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The Earliest Gospel by Frederick C. Grant


Frederick C. Grant was Edwin Robinson Professor Emeritus of Biblical Theology at Union Theological Seminary, New York, and President of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Evanstaon Ill. He was a member of the Revision Committee for the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. Published by Abingdon Press, New York and Nashville, 1943. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


Chapter 9: Was Mark a Pauline Gospel?


It is now quite generally held that the gospel of Mark reflects the influence of the teaching of Paul, though not, perhaps, in a direct and unmodified form. This influence is seen especially in such phrases as "the gospel of God,"(Mark 1:14. See my note above, p. 153, on the textual reading here, and also my article, "Studies in the Text of St. Mark," Anglican Theological Review, 20:103 ff.) in the ransom saying,(Mark 10:45) and in the words at the Last Supper, "This is my blood of the Covenant, which is shed for many."(Mark 14:24) On the other hand, the latest commentary in English, by Professor Branscomb, insists that these supposed examples of "Paulinism" really reflect the common Gentile Christianity of the time rather than the explicit or distinctive teaching of Paul. At once the question arises: What, then, was Paulís relation to Gentile Christianity? What elements in it did he take for granted; what elements -- if any -- did he contribute to it? It has too often been assumed that Paul alone was responsible for Gentile Christianity, and that all of early Gentile Christianity therefore bore the impress of his thought. But it seems clear that a very important stage of early non-Jewish Christianity had been reached before Paul began his missionary career, and that he himself was dependent in no small degree upon this earlier development. That he owed a debt to "those who were in Christ [that is, Christians 1 before me," as he says, though not to the Jerusalem apostles, (Gal. 1-2.) seems certain -- he himself appears to take it for granted his readers will know this. But to what degree, and upon what specific points? These are questions that require an answer -- and the problem of the supposed "Paulinism" of Mark is thus part of a still larger problem, involving the whole development of New Testament theology.

The most thorough recent examination of the hypothesis of Pauline influence upon Mark is the book by Martin Werner of the Swiss University of Berne, The influence of Pauline Theology in the Gospel of Mark: A Study in New Testament Theology, which appeared in 1923 as the first Beiheft to the Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft. It begins with a review of previous treatments of the problem, from Volkmar and Holsten to Holtzmann and Harnack, and with a discussion of the proper method of dealing with the subject. Earlier writers had recognized that Volkmar went too far in his attempted demonstration of Markís dependence upon Paul -- he found evidence of such dependence on almost every page of the Gospel -- but his view was such a welcome relief from the one-sided Tübingen theory, according to which Mark was a "neutral" in the great apostolic controversy over Jewish Christianity, that the main thesis of Volkmar was accepted without careful scrutiny of his supporting arguments. As to method, the older view was rooted in the traditional ecclesiastical theory of Markís derivation from Matthew -- which modern Synoptic study completely reverses -- and it took for granted a conception of "Paulinism" which made the Apostle to the Gentiles responsible for everything in primitive Christianity which could not be squared with a crass, reactionary Christian Judaism; it completely ignored the development of a Gentile type -- or types -- of Christianity apart from and even prior to the work of Paul. Moreover, the allegorical or "symbolical" interpretation of the Gospel, which Volkmar, Holsten, and Schulze had pressed to its utmost limits, still survived -- at least in the interpretation of certain crucial passages. For example, the cursing of the figtree was thought to be a "symbolical" judgment upon unfruitful Israel; the Transfiguration symbolized the superior glory of Christ in contrast to that of Moses ;(II Cor. 3:7.) the strange exorcist of Mark 9:38 represented a party in the early church, and the question, "Who is greatest ?" referred to the Jewish Christians versus the Gentiles; the leaven of the Pharisees was the theory of salvation by works (still attributed to Peter!); the healing of the blind man was the release of the disciples from "Jewish blindness"; names like Jaïrus and Bartimaeus contained subtle allegorical meanings; the Gerasene demoniac symbolized idolatrous heathenism; the rending of the temple veil meant the end of Judaism; the darkness at the Crucifixion symbolized the darkness of menís minds apart from Christ; the healing of the deaf mute was the symbol of conversion -- either of Jews or Gentiles, it was not certain which! And so on. Werner examines each of these passages in detail and concludes that in none of them is the allegorical method of interpretation necessary, while in most it is positively excluded. Mark is a factual writer, not a symbolist or allegorist, and the allegorical principle does violence to his simple, direct manner of presentation; often it does violence to his actual text. The demonstration is complete, and we need only add that if anyone is still inclined to look for allegory in the Gospel of Mark, let him work carefully through the brief twenty-two pages in Werner s book where he refutes the theory in detail.

With the allegorical principle once set aside, much of the support for the supposed Paulinism of Mark disappears. As in most examples of allegorical or symbolical interpretation, the interpreterís views are first subtly read into the text and then adroitly extracted by a pretended exegesis. But what is this "Paulinism," which is so subtly read in? It is extraordinary how widely interpreters differ. Even Harnack, in his Luke the Physician, could write: "Whoever confessed Christ as Lord (Kyrios), and renounced both the good things and the burdens of this life, and looked upon the Old Testament as Godís revelation, and looked forward to the resurrection, and proclaimed this to the Greeks without requiring them to be circumcised and to observe the ceremonial law-such a person was a Paulinist." (P.101; Eng. tr., p. 142.) Not everyone who holds the Gospel of Mark to be "Pauline" would accept this definition of Paulinism! And it certainly seems overly simple -- one can hardly distinguish this from the early Gentile Christianity reflected in the sources presumably underlying the first half of Acts; while the great cardinal doctrines of Paul, his distinctive and characteristic doctrines of salvation (or "justification") by faith, the new mystical life "in Christ," the Christianís freedom from the Law (not only the ceremonial law), the guidance of the Spirit, the future of the Jewish people, Christís death to sin," the relation of flesh and spirit, the atonement upon the cross -- none of these distinctive and characteristic doctrines of Paul are included. What is required is not an examination of Mark in the light of common Gentile Christianity, which Paul shared and presupposed, but a point-blank comparison of every possible contact between the theology of Mark and that which was specifically and uniquely Paulís own. The result will be a better-focused view of both theologies -- though Paulís is the more explicit of the two, and Markís has to be inferred and read between the lines. Neither author was writing a systematic treatise in theology, but Paul is assuredly more of a theologian than Mark.

Werner begins his investigation with Christology -- for the doctrine of God is not explicit in either Paul or Mark, but must be inferred from the concrete expression of the divine relations to the world, to mankind, to sin and salvation. (Werner is quoting H. J. Holtzmann on p. 32.)

Paul of course assumes that Christ was the incarnation of a divine being; therefore his existence embraces three stages, one prior to his incarnation, one during his earthly-historical life, one following his resurrection and exaltation. It is a question if Mark shared this view, and distinguished these three stages. It is a further question how far Mark and Paul were in agreement in viewing the earthly-historical life of Jesus under the category of Messiahship or of a messianic career. Mark uses the term "Christ" only rarely, and where he does so it still bears its primitive significance as a title: Jesus is the "Messiah" of Jewish expectation, though the Jewish etymology and primary meaning, the "Anointed," is not stressed. On the other hand, for Paul "Christ" has become a personal name. This is probably not distinctive of Paul -- he got it from the primitive church -- though his own characteristic inversion "Christ Jesus" occurred (in the original text of Paulís letters) probably as often as, or perhaps even oftener than, the familiar order "Jesus Christ." It is clear that Markís use of the term owes nothing to Paul; both Paul and Mark derive their usage from the common Christianity of the time, Paul often going beyond this to invert the order for emphasis; but of this characteristic Pauline advance not a trace is to be found in Mark.

When we turn to the title "Son of David," we are struck at once by the fact that Mark represents Jesus as repudiating the Davidic descent of the Messiah, as if it were a scribal interpretation (Mark 12:35-37) and not a matter of inspired prophecy; while Paul insists upon the Davidic descent(Rom. 1:3) as a matter not of historical evidence but of exegesis, though limiting it to the earthly life of Christ ( ) in contrast to his divine Sonship ( ) which was demonstrated by the Resurrection. It is almost as if Mark and Paul were dealing with the same problem, the importance of Davidic descent for the Christian Messiah; Paul solves it by recognizing Jesus as Son of David only "according to the flesh," Mark by denying the necessity of such descent. Mark of course distinguishes the stages of Jesusí preresurrection and post-resurrection Messiahship, but there is no trace in Mark of the Pauline terminology "according to the flesh" and "according to the Spirit" -- not to mention the question whether or not Mark thought of Christ as pre-existent (probably not). It appears to be quite impossible that Mark can have been influenced by Paul at this point.

