Order Of Religion and Theology Discussion

Order Of Religion and Theology Discussion
In Topics 4–7, the class resources will survey each of the four Gospels, one at a time. This topic
the focus will be on Mark. Why the Gospel of Mark? Matthew’s gospel is the first one in the
order of the Gospels in the New Testament, so why not start with Matthew? In a way, the
answer is simple—priority. By this is meant the order of the writing of the four Gospels, which
one was written first, which one is prior to all the others. The answer to this question, which
one was written first, is critical in your current-day study of the Gospels, as you will see. The
Order Of Religion and Theology Discussion
earliest church leaders and scholars generally believed that Matthew was the first gospel
written, which is why it is at the head of the list in the New Testament. But careful studies on
the relationship between the four Gospels (the chronological order of writing, borrowing from
one another, overlapping material common to them) through the centuries has brought most
scholars to believe that Mark wrote first and was the main source for the writing of Matthew
and Luke. In this course, the priority of the Gospel of Mark is the assumption.
The study of the Gospel of Mark this topic will involve the student in examining two general
Order Of Religion and Theology Discussion
features, the historical circumstances of the writing of the book, and the way the book presents
Jesus (who he is) and the disciples (how they relate to Jesus). You could call this latter feature
the theology of the book. As to the historical circumstances, the student should always be
aware of certain historical questions, such as the following:
• Who wrote the Gospel of Mark?
• What is the date of the writing of the book?
• Where was the author when he wrote, and to or for whom did he write?
• What was the occasion (the circumstances of the author and recipients) of the book?
Order Of Religion and Theology Discussion
• What was the author’s purpose in writing the book to those recipients?
Some explanation is needed to clarify what this assignment calls for. “Who wrote the Gospel of
Mark?” One may want to say, “why, Mark, of course.” But the original copies of the gospel did
not apparently have the names of the authors attached. The titles one has today were those
given by the early church. The titles were simply “According to Matthew,” “According to Mark.”
This means that the question of authorship is an object of the study of the church. You can
assume in this assignment that the authors were indeed whom the early church said: Matthew,
Mark, Luke, and John. But you need to explore this question to discover who said the gospel
belonged to Mark, and what was their evidence. In addition, the answer to the question of
authorship should include information about the author. Who was he, and what do you know
about him?
Order Of Religion and Theology Discussion
As to the question of date, you will find that this is debated in New Testament scholarship.
Search your sources (Wenham/Walton and other resources) to find what can be discovered
about the date of writing. You will see that individuals cannot determine a specific year, but an
approximate date, the decade, or general time frame for the date. As to the question of place

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