. Furthermore, certain scholars dispute the connection of the gospel with persecution, identified with Nero's persecution in Rome, asserting that persecution was widespread, albeit sporadic beyond the borders of the city of Rome.

It is generally agreed among contemporary scholars that the Gospel of Mark was the first of the canonical gospels to be written, whereas the traditional view, popular amongst the Church fathers and especially Augustine of Hippo, holds that Mark was composed second, after the Gospel of Matthew (see Augustinian hypothesis). This assertion of Markan Priority is closely associated with the Two-Source Hypothesis, Q hypothesis, and the Farrer hypothesis (see below). Some Jewish/Christian scholars such as Robert Lindsey, David Flusser, Shmuel Safrai, and David Bivin have proposed that there was a Hebrew version of the Gospel before it was transcribed into Greek and that this necessitates Lukan Priority.


There are differing opinions as to how late Mark could have been written. Most scholars agree with the Two-source hypothesis that proposes that Mark was one of the sources for the other Synoptic Gospels, Matthew and Luke; according to this viewpoint the latest possible date for Mark depends on the dating of Matthew and Luke. A wide range of recent critical scholars believe that Mark was written at the earliest after the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the Second Temple in 70.

Two papyrologists, Fr. Josep O'Callaghan and Carsten Peter Thiede, have proposed that lettering on a postage-stamp-sized papyrus fragment found in a cave at Qumranmarker, 7Q5, represents a fragment of Mark ( ); thus they assert that the present gospel was written and distributed prior to 68. Computer analysis has shown that, assuming their disputed reading of the letters to be correct, and allowing for the replacement of one letter and the omission of a three word phrase "to the land", only Mark matches these twenty letters and five lines among all known Greek manuscripts. The majority of papyrologists question this identification of the fragmentary text,for several reasons. Some assume that all early papyrus Gospel manuscripts were copied as codices., and that a copy in a scroll format would not have been made for the Qumranmarker librarians. While no other known Greek work matches 7Q5's wording, neither does Mark unless the phrase "to land", found in all other extant manuscripts of Mark, is omitted from 6:52–53.

John A. T. Robinson in 'Redating the New Testament' proposes an even earlier date. He accepts Marcan Priority and dates Luke/Acts no later than 62. Therefore, if Mark was written before Luke/Acts, Robinson dates Mark to the mid fifties.

Dating of Mark near AD 70 is based on apparent references to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, combined with the assumption that the first readers would not have understood these references if the gospel had been written prior to the events described.

, known as the "Little Apocalypse", is a key passage for dating the text. Using the method of Higher Criticism to analyze the Biblical text and to discover the historical framework in which it was written, correspondences have been seen by scholars between this passage and the calamities of the First Jewish Revolt of 66–70. The passage predicts that Herod's Temple would be torn down completely, and this was done by the forces of the Roman general Titus in the year 70. Scholars have also pointed out that the last verse of the Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen   alludes to the slaughter and exile of the Jews from Jerusalem by the Romans after 70 (according to historians, the Jews were excluded from Jerusalem only after the Bar Kokhba revolt). Others see the reference in   to the false accusation that Jesus threatened to destroy the Temple and rebuild it in three days as another reference to the destruction of the Temple in 70.

A small group of scholars, including the German radical critical scholar Hermann Detering, see a 2nd century date for Mark. These scholars make the case that the "Little Apocalypse" refers to the events of the Bar Kokhba Revolt of 132-135, and which they see as a much better fit to events described in this text than the First Jewish Revolt of 70. See also Ten Martyrs.


The general theory is that Mark is a Hellenistic gospel, written primarily for an audience of gentile Greek-speaking residents of the Roman Empire. Jewish traditions are explained, clearly for the benefit of non-Jews (e.g., ; ; ). Aramaic words and phrases are also expanded upon by the author, e.g., ταλιθα κουμ (talitha koum, ); κορβαν (Corban, ); αββα (abba, ).

Alongside these Hellenistic influences, Mark makes use of the Old Testament in the form in which it had been translated into Greek, the Septuagint, for instance, ; ; ; ; also compare with Daniel . Those who seek to show the non-Hellenistic side of Mark note passages such as ; ("Son of the Most High God"; cf. Genesis ); ; and . These also indicate that the audience of Mark has kept at least some of its Jewish heritage, and also that the gospel might not be as Hellenistic as it first seems.

