Mark, Gospel according to, 2d book of the New Testament. The shortest of the four Gospels and probably the earliest, it is usually thought to have been composed shortly before the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Tradition claims St. Mark as the author and St. Peter as the eyewitness authority who supplied much of his information. Because much of the material in Mark is found in the Gospels of St. Matthew and St. Luke, it is likely that Mark's Gospel was an important source for those later Gospels (see Synoptic Gospels). The Gospel of St. Mark may be divided into four sections: beginning of the ministry of Jesus; his first two years of preaching and healing in Galilee; his third year of ministry, including the journey to Jerusalem; the passion and resurrection. The earliest manuscripts of the Gospel conclude with the news of Christ's resurrection proclaimed at his open tomb; later manuscripts conclude with a longer passage in which the risen Jesus appears to some of his disciples. A large portion of the Gospels is devoted to the events of the week leading up to Christ's trial and crucifixion; they are foreshadowed earlier in the Gospel by Christ's three "passion predictions." Mark teaches that true discipleship comes from an appreciation not so much of Christ's miracles as of the service and suffering that characterize his ministry and messiahship. Jesus is presented as reluctant to disclose his true nature to those who lack the understanding that comes from insight into his suffering.
See W. Telford, ed., The Interpretation of Mark (1985); P. J. Achtemeier, Mark (1986); R. Price, Three Gospels (1996).