"The beginning of the good news of Jesus Christ, the Son of God" (NRSV)
Thus Mark the evangelist begins what the majority of scholars believe is the first gospel written, the first written witness to the good news of the life and death of Jesus.
Papias, a bishop of Hierapolis in Asia Minor early the in second century, identified the author as "Peter's interpreter," felt to be a reference to John Mark, who is mentioned in Acts as an early companion of Paul and Barnabas (Acts 12:12, 25; 15:37-41). Paul writes of him in some of his letters (Colossians 4:10, Philemon 24). He is also spoken of affectionately in 1 Peter 5:13. Whether the author of the gospel is indeed John Mark is debated by modern scholars.
Papias also implied the gospel was written in Rome for the Roman church. This possibility is viewed favorably by modern scholars. The date of composition is uncertain. The church father Clement of Alexandria (150 to 215) said Peter largely dictated the gospel to Mark and approved the final manuscript. On the other hand, the church father Irenaeus (~140-160 to 200) said Mark wrote the gospel after the deaths of both Peter and Paul. Most modern scholars place the writing of the gospel to sometime after the persecution of the Christians by Nero in 64 A.D., or after the Roman destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D.
We studied Mark in five sessions Wednesday evenings during Lent 2003. Mark is the primary gospel of the Lectionary year B. Presentations were by Linda Monyak.
Downloads: Syllabus, Overheads
Hearing Mark. A Listener's Guide, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon, Trinity Press International, Harrisburg, 2002. ISBN 1-56338-379-9
Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament: Mark. Donald H. Juel. Augsburg, Minneapolis, 1990. ISBN 0-8066-8856-4
Commentary on Mark. Kregel Reprint Library. Henry Barclay Swete, Kregel, 1977. ISBN 0-8254-3715-6
Mark for Everyone. Tom Wright. SPCK, London, 2001. ISBN 0-281-05300-6
Sowing the Gospel. Mark's World in Literary - Historical Perspective, Mary Ann Tolbert, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1989. ISBN 0-8006-2974-4
The Gospel According to St. Mark. The Cambridge Greek Testament Commentary. C. E. B. Cranfield, Cambridge, 1977. ISBN 0-521-09204-3.
The Power of Mark's Story, Mitzi L. Minor, Chalice Press, St. Louis, 2001. ISBN 0-8272-2974-7