Why does the Gospel of Mark Begin as it Does?

Mark’s Gospel does not follow the rules of Hellenistic “lives”, which usually began by praising the ancestry and education of the main character. This is due to the fact that the data available to Mark were inappropriate for that purpose. Nonetheless, the beginning of Mark’s Gospel has the same purpose as the beginnings of other contemporary biographies: to show the ascribed honour of his character. According to Mark, Jesus’ honour does not come from his human family; it is due to his being God’s Son. Through a ritual process, centred upon a liminal stage of revelation and testing, the evangelist shows Jesus’ true identity as a holy man, capable of brokering God’s patronage on his people.

Journal or Book: Biblical Theology Bulletin 33 (2003) 28-38
Publication Date: 2003