The Gospel of Mark

A Hypertextual Commentary

by Bartosz Adamczewski (Author)
©2014 Monographs 241 Pages


This commentary demonstrates that the Gospel of Mark is a result of a consistent, strictly sequential, hypertextual reworking of the contents of three of Paul’s letters: Galatians, First Corinthians and Philippians. Consequently, it shows that the Marcan Jesus narratively embodies the features of God’s Son who was revealed in the person, teaching, and course of life of Paul the Apostle. The analysis of the topographic and historical details of the Marcan Gospel reveals that they were mainly borrowed from the Septuagint and from the writings of Flavius Josephus. Other literary motifs were taken from various Jewish and Greek writings, including the works of Homer, Herodotus, and Plato. The Gospel of Mark should therefore be regarded as a strictly theological-ethopoeic work, rather than a biographic one.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Contents
  • Acknowledgments
  • Introduction
  • A record of Palestinian oral traditions?
  • Mark and Paul
  • Sequential hypertextuality
  • 1. k 1-7 (cf. Gal)
  • 1.1. k 1:1-8 (cf. Gal 1:1-12)
  • 1.2. Mk 1:9-20 (cf. Gal 1:13-16b)
  • 1.2.1. k 1:9 (cf. Gal 1:13-14)
  • 1.2.2. Mk 1:10-11 (cf. Gal 1:15a.16a)
  • 1.2.3. Mk 1:12-13 (cf. Gal 1:15b)
  • 1.2.4. Mk 1:14-20 (cf. Gal 1:15c.16b)
  • 1.3. Mk 1:21-2:12 (cf. Gal 1:16c-17)
  • 1.3.1. Mk 1:21-28 (cf. Gal 1:16c)
  • 1.3.2. Mk 1:29-34 (cf. Gal 1:17a)
  • 1.3.3. Mk 1:35-45 (cf. Gal 1:17b)
  • 1.3.4. Mk 2:1-12 (cf. Gal 1:17c)
  • 1.4. Mk 2:13-3:6 (cf. Gal 1:18-20)
  • 1.4.1. Mk 2:13-17 (cf. Gal 1:18)
  • 1.4.2. Mk 2:18-22 (cf. Gal 1:19a)
  • 1.4.3. Mk 2:23-28 (cf. Gal 1:19b)
  • 1.4.4. Mk 3:1-6 (cf. Gal 1:20)
  • 1.5. Mk 3:7-5:20 (cf. Gal 1:21-24)
  • 1.5.1. Mk 3:7-19 (cf. Gal 1:21)
  • 1.5.2. Mk 3:20-35 (cf. Gal 1:22)
  • 1.5.3. Mk 4:1-34 (cf. Gal 1:23a)
  • 1.5.4. Mk 4:35-5:20 (cf. Gal 1:23b-24)
  • 1.6. Mk 5:21-43 (cf. Gal 2:1-2)
  • 1.6.1. Mk 5:21-24a (cf. Gal 2:1-2a)
  • 1.6.2. Mk 5:24b-34 (cf. Gal 2:2bc)
  • 1.6.3. Mk 5:35-43 (cf. Gal 2:2d-f)