The gospel of Mark contains many literary genres. Paul's letters were already surfacing around 40–60 , and the Gospel of Mark came at a time when Christian faith was rising. Professor Dennis R MacDonald writes:

Whether as a response to the Jewish War (66–70) or to the deaths of the earliest followers of Jesus, or to the need of a definitive version of Jesus' life, or to objectionable theological trends, the author of the Gospel of Mark recast traditional materials into a dramatic narrative climaxing in Jesus' death. It is not clear precisely what kind of book the author set out to compose, insofar as no document written prior to Mark exactly conforms with its literary properties. Its themes of travel, conflict with supernatural foes, suffering, and secrecy resonate with Homer's Odyssey and Greek romantic novels. Its focus on the character, identity, and death of a single individual reminds one of ancient biographies. Its dialogues, tragic outcome, and peculiar ending call to mind Greek drama. Some have suggested that the author created a new, mixed genre for narrating the life and death of Jesus.

Mark and the Synoptic Problem

The Streeter's Four Document Hypothesis
Contemporary scholars generally hold to some version of the two-source hypothesis, by which Mark is the first of the surviving gospels, used as an important source by Matthew and Luke. "Markan priority" was first proposed by G. Ch. Storr in 1786 and popularized by the critical scholarship that began in the mid-19th century.

An indication that Matthew and Luke used Mark is that the two later gospels generally agree on the historical details of the life of Jesus found in Mark (such as his baptism) and disagree on details not found in Mark (such as the birth narratives, genealogies and resurrection appearances).

The Two-Source hypothesis posits that the gospels of Matthew and Luke also draw extensively from a now-lost "sayings" collection; called Q, after the German Quelle, "source". This two-source hypothesis, argued the Gospel of Mark was the second source for material in the other synoptic gospels. In 1924 B. H. Streeter refined the Two Document Hypothesis into the Four Document Hypothesis based on the possibility of a Jewish M source (see the Gospel according to the Hebrews). This Four Source Hypothesis posits that there were at least four sources to the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke: the Gospel of Mark, and three lost sources: Q, M, and L.

It should be noted that later, Parker argued that it was not possible to separate Streeter's "M" material from the material in Matthew parallel to Mark. [1535]

To further complicate the matter, in recent years there have been various hypotheses postulating other sources for Mark, generally proposed to explain certain difficulties with the two source hypothesis. It is argued that Mark gave an order and plot to the material found in his sources, and also added some parenthetical commentary. Other scholars have argued that canonical Mark is a gospel harmony, composed of Antiochian and Asian pre-Markan sources also found in Matthew and Luke, respectively.

Losses and early editing

Mark is the shortest canonical gospel. Manuscripts, both scrolls and codices, tend to lose text at the beginning and the end, not unlike a coverless paperback in a backpack. These losses are characteristically unconnected with excisions. For instance, has been found in two different forms. Most manuscripts of Mark, including the 4th-century Codex Vaticanus, have the text "son of God", but three important manuscripts do not. Those three are: Codex Sinaiticus (01, א; dated 4th century), Codex Koridethi (038, Θ; 9th century), and the text called Minuscule 28(11th century). Bruce Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament states: "Since the combination of B D W all in support of [Son of God] is extremely strong, it was not thought advisable to omit the words altogether, yet because of the antiquity of the shorter reading and the possibility of scribal expansion, it was decided to enclose the words within square brackets."

Interpolations may not be editorial, either. It is a common experience that glosses written in the margins of manuscripts get incorporated into the text as copies are made. Any particular example is open to dispute, of course, but one may take note of , "Let anyone with ears to hear, listen," which is not found in early manuscripts.

Revision and editorial error may also contribute. Most differences are trivial but , where the leper approached Jesus begging to be healed, is significant. Early (Western) manuscripts say that Jesus became angry with the leper while later (Byzantine) versions indicate that Jesus showed compassion. This is possibly a confusion between the Aramaic words ethraham (he had pity) and ethra'em (he was enraged). Modern translations follow the later manuscripts for this passage.


