Saint Mark., the evangelist, according to the opinion of most theologians, identical with John Mark, mentioned in the Acts (xii. 12, 25). By comparing the passages of the New Testament relating to both Mark and John Mark, we learn the following facts of his life. He was the son of a certain Mary, who possessed a house at Jerusalem which served the Christians as a place of refuge. About the time when James the Elder was executed, he left Jerusalem with Paul and Barnabas, his kinsman (A. D. 42), went to Antioch, and from there to Cyprus and Asia Minor, but separated from them at Perga, in order to return to Jerusalem. Paul blamed this conduct; and when later Barnabas proposed to take Mark along on a new missionary tour, Paul objected, and Barnabas and Mark undertook a journey of their own. But we find him again as a friend and fellow laborer of Paul during the first captivity of the latter. It appears that both intended, after the end of the captivity, to visit the Christians of Asia Minor. Mark probably executed this design, for Paul requests timothy (2 Tim. iv. 11) to bring Mark to Rome. He was with the apostle Peter, near Babylon (which, according to many interpreters, designates Rome), when that apostle wrote his first epistle.
According to the testimony of the ancient church, Mark was in a particularly intimate relation to the apostle Peter, who employed him as secretary in the same way as Titus was employed by. Paul. After the death of Peter, Mark is said to have gone to Egypt, and especially to Alexandria, to have collected congregations there and in the | neighborhood, to have been the first bishop of Alexandria, and, finally, to have suffered martyrdom there. He is the patron saint of Venice, which city claims to possess his bod.His festival is celebrated in the Roman Catholic church on April 25. - The Gospel of Mark is distinguished from the three others by being more exclusively historical, and excluding longer didactic portions, such as the sermon on the mount. All the facts recorded in it may be found also in Matthew or Luke, and only 27 verses belong exclusively to Mark; a circumstance which has given rise to wide differences of opinion concerning the position of Mark in relation to the other two. Augustine advanced the opinion that Matthew wrote first, that Mark wrote an abridgment of the Gospel of Matthew, and that Luke in writing his Gos-pel made use of both Matthew and Mark. This view continued to prevail among exegetical writers until the 18th century, when the ques-tion of priority of composition among the three synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) became the subject of vehement eontrov, every possible combination finding its defenders.
Eichhorn in 1794 advanced the theory that all the three synoptic Gospels of our canon had made use of a primitive Gospel Ur-Evangelium), no longer extant. Many German critics assume a primitive Gospel of Mark (Ur-Markiis), of which the Gospel in our canon is a revised and enlarged copy. Among the prominent defenders of this view are Ewald (1849), Scholten (1867), Yolkmar (1870), and Weiss (1872). Others have advanced similar views with regard to Matthew and Luke. Most of these writers agree in regarding the Gospel of Luke as the latest of the synoptic Gospels in their present form; the most notable exception being Keim, who (in his "Life of Jesus") maintains that the Gospel of Mark is the latest of the three. The defenders of the originality of the Gospel of Mark in its present form generally place the time of its compilation between the death of the apostles Peter and Paul and the destruction of Jerusalem. Koine is almost unanimously regarded as the place where it was written. The evangelist undoubtedly used the Greek language; a note to the Syrian translation, stating that the Gospel was compiled in Latin, received for a time wide currency among Roman Catholic scholars through the support of Baronius, but it has been almost entirely discarded since the time of Richard Simon. Doubts are entertained also by prominent theologians of the orthodox school whether the last 12 verses are by Mark, or were added after his death; in support of the latter view it i-adduced that Jerome, Gregory of Nyasa, and other fathers expressly mention that the Gospel closed with the words, "For they were afraid " (xvi. 8); in favor of the other, that all the Latin and Syrian manuscripts have these verses. - For commentaries on Mark, see the collective works on the Gospels mentioned in the article Luke. Commentaries on Mark alone have been published, among others, by J. A Alexander (New York, 1858), Klostermann, Das Markus-Erangelium (Gottingen, 1868), and Weiss, Das Markus-Evangelium und seine synoptischen Parallelen (Berlin, 1872). Accounts of the modern discussions about the origin and history of the Gospel of Mark may be found in Wilke, Der Uremngelist (Leipsic, 1838), F. C. Banr, Das Markus-Evangclium (Tubingen, 1851), and in the commentaries of Klostermann and Weiss. A full account of the literature on the subject is given by Se-vin in Erklarung der drei ersten Evangelien (Wiesbaden, 1873).