  • 1.7. Mk 6:1-6 (cf. Gal 2:3-5)
  • 1.8. Mk 6:7-44 (cf. Gal 2:6-14)
  • 1.8.1. Mk 6:7-13 (cf. Gal 2:6-10)
  • 1.8.2. Mk 6:14-29 (cf. Gal 2:11-13)
  • 1.8.3. Mk 6:30-44 (cf. Gal 2:14)
  • 1.9. Mk 6:45-56 (cf. Gal 2:15-3:9)
  • 1.9.1. Mk 6:45-52 (cf. Gal 2:15-3:4)
  • 1.9.2. Mk 6:53-56 (cf. Gal 3:5-9)
  • 1.10. k 7:1-23 (cf. Gal 3:10-5:21)
  • 1.10.1. k 7:1-13 (cf. Gal 3:10-5:15)
  • 1.10.2. Mk 7:14-23 (cf. Gal 5:16-21)
  • 1.11. Mk 7:24-37 (cf. Gal 5:22-6:18)
  • 1.11.1. Mk 7:24-30 (cf. Gal 5:22-26)
  • 1.11.2. Mk 7:31-37 (cf. Gal 6:1-18)
  • 2. Mk 8-13 (cf. 1 Cor)
  • 2.1. Mk 8:1-21 (cf. 1 Cor 1:1-31)
  • 2.1.1. Mk 8:1-9 (cf. 1 Cor 1:1-16)
  • 2.1.2. Mk 8:10-13 (cf. 1 Cor 1:17-23)
  • 2.1.3. Mk 8:14-21 (cf. 1 Cor 1:24-31)
  • 2.2. Mk 8:22-26 (cf. 1 Cor 2:1)
  • 2.3. Mk 8:27-9:1 (cf. 1 Cor 2:2-6)
  • 2.3.1. Mk 8:27-30 (cf. 1 Cor 2:2a-c)
  • 2.3.2. Mk 8:31-33 (cf. 1 Cor 2:2d-5)
  • 2.3.3. Mk 8:34-9:1 (cf. 1 Cor 2:6)
  • 2.4. Mk 9:2-13 (cf. 1 Cor 2:7-9)
  • 2.4.1. Mk 9:2-8 (cf. 1 Cor 2:7-8)
  • 2.4.2. Mk 9:9-13 (cf. 1 Cor 2:9)
  • 2.5. Mk 9:14-29 (cf. 1 Cor 2:10-3:17)
  • 2.6. Mk 9:30-50 (cf. 1 Cor 3:18-6:11)
  • 2.6.1. Mk 9:30-32 (cf. 1 Cor 3:18-19)
  • 2.6.2. Mk 9:33-35 (cf. 1 Cor 3:20-4:13)
  • 2.6.3. Mk 9:36-37 (cf. 1 Cor 4:14-17)
  • 2.6.4. Mk 9:38-41 (cf. 1 Cor 4:18-21)
  • 2.6.5. Mk 9:42-50 (cf. 1 Cor 5:1-6:11)
  • 2.7. Mk 10:1-16 (cf. 1 Cor 6:12-7:16)
  • 2.7.1. Mk 10:1-12 (cf. 1 Cor 6:12-7:11)
  • 2.7.2. Mk 10:13-16 (cf. 1 Cor 7:12-16)
  • 2.8. Mk 10:17-31 (cf. 1 Cor 7:17-40)
  • 2.8.1. Mk 10:17-22 (cf. 1 Cor 7:17-28)
  • 2.8.2. Mk 10:23-27 (cf. 1 Cor 7:29-32b)
  • 2.8.3. Mk 10:28-31 (cf. 1 Cor 7:32c-40)
  • 2.9. Mk 10:32-52 (cf. 1 Cor 8:1-9:27)
  • 2.9.1. Mk 10:32-34 (cf. 1 Cor 8)
  • 2.9.2. Mk 10:35-40 (cf. 1 Cor 9:1-17)
  • 2.9.3. Mk 10:41-45 (cf. 1 Cor 9:18-19)
  • 2.9.4. Mk 10:46-52 (cf. 1 Cor 9:20-27)
  • 2.10. Mk 11:1-19 (cf. 1 Cor 10:1-11:26)
  • 2.10.1. Mk 11:1-11 (cf. 1 Cor 10:1-8)
  • 2.10.2. Mk 11:12-14 (cf. 1 Cor 10:9-13)
  • 2.10.3. Mk 11:15-19 (cf. 1 Cor 10:14-11:26)
  • 2.11. Mk 11:20-12:17 (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-15:11)
