Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Time Line Tuesday: When was the Gospel of Mark Written?

* Mark was an interpreter for Peter and his disciple, who wrote the Gospel of Mark as he received it from Peter.

Wherefore also Mark, the interpreter and follower of Peter, does thus commence his Gospel narrative: The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, which shall prepare Your way. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare the way of the Lord, make the paths straight before our God. - Irenaeus, Against Heresies, Volume 3, Chapter 10, v. 5

Papias, bishop of Hierapolis, as quoted by Eusebius: “Mark, having become the interpreter of Peter, wrote down accurately, though not indeed in order, whatsoever he remembered of the things done or said by Christ. For he neither heard the Lord nor followed him, but afterward, as I said, he followed Peter, who adapted his teaching to the needs of his hearers, but with no intention of giving a connected account of the Lord’s discourses…” Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.14-17

* Mark was written during a time when Mark was in Rome and was written for the followers of Rome.

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. - Irenaeus, Against Heresies, volume 3, Chapter 1

And again Clement has inserted in the same books a tradition of the primitive elders concerning the order of the gospels as follows. He said that the gospels that include genealogies [Matthew & Luke] were written first; but that the gospel according to Mark came about in this way: When Peter had publicly proclaimed the word & by the Spirit preached the gospel at Rome, those who were present, being many, urged Mark---as one of his [Peter's] long-time followers who remembered what was said---to make a record of what had been spoken. And he did this and distributed the gospel among those who had asked him. And when this matter came to Peter's attention, he neither strongly forbid it, nor urged it on. - Eusebius, Church History, volume 6, chapter 14, 5-7.

The church here in Babylon, united with you by God’s election, sends you her greeting; so does my son, Mark. - 1 Peter 5:13

The Epistle of St. Peter mentions Mark as having been present with Peter in Rome (Babylon was often used to denote Rome, since the parallels to the Jewish people with the destroyed city of sin were quite evident). The Epistle was written before AD 65 during the reign of Tertullian. This means that the Gospel of Mark was written sometime before AD 65, most likely between 60 and 65 AD.

* There are accounts that St. Peter approved the Gospel of Mark prior to its release to the Church. This would mandate that the Gospel of Mark was written before Peter’s death, which took place between 65-68 AD.

St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, Tertullian, and St. Jerome signify that it was written before St. Peter's death. Irenaeus is the only one who states it was written after the death of St. Peter.
* Mark the Evangelist died 68 AD in Alexandria, Egypt. He was sent there from Rome by St. Peter to be appointed as the Bishop of Alexandria. Therefore, the Gospel of Mark can have been written no later than 68 AD.

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