Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gospel of Mark

Head of St. Mark, Fra AngelicoThe Gospel of Mark (literally, according to Mark; Greek, Κατά Μαρκον, Kata Markon), (anonymous but ascribed to Mark the Evangelist) is a Gospel of the New Testament. It narrates the life of Jesus from John the Baptist to the Ascension (or to the empty tomb in the shorter recension), but it concentrates particularly on the last week of his life (chapters 11-16, the trip to Jerusalem). It portrays Jesus as an exorcist, a healer and miracle worker, the Christ, the Son of Man, and a few times as the Son of God.

Two important themes of Mark are the Messianic secret and the obtuseness of the disciples. In Mark, Jesus is not generally recognized as the Son of God, except by demons (whom he commands to silence) and at his death. Jesus uses parables to obscure his message and fulfill prophecy (4:10-12). At times, the disciples have trouble understanding the parables, but Jesus explains what they mean, in secret (4:13-20, 4:33-34). They also fail to understand the implication of the miracles that he performs before them.

Mark usually appears second in the New Testament after the Gospel of Matthew and traditionally Matthew was thought to be the first gospel to be composed with Mark the second. However most contemporary scholars date Mark to the late 60s or the early 70s, and, contrary to the traditional view, regard it as the earliest of the canonical gospels, and a source for material in the other synoptic gospels, Matthew and Luke.

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