Fortress Press

Mark: Images of an Apostolic Interpreter


Images of an Apostolic Interpreter

C. Clifton Black (Author)


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In this study of early Christian traditions, C. Clifton Black explores the figure and function of Mark, the apostolic associate to whom Christians traditionally have attributed authorship of the New Testament's anonymous Second Gospel and whose very existence has been a controversial issue among scholars. Black contends that in their justifiable doubt about Mark's writing of the Second Gospel, biblical scholars have neglected the development of that ascription as well as its religious motivations.

Using a variety of critical lenses—historical, literary, and theological—Black examines the images of Mark that emerge from the New Testament and from the writings of the early church fathers. Black's comprehensive investigation culminates in a fresh appraisal of the relationship between the Gospel of Mark and the legends surrounding its composition. Black concludes that the figure of Mark was carefully crafted as a part of the interpretive framework within which early Christians read the Second Gospel and heard its witness as faithful to their understanding of Jesus. Like the Markan Gospel itself, the image of Mark the Evangelist helped the early church in the formation of its religious memory and theological identity.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800631680
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 352
  • Dimensions 6 x 9
  • Publication Date July 3, 2001


"A work indispensable for any serious student of the Second Gospel."
-- John R. Donahue, Journal of Theological Studies

Table of Contents


Introduction: The Quest for the Historical Mark?
  • A Maximal Reconstruction
  • A Minimalist Reconsideration
  • Some Critical Shifts
  • The Reconsideration Reconsidered
  • A Way to Proceed

Part I: Glimpses of Mark in the New Testament

Chapter One: The Wayward Attaché: Mark in the Acts of the Apostles
  • The Portrayal of Mark in Acts
  • Conclusion: John Mark in the Lukan Tradition
Chapter Two: A Beloved Junior Partner: Mark in New Testament Letters
  • The Pauline Tradition
  • The Petrine Tradition
  • Some Conclusions: The Different Portrayals of Mark in the New Testament
Part II: Portraits of Mark in Patristic Christianity

Chapter Three: Lineaments of an Apostolic Author: The Figure of Mark in the Second Century
  • Some Orientative Observations
  • The Apostolic Fathers
  • Papias of Hierapolis
  • Justin Martyr
  • Toward the Century's End: Mark and His Gospel in Syria, Lyons, and Rome
Chapter Four: Sketches of an Apostolic Evangelist (I): The Figure of Mark in Western Christianity of the Third and Fourth Centuries
  • Stumpy-Fingered but Apostolic: Mark in Rome and Western Europe
  • Defender of the Faith or Obedient Epitomizer?
  • Mark in North Africa
Chapter Five: Sketches of and Apostolic Evangelist (II): The Figure of Mark in Eastern Christianity of the Third and Fourth Centuries
  • Attendant to the Apostles: The Alexandrian Traditions
  • The Return of the Pauline Collaborator: The Syrian Traditions
  • An Imperfect Marriage: The Palestinian Traditions
Chapter Six: Gathering the Threads: A Patristic Conspectus

Part III: The Second Gospel and Its Evangelist

Chapter Seven: The Second Gospel and the Traditions about Mark (I): Evangelical Author and Petrine Authority
  • The Evangelist Mark as Author
  • Mark and Peter
  • A Limited Warranty
Chapter Eight: The Second Gospel and the Traditions about Mark (II): Ubi et Unde?
  • All Roads Lead to Rome?
  • Mark and Alexandria
  • Some Conclusions: The New Testament's Gospel and the Fathers' Evangelist
Conclusion: Mark the Evangelist: Some Reflections out of Season
  • Personification and Apostolicity
  • The Evangelists on Jesus and the Father on Mark: Some Procedural Similarities
  • Jesus and Mark as Biographical Subjects
Select Bibliography
Index of Biblical and Ancient Sources
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Subjects