  • 2.11.1. Mk 11:20-25 (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-14:20)
  • 2.11.2. Mk 11:27-33 (cf. 1 Cor 14:21-40)
  • 2.11.3. Mk 12:1-12 (cf. 1 Cor 15:1-4)
  • 2.11.4. Mk 12:13-17 (cf. 1 Cor 15:5-11)
  • 2.12. Mk 12:18-44 (cf. 1 Cor 15:12-31)
  • 2.12.1. Mk 12:18-27 (cf. 1 Cor 15:12-22)
  • 2.12.2. Mk 12:28-34 (cf. 1 Cor 15:23-24)
  • 2.12.3. Mk 12:35-37 (cf. 1 Cor 15:25-27a)
  • 2.12.4. Mk 12:38-40 (cf. 1 Cor 15:27b-28)
  • 2.12.5. Mk 12:41-44 (cf. 1 Cor 15:29-31)
  • 2.13. Mk 13 (cf. 1 Cor 15:32-16:24)
  • 2.13.1. Mk 13:1-13 (cf. 1 Cor 15:32-33)
  • 2.13.2. Mk 13:14-23 (cf. 1 Cor 15:34-52)
  • 2.13.3. Mk 13:24-27 (cf. 1 Cor 15:53-58)
  • 2.13.4. Mk 13:28-32 (cf. 1 Cor 16:1-12)
  • 2.13.5. Mk 13:33-37 (cf. 1 Cor 16:13-24)
  • 3. Mk 14-16 (cf. Phlp)
  • 3.1. Mk 14:1-25 (cf. Phlp 1:1-18)
  • 3.1.1. Mk 14:1-11 (cf. Phlp 1:1-15a)
  • 3.1.2. Mk 14:12-16 (cf. Phlp 1:15b-16)
  • 3.1.3. Mk 14:17-21 (cf. Phlp 1:17)
  • 3.1.4. Mk 14:22-25 (cf. Phlp 1:18)
  • 3.2. Mk 14:26-52 (cf. Phlp 1:19-30)
  • 3.2.1. Mk 14:26-31 (cf. Phlp 1:19ab)
  • 3.2.2. Mk 14:32-42 (cf. Phlp 1:19c-28a)
  • 3.2.3. Mk 14:43-52 (cf. Phlp 1:28b-30)
  • 3.3. Mk 14:53-15:15 (cf. Phlp 2:1-3:3)
  • 3.3.1. Mk 14:53-72 (cf. Phlp 2:1-10)
  • 3.3.2. Mk 15:1-5 (cf. Phlp 2:11-16)
  • 3.3.3. Mk 15:6-15 (cf. Phlp 2:17-3:3)
  • 3.4. Mk 15:16-37 (cf. Phlp 3:4-20)
  • 3.4.1. Mk 15:16-20 (cf. Phlp 3:4-9)
  • 3.4.2. Mk 15:21 (cf. Phlp 3:10-12)
  • 3.4.3. Mk 15:22-27 (cf. Phlp 3:13-17)
  • 3.4.4. Mk 15:29-32 (cf. Phlp 3:18-19)
  • 3.4.5. Mk 15:33-37 (cf. Phlp 3:20)
  • 3.5. Mk 15:38-16:8 (cf. Phlp 3:21-4:23)
  • 3.5.1. Mk 15:38-41 (cf. Phlp 3:21-4:2)
  • 3.5.2. Mk 15:42-47 (cf. Phlp 4:3-9)
  • 3.5.3. Mk 16:1-8 (cf. Phlp 4:10-23)
  • General conclusions
  • Bibliography
  • Primary sources
  • Israelite-Jewish
  • Graeco-Roman
  • Inscriptions and papyri
  • Literary texts
  • Early Christian (I-II c. AD)
  • Secondary literature
  • Index of ancient sources
  • Old Testament
  • New Testament
  • Other Israelite–Jewish Works
  • Other Graeco–Roman Works
  • Other Early Christian Works
  • Series Index

