New Testament Studies

Mark – Interpreter of Paul 1

a1 Boston University School of Theology, 745 Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA


Claiming that Mark is a Paulinist does not require that he agree with Paul about everything, and plausible reasons can be advanced for a later Paulinist wanting to write the story of the earthly Jesus. Martin Werner's assertion that the agreements between Mark and Paul reflect general early Christian viewpoints is not valid with regard to the theology of the cross, which was a controversial Pauline emphasis and a stress that the later Gospels attenuated in editing Mark. Contrary to Werner, Mark and Paul agree in ascribing Jesus' death to a combination of human and demonic opponents.


1 The title, of course, plays upon Papias's famous description of Mark as the interpreter of Peter (Eusebius, E.H. 3.39.15). There may be something to the suggestion of Rudolf Pesch, Das Markusevangelium (HTKNT 2; Freiburg: Herder, 1976) 1.8–9, that Papias's description, like the pseudonymous ascription of 1 Peter to Peter, is an attempt to reconcile the Pauline and Petrine wings of the church by attributing to Peter a work that highlights Pauline theology.