GCSE Religious Studies - Background to Mark's gospel

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Background to Mark's Gospel

Authority Love Sacrifice Divine

Theories of Mark's Sources:

  • Peter gave him eye witness details
  • Oral Tradition from other disciples and followers
  • Mark read documents such as 'The Lost Aramaic Source of Q' or 'The Passion Narritives'.
  • He had a divine encounter with God

Who was St. Mark?:

  • Wrote his gospel in Rome, in 64 AD.
  • He was a friend of Peter.
  • He knew Paul.
  • He could be John Mark.
  • He wrote to provide a Christian guide for living and to give hope to the persecuted church in Rome.
  • He was well educated and knew Greek.
  • Tradition has him as the lone runner in the Garden of Gethsemane at the arrest of Jesus but this seems unlikely.

Readers of Mark's Gospel:

  • Jesus 30 AD - Jesus spoke mainly to Jewish audiences with some Gentiles who were all being persecuted by the Romans in Palestine.
  • Mark's Rome 64 AD - Mark lived in Rome in 64 AD and belonged to a Christian community. They were being persecuted by the Romans and Emperor Nero and had been wrongly blamed for starting the fire in Rome.

Christians today: 

  • There are many persecuted Christians today in places like Latin America. They feel empowered by the gospel like Oscar Romero. It is a gospel of hope in the face of terror.
  • There are also many Christians, such as those in Europe, who are not persecuted or tortured but are exposed to the pressures of


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