Even more remarkable is the contrast between Mark and Paul when we turn to the title "Son of Man." For Mark this is the self-designation used by Jesus himself, and used only by Jesus, not by others. It occurs fourteen times in the Gospel, and is unquestionably understood by Mark to refer to Jesusí heavenly office or nature -- "a supernatural being who ranks between God and the angels." (P. 42.) Mark assumes that his readers will recognize the reference to Jesus, and will find its meaning in "the scriptures."(Mark 9:12; 14:21) But back of Mark is certainly a process of exegesis, which combined sayings in the Old Testament that could be understood to refer to the coming of the Son of Man with other sayings that could be interpreted to prophesy the sufferings, death, and resurrection of someone -- presumably now also the Messiah or the Son of Man. What is distinctive and most striking about this exegesis -- "the one unheard-of novelty" -- is the conception of the Son of Man living upon earth prior to his coming in glory: he not only will come, sometime in the future, on the clouds of heaven; he has already come, has suffered, has died, has risen again! Even the passages (Mark 2:10, 28) which used to be interpreted of "Christís human nature" or "man in general" are now recognized to belong with the others referring to "the Son of Man upon earth" prior to his death and glorification.

Now one might expect that this pattern of interpretation would have been retained by Paul, if historical -- that is, if set forth by Jesus himself or found in the earliest tradition of his sayings or expounded in the early church -- or one might even think it possible that Mark derived from Paul some hint of this system of exegesis of the Old Testament and of interpretation of the career of Jesus as a heavenly being appearing upon earth prior to his exaltation and his dying (as a heavenly being) upon the cross, though unrecognized in his true nature until the Resurrection. But the astonishing fact is that Paul never uses the term "Son of Man"! As against Johannes Weissís exegesis of I Corinthians 15:45-47, Werner insists that Paulís "man who is from heaven" is simply exegesis of the first two chapters of Genesis, and has nothing to do with Daniel 7; the very order is reversed -- the earthly man comes first, the heavenly is the second. (This cannot possibly refer to the two stages in Christís existence: Christ is not ; and the two "men" are contrasted, Adam and Christ.) What Paul is controverting is the idea that there were two steps in the creation of man, first the Primal Man, the heavenly, spiritual Urmensch, then the mortal copy of this immortal being, the first representative of the human species -- a widespread Hellenistic conception which had left traces of its influence even upon Judaism. On the other hand, Markís use of the term "Son of Man" owes nothing to Paul -- since Paul does not use it -- but is centered in the early Christian interpretation of the Son of Man vision of Daniel 7. That both Mark and Paul think of Christ as a supernatural being does not argue the dependence of one upon the other -- the whole development of Gentile Christianity, Pauline and non-Pauline, took that for granted.

It is the title "Son of God," as Werner maintains, that most clearly expresses Markís Christology. It occurs in the title of the Gospel, and again at the end of the passion narrative.(Mark 15:39: "Truly this man was the Son of God" -- so Werner translates.) From 8:38 it is evident that the Son of God and the Son of Man are identical: "When he [the Son of Man] comes in the glory of his Father." When Jesus became Son of God, Mark does not say; but the moment of his baptism, when the Spirit came upon him -- or to him, literally "into" -- was probably the moment when he was so chosen and dedicated. At once follow the words of divine approval, "Thou art my beloved Son: in thee I am well pleased" -- here Jesus is first "set forth as Son of God," though not yet "with power"; (Rom. 1:4) that came later, at the Resurrection. It is not at all probable that Mark thought of Christ as pre-existent; the title "Son of God" is only one more messianic title, and does not connote a metaphysical, hypostatic union with the Father -- 13:32 and 10:18 rule out that idea.

What, then, becomes of the theory that "Markís Christology is quite as high as that of Paul"? For Mark, Jesus of Nazareth became Son of God at his baptism, through the endowment of the divine Spirit; for Paul, on the other hand, the Son of God was a divine being who existed with God before the creation of the world, who became the intermediary cause or agent in the creation and remained the sustaining principle of the universe. In due time, this being became man; then after fulfilling his earthly life he died, rose again, and was exalted by God to a place in heaven even higher than that which he had enjoyed at the beginning.(Phil. 2:9) His specific messianic office he will fulfill at the Parousia. It is hardly necessary to go into a detailed comparison of the two Christologies; in their main outlines they are wholly incompatible. As Werner puts it,

For Mark, a man becomes Messiah. For Paul, the Messiah becomes (temporarily) a man. For Mark, the Messiahship is sketched out in the picture of a human life; for Paul, the human life is an episode in the history of a heavenly, messianic being. To put it in a formula, which of course may be pressed too far: The miracle, for Mark, is the deification of Jesus; for Paul it is the incarnation. That is to say, Markís Christology is at its basis entirely different from Paulís.(Pp. 49-50)

It might be argued that Paulís Christology is a further development of Markís; but that is impossible, chronologically. What we have in Paul is a further, and very distinctive, development of the primitive Christology, partly on the basis of pre-Christian Jewish and even syncretistic -- that is, partly pagan -- speculations (Paulís contact with the pagan world of his time is recognized in most modern studies; indeed, it is sometimes exaggerated. Fundamentally of course, he was a Jew, but he was not a Palestinian scribal Jew. Instead he was a Jew of the Diaspora, and his type of Judaism was already in contact with speculations originating outside Judaism. See Weiss, History of Primitive Christianity, Bk. III, "Paul the Christian and Theologian"; Bruckner The Entstehung der paulinischen Christologie [1903]; Wilfred L. Knox St Paul and the Church of Jerusalem [1925] and St. Paul and the Church of the Gentiles [1939]; W. Morgan, The Religion and Theology of Paul [1917]; Bousset, Kyrios Christos [3rd ed., 1926], chaps. iii, iv; A. D. Nock, Early Gentile Christianity and its Hellenistic Background," Essays on the Trinity and the Incarnation, ed. A. E. J. Rawlinson [1928], also his St. Paul [1939]) which Paul evidently indulged in before he became a Christian, partly on the basis of the ongoing life and thought of the early Gentile church, which Paul shared.

Furthermore, the whole conception of the earthly life of Jesus is different in Mark and in Paul. Mark is endeavoring to show, among other things, that Jesus was Messiah "even during his earthly life" -- as Johannes Weiss put it. Therefore the gift of the Spirit at the beginning of his messianic career; therefore the resulting "mighty works" of healing, exorcism, and miracle; therefore the cries of the demons, with their supernatural insight, upon recognizing him; therefore the divine attestations at the Baptism and Transfiguration. For Paul, on the contrary, the endowment of the Spirit is renounced by the heavenly Messiah at his incarnation, and resumed again at his resurrection; as for miracles, "wonders and signs" of his supernatural office, nature, or power -- they are totally lacking! (Note that Paul mentions none of Jesusí miracles, though his raising of the dead would have provided a very strong argument in I Cor. 15, for example.) Paulís fundamental conception of the kenôsis, and of the hiding of the divine glory during Jesusí earthly life, is flatly contradicted by Markís story of the Transfiguration. Thus, as Paul Wernle put it, "The Christology of Mark conflicts with that of Paul at almost every point."

The same is true of the conception of the death of Christ.(Pp. 60 ff.) Both Paul and Mark view it as effecting salvation, the removal of sin or guilt. But for Paul it is the only act of Christ in his earthly life that had messianic significance. Christ came, or was sent, in order to die.(Rom. 8:3; Gal. 4:4.) This is not Markís view. He thinks of Christís mission "to destroy the works of the devil" -- almost as in the later Johannine epistle -- and represents the Son of Man as "having power upon earth to forgive sins," (Mark 2:10) that is, during his earthly life, and not depending upon the efficacy of his death. The purpose of Christís death, according to Mark, is "to give his life a ransom for many";(Mark 10:45) his blood is the "blood of the covenant which is shed for many" ;(Mark 14:24) yet Mark does not elaborate the principle or explain how it was that "the many" were to benefit by Christís death. That death, the death of the Son of Man, was necessary, for it was revealed in scripture, and was therefore in accordance with the will of God.(Mark 8:13 etc. Also Mark stresses Jesusí voluntary acceptance of the divine decrees.) But this goes no further than the doctrine as Paul received it from the primitive church. As he writes to the Corinthians, "Among the very first things I delivered to you what I myself had received, namely that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures."(I Cor. 15:3. See also I Thess. 1:10; Gal. 3:13; 4:5.) In other words, the teaching that the death of Christ was (a) for sin and (b) in accordance with the scriptures was derived by both Mark and Paul from the primitive church; the doctrine of the Atonement is not Paulís unique and distinctive contribution to Christian thought, for it is really pre-Pauline; further, it is not at all the central, cardinal doctrine in "Paulinism," but a subsidiary one; (Indeed, it is a component one -- it forms part of the doctrine of the new creation in Christ) finally, the conception of the way in which Christís death becomes effective, as Paul conceived it, is peculiar to Paul and finds no trace in Mark or indeed elsewhere in the New Testament(Save in passages demonstrable dependent on Paul) -- Paul thinks of it as a conquest of the demonic powers in the very hour of their greatest aggression and apparent triumph.(See again Henry Beach Carré, Paulís Doctrine of Redemption.) We can scarcely hesitate to agree with Werner, Wernle, and Feine: "The Marcan saying about the ransom for many can best be understood by a complete disregard of all Pauline ideas on the subject." (P. 65, quoting Wernle, Synoptische Frage, p. 200.) So understood, the saying takes on a new meaning -- and may indeed be authentic. "Markís interpretation of the death of Jesus not only reflects the tradition of the primitive community directly and without dependence upon Paul, but even reflects it in a pre-Pauline form."(Pp. 70-71.) Instead of Markís being influenced by Paul, it is the primitive, pre-Pauline view -- which Mark still retains -- that is the indispensable presupposition of Paulís own thought; Paul advances upon Mark, not Mark upon Paul! For Paul takes the primitive idea of the death "for many" and interprets it to mean "for Christians," indeed first of all applying it to himself.( Gal. 2:20; see also Weiss, History of Primitive Christianity, I, 116.17 = Urchristentum, p.84)

