Who is John Mark?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
klewis
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Re: Who is John Mark?

Post by klewis » Sat Dec 07, 2019 4:45 am

The writing process is what dictates our perception of Matthew as more Jewish than the others. For example, Matthew uses a thematic overlay, depicting Jesus as the new Moses which by design gives it a more Jewish flavor.
  • Moses and Jesus accounts have a story of the killing of the infants by the ruler.
  • Moses gave the law to the Hebrews, Jesus fulfilled the law.
  • Moses wrote 5 books, Jesus gave 5 great sermons.
This way of writing is consistent in how Genesis-Exodus, Exodus-Ezekiel-Isaiah-Daniel, Luke-Acts, and Revelation are written. Mark, is less so, or at least we do not have the sources he used to make the assumption.

This is not to say that Mark is poorly written or it does not have structure, because it does. It is my favorite Gospel.

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arnoldo
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Re: Who is John Mark?

Post by arnoldo » Sat Dec 07, 2019 5:35 am

John2 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:56 am
While I've heard of John Mark, I've never thought about him before, and now I'm curious to see what there is to see about him and let the chips fall where they may.

As far as the NT goes, it looks like he is only mentioned in Acts, and as far as Acts goes I bring some presumptions to the table. For reasons I've given on other threads and don't feel the need to get into now, I suspect it was written by Paul's (and later Josephus') patron Epaphroditus and that he was executed by Domitian c. 95 CE and that Acts was thus written no later than c. 95 CE.

And despite thinking that Acts is pro-Pauline and has an agenda of smoothing things over between Paul and Jewish Christian leaders, and despite also thinking that it uses (and distorts) Josephus, and setting aside that it makes up dialogue and uses what I call "special effects" (as more or less all ancient writings do), I think the author of Acts was in a position to know some things about early Christians and their writings, and it makes me wonder if there could thus be something to what they say about John Mark.

I also bring what Papias says about the gospel of Mark being written by a follower of Peter to the table, since Papias (who I date c. 100 CE) was also in a position to know some things about early Christians and their writings, and I take what he says about the gospel of Mark seriously.

I am also open to the possibility that the Mark in Philemon 1:24 could be Papias' Mark and/or John Mark, but I need to give that more thought.

And while I gather that the identity of John Mark with the author of the gospel of Mark (and/or Paul's Mark) is later patristic speculation, not knowing where else to start, I thought I'd look at what Acts says about John Mark with that idea in mind and see what I think about it.

Right off the bat Acts 15:36-40 jumps out at me:

Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left ...

This reminds me of the what Paul says in Gal. 2:11-13 about Barnabas joining Peter when he and other Jews separated from Gentiles in Antioch:

When Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group. The other Jews joined him in his hypocrisy, so that by their hypocrisy even Barnabas was led astray.

So here in Acts we have a guy named John Mark who followed Barnabas and not Paul, and in Galatians Barnabas sided with Peter and not Paul, which fits the idea that John Mark could be the Mark that Papias says was a follower of Peter. Hm.
I have to recommend Dr. Thomas Oden's book, The African Memory of Mark, to learn more about this. The following is a review of Oden's book.

The aim of the present work is to reevaluate the person and role of John Mark—the second Evangelist and missionary companion to Peter and Paul—in light of the memory of the African church. Continuing his practice from How Africa Shaped the Christian Mind, Oden challenges late nineteenth and twentieth century Western historiography and theology that largely discounts the reliability of African accounts and regards Mark as a Palestinian born, Jerusalem based companion of Peter and Paul. In Oden’s methodology, he maintains respect for the Euro-American methodology, while asserting that a fair hearing of the African Coptic tradition of Mark will serve to fill the gaps of our understanding. Aside from Oden’s two other works in this series, there are very few recent works on early African Christianity from such a perspective. The most recent is probably Stephen Davis’ 2004 work The Early Coptic Papacy.

After a brief preface and introduction of Mark (chapter 1), the book is divided into five parts. In part one (chapters 2-4), Oden defines African memory—the manner in which African peoples remember and approach history. This includes the body of sources—Coptic liturgy, the martyrdom of St. Mark, and the Coptic histories of Sawirus ibn al-Muqaffa and Anba Shenouda III—that weave together the African Christian narrative. In part two (chapters 5-7), Oden discusses how the biblical portrait of Mark is read within African tradition. In part three (chapters 8-9), the author examines Mark’s missionary work in Africa as well as some key Egyptian sites related to his martyrdom. In part four (chapter 10), Oden considers evidence for an African Mark from textual evidence from the church fathers—both African and non-African. Finally, in part five (chapters 11-13 and a brief conclusion), the author gathers the evidence from the first four sections and offers a closing argument for an African Mark:
• Who was born in Cyrene.
• Who was possibly a relative of Peter.
• Whose mother had a home in Jerusalem that was probably the location of the Last Supper, Pentecost, and, of course where Peter went after his miraculous release from jail (Acts 12).
• Whose mother’s house was probably the first New Testament house church.
• Who took refuge with Peter in Egypt where “Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13) was actually part of Cairo.
• Who was a natural catechist who influenced the development of liturgy in the greater church, and inspired the Alexandrian catechetical school.
• Who was a missionary to many parts of the known world and was founder of the church in Africa, particularly Egypt.
• Who was martyred in Alexandria.
http://www.edsmither.com/posts/review-o ... ry-of-mark


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DCHindley
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Re: Who is John Mark?