| 11 →


This commentary greatly differs from other modern commentaries on the Gospel of Mark. The difference results from the particular methodological approach which has been adopted therein. Instead of explaining the Marcan Gospel in historical-critical terms as a result of redactional use of earlier sources or traditions, in narratological terms as a set of narrative-organizing devices, etc., this commentary aims at explaining it as a result of a sequential hypertextual reworking of three Pauline letters: to the Galatians, the first to the Corinthians, and to the Philippians.

This methodological approach, unlike many others, does not originate from any particular literary theory. It rather reflects the recent discovery of the phenomenon of the sequential hypertextual reworking of earlier texts in numerous biblical writings. This phenomenon occurs in the writings of both the Old and the New Testament: Gen, Exod-Lev-Num, Deut, Sam-Kgs, Chr; Mt, Mk, Lk, Jn, Acts, Rom, Gal, Eph, 2 Thes, Hebr, 2 Pet, and Rev.1 These writings, taken together and measured by their extent, constitute almost a half of the Christian Bible.

Accordingly, it is fully justified to perform a thorough analysis of the Marcan Gospel, taking this important literary discovery into full consideration.

A record of Palestinian oral traditions?

The understanding of the Gospel of Mark as a result of a sequential hypertextual reworking of Paul’s letters is particularly hindered by the widespread tendency ← 11 | 12 → to explain the origin of the Marcan work in terms of the evangelist’s use of early Christian oral traditions concerning Jesus.

This tendency goes back to the patristic views concerning the origin of the Marcan Gospel. This anonymous literary work, which evidently reflects the main principles of Paul’s theology, but also narratively highlights the importance of Peter, was probably in the mid-second century AD attributed to Mark (cf. Irenaeus, Haer. 3.10.5; 3.11.8; 3.16.3), the person who was mentioned in the Pauline letters (Phlm 24; cf. Col 4:10; 2 Tim 4:11), but also in a letter attributed to Peter (1 Pet 5:13).

However, while the reference to Mark in Phlm 24 can be regarded as historically reliable, the remark concerning Mark in 1 Pet 5:13 has a clear ethopoeic function. It is aimed at presenting the person of Peter as generally agreeing with Paul: in the final travel to Rome (presented in 1 Pet as ‘Babylon’, the place of exile of the pious Jew: 1 Pet 5:13; cf. 1 Pet 1:1.17; 2:11; cf. also Acts 2:10-11; 12:17),2 in the submissive instructions concerning civil authorities (1 Pet 2:12-17; cf. Rom 12:18-13:8),3 in numerous references to Isaiah and to other prophets and psalms (cf. esp. Rom 9-11), and in references to those Pauline co-workers who bore Latin names, namely Silvanus and Marcus (1 Pet 5:12-13; cf. 1 Thes 1:1; 2 Cor 1:19 and Phlm 24).4

Therefore, the ethopoeic ‘adoption’ of Mark by Peter, which consisted in presenting the historical Paul’s co-worker named Mark as also Peter’s ‘son’ (υἱός: 1 Pet 5:13; cf. also Acts 12:12), reflects the early Christian desire to reconcile in a rhetorical-literary way the theological heritage of Paul with the ethopoeic image of Peter. Consequently, it does not reflect any historical link between Peter and Mark.5

Nevertheless, the particular idea that the Gospel of Mark should be regarded as closely related to the authority of Peter, an idea which is in fact highly implausible in view of the very negative presentation of Peter in the Marcan Gospel (Mk 8:22-23; 9:5-6; 14:29-30.37.66-72 etc.), was later developed in the so-called ‘testimony of Papias’. This text is contained in Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.15-16, ← 12 | 13 → and it is traditionally dated to the beginning of the second century AD, although this dating is by no means certain.6

According to this patristic text, the Gospel of Mark was based on oral traditions which had been handed down to the evangelist by the apostle Peter. Precisely for this reason, the Gospel of Mark was for centuries regarded as a predominantly ‘Petrine’ work, which had been based on Peter’s oral catecheses (cf. Irenaeus, Haer. 3.1.1; 3.10.5 etc.), and which had been generally uninfluenced by the Pauline literary and theological heritage.

