Evidence of Paul in Mark (was: "Authentic Sayings vs. Fictive Creations")
- Ed Tyler wrote:
>Mark's gospel, however, is not very amenable to Paul's theology, whichA lot depends on our expectations. Finding Paul in Mark is a bit like
>stresses salvation through faith and grace. The teachings you find in Jesus'
>mouth in Mark demand a particular code of conduct and many of them are
>situation-specific to the occupation of the Jewish homeland by the Romans.
>It would be difficult to explain why an author writing for the Christian
>community in Rome would have Jesus talking about the corruption of the Temple
>authorities or taxation issues applicable to Jewish peasants.
finding Mark in John. There are plenty of clues, but we have to look for
them. There are no long quotations such as occur in the synoptics making
inter-synoptic dependence so obvious.
A special problem in demonstrating Paul in Mark is that Paul's
influence was so widespread that much of Paul's contribution is often
not recognized as such, but taken as an already established part of the
pre-Pauline Jesus movement.
Additionally we should realize that Mark's presentation of the gospel
as the message about Jesus was set mainly in Galilee and Judea, so his
stories had to fit plausibly into that background. When he writes about
the Temple authorities or taxation issues, the effect is always to
distance the reader from Judaism and to snuggle up to the authorities in
Rome. The critical reader is left in no doubt that Mark intended this
effect, which was highly appropriate for a gospel written in Rome not
long after the defeat of the rebellious Jews, the destruction of
Jerusalem, and the parading through Rome of the spoils of war as
depicted on the Arch of Titus.
To back up my previous claim that the author of Mark's gospel had
probably been a companion of Paul (Phm 24), here is some of the evidence
for Paul's views appearing in Mark's gospel.
(1) The earliest attestation of the word "gospel" used in reference to
Jesus is found in Paul's letters (1 Thess 3:2 etc., c.f. Mk 1:1). Also
the phrase "gospel of God" (Rom 1:1 etc.) is used in Mark (1:14).
(2) The earliest testimony to Jesus as God's Son is by Paul (1 Thess
1:10, c.f. Mk 1:1; 15:39 etc.).
(3) Faith was central to Paul's theology (Gal 2:16 etc., etc.). Mark
used the word "believe" (PISTEUW) ten times. Note especially "believe
the gospel" (Mk 1:15), which comes at a key point at the end of the
gospel's introductory section.
(4) Paul saw loving one's neighbour as fulfilling of the law (Gal 5:14;
Rom 13:8). Mark created a scenario in which a scribe accepts the supreme
importance of loving his neighbour and goes on to represent this as
worth "much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices" (Mk
12:28-34). This is as far as Mark could go without using words which
would have been completely anachronistic in the context. But it strongly
hints at Paul's idea that the law had been superseded by love.
(5) Most of the essentials of Paul's superficially authentic-looking
story of a 'last supper' (1 Cor 11:23-26) are reproduced (Mk 14:22-25)
in the Markan passion account .
(6) Paul's "Christ died for our sins" (1 Cor 15:3) is presented by Mark
as "to give his life as a ransom for many (Mk 10:45).
(7) According to Paul, Jesus "was buried [and] was raised on the third
day" (1 Cor 15:4). Mark presents a story which was intended to provide
subtle evidence for that (Mk 15:40-16:8), but which is nowadays
generally regarded by critics as highly suspect. Mark tried to back up
the story by presenting Jesus as prophesying his own death and
resurrection (Mk 8:31; 9:31; 10:33-34), but the historicity of these
predictions is now confidently rejected by most critical scholars.
(8) Paul commended a submissive attitude to the Roman authorities (Rom
13:1-7). By the context of the saying "Render to Caesar..." (Mk
12:13-17), Mark clearly indicated that his readers were to adopt the
(9) A different type of evidence for Paul's influence on Mark can be
found in the latter's negative attitude towards James, Peter and the
original disciples generally. Paul and Mark are both critical of Peter.
But both are *highly* critical of James the brother of Jesus (who is
almost written out of Jesus' ministry in Mark - evidence that Mark's
presentation of James is fundamentally flawed would need yet another
(10) Finally, once we recognize 1 Cor 14:33b-36 as an interpolation by a
male chauvinist, it becomes clear that Paul had a relatively enlightened
attitude towards women, counting many of them as his fellow workers, and
setting out their equality as Christians with men (Gal 3:28). Mark had a
similar attitude, giving women pride of place in the story of the empty
tomb. This was in sharp contrast to the masculine dominance in the HJ's
ministry (selecting 12 male disciples?!).
Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm