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Mark the Evangelist: Profile & Biography of Mark the Evangelist, Gospel Author

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Portrait of Mark

Portrait of Mark

Who was Mark the Evangelist?:


A number of people in the New Testament are named Mark and any could, in theory, have been the author behind the gospel of Mark. Tradition has it that the Gospel According to Mark was written by Mark, a companion of Peter, who simply recorded what Peter preached in Rome (1 Peter 5:13), and this person was in turn identified with “John Mark” in Acts (12:12,25; 13:5-13; 15:37-39) as well as the “Mark” in Philemon 24, Colossians 4:10, and 2 Timothy 4:1.

When did Mark the Evangelist live?:


Because of the reference to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 CE (Mark 13:2), most scholars believe that Mark was written some time during the war between Rome and the Jews (66-74). Most early dates fall around 65 CE and most late dates fall around 75 CE. This means that Mark the author likely would have been younger than Jesus and his companions. Legend has it that he died a martyr and was buried in Venice.

Where did Mark the Evangelist live?:


There is evidence that the author of Mark may have been Jewish or had a Jewish background. Many scholars argue that the gospel has a Semitic flavor to it, meaning there are Semitic syntactical features occurring in the context of Greek words and sentences. Many scholars believe that Mark may have come from someplace like Tyre or Sidon. It’s close enough to Galilee to be familiar with its customs and habits, but far enough away that the fictions he includes wouldn’t arouse complaint.

What did Mark the Evangelist do?:


Mark is identified as the author of the gospel of Mark; as the oldest gospel, many believe it provides the most accurate portrayal of Jesus’ life and activities — but this assumes that a gospel is also a historical, biographical record. Mark did not write a history; instead, he wrote a series of events — some possibly historical, some not — structured to serve specific theological and political goals. Any resemblance to historical events or figures is, as they say, purely coincidental.

Why was Mark the Evangelist important?:


The Gospel According to Mark is the shortest of the four canonical gospels. Most biblical scholars regard Mark as being the oldest of the four and a primary source for much of the material contained in Luke and Matthew. For a long time Christians tended to ignore Mark in favor of the longer, more detailed texts of Matthew and Luke. After it was identified as the oldest and hence presumably most historically accurate, Mark has gained in popularity.

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