However, a close analysis of the composition of the so-called ‘testimony of Papias’ reveals that this text was not primarily concerned with the sources of the material which is contained in the Gospel of Mark and in other Gospels, because in such a case it would have referred to the origin of all four canonical Gospels, and not just two of them. In fact, the bipartite structure of this patristic text reveals that it was only aimed at explaining the differences between the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, as well as the striking features of the Matthean Gospel.

The author of the so-called ‘testimony of Papias’ rightly perceived the Gospel of Matthew as having two apparently contradictory features. On the one hand, this Gospel seems to be a result of literary enhancement and rhetorical improvement of the relatively short and simple Gospel of Mark. On the other hand, in difference to the Gospel of Mark, the Gospel of Matthew, with its particular wording and theological stance, seems to be a very ‘Hebrew’, so apparently primitive Gospel. Consequently, it is reasonable to ask whether the Matthean Gospel should be regarded as written after or before the Gospel of Mark.

The so-called ‘testimony of Papias’ presents an early Christian attempt to answer this difficult literary-theological question, which in fact constitutes one of the most important elements of the so-called synoptic problem.

According to the ‘testimony of Papias’, the Marcan Gospel originated from a set of Peter’s oral catecheses, and therefore, as the patristic text repeatedly stresses, it was not well organized in terms of a carefully composed literary work (οὐτάξει, οὐχ ὥσπερ σύνταξιν: Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.15).7 The patristic text further suggests that as a consequence of this fact, ‘so then (μὲν οὖν) Matthew arranged the [Lord’s] oracles […] in an orderly way’ (συνετάξατο: Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.16). Accordingly, the so-called ‘testimony of Papias’, through its ← 13 | 14 → correlated references to the Gospels of Mark and Matthew, explained the evident posteriority of the apparently ‘Hebrew’ Gospel of Matthew against the apparently ‘Gentile’ Gospel of Mark in terms of necessary literary improvement of the allegedly poorly organized Gospel of Mark.

In order to lend credence to this thesis, the author of the ‘testimony of Papias’ argued that the things which could be rearranged in the Marcan Gospel, without compromising the truth of them, were the Lord’s and Peter’s allegedly isolated oracles or discourses (λόγια: Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.15-16).8 In this way, the surprising idea that the Gospel of Mark should be regarded as a combination of mutually independent fragments which originated from oral tradition, and not an internally coherent literary-theological work, came into being.

Accordingly, the suggestion that the Gospel of Mark had its origin in some orally transmitted discourses or oracles (λόγια: Eusebius, Hist. eccl. 3.39.15) evidently functioned in the ‘testimony of Papias’ only as a secondary, in fact merely postulated element of the principal rhetorical argument concerning the necessity to rearrange the contents of the Gospel of Mark into the better-organized Gospel of Matthew.

However, this suggestion had great consequences for Christian exegesis and theology. Christian commentators were henceforth encouraged to interpret the Gospel of Mark as a set of loosely interrelated, allegedly historical sayings of the Palestinian Jesus, and not as an internally coherent, narrative, christological-ecclesiological treatise which reflected the most important features of the Pauline theology of law-breaking mission among unclean Gentiles, which was based on the faith in Christ’s salvific suffering and resurrection.9

The evident common features of the Marcan Gospel and the Pauline letters are usually explained by modern scholars by means of the hardly verifiable hypothesis of Mark and Paul’s common use of early Christian traditions, liturgical formulae, etc.10 It is usually suggested, rather than proved, that it were oral traditions, and not written texts, that widely circulated among early Christian communities ← 14 | 15 → across the Mediterranean. The scholars who espouse this hypothesis do not explain why it would have been easier to pass over from one community to another oral traditions rather than written texts, for example those of the Pauline letters. In fact, Paul’s letters demonstrate that even if short pieces of information could be transmitted orally (1 Cor 1:11), extensive instructions and discussions concerning the main features of Christianity were usually transmitted with the use of written media of communication (1 Cor 5:9.11; 7:1; 2 Cor 2:3-4.9; 7:12; Rom 15:15; Phlp 3:1 etc.).