Starting in the 19th century, textual critics have commonly asserted that , describing some disciples' encounters with the resurrected Jesus, was a later addition to the gospel. Mark 16:8 stops at the empty tomb without further explanation. The last twelve verses are missing from the oldest manuscripts of Mark's Gospel. The style of these verses differs from the rest of Mark, suggesting they were a later addition. In a handful of manuscripts, a "short ending" is included after 16:8, but before the "long ending", and exists by itself in one of the earliest Old Latin codices, Codex Bobiensis. By the 5th century, at least four different endings have been attested. (See Mark 16 for a more comprehensive treatment of this topic.) Possibly, the Long Ending (16:9-20) started as a summary of evidence for Jesus' resurrection and the apostles' divine mission, based on other gospels. It was likely composed early in the second century and incorporated into the gospel around the middle of the second century. Mark might have originally ended abruptly at verse 8, the gospel might be unfinished, or the original ending might be lost.

Irenaeus, c. 180, quoted from the long ending, specifically as part of Mark's gospel. The 3rd-century theologian Origen of Alexandria quoted the resurrection stories in Matthew, Luke, and John but failed to quote anything after , suggesting that his copy of Mark stopped there. Eusebius and Jerome both mention the majority of texts available to them omitted the longer ending. Critics are divided over whether the original ending at 16:8 was intentional, whether it resulted from accidental loss, or even the author's death. Those who believe that 16:8 was not the intended ending argue that it would be very unusual syntax for the text to end with the conjunction gar ( ), as does Mark 16:8, and that thematically it would be strange for a book of good news to end with a note of fear ( , "for they were afraid"). Some of those who believe that the 16:8 ending was intentional suggest a connection to the theme of the "Messianic Secret". This abrupt ending is also used to support the identification of this book as an example of closet drama, which characteristically ended without resolution and often with a tragic or shocking event that prevents closure.

Secret Gospel of Mark

A Mar Saba letter ascribed to Clement of Alexandria, copied into a book at the Mar Saba monastery and published by Morton Smith in 1973, contains references to a previously unknown Secret Gospel of Mark that gives information about the Gospel of Mark's possible Roman origin. While most Clementine scholars agree that the letter sounds authentic, a number of scholars remain unconvinced that an early Secret Mark existed, asserting that the "Mar Saba letter" is a modern-day forgery. But a minority of academics have concluded the likelihood of a hoax is very small, and that the Secret Gospel of Mark may be a legitimate Christian text. Whether it should be included in the history of the Gospel of Mark and, if so, where, is still debated.


The Gospel of Mark differs from the other gospels in content, language, and detail.


Galilean ministry Journey to Jerusalem

Events in Jerusalem

Characteristics of Mark's content

The narrative can be divided into three sections: the Galilean ministry, including the surrounding regions of Phoenicia, Decapolis, and Cæsarea Philippi (1-9); the Journey to Jerusalem (10); and the Events in Jerusalem (11-16).

  • Unlike both Matthew and Luke, Mark does not offer any information about the life of Jesus before his baptism and ministry, including neither the nativity nor a genealogy.
  • Jesus' baptism is understated, with John not identifying Jesus as the Son of God, nor initially declining to baptize him
  • Son of Man is the major title used of Jesus in Mark ( , ; ; , , ; , ; , ). Many people have seen that this title is a very important one within Mark’s Gospel, and it has important implications for Mark’s Christology. Jesus raises a question that demonstrates the association in Mark between "Son of Man" (cf. Dan 7:13–14) and the suffering servant in —"How then is it written about the Son of Man, that he is to go through many sufferings and be treated with contempt?" (9:12b NRSV). Yet this comparison is not explicit; Mark's Gospel creates this link between Daniel and Isaiah, and applies it to Christ. It is postulated that this is because of the persecution of Christians; thus, Mark's Gospel encourages believers to stand firm ( ) in the face of troubles.
  • Jesus "explained everything in private to his disciples" ( ) while only speaking in parables to the crowds. His use of parables obscures his message and fulfills prophecy ( ).
  • The Messianic Secret, Jesus' command to unclean spirits and to his disciples that they not reveal his identity, is stronger in Mark than in the other gospels.
  • To the question "Are You the Christ?", Jesus gives the direct answer, "I am": ; cf. , , , , , , , .
  • Mark is the only gospel that has Jesus explicitly admit that he does not know when the end of the world will be ( ). The equivalent verse in the Byzantine manuscripts of Matthew does not contain the words "nor the Son" ( ) (but it is present in most Alexandrian and Western text-type). See also Kenosis.
  • "No sign will be given to this generation" ; Matthew and Luke include "except for the sign of Jonah" , . See also Typology .

