The Early Reception of the Gospel of Mark

Here’s an idea for an edited volume on the reception of Mark. I’m trying to get away from editing for a while, but that doesn’t stop me from doing a bit of dreaming. Someone could certainly take this up and do something with it!

The Early Reception of the Gospel of Mark


An authoritative collection of studies by leading scholars offering a comprehensive assessment of the reception of the Gospel of Mark from its origins to the earliest extant commentaries in the fifth century.


With the uproar occasioned by the recent claim to have discovered a potentially first century manuscript of Mark and the ongoing discussion of the so-called ‘Secret Gospel of Mark’, together with the booming interest in the history of interpretation, the time has come to reconsider the early reception of the earliest canonical gospel. While New Testament specialists are aware that the reception of Mark is slender in some ways in comparison to Matthew and John, that Mark was received into the four-gospel canon suggests that its impact was never negligible. Major studies of the reception of Mark[1] certainly have not exhausted the question, and though there are some good studies of individual aspects of Mark’s history of impact,[2] many of these are now dated and would bear revisiting in light of recent scholarship. This proposed group of specialized essays bridges the fields of New Testament and early Christian studies by examining the intra-canonical impact of Mark first of all (Part I), before then moving on to consider the way in which significant early Christian authors interpreted the gospel (Part II) and the influence it exerted in a variety of early Christian contexts, including the scribal, liturgical and artistic practices of early Christian communities (Part III).



1. Looking for Mark in the Early Centuries: Methodological Reflections.

Part I: Canonical Reception

2. Matthew as reader of Mark.

3. Luke as reader of Mark.

4. John as reader of Mark.

5. The Reception of Mark in the Longer Ending.

Part II: Early Christian Authors

6. Mark in Papias and the Apostolic Fathers.

7. Mark and the Apocryphal Gospels.

8. Justin Martyr.

9. Clement of Alexandria.

10. Irenaeus.

11. Tertullian.

12. Origen.

13. Eusebius.

14. Jerome.

15. Augustine.

Part III: Early Christian Contexts

16. The Early Manuscripts.

17. The Early Versions.

18. Early Gospel Harmonies.

19. Commentaries and the Catena in Marcum.

20. Early Christian Liturgical traditions.

21. Early Christian art.

[1] Sean P. Kealy, Mark’s Gospel: A History of Interpretation (Ramsey, NJ: Paulist, 1982); C. Clifton Black, Mark: Images of an Apostolic Interpreter (Columbia/Edinburgh: University of South Carolina Press/T&T Clark, 1994); Brenda Deen Schildgen, Power and Prejudice: The Reception of the Gospel of Mark (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1999).

[2] E.g., F. Neirynck, “The Apocryphal Gospels and the Gospel of Mark,” in J.-M. Severin, ed., New Testament in Early Christianity: la réception des écrits néotestamentaires dans le christianisme primitif (Leuven: Leuven Univsity Press/Peeters, 1989), 123-75.

  1. #1 by Mike K. on December 2, 2013 - 6:29 pm

    If it is of interest, I just completed my PhD at Sheffield on the reception of Mark from the evangelists to Clement of Alexandria. My study, though, was less about discerning every single reference to Mark as with the disjunction between the patristic traditions about Mark (i.e. interpreter of Peter) with its actual fairly ambivalent reception when we take a closer look. I would be very interested in contributing to a work like this though.

    • #2 by David Lincicum on December 2, 2013 - 8:42 pm

      Sounds like a v. interesting study! And hopefully if anyone takes this up they will tap you for a chapter.

  2. #3 by Wil Charles on December 3, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    Love the idea. On a somewhat related topic (Mark and Paul), here is a new book slated for January 2014 (de Gruyter website) or March 2014 (Amazon website). Oda Wischmeyer and David C. Sim, eds., Paul and Mark: Two Authors at the Beginnings of Christianity (?: Walter De Gruyter, 2014).

    De Gruyter website:

    Amazon website:

    Note: I could not get part of the publishing information for the book (hence the ?). Also, I could not find a way to italicize the title.

    • #4 by David Lincicum on December 3, 2013 - 4:00 pm

      That looks like a great volume. In fact, I just lectured today on Mark as a Paulinist!

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