So also with the view of Christís resurrection.(Pp. 72 ff.) For Mark, Jesusí resurrection involved the empty tomb; his resurrection body was still his natural body, transmuted, transfigured, glorified. But for Paul the doctrine of Christís resurrection is not in the least dependent upon the empty tomb. In fact, the resuscitation and glorification of Jesusí physical body was an impossible conception, for it would still be , "flesh," not , "spirit"; and the whole force of his argument in I Corinthians 15 involves the substitution of a glorious spiritual body for the earthly, "fleshly" body in the Resurrection. "God giveth it a body" -- and the same applies to Christ. Mark of course does not share Paulís abhorrence of "the flesh," that is, , and so he can think of the transfiguration of Christís earthly body -- as on the Mount of Transfiguration, probably viewed as an anticipation of the Resurrection -- without the least question of the continuity of Christís physical body.

On every point of Christology, accordingly, the supposed influence of Paul upon Mark turns out to be, by Wernerís demonstration, merely evidence for the dependence of Mark upon the common Gentile Christianity of his time, in fact in its pre-Pauline or non-Pauline form; and this in spite of the agreements -- which are natural, considering Paulís dependence likewise upon "those who were in Christ before him." The distinctive, unique, positively Pauline development of these doctrines is simply not to be found anywhere in the Gospel of Mark.

If this statement can be made regarding their Christology, it is not likely that other doctrines will upset the relationship -- for Christology is of fundamental importance to both Paul and Mark, and to all of primitive Christianity. Nevertheless Werner proceeds to examine other doctrines and teachings: the Law, the gospel, faith, sin, flesh and spirit, sacramental teaching, eschatology, the view taken of the primitive apostles, the attitude toward the Jewish people, also that toward the heathen; and he concludes with an examination of the vocabularies of the two writers. On every point the distinctively Pauline teaching is found to be absent from Mark, while their agreements nowhere go beyond the common basis of non-Pauline Gentile Christianity. The final chapter, on the diction of Mark and Paul, substantiates what has been the readerís growing conviction all along, namely that the hypothesis of Pauline influence upon the Gospel of Mark is a perfect mareís nest of absurdities, of which exegesis of the New Testament and historical research into Christian origins had better be completely rid at once.

Now if Wernerís thesis is true, and if we accept his demonstration as final, certain positive inferences are bound to follow, and not merely the negative one already described -- important as that is.

1. For one thing, early Gentile Christianity, and probably also early Jewish Christianity, was much farther advanced in the christological and soteriological areas than has been admitted by most writers.

2. Paulís conversion, or at least the beginning of his missionary career, can hardly be dated as early as the majority of critics are inclined to place it. Time must be allowed for the growth of doctrine in the Gentile mission field. Thus one more item of evidence supports the view which some of us already hold upon other grounds, namely that Paulís conversion belongs nearer AD. 40 than 30 -- perhaps in 37 or 38.("See John Knox, ĎFourteen Years Laterí: A Note on the Pauline Chronology," Journal of Religion, 16:34 1-49; "The Pauline Chronology," Journal of Biblical Literature, 58:15-29).

