The Gospel of Mark is believed to be the earliest written account of Jesus’ life, teachings, death, and resurrection. Many scholars have debated over the exact time frame in which Mark wrote his gospel, especially in relation to Jesus’ resurrection. In this article, we will explore the question – How many years after Jesus’ resurrection did Mark tell the story?
Mark’s gospel is considered one of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), which means they share a common source and similar writing style. According to historical records, Mark was not one of the twelve apostles but was a close companion of Peter. It is believed that Mark wrote his gospel based on Peter’s teachings and firsthand experiences with Jesus.
Theories on When Mark Wrote His Gospel
There are different theories on when exactly Mark wrote his gospel. Some scholars believe that he wrote it before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE since there is no mention of this event in his gospel. Others argue that he wrote it after 70 CE since he mentions events that occurred during the Jewish War (66-70 CE), such as the destruction of the temple.
When it comes to Jesus’ resurrection, scholars have also debated over how much time had passed between this event and when Mark wrote his gospel. Some suggest that he wrote it soon after Jesus’ death and resurrection while others believe it was written several years later.
Evidence for an Early Date
Those who argue for an early date point out that there are no references to Paul’s letters or other New Testament writings in Mark’s gospel. This suggests that it was written before these documents were circulated among early Christian communities.
Additionally, some scholars believe that certain passages in Mark’s gospel suggest that it was written during a time when Christians were experiencing persecution from Roman authorities. For example, in chapter 13, Jesus warns his disciples about the destruction of the temple and the signs that will precede it. This could be seen as a reference to Nero’s persecution of Christians in Rome in 64 CE.
Evidence for a Later Date
On the other hand, those who argue for a later date point out that some passages in Mark’s gospel suggest that it was written after the resurrection had already become a central part of Christian theology. For example, in chapter 16, Mark describes how the women found Jesus’ tomb empty and received a message from an angel that he had risen from the dead.
Furthermore, some scholars believe that certain phrases and writing styles used by Mark suggest that he was writing for a Gentile (non-Jewish) audience. This could mean that he wrote after Christianity had spread beyond its Jewish roots and was being embraced by Gentile communities.
In conclusion, while there is no definitive answer to when exactly Mark wrote his gospel or how much time had passed between Jesus’ resurrection and when he wrote it, scholars have presented compelling arguments for both an early and later date. Regardless of when it was written, Mark’s gospel remains an important source of information about Jesus’ life and teachings. Its vivid storytelling style and emphasis on Jesus’ humanity continue to inspire readers today.