When the Gospel of Mark is compared with those of Matthew and Luke, a pattern is seen. According to literary analysis, the grammar, vocabulary, sentence construction, style and idiom of Mark’s gospel is in poorer Greek than that found in the parallel verses of the others.

Examples will illustrate this: In Mark 1:12, we read ‘drove’, while Matthew has ‘led up’ and Luke ‘led`. Both of these are more refined styles.

In Mark 2:4, the paralytic is described as lying on a ‘pallet’. This was a slang word for ‘bed’. The other two are using better Greek.

In Mark 4:41, the singular of the verb ‘to obey’ is used when speaking of ‘wind and sea’. The other two use the correct plural form.

In Mark 5:9-10, after stating ‘for we are many’, Mark writes ‘he begged’. Luke correctly has ‘they begged’.

In Mark 10:20, the aorist middle of the Greek verb ‘ephylaza’ is used instead of the aorist active The aorist active is correctly used by the other two writers.

In Mark 16:6, the singular of the Greek verb for ‘to see’ is used, although ‘women’ is plural. Matthew has the correct word. Also Mark uses the term ‘the place’ in the nominative instead of the accusative, while Matthew is correct.

Literary analysis highlights other differences between the Gospels.

1. There are clear Aramaic expressions to be found in Mark, which are missing in five parallel accounts in Luke. They are also missing in five of the seven parallel accounts in Matthew. These are: Boanerges (3:14-17), Talitha cumi (5:40-41), Corban (7:9-13), Ephphatha (7:32-35), Abba (14:13-36), Golgotha (15:22-23) Eloi Eloi (15:34).

2. Mark`s gospel has a primitive freshness and a vivid style compared to those of Matthew and Luke. This unsophisticated style can be seen in the frequent use of ‘Immediately’ or ‘And’ when commencing a paragraph.

3. In many instances Mark uses redundant words. Eg: we read: ‘that evening’ in Matthew 8: 16-17, and ‘the sun was setting’ in Luke 4: 40-41. Mark has: ‘That evening as the sun was setting’ (Mark 1: 32). So Mark is saying the same thing twice. This is known as a ‘duality’.

4. Mark’s Gospel has apparently added unimportant pieces of information, such as the reference to a cushion (Mark 4: 38). This can be explained as Peter, while reading from Matthew 8; 23-27, remembers the scene and the cushion.

So literary analysis shows Mark’s gospel is in a form of Greek which could be expected from an immigrant who was not a native Greek speaker. A non-academic, Aramaic speaking, fisherman would fit this description, perfectly.

10/11/2014 [G 295]