3. Paulís own distinctive contributions to Christian thought are to be sharply distinguished from what he received by tradition; and it will be found, when these are segregated, that they point to several sources: (a) his own personal experience, that of an intense spiritual nature with a keen imagination and a desperately sensitive conscience; (b) a peculiar exegesis of the Old Testament, partly rabbinic, partly early Christian, but more probably derived from his own reading and pondering of the Greek version of the Jewish scriptures; (c) .a set of cosmological and anthropological views that owed not a little to the vast mélange of Hellenism and Orientalism flooding the world where he grew up, and providing him with the unique setting for still other ideas, of sin, Satan, death, of the sinful and therefore mortal nature of man -- as "flesh" -- of the "spiritual" forces arrayed against God and his Messiah and all the faithful, of the victory to be won by the Messiah when he should at last appear -- all these ideas were shaped to the mold of certain half-Jewish, half-pagan ideas which Paul seems to have derived from the world about him. The Diaspora Judaism that Paul knew in Cilicia must have been very different from the Judaism of Palestine, and even from the Diaspora Judaism of Philo in Alexandria!

First-century Judaism, in the Diaspora and even in Palestine before the crisis of AD. 66-70, was a much more diversified religious phenomenon than that of the era of retrenchment and conservatism which followed, especially after the second fall of Jerusalem in 135. Philo was forgotten, by the Jews --only the Christian church preserved his writings. The Septuagint was discarded as too free a rendering of the Old Testament, and other, even painfully literal, translations took its place -- it too was abandoned to the Christians, and one rabbi even proposed to commemorate it by an annual day of fasting. Along with the Septuagint went the Apocrypha -- the additional books in the Greek canon -- and the apocalyptic writings, perhaps already interpolated, certainly interpreted, by the Christians in the interest of their own peculiar doctrines. The schools established at Jamnia and Tiberias were to study only scripture and the Oral Tradition. A more rigorous system of exegesis was to be inculcated, following explicit rules. And at the same time the world-wide mission of Diaspora Judaism came to an end.(See T.R.Glover, The World of the New Testament (1931), p. 135, and refs. to Bentwich, Hellenism, pp. 287 ff., 301; G.F. Moore, Judaism, I, 83-109.) It was like the Counter Reformation in the Roman Church of the sixteenth century, with its Council of Trent, determined henceforth to leave no more openings for Protestant "reformations,"

But the era before the late sixties of the first century was much freer and much more varied in outlook, much more hospitable to foreign influences and combinations of ideas -- like medieval scholasticism, before Trent. This goes a long way to account for the type of Judaism Paul knew and rejected -- an inexplicable enigma to all modern Jews, however "liberal." It was certainly not the "normative" Judaism that arose in Palestine after the year 135; and it was probably not even the central, orthodox, middle-of-the-road Judaism of the scribes and Pharisees of Palestine in the first half of the first century. It was perhaps already in contact with speculations regarding the divine purpose in the creation of the world, the angelic powers, the figures of Adam, Death, Satan or Antichrist, the Heavenly Man, the coming salvation, the relation of spirit and flesh, soul and body -- speculations which were at least tinged, no doubt, with Gnosticism. "Gnosticism" is of course a later word; in the first century it was only, as Wendland defined it, the religion or theology of syncretism, well adapted to the melange of cults which characterized the eastern provinces under the early empire. Hans Böhlig, in his Geisteskultur von Tarsus (1913), stressed the possibility of contacts with Mithraism; but there were other possibilities -- -as W. L. Knox recognizes in his St. Paul and the Church of the Gentiles (1939). For more than two hundred years there had been Jewish settlements in Cilicia; and the Aramaic inscriptions in the neighborhood -- not necessarily Jewish, but surely accessible to Jews -- reflect a decided strain of syncretism.(E.g. those given in Lidzbarski, Ephemeris fur semitische Epigraphik, I. 1, pp. 59-74.)

I cannot at this point enter into the discussion of types of Diaspora Judaism affected by contact with paganism; I wish only to record my conviction (1) that Paulís Judaism was not of the orthodox Palestinian type, which later became normal, and normative; and (2) that early Gentile Christianity, both before Paul and also outside the area of his influence, was far more substantial than the Book of Acts and the surviving Pauline letters have led many to assume. It is this type of Christian teaching, "common Gentile Christianity," rather than Paulinism, that lies behind the Gospel of Mark.

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