Characteristics of Mark's language

The phrase "and immediately" occurs nearly forty times in Mark; while in Luke, which is much longer, it is used only seven times, and in John only four times. The word law ([1536]) is never used, while it appears 8 times in Matthew, 9 times in Luke, 15 times in John, 19 times in Acts, many times in Romans.

Latin loanwords are often used: speculator, sextarius, centurion, legion, quadrans, praetorium, caesar, census, flagello, modius, denarius. Mark has only a few direct Old Testament quotations: , , , , , , . Mark makes frequent use of the narrative present; Luke changes about 150 of these verbs to past tense. Mark frequently links sentences with (and); Matthew and Luke replace most of these with subordinate clauses.

Extensive use of literary allusion

The Gospel of Mark makes extensive use of literary allusion to the Tanakh, or Old Testament. In some cases these allusions exist in the other synoptic gospels as well, but this is generally due to the synoptic gospels sharing a significant amount of text. According to the two-source hypothesis, Mark was used as a source for the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Under this hypothesis, some literary allusion in the Gospel of Mark were lost when the scenes were copied by the other gospel writers. One case of literary allusion in the Gospel of Mark comes from the crucifixion scene, which is crafted from literary allusions to Psalm 22 and Amos 8.

Some Christians consider these to be cases of prophecy fulfillment. Scholars, however, consider these to be cases of literary allusion, where the author used existing passages from the Jewish scriptures to craft the details of the scene and provide sub-textual meaning to the events. The passage from Amos 8 would be relevant after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 and implies that the meaning of the crucifixion according to the author is a justification for the destruction of the Jewish people by the Romans during the Jewish war of 67-72.

To a large extent, the narrative of the Gospel of Mark is a running series of literary allusions to the Jewish scriptures.

Other characteristics unique to Mark

  • The testing of Jesus in the wilderness for forty days contains no discourse between Jesus and Satan, and only here are wild beasts mentioned ( ).
  • The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath ( ). Not present in either or . This is also a so-called "Western non-interpolation". The passage is not found in the Western text of Mark.
  • People were saying, "[Jesus] has gone out of his mind", see also Rejection of Jesus ( ).
  • Mark is the only gospel with the combination , the other gospels split them up: Mark 4:24 being found in and ; Mark 4:25 being found in and , and .
  • Parable of the Growing Seed ( ).
  • Only Mark counts the possessed swine; there are about two thousand ( ).
  • Two consecutive healing stories of women; both make use of the number twelve ( and ).
  • Only Mark gives healing commands of Jesus in the (presumably original) Aramaic: Talitha koum ( ), Ephphatha ( ). See Aramaic of Jesus.
  • Only place in the New Testament Jesus is addressed as "the son of Mary" ( ).
  • Mark is the only gospel where Jesus himself is called a carpenter ( ). In Matthew he is called a carpenter's son ( ).
  • Only place that both names his brothers and mentions his sisters ( ; Matthew has a slightly different name for one brother and no mention of sisters ).
  • The taking of a staff and sandals is permitted in but prohibited in and .
  • The longest version of the story of Herodias' daughter's dance and the beheading of John the Baptist ( ).
  • Mark's literary cycles:
* - Feeding of the five thousand;
* - Crossing of the lake;
* - Dispute with the Pharisees;
* - Discourse about food defilement.
* - Feeding of the four thousand;
* - Crossing of the lake;
* - Dispute with the Pharisees;
* - Incident of no bread and discourse about the leaven of the Pharisees.
  • Customs that at that time were peculiar to Jews are explained (hand, produce, and utensil washing): .
  • "Thus he declared all foods clean." NRSV, not found in the Matthean parallel .
  • Jesus heals using his fingers and spit at the same time: ; cf. , , , ; see also Exorcism.
  • Jesus lays his hands on a blind man twice in curing him: ; cf. , , , , , laying on of hands.
  • Jesus cites the Shema Yisrael: "Hear O Israel ..." ( ); in the parallels of and the first part of the Shema ( ) is absent.
  • Mark points out that the Mount of Olivesmarker is across from the templemarker ( ).
  • When Jesus is arrested, a young naked man flees: . A young man in a robe also appears in , see also Secret Gospel of Mark.
  • Mark doesn't name the High Priest, cf. , , , .
  • Witness testimony against Jesus does not agree ( , ).
  • The cock crows "twice" as predicted ( ). See also Fayyum Fragment. The other Gospels simply record, "the cock crew". Early codices 01, W, and most Western texts have the simpler version.
  • Pilate's position (Governor) isn't specified, , cf. , , .
  • Simon of Cyrene's sons are named ( ).
  • A summoned centurion is questioned ( ).
  • The women ask each other who will roll away the stone ( ), cf. .
  • A young man sits on the "right side" ( ), cf. , .
  • Afraid, the women flee from the empty tomb. They "tell no one" what they have seen ( ), compare with , , , .
  • Mark is the only canonical gospel with significant various alternate endings (see Mark 16, Possible Scenarios); however, most of the contents of the traditional "Longer Ending" ( ) are found in other New Testament texts and are not unique to Mark, see Mark 16#The Longer Ending. The one significant exception is 16:18b "and if they drink any deadly thing", it will not harm those who believe, which is unique to Mark.


