History & Literary - Mark

In regard to Mark, the writer of the second Gospel, it may be observed, that although Mark, or Marcus, was a Roman name, and a very common one, yet we have no reason to think but that he was by birth a Jew; but as Saul, when he went among the Gentiles took the Roman name of Paul, so did this evangelist take that of Mark, his Jewish name, perhaps, being Mardacai, is Grotius observes. Jerome and Tertullian say that he was a disciple of the Apostle Peter, and his interpreter or amanuensis. We have every reason to believe that both he and Luke were of the number of the seventy disciples who companied all along with the apostles, and who had a commission like to theirs: so that it is no diminution at all to the validity or value of this Gospel that Mark was not one of the twelve, as Matthew and John were. Jerome says, that after the writing of this Gospel he went into Egypt, and was the first that preached the gospel at Alexandria, where he founded a church, to which he was a great example of holy living.

The Gospel of St. Mark is much shorter than that of Matthew, not giving so full an account of Christ's sermons as that did, but insisting chiefly on his miracles; and in regard to these, also, it is very much a repetition of what we have in Matthew, many remarkable circumstances being added to the stories there related, but not many new matters. There is a tradition that it was first written in Latin, because it was written at Rome; but this is generally thought to be without foundation, and that it was written in Greek, as was St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, the Greek being the more universal language.