Review Article

Mark the Evangelist: His African memory

Willem Oliver
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 72, No 4 | a3400 | DOI: | © 2016 Willem Oliver | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 07 March 2016 | Published: 28 October 2016

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Willem Oliver, Department of Philosophy, Practical and Systematic Theology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa

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Mark is the author of the oldest gospel in the Christian Bible. Not much is known about him or his family except for a few references in the Bible. The general assumption, originating in the West, is that Mark was born and bred in Palestine. One of the main proponents of the Western view is Walter Bauer, a German theologian of the first half of the 20th century. His views rely heavily on the argument from silence, as Africa had – and to a great extent still has – an oral culture. Contrary to the Western view, Thomas Oden, an American theologian, did research on the oral culture and investigated the African memory of Mark. This article presents a critical discussion and a review of the book written by Oden in 2011 titled The African memory of Mark. Oden seems to be very subjective in his remarks in favour of Africa, as is also clear from his book titled How Africa shaped the Christian mind, written in 2007, and the question is if he really has enough grounds for his postulations.


Mark; African memory; Early Church History


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