1902 Encyclopedia > Mark


MARK, the traditional name of the author of the Second Gospel. The name Mark occurs in several books of the New Testament. In the Acts of the Apostles, chap. xii. mention is made of "John whose surname was Mark," to the house of whose mother, Mary, at Jerusalem, Peter went when miraculously released from prison. This John Mark went with Barnabas and Paul on their missionary journey, as far as Perga in Pamphylia, and then, " departing from them, returned to Jerusalem" (Acts xii. 25; xiii. 13). His departure was afterwards the occasion of a "sharp contention" between Paul and Barnabas; the former " thought not good to take with them him who withdrew from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work " ; the latter " took Mark, and sailed away into Cyprus" (Acts xv. 38, 39). On the subsequent history of Mark the Acts of the Apostles are silent.

The same name Mark occurs in three Pauline epistles. (1) In Col. iv. 10 the writer enumerates Mark among his fellow-workers, mentioning also that he was a nephew (some translate " cousin ") of Barnabas, and implying that he was a Jew ("of the circumcision"). He is evidently about to send him, in accordance with a previous intimation, on a special mission to the Colossians; but there is no evidence, except the statement of the Coptic subscription to the epistle, to show whether the contemplated journey took place. (2) In Philemon 24 the writer also mentions Mark as one of his fellow-workers, i.e., probably in preaching the gospel during his imprisonment at Rome. (3) In 2 Tim. iv. 11 the writer gives the charge to Timothy, "Take Mark and bring him with thee, for he is useful to me for ministering." It is a plausible conjecture that this is a request that Mark might be brought back to Rome after his mission to Colossae.

The same name also occurs in 1 Peter v. 13, " Mark, my son." This expression has sometimes been taken literally; but it is more usually understood in a metaphorical sense, as meaning that Peter had converted Mark. Those who take " Babylon " in the same passage to mean Rome necessarily infer that Mark was with Peter at Rome; a tradition to the same effect is mentioned in fragments of Clement of Alexandria, preserved in Eusebius, H. E., ii. 15 ; vi. 14.

The preponderance of patristic and mediaeval tradition is infavourof the hypothesis that the same person is designated in all these passages of the New Testament. But other hypotheses have found favour, especially among those writers of various schools who have felt a difficulty in under-standing how the same person should be an intimate com-panion at once of. St Paul and of St Peter. It has been supposed (I) that the John Mark of the Acts is the Mark of the Pauline epistles, but not the Mark of 1 Peter; (2) that the John Mark of the Acts, the Mark of the Pauline epistles, and the Mark of 1 Peter are all different; (3) that the John Mark of the Acts is the Mark of 1 Peter, but not the Mark of the Pauline epistles. Into the arguments for these several hypotheses it is unnecessary to enter here; they are of course complicated by the prior question of the authenticity and date of the books of the New Testament in which the name occurs. The most elaborate modern discussion of the question, which arrives at the conclusion that the first of the three hypotheses just mentioned is the true one, is contained in the work of Molini, whose title is given below. But, whether there was only one Mark or more than one, there is a general belief, which rests ulti-mately on the testimony of the presbyter (John) who is quoted by Papias (ap. Euseb.,Zf. E., iii. 39, 15), that the second canonical Gospel, or its original, is to be ascribed to the Mark who was the disciple of St Peter. Of this Mark the evangelist, as of other persons whose names are pro-minent in the New Testament, there is a large mass of traditional biography, in which possible fact and obvious fiction are so closely interwoven as not to be easily dis-entangled, and which would not be worth recording were it not for the later historical associations which have clustered round it.

Of Mark's birth and country nothing is positively known; the majority of mediaeval writers state that he was a Levite ; but this is probably no more than an inference from his supposed relationship to Barnabas. The Alexandrian tradition seems to have been that he was of Cyrenrean origin; and Severus, a writer of the 10th century, adds to this the statement that his father's name was Aristobulus, who, with his wife Mary, was driven from the Pentapolis to Jerusalem by an invasion of barbarians (Severus Aschimon, ap. Renaudot, Hist. Patriarch. Alex., p. 2). In the apocryphal Acts of Barnabas, which profess to be written by him, he speaks of himself as having been formerly a servant of Cyrillus, the high priest of Zeus, and as having been baptized at Iconium. The presbyter John, whom Papias quotes, says distinctly that "he neither heard the Lord nor accompanied Him " (ap. Eusebius, I.e.); and this positive statement is fatal to the tradition, which does not appear until about two hundred and fifty years afterwards, that he was one of the seventy disciples (Epiphanius, pseudo-Origen De recta in Deum fide, and the author of the Paschal Chronicle). Various other results of the tendency to fill up blank names in the gospel history must be set aside on the same ground ; it was, for example, believed that Mark was one of the disciples who "went back" because of the "hard saying" (pseudo-Hippolyt., De LXX. Apostolis in Cod. Barocc. ap. Migne, Patrol. Grssc, vol. x. 955) ; there was an Alexandrian tradition that he was one of the servants at the miracle of Cana of Galilee, that he was the " man bearing a ! pitcher of water" in whose house the last supper was prepared, and that he was also the owner of the house in which the disciples met on the evening of the resurrection (Benaudot, I.e.) ; and even in modern times there has been the conjecture that he was the " certain young man" who "fled naked" from Gethsemane, Mark xiv. 51, 52 (Olshausen).