Most Christians consider Mark to be divinely inspired and will see the gospel's theology as consistent with that of the rest of the Bible. Each sees Mark as contributing a valuable voice to a wider Christian theology, though Christians sometimes disagree about the nature of this theology. However, Mark's contribution to a New Testament theology can be identified as unique in and of itself.

Canonical Status

A related issue is the adoption of Mark as a Canonical Gospel, given that, like the hypothetical Q, it is largely reproduced in Matthew and Luke, but, unlike Q, it did not become "lost". Traditionally Mark's authority—and survival—has derived from its Petrine origins (see above "Authorship"). Another possibility has been a supposed Roman origin and an established status there before the other gospels reached Rome. A recent suggestion is that Mark gained widespread popularity in oral performance, apart from readings from manuscript copies. Its widespread oral popularity ensured it a place in the written canon.


The identity of Jesus as the Son of God is important in the gospel, occurring at the strategic points of 1:1 ("The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God") and 15:39 ("Surely this man was the Son of God!"). However, the phrase "Son of God" is not present in the original reading of the Codex Sinaiticus at 1:1. and Bart D. Ehrman uses this to support the notion that the title "Son of God" is not used of Jesus until his baptism, and that Mark reflects an adoptionist view.

Adoptionism holds that the Father adopted Jesus as the Son, usually contrasted with trinitarianism, which holds that the Son is eternally one with the Father. Luke and Matthew portray Jesus as being the Son of God at the time of birth, while John portrays the Son as existing "in the beginning". Adoptionism was common in the early church but declared heretical at the end of the 2nd century.

Ehrman’s view that this textual variant is of theological significance has been rejected by Bruce Metzger and Ben Witherington III.

Meaning of Jesus' death

The only one explicit mention of the meaning of Jesus' death in Mark occurs in where Jesus says that the "Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom (lutron) for many (anti pollōn)." According to Barnabas Lindars, this refers to Isaiah's fourth servant song, with lutron referring to the "offering for sin" (Isaiah 53:10) and anti pollōn to the Servant "bearing the sin of many" in Isaiah 52:12. The Greek word anti means "in the place of", which indicates a substitutionary death.

The author of this gospel also speaks of Jesus' death through the metaphors of the departing bridegroom in , and of the rejected heir in . He views it as fulfilling Old Testament prophecy ( , , and ).

