Commentary on Mark’s Gospel by Allan Menzies

Allan Menzies [1845-1916], The Earliest Gospel. A Historical Study of the Gospel According to Mark

Allan Menzies was Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of St Andrews. His commentary of the Gospel of Mark (which contains both a Greek and English text) argues for a date of composition around 70 AD. My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this public domain title for digitisation.

Allan Menzies [1845-1916], The Earliest Gospel. A Historical Study of the Gospel According to Mark. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd., 1901. Hbk. pp.306. [Click to visit the download page]

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Table of Sections and of the Parallel Passages in the Gospel according to Matthew and Luke

I. Introduction

  • The Synoptic Problem. The Gospel not originally written
  • Motives of the formation of the Gospel tradition. The Gospel to be understood from the Apostolic Age
  • Why the Gospels appear so late
  • Absense from the earliest Christian writings of the details of the gospel ministry
  • Early Christian theology did not require the Gospels
  • The tradition was important practically
  • Aetiological motive in the Gospel tradition
  • Apologetic motive
  • Devotional motive
  • Yet the Gospels are also historical
  • State of the tradition before Mark wrote. Its fragmentary nature
  • Early collections of Gospel materials
  • Nature of Mark’s Gospel as gathered from itself
  • Absence of discourses
  • Sources of this Gospel
  • Mark’s order
  • Progress of Mark’s narrative
  • He treats his materials with freedom
  • Descriptive touches. Was the Gospel written to be read at meetings?
  • The Gospel is addressed to Western readers
  • Aramaisms and Latin words
  • Traces of Paulinism
  • Date of the Gospel
  • Personal history of Mark
  • Mark and Paul
  • Mark and Peter
  • Church traditions of Mark
  • Account of Papias
  • Conclusion

II. Text, Versions and Commentary

III. Index of Subjects

IV. Index of Passages Referred to

Preface

The Gospel according to Mark is now regarded by nearly all scholars as the earliest and also the most original of those which we possess; and if this is the case the study of the Life of Christ must begin with it. As Professor Pfleiderer points out in his Urchristenthum, this Gospel alone admits of examination apart from any other; and the first step in the attempt to see Christ as history reveals him, must be to apprehend as clearly as we can the individual testimony of Mark’s Gospel.

Several recent works on the second Gospel appreciate its importance on this ground. What is now presented to the reader does not enter into competition with the commentaries of Professor Swete or of Professor Gould, but may perhaps to some extent supplement them. On textual and philological questions Dr. Swete’s book must always be consulted, and that of Dr. Gould is full of suggestion on the side of thought. Another English book which should be named is the commentary on the Synoptic Gospels in The Expositor’s Greek Testament, by the late lamented Dr. A. B. Bruce.

The present work seeks to determine the historical outcome of the earliest Gospel taken by itself. On the one hand it strives to approach to the original facts handed down by the tradition; on the other to understand those special interests of the age in which the Gospel was written which necessarily determined in some degree both its contents and its form. The writer has learned most from two German works which are perhaps too solid ever to be translated, Das Marcus-evangelium by Dr. B. Weiss, 1872, and the treatment of the Synoptic Gospels by Dr. H. J. Holtzmann in the Hand-Commentarzum Neuen Testament, first edition, 1889. But he has exercised throughout an independent judgment.

For the sake of the student who may use this work the Greek text which is adopted is given, and the principal variants are pointed out. The English version will show him how the text is understood. The commentary can be read continuously, and the reader who does not know Greek will yet, it is hoped, find the book serviceable. It is written with a profound conviction that as criticism declares the second Gospel to be the porch by which we must go in to find the Saviour as he was and is, the earnest reader of that Gospel may indeed find him there. For his teaching, it is true, we have to look elsewhere; and his figure as here disclosed is homelier and more subject to human limitations than that to which we are accustomed. But though more human it need not be less divine.

Pages v-vi.

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