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Christianity / Bible / New Testament / Gospels /
Gospel according to Mark

Christian text, Gospel that has been included in the New Testament, as the second book.
By modern New Testament Scholars the Gospel according to Mark is considered as the oldest of the existing gospels. It is dated to around 70 CE, because of the nature of its reference to the destruction of Jerusalem in chapter 13.
In Mark we hear that Jesus says that the temple of Jerusalem will soon be destructed. It is assumed that Mark can have included these prophecies to bring weight to his gospel, since this actually happened, in 70 CE. This is our most important way of dating Mark. Beyond this, the dating is not founded in any traditional historical sources, but is reconstructed on the base of secondary sources.
Early tradition claims that the gospel was written in Rome. This is connected to the notion where John Mark wrote down from the narration of disciple Peter. But this is highly doubtful as the John Mark was a Jew, and there are clear indications in the text that the author of the gospel was not Jewish.
A more accepted theory is that the gospel was written by a member or a group of members in a community that associated themselves with Mark, or that was founded by Mark, or even written by an unknown Christian named Mark. Modern scholars suggest Galilee or Syria as likely places of origin.
If the traditional view of the gospel's origin is to be discarded, most scholars suggest that the author of Mark used were not only oral, but also in form of text documents. It has been suggested, and to a large extent, accepted, that this text source was an earlier gospel. While nothing is known of this, nor is there any form of evidence, it has been coded Q (from German "Quelle"= "source"). The main view is that the author of Mark, put together different traditional views in Galilee in his time, tried to reconcile these, interpret them and draw his own conclusions.
The Gospel according to Mark is more than just recording of events and sayings of Jesus. It is also an act of early Christian theology, as it deals with the mission and meaning of Jesus, and interprets this.
The style of Mark is simple, sometimes primitive, and this is another important reason for it to be understood as the oldest of the gospels — it has the main elements, but relatively little that should let it survive along with the others, unless it was for its age. Despite the simplicity, the narrative construction is often very powerful and effective.
One element that is special to Mark, is that the true quality of Jesus, as Messiah, is kept as a secret. It is repeated through the gospel, where spirits, people, and disciples are commanded to silence on what they had been witnessing.
New Testament scientists have found sources that tell us about discussions among early Christians on the real quality of Jesus. Some thought of him as Son of God, while others considered him as a messenger of the truth.
From this we could assume that the secrecy of early chapters in Mark was a way of explaining to the Christians why there were ideas among them doubting the early acts of Jesus, as well as his elevated position.

Galilean part (Chapters 1-10)
1. Perspectives of the gospel are defined, starting with John the Baptist,and temptation of Christ. Mark lets his gospel conclude with prophecies of the Old Testament.
2. Miracle stories, which are connected to the teachings of Jesus.
3. Deeds of Jesus in Galilee.

Travel to Jerusalem (Chapter 10)
4. Elements from travelling in Jordan is mixed with a travel to Jerusalem.

Passion (Chapters 11-15)
5. Prelude to the Passion. For the first time in the gospel, Jesus is declared as Messiah.
6. The Passion, with arrest, condemnation, and the execution of Jesus. Everything in part 5. and 6. happens within the time span of 5 days (from Sunday to Friday). The hours play an important part, morning hour, the 3rd, 6th and 9th hours.

Resurrection (Chapter 16)
7. There are two different endings to the gospel. One has only an angel telling that Jesus has resurrected, where after Mary Magdalene, Jacob's mother and Salome who had witnessed this ran off as they were scared. In the other elements from the Gospel according to Luke have been added (from 16,9 and onwards). Here 3 revelations are mentioned, but without many details. We hear that he appears in front of Mary Magdalene, two unnamed persons and eventually in front of the disciples.

By Tore Kjeilen