Many scholars believe that Mark structured his gospel in order to emphasise Jesus' death. For example, Alan Culpepper sees Mark 15:1-39 as developing in three acts, each containing an event and a response. The first event is Jesus' trial, followed by the soldiers' mocking response; the second event is Jesus' crucifixion, followed by the spectators mocking him; the third and final event in this sequence is Jesus' death, followed by the veil being rent and the centurion confessing, "truly this man was the Son of God." In weaving these things into a triadic structure, Mark is thereby emphasising the importance of this confession, which provides a dramatic contrast to the two scenes of mocking which precede it. D. R. Bauer suggests that "by bringing his gospel to a climax with this christological confession at the cross, Mark indicates that Jesus is first and foremost Son of God, and that Jesus is Son of God as one who suffers and dies in obedience to God." Joel Marcus notes that the other Evangelists "attenuate" Mark's emphasis on Jesus' suffering and death, and sees Mark as more strongly influenced than they are by Paul's "theology of the cross".

See also


  1. (Jesus; to teachers of the law), (Jesus; to Pharisees), (Jesus via Mark, to disciples), (Jesus; to disciples and Caesarean crowd), (Jesus via Mark; to Peter, James, and John), (Jesus; to disciples), (Jesus; to disciples), (Jesus; to disciples), (Jesus; to Peter, James, John, and Andrew), (Jesus; to diciples), (Jesus; to Peter, James, and John), (Jesus; to high priest w/ chief priests, elders, and teachers of the law)
  2. verbatim in (evil spirits; to Jesus), ("Legion" i.e. evil spirits; to Jesus), (centurion at crucifixion; to undefined audience); contextually implied in (voice from heaven; to John the Baptist), (Jesus as eschatology; to disciples and crowd), (voice from cloud; to disciples), (Jesus as parable; to chief priests, scribes, and elders), (Jesus as eschatology; to disciples), (Jesus; to chief priest); included in some manuscripts of (Markan author as character introduction; to audience)
  3. (Markan author; to audience), (Peter; to Jesus), (Jesus; to John), (Jesus; to a large crowd), (Jesus; to Peter, James, John, and Andrew (v. 33)), (Jesus; to high priest), (chief priests, teachers of the law; (mockingly) to each other)
  4. Secrecy regarding... (healing; to leper), (identity as Son of God; to evil spirits), (resurrecting a girl; to disciples and girl's parents), (healing; to healed man, "some people"), (identity as Messiah; to Peter, unspecified disciples), (identity as Son of God; to Peter, James, John); according to some manuscripts of (healing blindness; to healed man)
  5. Harris, Stephen L., Understanding the Bible. Palo Alto: Mayfield. 1985.
  6. Bernd Kollmann, Joseph Barnabas (Liturgical Press, 2004), page 30.
  7. [1]
  8. Papias, quoted in Eusebius History of the Church, trans. G.A. Williamson (London: Penguin Books Ltd., 1965). 3.39.15 / pp. 103–4. Also available online
  9. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.1, also 10:6.
  10. cited in Eusebius, History of the Church, 6:14
  11. Tertullian, Against Marcion 4:5
  12. Schelle, U. The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings.Minneapolis: Fortress, 1998. p200
  13. Brown et al., pp. 596-97.
  14. See the Bauer lexicon, e.g. σπεκουλατορα ("soldier of the guard", , NRSV), ξεστων, Greek corruption of sextarius ("pots", ), κοδραντης ("penny", , NRSV), κεντυριων ("centurion", , ).
  15. Dennis Nineham, Saint Mark, p 193
  16. Bart Ehrman, The New Testament. A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings,p 74
  17. Lee Martin McDonald, Stanley Porter, Early Christianity and its Sacred Literature, p 286
  18. Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller editor, 1992, translation note to verse 7:31: "Mark's geographical sense seems confused here, since Tyre is south of Sidon: to return to the Sea of Galilee [actually a freshwater lake, see note at 4:35-41, Luke corrects this at Luke 5:1 etc.] from Tyre would not normally mean a journey north to Sidon, nor to the southeast through the region of the gentile cities of the Decapolis (cf. 5:20). What seems to be intended is a general indication of a trip through non-Israelite areas to the north and east of Galilee." Translation note to verse 9:2-8: "...Again Mark provides his characters with a symbolic landscape [featuring a Lofty mountain] appropriate to the moment, without having to get too specific about the geographical details." Translation note to verse 5:1-20: "The placing of this episode in Gerasa, thirty miles from the lake, led to several "corrections" in the manuscript tradition..." Translation note to verse 3:13-19: "Jesus leads his group up an unnamed mountain. Mark creates an evocative landscape at will (empty places, a mountain, the seaside, "his home" or "the house"), without regard to narrative connection or plausibility..."
  19. H.H. Ben-Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, ISBN 0674397312, pages 254-256: "The reign of Gaius Caligula (37-41) witnessed the first open break between the Jews and the Julio-Claudian empire. Until then — if one accepts Sejanus' heyday [19-31] and the trouble caused by the census after Archelaus' banishment [6] — there was usually an atmosphere of understanding between the Jews and the empire ... These relations deteriorated seriously during Caligula's reign, and, though after his death the peace was outwardly re-established, considerable bitterness remained on both sides. ... Caligula ordered that a golden statue of himself be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem. ... Only Caligula's death, at the hands of Roman conspirators (41), prevented the outbreak of a Jewish-Roman war that might well have spread to the entire East." See also Zealots.
  20. Brown 164
