The Evangelist Mark Goes to Africa?

After a month or so of going through various patristic traditions on the Gospels, we see how the connection between the evangelist Mark, the Apostle Peter and Rome became conventional through constant repetition.  But one of the last interesting developments are the traditions about the role of the evangelist Mark as the founding bishop and martyr of Alexendria.  It is attested in Eusebius (H.E. 2.16), Jerome (De Vir Ill 8), John Chrysostom, the Latin Prologues, etc.  Whether one accepts a historical core behind these traditions or approaches hagiographic stories with more scepticism, I know of no better source for introducing readers to all the African sources and traditions about this than Thomas C. Oden, The African Memory of Mark: Reasessing Early Church Tradition (Downer Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2011) (see also Birger Pearson, “Earliest Christianity in Egypt: Some Observations” in The Roots of Egyptian Christianity [Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986], especially pp. 137-145).  I wrote a critical but I think ultimately appreciative review for the online journal Relegere and, fun fact, I noticed on the IVP website promoting the book I am cited as one of the endorsements.

2 Responses to The Evangelist Mark Goes to Africa?

  1. Oden is surprisingly unaware of most of the Coptic tradition regarding Mark. You’d expect better from him. If you are interested in pursuing the real ‘African memory’ of Mark, you’d start with Severus of Nesterwah (which is available in a French translation at Google Books) and also the yet untranslated manuscript of Pseudo-Yusab which I happen to have as a scan from a friend. If you know someone who can translate Arabic I have about four pages of unseen and generally unknown material.

  2. Mike K. says:

    Thanks Stephan, I will not have time to look for translations of your sources, but I hope you will be able to get the information you need. I would be interested more in both the dates of these sources and about the traditions that they relay.

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