Post by DCHindley » Sat Dec 07, 2019 6:03 am

John2 wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 6:15 pm
But what exactly was Marcion's gospel? That has never been clear to me. I know it was thought to have been a corrupted Luke in patristic sources, but there are arguments against that. And I recall seeing examples of other gospels besides Luke in reconstructions of Marcion's gospel. So this one seems complicated to me.
Marcion's "Gospel" (Evangelion) is a bit of a chimera. Absolutely everything we know about it has come from Christians who objected to it quite strongly.

What Marcion did do was deduce what he thought was a pure gospel preached by Paul by examining antithetical statements in the canonical gospels and the letters of Paul, interpreting them in light of a cosmological theory he had obtained from a philosopher named Cerdo. He then composed a work known as the Antitheses which drew attention to passages in the Gospels and the letters of Paul that he believed added Judean theology to to a purer form of a single gospel used by Paul.

The church fathers directed all sorts of polemic at Marcion, some of which was based on wild guesses and - perhaps - deliberate misrepresentation. They primarily objected to his cosmology (from Cerdo, or so they claimed). They also claimed that Marcion, a wealthy shipping magnate, had simply "gnawed away" at the Gospel of Luke to remove what he thought were Judean additions. They also claimed that Marcion had published his own edition of his Gospel and ten letters of Paul, with the contaminants removed.

Yet there have been no clear-cut fragments of his Antitheses, his Gospel or his Pauline canon recovered from Egyptian rubbish heaps or other preserved manuscripts. This is strange, considering that Celsus, who Origen claimed was a native of Alexandria, had been aware of Marcionite claims which he thought represented normal Christianity. How could he be familiar with something in his own area that has left no physical trace in the archaeological record? Or was Celsus going by hearsay about the Marcionites of Rome or Asia Minor?

Since Marcion is said to have presented his findings of Judaizing contamination of the pure gospel to the church of Rome, perhaps that is where all the manuscripts of the Antitheses remained and knowledge of them elsewhere was by hearsay and rumor. The Roman church rejected his claims and Marcion eventually established his own churches, mostly in Asia Minor and Rome. Maybe in this latter period he published his own Gospel and letters of Paul, but we know very little.

DCH

davidmartin
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Re: Who is John Mark?

Post by davidmartin » Sat Dec 07, 2019 7:16 am

The writing process is what dictates our perception of Matthew as more Jewish than the others. For example, Matthew uses a thematic overlay, depicting Jesus as the new Moses which by design gives it a more Jewish flavor.
Moses and Jesus accounts have a story of the killing of the infants by the ruler.
Moses gave the law to the Hebrews, Jesus fulfilled the law.
Moses wrote 5 books, Jesus gave 5 great sermons.
This way of writing is consistent in how Genesis-Exodus, Exodus-Ezekiel-Isaiah-Daniel, Luke-Acts, and Revelation are written. Mark, is less so, or at least we do not have the sources he used to make the assumption.

This is not to say that Mark is poorly written or it does not have structure, because it does. It is my favorite Gospel.
I don't see this but have no wish to say more really and just leave it there. i see what i see and you see what you see!

Trees of Life
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Re: Who is John Mark?

Post by Trees of Life » Sun Dec 08, 2019 5:50 am

John2 wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 11:56 am
'While I've heard of John Mark, I've never thought about him before, and now I'm curious to see what there is to see about him and let the chips fall where they may.'

Giving a personage to an individual named 'John Mark' is divergent to the purpose of the John Mark passages in Acts.

In Acts 12, when Jerusalem was in turmoil and certain Christian sect leaders were being sought to prosecute, the extensive Zebedee home of John and James where 'the brethren were gathered to pray' is syllogized by author Luke into 'the house of Mary the mother of John, surnamed Mark'. John is surnamed Zebedee in Mark 10:35—'And there come near to him James and John, the sons of Zebedee'. John surnamed Luke—Luke 5:10 'also James and John, sons of Zebedee'), is not utilized, for in duality the Gospel of Luke also surnames John the son of Zacharias, whereas Mark doesn't.

Not publicizing information of Christian identities and buildings frequented by Christians was a standard safeguard measure by the Christian community for their protection from governing and religious hostile forces—in this case to protect the Zebedee household, among whom resided the Virgin Mary and her female disciples,(for further see The Assumption of the Virgin; http://www.earlywritings.com/forum/view ... f=3&t=4607)

John surnamed Mark denotes John surnamed as Zebedee, as exhibited by the continuity of events in Acts 12. Reviewers and copyists with their predilection for an outward reading, interpose that sense into the text, and so the sense that in reality the residence of Mary the mother of John son of Zebedee is being intimated, is left languishing.

Accordingly evidence for an individual named John Mark is imperceptible in any legitimate manuscripts outside Acts of the Apostles.
Truth perdures.

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