  21. John Robinson, Redating the New Testament, 1976, Wipf & Stock Publishers: ISBN 1579105270. p.352
  22. Josephus, Jewish War VI; note that the Western Wall, which still stands, was not a part of the Temple proper, but rather part of a larger structure on which the Temple and other buildings stood.
  23. H.H Ben=Sasson, A History of the Jewish People, Harvard University Press, 1976, page 334, ISBN 0674397312
  24. H.H. Ben-Sasson, page 334: "...the story [of the Ten Martyrs] has come to include earlier events that belong to the period of the destruction of the Temple or of the revolt under Trajan ... But the core of the tradition relates to matters that occurred after the Bar Kokhba Revolt"
  25. Dennis R MacDonald, Early Christian Literature
  26. Funk, Robert W. and the Jesus Seminar. The acts of Jesus: the search for the authentic deeds of Jesus. HarperSanFrancisco. 1998. "Birth & Infancy Stories" p. 497-526.
  27. Streeter, Burnett H. The Four Gospels. A Study of Origins Treating the Manuscript Tradition, Sources, Authorship, & Dates. London: MacMillian and Co., Ltd., 1924.
  28. Most supporters of the 2SH do not think there is a literary connection between Mark and Q,e.g. Udo Schnelle (1998 p 195), who wrote that "a direct literary connection between Mark and Q must be regarded as improbable" and looks to connections through the oral tradition. see: but a couple of active scholars, such as Burton Mack, (1993 pp 177–79); discusses "a myriad of interesting points at which the so-called overlaps between Mark and Q show Mark's use of Q material for his own narrative designs.
  29. Pierson Parker. The Gospel Before Mark. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953.
  30. The Synoptic Problem: a Critical Analysis, by William R. Farmer. New York: Macmillan, 1981 Page 196
  31. e.g. Daniel J. Harrington, who wrote, "Mark had various kinds of traditions at his disposal: sayings, parables, controversies, healing stories and other miracles, and probably a passion narrative. Some of these traditions may have been grouped: controversies ( ), seed parables ( ), miracles ( ), etc. Mark gave an order and a plot to these sayings and incidents, connected them with bridge passages, and added parenthetical comments for the sake of his readers." Brown et al. 597
  32. e.g. Rolland, Philippe. Marc, premiere harmonie evangelique? Revue Biblique 90:23-79 (1983); The first gospels: A new look at the synoptic problem. Lectio Divina 116, Paris: Cerf. (1984) [2]
  33. Greek grammar and article use allow an English translation of the Son of God, a son of God, or merely Son of God.
  34. Novum Testamentum Graece
  35. The New Living Translation includes a footnote indicating that early manuscripts state that Jesus was angry.
  36. May, Herbert G. and Bruce M. Metzger. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. 1977.
  37. Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.10.5-6, "Furthermore, near the end of his Gospel, Mark says: 'thus, after the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven, and sits on the right and of God.'" c.f. Mark 16:19
  38. N. B. Stonehouse, The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ (1944) pp. 86-118; also J. B. Tyson, Journal of Biblical Literature 80 (1961) pp. 261-268. A relevant commentary: P. W. van Horst, "Can a book end with ? A note on Mark 16:8", in Journal of Theological Studies, new series 23 (1972) pp. 121-124. For an online overview, see this article
  39. See the discussion in Grafton, Anthony. "Gospel Secrets: The Biblical Controversies of Morton Smith." The Nation. January 26, 2009. Grafton refers to the book Morton Smith and Gershom Scholem, Correspondence 1945-1982. Guy G. Stroumsa, ed. Boston: Brill Academic Publishers, 2008. ISBN 9004168397
  40. Wrede, Wilhelm. The Messianic Secret in the Gospels. 1901. ISBN 0-227-67717-X
  41. On Matthew 24.36: "The omission of the words ["neither the Son"] because of the doctrinal difficulty they present is more probable than their addition by assimilation to Mk 13.32."
  42. Easton's Bible Dictionary: Mark, Gospel according to
  43. Bauer lexicon
  44. Complete Gospels, Miller, p.11
  45. Price, Robert M. The Incredible Shrinking Son of Man p. 321-322
  46. Harper Collins Study Bible, New Revised Standard Edition, p 1756. ISBN 13-978-0-06-078685-4
  47. 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." [3] Jewish Encyclopedia: New Testament: Misunderstood Passages
  48. 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." See also Strong's G2511
  49. B. H. Streeter, The Four Gospels: a Study of Origins (London, 1924), p. 12
  50. J. Dewey, "The Survival of Mark's Gospel: a Good Story?" Journal of Biblical Literature, 123 (2004) pp. 495-507
  51. Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus. San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2005.
  52. "Jesus was either regarded as the man whom God hath chosen, in whom the Deity or the Spirit of God dwelt, and who, after being tested, was adopted by God and invested with dominion, (Adoptian Christology); or Jesus was regarded as a heavenly spiritual being (the highest after God) who took flesh, and again returned to heaven after the completion of his work on earth (pneumatic Christology)." Adolf von Harnack, History of Dogma [4]
  53. Ben Witherington III, What Have They Done With Jesus? (San Francisco: Harper Collins, 2006), p. 7.
  54. Lindars, Barnabas. "Salvation Proclaimed, VII: Mark 10:45 – A Ransom for Many" Expository Times 93 [1982], 293.
  55. Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987), 188.
  56. Culpepper, R. Alan. "The Passion and Resurrection in Mark," Review and Expositor 75 [1978], 584.
  57. Bauer, D. R. "Son of God" in Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight and I. Howard Marshall (eds.) Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (Downers Grove: IVP, 1992), 773.