A tradition which was widely diffused, and which is not in itself improbable, was that he afterwards preached the gospel and presided over the church at Alexandria (the earliest extant testimony is that of Eusebius, H. E., ii. 16, 1; ii. 24 ; for the fully-developed legend of later times see Symeon Metaphrastes, Vita S. Marci, and Eutychius, Origines Eeclesise, Alexandrine). There was another, though perhaps not incompatible, tradition that he preached the gospel and presided over the church at Aquileia in North Italy. The earliest testimony in favour of this tradition is the vague statement of Gregory of Nazianzus that Mark preached in Italy, but its existence in the 7th century is shown by the fact that in 629 A.D. Heraclius sent the patriarchal chair from Alexandria to Grado, to which city the patriarchate of Aquileia had been then transferred (Chron. Patriarch. Gradens., ap. Ughelli, Italia Sacra, torn. v. p. 1086 ; for other references to the general tradition see De Rubeis, Monum. Eccles. Aquileien., c. 1 ; Acta Sanctorum, ad April, xxv.). It was through this tradition that Mark became connected with Venice, whither the patriarchate was further transferred from Grado; an early Venetian legend, which is represented in the Cappella Zen in the basilica of St Mark, antedates this connexion by picturing the evangelist as having been stranded on the Rialto, while it was still an uninhabited island, and as having had the future greatness of the city revealed to him (Danduli, Chron., iv. 1, ap. Muratori, Per. Ital. Script., vol. xii. 14).

Pauline and not of the Petrine Mark are used by other writers in support of the hypothesis that in its present form it is not the work of which Papias speaks.

The earliest traditions appear to imply that he died a natural death (Eusebius, Jerome, and even Isidore of Seville); but the Martyrologies claim him as a martyr, though they do not agree as to the manner of his martyrdom. According to the pseudo-Hippolytus he was burned; but Symeon Metaphrastes and the Paschal Chronicle represent him to have been dragged over rough stones until he died. But, however that may be, his tomb appears to have been venerated at Alexandria, and there was a firm belief at Venice in the Middle Ages that his remains had been translated thither in the 9th century (the fact of the translation is denied even by Tillemont ; the weakness of the evidence in support of the tradition is apparent even in Molini's vigorous defence of it, lib. ii., c. 2; the minute account which the same writer gives, lib. ii. e. 11, of the discovery of the supposed actual bones of the evangelist in 1811 A.D., is interesting). There was another though less widely accepted tradition, that the remains soon after their translation to Venice were retranslated to the abbey of Reichenau on Lake Constance ; a circumstantial account of this retranslation is given in the treatise Ex Miraculis S. Marci, ap. Pertz, Mon. Hist. German. Script., torn. iv. p. 449. It may be added that the Venetians prided themselves on possessing, not only the body of St Mark, but also the autograph of his Gospel ; this autograph, how-ever, proved on examination to be only part of a 6th-cenfury book of the Gospels, the remainder of which was published by Bianchini as the Evangeliarium Forojuliense; the Venetian part of this MS. was found some years ago to have been wholly destroyed by damp.

It has been at various times supposed that Mark wrote other works besides the Gospel. Several books of the New Testament have been attributed to him : viz., the Epistle to the Hebrews (Spanheim, Op. Miscell., vol. ii. p. 240), the Epistle of Jude (cf. Holtzmann, Die Synoptische Evangelien, p. 373), the Apocalypse (Hitzig, Ueber Johannes Marcus, Zurich, 1843). The apocryphal Acta Barnabee purport to have been written by him. There is a liturgy which bears his name, and which exists in two forms ; the one form was found in a MS. of the 12th century in Calabria, and is, according to Renaudot, the foundation of the three liturgies of St Basil, St Gregory Nazianzen, and St Cyril ; the other is that which is used by the Maronite and Jacobite Syrians. Both forms have been published by Renaudot, Liturg. Oriental. Collect, vol. i. p. 127, and vol. ii. p. 176, and in Neale's History of the Holy Eastern Church; but neither has any substantial claim to belong to the ante-Nicene period of Christian literature.

The symbol by which Mark is designated in Christian art is usually that of a lion. Each of the '' four living creatures" of Ezekiel and the Apocalypse has been attributed to each of the four evangelists in turn ; Augustine and Bede think that Mark is desig-nated by the "man"; Theophylact and others think that he is designated by the eagle ; Anastasius Sinaita makes his symbol the ox ; but mediaeval art acquiesced in the opinion of Jerome that he was indicated by the lion. Most of the martyrologies and calendars assign April 25 as the day on which he should be commemorated ; but the Martyr. Hieron. gives September 23, and some Greek martyrologies give January 11. This unusual variation probably arises from early differences of opinion as to whether there was one Mark or more than one.

The work of Canon Molini of Venice, De Vita et Lipsanis Marci Evangelistse, edited, after the author's death, by S. Pieralisi, the librarian of the Barberin] library, in 1864, gives full information on all that relates to the subject of the present article. (E. HA.)


This double name, the one Jewish, the other Roman, may be com-pared with the double name "Saul, who is also called Paul," in succeeding chapters of the Acts ; sometimes the double name, some-times one or other of the single names, is used.
This double name, the one Jewish, the other Roman, may be com-pared with the double name "Saul, who is also called Paul," in succeeding chapters of the Acts ; sometimes the double name, some-times one or other of the single names, is used.
Most of the arguments by which Kienlen (Stud. u. Krit., 1843, pp, 423 sg_.) endeavours to show that the Gospel is the work of the

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