An experiment: The original Gospel of Mark?—Chp. 6

As noted in the Introduction, two texts of the relevant chapter in the Gospel of Mark are presented here. The first is a short, hypothetical “core”—the first draft of an UrMark reconstructed according to the criteria below.

At the bottom of this post is the entire Chapter 6 in the RSV English translation. Both the short and the longer forms of the chapter are color coded. In order to separate out later Catholic accretions from the earlier Jewish Christian “core,” I have employed the following criteria:

The criteria used for color coding are discussed here. The resultant color coding is as follows:

[Contained in the Hebrew Gospel / UrMark]

Green: Possible/probable, or amended in UrMark.

STAGE 1: Gnostic. To c. 50 CE. “Jesus” is the saving gnosis.
                           Black: May contain historical elements going back to Yeshu ha-Notsri.
                           [Blue] Logia/parables of Yeshu.

STAGE 2a: Jewish Christian. [Brown] C. 50–c. 150 CE. “Jesus” is a divine spiritual entity sent from Yahweh indwelling any worthy human through the grace of God/obedience to God. But the first in whom the Jesus dwelled (the prophet Yeshu ha-Notsri by my reckoning) was known as “the first-begotten Son” of God, the “Christ” (Messiah; NTA I:177.2). This messiah was only a model for emulation, not the unattainable figure of later Christianity. Possessing the Jesus (which we can all do, and should do) enables repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The spirit Jesus is divine, but the humans in whom the Jesus dwells are not.

[Not in the Hebrew Gospel / UrMark]

STAGE 2b: Pauline/Marcionite. [Purple] C. 50–c. 150 CE. “Jesus” is a divine spiritual entity sent from the immaterial God (not the God of creation) indwelling any worthy human through the grace of God/obedience to God. The death on the cross of a prophet (“Jesus Christ”) in the distant past was a cosmic event of human redemption. Jesus is divine, but the human(s) in whom it dwells are not. Belief is required.

STAGE 3: Catholic Christianity. [Red] C. 150+. “Jesus of Nazareth” is the savior of the world. Gnosis, repentance, and forgiveness of sins have been superseded. “Jesus Christ” was both divine and human. Belief is required.      (Red underlined: Catholic and anti-Marcionite.)

The comprehensive UrMark, cumulatively updated after each installment, is found here.
The canonical (color coded) Gospel of Mark, also updated after each installment, is found here.


The Hebrew Gospel / UrMark: Chp. 6

[1] He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
[2] and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him?
[6] And he went about among the villages teaching.

[8] He charged [his disciples] to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
[9] but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.1
[12] So they went out and preached that men should repent.

[45] Immediately [the spirit Jesus] made his disciples go before2 him to the other side.3
[48] And they were making headway painfully. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them.4
[52] But they did not understand, for their hearts were hardened.

Chapter 6 notes:

1 Compare Buddhist precedent: “For clothes, rag-robes are trifling things, blameless and easily gotten.
            For lodging, the foot of a tree is a trifling thing, blameless and easily gotten.
            For food, alms of scraps are trifling things, blameless and easily gotten.
            For medicine, ammonia is a trifling thing, blameless and easily gotten.
            Truly, brethren, when a disciple is content with trifles that are easily gotten, this is a great benefit to his wandering.” (Ittivutaka 4.2.)

2 πρoαγειν:
   • “Hasten to be saved without being urged! Instead, be eager of your own accord and, if possible, arrive even before me…” (Apocryphon of James, NHL 1.2.7.)
   • They both ran, but the [beloved disciple] outran Peter and reached the tomb first… went in… saw and believed. (Jn 20:4, 8.)
   • “Hasten, apply unflagging effort and exertion [for enlightenment], even as if your hair were on fire.” (Buddhist, Anguttara Nikaya 10.51.)

