« ÎnapoiContinuă »
Lord; in the explanation of Jewish words, e.g. Boanerges ("which is Sons of Thunder"), Talitha cumi ("which is being interpreted, Damsel, I say unto thee, Arise"), Corban ("that is to say, Given "), Ephphatha ("that is, Be opened "), Abba ("Father") (iii. 17; v. 41; vii. 11; vii. 34; xiv. 36);1 and of Jewish customs, e.g. the washing of hands (vii. 3, 4), and Passover observances (xiv. 12; xv. 42); in the frequent use of Latin words and idioms, e.g. "legion," "centurion," "quadrantes "—the Roman equivalent to two Jewish mites (xii. 42); and very specially in the mention of Alexander and Rufus (xv. 21), if the latter be, as seems very probable, the same person as is referred to by St. Paul in his Epistle to the Romans -xvi. 13.
2. Date of Composition. — This is the earliest of the Gospels that have come down to us, and lies at the foundation of Matthew and Luke. Some leading critics date it before 60 A.D. At the latest there is excellent reason to believe that it made its appearance before 70.2
3. Character and Contents.-If the first Gospel may be described as Messianic, the second may be fitly styled realistic, bearing traces throughout of the graphic report of an eyewitness.
It is minute and circumstantial, giving many details of person, number, place, and time that are not to be found in the other Gospels (xiii. 3; vi. 7; xii. 41; i. 35).
1 The preservation of these Aramaic expressions is a token of fidelity to the original tradition.
2 It contains, like the first Gospel, a prophecy of the Destruction of Jerusalem, in a form which implies that the great event had not yet taken place. See especially the parenthetic expression in xiii. 14 ("let him that readeth understand "). If we accept the suggestion above mentioned, that it is the same Rufus that is named in xv. 21 and in Rom. xvi. 13, this also is so far a confirmation of its apostolic date. The "rudeness" of its Greek and its comparative inattention to doctrinal interests are acknowledged signs of its primitive character.
It gives a vivid description of the emotions, looks, gestures, and actions of our Lord and others (iii. 5, 34; vii. 33; viii. 33; ix. 36; x. 32, etc.) It brings out the picturesque character of many of the scenes enacted in our Lord's ministry, e.g. in the narrative of the feeding of the five thousand (vi. 35-44) this Gospel "alone tells us of the fresh green grass on which they sat down by hundreds and by fifties; and the word used for 'companies' means literally 'flower - beds,' as though to St. Peter those multitudes, in their festal passover attire with its manycoloured Oriental brightness of red and blue, looked like the patches of crocus and poppy and tulip and amaryllis which he had seen upon the mountain slopes." In keeping with this is the photographic character of its account of the Transfiguration and the cure of the demoniac boy (ix.), and of the Storm on the Sea of Gennesaret (iv. 35-41). It also frequently reproduces the very words of Jesus (iv. 39; vi. 31; cf. Matt. viii. 26) and of others (vi. 22-25), using the term "Rabbi," or teacher ("Master"), as the earlier mode of addressing Jesus, where the other evangelists prefer "Lord "2 (iv. 38; ix. 5; x. 51; cf. Matt. viii. 25; xvii. 4; xx. 30-33), and narrates events in the present tense as if they were just taking place (i. 40; xiv. 43).
Altogether, it is a simple, direct, forcible narrative, and gives the general outline of our Lord's ministry in a clearer form than either the Gospel of Matthew or Luke. It sets Him before us as He worked and taught in the living present, making no mention of the law, and scarcely ever quoting prophecy, but aiming simply to depict Him in that aspect of energetic and victorious
1 Raffaelle is mainly indebted to this Gospel for the details of his great picture.
2 We find a similar instance of literal accuracy in the habitual use of the name "Simon" in the beginning of the Gospel, before the apostolic name of Peter had been conferred (i. 16, 29, 30, 36).
strength which was fitted to impress the Roman mind, and which is foreshadowed by the opening words, "The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” The following are the passages peculiar to Mark's Gospel :
The alarm of Jesus' family (iii. 21).
The seed growing secretly (iv. 26-29).
The healing of one deaf and dumb (vii. 32-37).
The gradual healing of the blind man (viii. 22-26).
The flight of the young man (xiv. 51, 52).
In this connection it may be well to recall the fact that while Mark's Gospel has a larger proportion of common matter than any of the others-amounting to no less than 93 per cent of its whole contents-this is probably due, not to its having borrowed from the others, but to its more strict adherence to the original cycle of oral teaching (pp. 10-13).
Note.-Verses 9-20 in the last chapter are absent from some ancient MSS. (see marginal note, R.V.) The verses referred to differ greatly in style and language from the rest of the book, and on this account it has been supposed that they were added by a later hand (possibly with the aid of an independent record), not long after the publication of the Gospel, in order to give a suitable close to the narrative.
1. Authorship. The authorship of the third Gospel is generally admitted. From the earliest times it has been ascribed to Luke, the friend and companion of the Apostle Paul.
A comparison of its opening verses with the preface to the Book of Acts, and an examination of the style and structure of the two books, leave no room for doubt that they were written by one and the same person. The indications of his personality afforded by certain passages in the Book of Acts, where he joins himself with Paul by the use of the first person plural as if he were in his company at the time-viewed in the light of the information afforded by the Book of Acts and the epistles of Paul, regarding the apostle's personal associates and his relations with them,-justify us in holding that the early Church was right in ascribing the authorship to Luke.1
1 An examination of the relative passages, which are too numerous to mention, shows that there are only three of the apostle's friends who could have been with him on the occasions referred to, viz. Luke, Jesus Justus, and Demas. But Demas is disqualified by 2 Tim. iv. 10 ("for Demas forsook me, having loved this present world"), while Jesus Justus is referred to as "of the circumcision" (Col. iv. 11), whereas the tone, both of the third Gospel and of the Book of Acts, would lead us to suppose that the author was a Gentile. The details are given in Birks' Horo Apostolicæ, p. 351.
With regard to Luke's personal history, nearly all that we know of him is connected with the apostolic labours of Paul. He is referred to by that apostle as "the beloved physician" (Col. iv. 14), and it has been suggested that it may have been owing to Paul's need of medical attendance that they were first brought into intimate relations with one another (Acts xvi. 6-10; Gal. iv. 13-15). Traces of Luke's profession have been discovered in the frequency with which he refers to Christ's work and that of His apostles as a ministry of healing (iv. 18, 23; ix. 1, 2, 6; x. 9; cf. also xxii. 51, which tells of the healing of Malchus' ear, a fact unrecorded by any of the other three evangelists in their account of the incident), as well as in the occasional use of technical and other forms of expression which a physician was likely to employ (iv. 38; v. 12; vi. 19; xxii. 44).1
It has been supposed, not without reason, that it is Luke who is referred to (2 Cor. viii. 18) as "the brother whose praise in the gospel is spread through all the churches"; 2 but whether this be so or not, we have incontestable evidence that Luke was not only a warm friend of the apostle but a valuable coadjutor. In the Epistle to Philemon (ver. 24), which was written during
1 With regard to the tradition that Luke was a painter, expressed in Rossetti's lines
"Give honour unto Luke, evangelist,
For he it was, the ancient legends say,
Who first taught Art to fold her hands and pray,
there is no authority of any value to support it, although not a few old pictures in Italy are shown to the credulous as the work of Luke. But, though "not written by a painter, this is yet a painter's Gospel. From it come the favourite subjects:-the Virgin and Child, Simeon, the Scene with the Doctors in the Temple, the Ascension (Alexander's Leading Ideas of the Gospels).
2 We have an ancient memorial of this belief in the superscription at the close of the epistle. "The gospel" is here to be taken in a general sense, not as referring to the Gospel by Luke.