  • Brown, R., et al. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, Prentice Hall, 1990.
  • Bultmann, R., History of the Synoptic Tradition, Harper & Row, 1963.
  • Dewey, J., "The Survival of Mark’s Gospel: A Good Story?", JBL 123.3 (2004) 495-507.
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus, Harper Collins, 2005.
  • Grant, Robert M., A Historical Introduction to the New Testament Harper and Row, 1963: Chapter 8: The Gospel Of Mark
  • Dormeyer, Detlev , Das Markusevangelium, Wiss. Buchgeselschaft Darmstadt 2005, ISBN 9783534156139
  • Guy, Harold A, The Origin of the Gospel of Mark, Hodder & Stoughton 1954
  • Holmes, M. W., "To Be Continued... The Many Endings of Mark", Bible Review 17.4 (2001).
  • Ladd, George Eldon. A Theology of the New Testament Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987.
  • Mack, Burton L., 1993. The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian origins, HarperSanFrancisco.
  • McKnight, E. V., What is Form Criticism?, 1997.
  • Neill, Stephen and Wright, Tom, The Interpretation of The New Testament 1861-1986, Oxford University Press, 1990, 1989, 1964, ISBN 0192830570
  • Perrin, N., What is Redaction Criticism?
  • Perrin, Norman & Duling, Dennis C., The New Testament: An Introduction, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1982, 1974
  • Schnelle, Udo, 1998. The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings (M. Eugene Boring translator), Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998.
  • Telford, W. (ed.), The Interpretation of Mark, Fortress Press, 1985.
  • Tuckett, C. (ed), The Messianic Secret, Fortress Press, 1983

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