3 For notes on “crossing over” see here.

4 Compare the appearances of the master/bridegroom/Jesus at night (Mk 13:36; Mt 25:6; Secret Mark).


The Gospel of Mark: Chp. 6
(Revised Standard Version)

[1] He went away from there and came to his own country; and his disciples followed him.
[2] And on the sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue; and many who heard him were astonished, saying, “Where did this man get all this? What is the wisdom given to him? What mighty works are wrought by his hands!
[3] Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon, and are not his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
[4] And Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house.”
[5] And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands upon a few sick people and healed them.
[6] And he marveled because of their unbelief.

And he went about among the villages teaching.
[7] And he called to him the twelve, and began to send them out two by two, and gave them authority over the unclean spirits.
[8] He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff; no bread, no bag, no money in their belts;
[9] but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics.
[10] And he said to them, “Where you enter a house, stay there until you leave the place.
[11] And if any place will not receive you and they refuse to hear you, when you leave, shake off the dust that is on your feet for a testimony against them.”

[12] So they went out and preached that men should repent.
[13] And they cast out many demons, and anointed with oil many that were sick and healed them.

[14] King Herod heard of it; for Jesus’ name had become known. Some said, “John the baptizer has been raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him.”
[15] But others said, “It is Elijah.” And others said, “It is a prophet, like one of the prophets of old.
[16] But when Herod heard of it he said, “John, whom I beheaded, has been raised.”
[17] For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife; because he had married her.
[18] For John said to Herod, “It is not lawful for you to have your brother’s wife.”
[19] And Herodias had a grudge against him, and wanted to kill him. But she could not,
[20] for Herod feared John, knowing that he was a righteous and holy man, and kept him safe. When he heard him, he was much perplexed; and yet he heard him gladly.
[21] But an opportunity came when Herod on his birthday gave a banquet for his courtiers and officers and the leading men of Galilee.
[22] For when Herodias’ daughter came in and danced, she pleased Herod and his guests; and the king said to the girl, “Ask me for whatever you wish, and I will grant it.”
[23] And he vowed to her, “Whatever you ask me, I will give you, even half of my kingdom.”
[24] And she went out, and said to her mother, “What shall I ask?” And she said, “The head of John the baptizer.”
[25] And she came in immediately with haste to the king, and asked, saying, “I want you to give me at once the head of John the Baptist on a platter.”
[26] And the king was exceedingly sorry; but because of his oaths and his guests he did not want to break his word to her.
[27] And immediately the king sent a soldier of the guard and gave orders to bring his head. He went and beheaded him in the prison,
[28] and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl; and the girl gave it to her mother.
[29] When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.

[30] The apostles returned to Jesus, and told him all that they had done and taught.
[31] And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
[32] And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves.
[33] Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them.
[34] As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and he began to teach them many things.
[35] And when it grew late, his disciples came to him and said, “This is a lonely place, and the hour is now late;
[36] send them away, to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat.”
[37] But he answered them, “You give them something to eat.” And they said to him, “Shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread, and give it to them to eat?”
[38] And he said to them, “How many loaves have you? Go and see.” And when they had found out, they said, “Five, and two fish.”
[39] Then he commanded them all to sit down by companies upon the green grass.
[40] So they sat down in groups, by hundreds and by fifties.
[41] And taking the five loaves and the two fish he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples to set before the people; and he divided the two fish among them all.
[42] And they all ate and were satisfied.
[43] And they took up twelve baskets full of broken pieces and of the fish.
[44] And those who ate the loaves were five thousand men.

[45] Immediately [the spirit Jesus] made his disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.
[46] And after he had taken leave of them, he went up on the mountain to pray.
[47] And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land.

[48] And they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them,
[49] but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out;
[50] for they all saw him, and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said,
“Take heart, it is I; have no fear.”
[51] And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,
[52] for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened.

[53] And when they had crossed over, they came to land at Gennesaret, and moored to the shore.
[54] And when they got out of the boat, immediately the people recognized him,
[55] and ran about the whole neighborhood and began to bring sick people on their pallets to any place where they heard he was.
[56] And wherever he came, in villages, cities, or country, they laid the sick in the market places, and besought him that they might touch even the fringe of his garment; and as many as touched it were made well.

 Chapter 5          Chapter 7 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *