Scholars Have Repeatedly Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2528 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  Level: Master's  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion  ·  Buy This Paper

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[. . .] As a translator for the apostle Peter, Mark was in Rome somewhere around the year 63 or 64. It is there that, in writing, he immortalized Peter's preaching. There are various ancient testimonies which indeed confirm Mark as the author who wrote the gospel according to Peter's words. The Christian historian Eusebius of Caesarea cites a testimony from around the year 60 to 125 which again cites a certain John who testifies that Mark precisely, however not in order, wrote what he remembered being said to him about the words and deeds of Jesus: Mark, the interpreter of Peter, wrote down carefully all that he recollected, though he did not [record] in order that which was either said or done by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him; but subsequently, as I have said, [attached himself to] Peter, who used to frame his teaching to meet the [immediate] wants [of his hearers]… So Mark committed no error, as he wrote down some particulars just as he called them to mind. For he took heed to one thing -- to omit none of the facts that he heard and to state nothing falsely in [his narrative] of them. (as quoted in Berkhof 2004, 39) Clement of Alexandria also acknowledged that Mark was Peter's companion and that he, while the latter was alive, wrote as he was asked by a number of faithful followers of Jesus. In conclusion, although Peter is recognized as the author, Mark is unanimously accepted as being responsible for the final draft of the gospel. And it is this defining structure which is met in both Matthew and Luke's books. This is another argument as to why Mark seems to be the first of writers. His dynamic portrayal of events place his gospel prior to Matthew's and Luke's, given that, although we find particular style of writings for the other two as well, there seems to be more implication from Mark. This would explain his closeness to Peter who was among Jesus' favorite apostles and would also indicate the bond that might have been created when Mark met Jesus in person. The lively description in the latter's gospel has attracted many observations in this respect and it is also the fact that many features are not met in the other two gospels. Although this alone would lead to the hypothesis that it is possible for Mark to have been influenced by yet another document, it remains consistent in its argumentative role of the Markian hypothesis.

The geographic symbolism in Mark's gospel is also a recurring theme. He commonly uses certain terms so as to give them a messianic understanding: the desert, symbolic to being tested, the path, symbol for divine guidance, the mountain, symbol for revelation, etc. The possibility that Mark wrote the gospel in Rome is relevant to the idea of a non-Palestinian Mark who describes the home of his fathers from words of mouth. There is also the genuine wording, a decision to minimize dramatic events that confer the gospel a realistic approach. Moreover, there are certain linguistic characteristics which appear revelatory. Besides Latin terms, Mark also uses many Aramaic words and expressions such as talitha cumi, effata, rabbuni, abba, etc. Also, his manner of addressing many times includes amin, which could further indicate his relation to Peter and the influence the latter may have had over Mark in terms or wording. Although Mark's gospel is the shortest of three, it holds particularities which are not present in either of the other two: two miracles, two parables, and other. Moreover, Mark's approach of certain events which do not appear anywhere else but in his gospel, like how Jesus looked at his apostles, the face of Jesus when displeased, is something he could have not obtained unless indeed Peter would have shared with him such particularities.

Thus, there is external evidence to support that Mark was indeed the first author of the gospel, evidence represented by various acclaimed testimonies, as well as internal evidence to suggest the same. In regards to the latter, we might add that the text is abundant in portraying Judaic customs and the powerful and dynamic narrative suggests that the author was in proximity of actual bystanders. Although, in more legal terms, this would only account for unsubstantial evidence, it is our belief that a merging of all the existing evidence supports the Markan priority. Thus, taken separately, these factual evidences may not have a legal case but altogether they do challenge other theories. It is said that ?while one could argue that they [the church fathers] held Matthew and John in high esteem because they were apostolic, one still wonders why, if Mark was really the first written gospel as so ardently maintained by source criticism (…), did the fathers so persistently neglect it. (Farnell 1999, 84) This statement is true because it brings into question many items which have not been solved by either of the solutions proposed by scholar: historical references to any of the three authors as first writers, Mark's challenge, indeed, all of which seem to extend the Synoptic Problem infinitely.

Works Cited

Berkhof, Louis. 2004. Introduction to the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library. April 2004. Accessed September 5, 2013.

http://www.ccel.org/ccel/berkhof/newtestament.html

Farnell, F. David. 1999. The Synoptic Gospels in the Ancient Church: The testimony to the Priority of Matthew's Gospel. The Master's Seminary Journal 10, No. 1 (spring): 53-86. Accessed September 5, 2013. http://www.tms.edu/tmsj/tmsj10e.pdf

Ladd, George Eldon. 1993. A Theology of the New Testament (Revised Ed.). Edited by Donald H. Hagner. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company.

Loveday, Alexander. 1993. The Preface to Luke's Gospel: Literary Convention and Social Context in Luke I.I-4 and Acts I.I. Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo: Cambridge University Press.

Neville, David. 2002. Mark's Gospel -- Prior or Posterior? A reappraisal of the Phenomenon of Order. London, New York: Sheffield Academic Press.

Thomas, Robert L. 2002. Three Views… [END OF PREVIEW]

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