What is the purpose and provenance of Mark's Gospel?

Essay by dogfaceUniversity, Bachelor's June 2003

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What is the purpose and provenance of Mark's Gospel?

Mark's Gospel as it is offers little direct evidence as to why, where or when it was written. There are hints of course but no direct statement of purpose. By careful examination of Mark's Gospel and through also examining historical sources and historical events identifying purpose and provenance of Mark's Gospel become less of a riddle.

It is probable that the Gospel of Mark was written in Rome. While there is no evidence within the text that directly points to this conclusion the text implies that it was intended for Roman Christians as a strong Roman background is assumed. The translation of Aramaic words within the text and the many explanations of Jewish terms and customs suggests that the intended readers were neither Aramaic-speaking nor were they Jewish[ ]. The presence of Latinisms and Latin translations[ ] of Greek words in the Gospel of Mark implies that the intended readers were Latin speakers, though they could read or at least understand Greek.

Other reference that point to a Roman audience include the reference to the woman in Tyre called "a Greek, speaking Syrophoenician by birth",[ ] this implies a Roman readership, because such a designation would be most understood by Romans, who distinguished between Phoenicians from Carthage and those from Syria[ ]. Historical sources that point to Rome as the provenance for the writing of Marks Gospel are abundant. The fragment of the Anti-Marcionite prologue placed the composition of the Gospel of Mark 'in the regions of Italy'. Papias places Mark in Rome with Peter around the time the gospel was completed. That Papias writes that Mark composed his gospel for Peter's hearers in Rome also implies that Mark wrote his gospel in Rome[ ]. That Peter and Mark...