At times, scholars even try to reconstruct the extent of the oral traditions which were allegedly used by Mark, and which should be regarded as historically reliable. For example, Adela Yarbro Collins has recently made a list of six events which were allegedly contained in such a hypothetical pre-Marcan ‘chronicle’. A half of these events refer to the relationship between Jesus and John the Baptist.11

However, in reconstructing the postulated pre-Marcan ‘chronicle’, which allegedly reflected Palestinian oral traditions concerning Jesus, Yarbro Collins, like many other scholars, has uncritically assumed that John the Baptist baptized Jesus, and that John was executed before Jesus’ death.12 The American scholar has based her claims on the postulated date of the execution of John the Baptist ‘in 28 or 29 C.E’, supporting her view in a footnote: ‘On the date of John’s execution, see P. W. Hollenbach, “John the Baptist,” in The Anchor Bible Dictionary (ed. D. N. Freedman; 6 vols.; New York: Doubleday, 1992), 3:887’.13 When a curious reader follows the reference to Hollenbach’s allegedly detailed discussion on the subject, he or she merely finds the following general statement concerning John the Baptist: ‘His popularity and the revolutionary possibilities of his message of social justice led to his arrest, imprisonment and execution by Herod Antipas, probably in A.D. 28 or 29.’14 In fact, the execution of John the Baptist in the Trans­jordanian fort of Machaerus took place c. AD 36 (Jos. Ant. 18.116-119),15 so most probably almost a decade after the death of Jesus in Jerusalem (c. AD 26-27; cf. Jos. Ant. 18.63-64 [in its original form]),16 and consequently it is quite possible that they never met each other. ← 15 | 16 →

Similar reservations should be voiced as concerns the historical reliability of the allegedly pre-Marcan traditions concerning Jesus’ proclamation of the kingdom of God, as well as Jesus’ performance of disruptive acts in the Jerusalem temple,17 for both these ideas are not attested outside the Gospels.

Consequently, the only historically reliable element of the oral tradition which was allegedly used by Mark, as it is postulated by Yarbro Collins, is Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection.18 However, it is evident that Mark could have borrowed the basic data concerning Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection from the letters of Paul the Apostle.19 Accordingly, the hypothesis of Mark’s use of early Christian oral traditions concerning Jesus is in fact unverifiable, if not entirely implausible.20

As concerns the literary genre of the Marcan work, Eve-Marie Becker has recently argued that the Gospel of Mark has numerous features of a historiographic work.21 However, as the German scholar has rightly noted, the formal features of the Marcan Gospel as a historiographic work do not necessarily prove that the content of this Gospel is historical from the modern point of view.22 The parahistorical Pentateuchal narratives evidently show that in biblical literature there are numerous literary works which have the formal features of historiographic works, and nevertheless their truly historical value cannot be simply taken for granted on the basis of their literary genre, but it should be assessed with the use of various methods of historical verification.23

In particular, the structural literary and conceptual parallels between the references to the destruction of Jerusalem in Mk 13:14-27 and in Jos. B.J. 6.271-315, which have been noticed by Becker,24 do not necessarily prove the historical value ← 16 | 17 → of the Marcan Gospel in the modern sense of this word,25 for it seems that the Gospel of Mark is literarily dependent on the works of Flavius Josephus.26

