Title

The Gospel according to Mark

τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον,

What is a gospel?  Who is Mark?  The musical play “Godspell” that opened on Broadway in 1971, was based on the Old English ‘godspel.’  Like the Greek word εὐαγγέλιον, this Germanic based word gospel means good news or good tidings.  This term originally meant the Christian message itself.  However, in the second century, it came to be used for the books where this message was set out.  Thus, the gospels became known as the written accounts of the life, actions, and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth.  This Gospel of Mark is anonymous since there is no explicit mention of a named author within the text itself.  This title (Τὸ κατὰ Μᾶρκον εὐαγγέλιον), however was added some time in the second century, perhaps by Papias of Hierapolis (60–130 CE), an early bishop and apostolic father.  Traditionally, this work has been ascribed to John Mark, the companion of the apostle Peter, who may have transcribed the teachings of Simon Peter.  This John Mark was the son of a widow named Mary as indicated in Acts, chapter 12:12.  He also accompanied Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journeys, since he was also the cousin of Barnabas, as indicated in Colossians, chapter 4:10.  However, he  left Paul and Barnabas for some unknown reasons in Acts, chapter 13:13.  Today, most scholars agree that his anonymous Gospel of Mark was the first written gospel, probably written between 66–70 CE, during Emperor Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt.  Thus, the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark with a second document called the Q source.  This short Gospel of Mark was written for a gentile audience in a simple Greek style that is often called “street Greek.”  This Greek style is thus vivid and concrete showing a very active Jesus with less teaching or preaching.  Mark explained Jewish traditions and translated Aramaic terms for his Greek-speaking Christian audience who would not have understood them.  Some suggest Rome as the origin of this gospel since there are some Latin terms.  Others have suggested Antioch, the 3rd largest city in the Roman Empire.  This author may have been influenced by Greco-Roman writings, but all his references are from the Jewish Greek version of the Septuagint Bible or the Old Testament.

 

 

 

 

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Buy the field in Anathoth (Jer 32:6-32:8)

“Jeremiah said.

‘The word of Yahweh

Came to me.

Hanamel,

Son of your uncle Shallum,

Is going to come to you.

He will say.

‘Buy my field

That is at Anathoth!

The right of redemption

By purchase is yours.’

Then my cousin Hanamel

Came to me

In the court of the guard,

In accordance

With the word of Yahweh.

He said to me.

‘Buy my field

That is at Anathoth

In the land of Benjamin!

The right of possession

Is yours.

The right of redemption

Is yours.

Buy it for yourself.’

Then I knew

That this was

The word of Yahweh.”

Clearly Jeremiah, while still in the royal prison, has an oracle of Yahweh come to him. His cousin Hanamel, the son of his uncle Shallum, was going to sell him some land in Anathoth, in the land of Benjamin. Jeremiah was from Anathoth, but it would have been now controlled by the invading Chaldeans and Babylonians. Shallum was the same name as King Jehoahaz who died in 609 BCE, 20 years earlier, but is probably not the same person. This land was probably Levite land that could not be sold to non- Levites. Since this was a family transaction, the right of redemption and purchase was allowed. Then Jeremiah’s cousin Hanamel showed up at the royal prison asking Jeremiah to buy his field at Anathoth. Then Jeremiah was sure that this was the word of God.