What Is The Purpose And Provenance Of Mark's Gospel?

1500 words - 6 pages

What is the purpose and provenance of Mark's Gospel?Mark's Gospel as it is offers little direct evidence as to why, where or when it was written. There are hints of course but no direct statement of purpose. By careful examination of Mark's Gospel and through also examining historical sources and historical events identifying purpose and provenance of Mark's Gospel become less of a riddle.It is probable that the Gospel of Mark was written in Rome. While there is no evidence within the text that directly points to this conclusion the text implies that it was intended for Roman Christians as a strong Roman background is assumed. The translation of Aramaic words within the text and the m ...view middle of the document...

Traditionally scholars have tried to date it after the destruction of Jerusalem based on Mark 13 it is assumed that the reference to "the abomination that causes desolation" in Mark 13:14 is an allusion to Titus's destruction of the Jerusalem Temple c. 67-70 though this remains debatable[ ]. Historical sources point to the Gospel of Mark being written when Peter was in Rome or just after his death in Rome during Nero's persecutions, c. 64-68. Irenaeus claims that Mark wrote after the death of Peter[ ] as does The fragment of the Anti-Marcionite prologue[ ]. Papias asserts that Mark wrote according to his "recollection of Peter's discourses, has been taken to imply that Peter was dead. This, however, does not necessarily follow from the words of Papias, for Peter might have been absent from Rome"[ ]. Though in Clement of Alexandria's Hypotyposeis the implication is that Peter was still alive at the time of the composition of the gospel[ ]. The contradictory evidence as to whether Mark wrote his gospel before or after Peter's death, which took place during Nero's persecution of the church c. 65. leads to the conclusion that the Gospel of Mark can not be dated precisely though it is more likely a date ranging from c. 63-70 should be attributed.The purpose of why Mark wrote the Gospel has been much disputed but it can be seen that there are many possible reasons, all plausible as to why he may have written. After a quick examination of the time in which it is assumed that Mark wrote the most obvious reason would be to preserve tradition. "The first generation eyewitnesses and guarantors of the tradition were either dying out or being killed, the evangelist would have to put the "gospel" in writing lest it be lost or distorted with the passing of time"[ ]. This however is in conflict with the view that oral tradition is a more reliable form of record then written tradition[ ]. Guelich also addresses the possibility that Mark was working the tradition for the comprehension of his own community stating that "Mark ... writes the "gospel concerning Jesus Messiah, son of God" to proclaim anew for his audience the "gospel of God" to address their confusion"[ ]. The audience that Guelich is referring to is that of the Roman Christians and fundamental to Mark's writing, the gospel offers an explanation to who Jesus was. Mark address confusion about Jesus, remind readers who he is and shows the beginning of the kingdom of God [ ] and offers understanding of the relationship of Jesus to God[ ]. A purpose of introducing Jesus to non-believers can't be totally set aside, but it appears Mark wants to encourage believers first of all by placing Jesus' identity firmly in mind and showing his path of suffering and death.As the examination of the text shows, Mark, while never directly stating his purpose, offers much insight into why...


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