Likewise, Detlev Dormeyer’s hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark resembles Hellenistic ideal biographies, and that it has much in common with the Old Testament ideal biographies of Elijah (1 Kgs 17:1-19:21; 2 Kgs 1:1-2:18 etc.) and David (1 Sam 16:1-23 etc.),27 is certainly insightful. However, the German scholar failed to recognize the fact that these Old Testament ideal biographies are the results of the sequential hypertextual reworking of the structurally corresponding sections of Deuteronomy.28 Consequently, if it can be argued that the Marcan work formally resembles these Old Testament biographies,29 it should also be argued that it likewise resulted from a sequential hypertextual reworking of earlier texts, in this case of the letters of Paul the Apostle (Gal, 1 Cor, and Phlp).30

Consequently, the Marcan work can be categorized as scriptural biography because of its authoritative status for the believers, its sequential hypertextual use of earlier theological texts, its apparently biographic form, and its very loose connection with the historical facts.31

Mark and Paul

The problem of the relationship between the Gospel of Mark and the letters of Paul the Apostle has a long history in modern scholarship. Although the Marcan work was traditionally related to the Petrine area of influence, many scholars detected theological, and at times also literary links between the Marcan Gospel and the Pauline epistolography. ← 17 | 18 →

The German scholar Gustav Volkmar was the first modern exegete who argued that the Gospel of Mark in a symbolic-narrative way praised and defended not so much the Petrine tradition, but rather the Pauline teaching and activity among the Gentiles.32 Although Volkmar’s analysis of the presence of distinctively Pauline motifs in the Marcan work was rather selective, he paved the way for the understanding of the earliest Gospel as closely related to Paul’s theological and literary heritage.

Somewhat later, the German scholar Moritz Hermann Schulze supported Volkmar’s ideas and argued that the Gospel of Mark had been composed as an apology for the person and life of Paul, so that the whole life of Paul agrees in it with the narrated life of Jesus.33

In opposition to Volkmar’s ideas, the Swiss scholar Martin Werner strongly argued that the differences between the theological ideas, as well as vocabulary, of Mark and Paul are too significant to allow for a theological influence of Paul on Mark. Moreover, in Werner’s opinion Paul and Mark share general early Christian ideas, rather than the particularly Pauline viewpoints.34

However, at the end of his influential book the Swiss theologian explained his basic methodological presuppositions, which also reveal the methodological shortcomings of his work.

Werner’s first presupposition consisted in his deliberate, in fact fundamentalist, rejection of Volkmar’s method of the analysis of possible allusions to Paul’s letters in the Gospel of Mark. According to the Swiss theologian, Volkmar’s method should be regarded as allegorizing, and consequently presumably non-scholarly.35 However, such a view evidently involves a highly problematic decision about what ‘scholarly’ truly means.

Werner’s second presupposition consisted in his assumption that the original Pauline ideas should be extracted from the body of general, early Christian ideas which are allegedly contained in Paul’s letters.36 After almost a century of critical reflection on Paul’s literary-theological heritage, it is evident that such a ← 18 | 19 → procedure also presupposes a particular, in fact highly problematic, definition of what should be regarded as ‘originally Pauline’, and what should be regarded as ‘generally Christian’.

Following Werner’s way of argumentation, other modern scholars in the twentieth century also noted the absence of important Pauline theological themes, such as justification by faith, union with Christ by faith, life according to the Spirit, soteriological value of Jesus’ resurrection, etc., in the Gospel of Mark.37

More recently, however, a number of scholars have tried to interpret the Gospel of Mark as a post-Pauline, rather than post-Petrine or generally Christian work.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2014 (March)
Intertextuality Historicity of the Gospels Divorce in the New Testament Paulusbriefe
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 241 pp.

Biographical notes

Bartosz Adamczewski (Author)

Bartosz Adamczewski is Associate Professor of New Testament exegesis at Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University in Warsaw (Poland). He has published several books on the relationships between biblical writings themselves, and between them and historical facts.


Title: The Gospel of Mark
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