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What Convinced Me That The Gospel Of Mark Was Composed in Latin

The Gospel of Mark is a pretty short little booklet. The English King James version is just shy of 15,000 words. I’ve seen blog posts that rival that. And the original may have been even shorter. There is strong evidence that points to the last few verses having been interpolated. The 4th century MSS known as the Codex Sinaiticus does not have verses 1:33, 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 10:36, 11:26, 15:28, 16:9–20.

I find the Gospel of Mark the most interesting because as the oldest of the four gospels it is likely the inspiration for the other ones. A careful reading of the original may shed light on the birthing of a new religion. If I was to peer into the mind of the author it would of course be necessary to have access to the original text. The King James version was translated from the Textus Receptus, which was all in Greek. However I soon came across evidence that the Gospel of Mark was originally composed in Latin. This idea intrigued me.

It turns out that this isn’t some fringe theory contrived as some weak attempt at click-baiting.

The Catholic Church confirms that the Gospel of Mark was likely composed in Latin.

Mark Wrote in Latin

The idea that Mark wrote his Gospel in Latin is not new at all. It is even stated in the brief introductory footnote to Mark’s Gospel in the Challoner-Douay-Rheims version of the Bible: “Baronius and others say, that the original was written in Latin….” This idea has fallen out of remembrance in modern times.


Confirmations In Ancient Writings

From what I can gather the earliest known mention of the Gospel of Mark as a Latin text comes from Ephraem Syrus (306-373 CE) in his Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron (written in Syriac) App 1.1: “Mark wrote the Gospel in Latin”.

This is interesting. There is no earlier mention of the Gospel of Mark having been originally composed in any other language.

A close reading of the Gospel of Mark in Greek actually confirms that it was first composed in Latin and not Greek

A careful analysis of the oldest Latin version of the Gospel of Mark brings it all together and confirms the suspicions raised in other texts.

The Greek version has a number of nonsensical sections, words, phrases, and name places. The Latin version of the same verses actually makes sense. Once the Latin version is examined we see that these nonsensical parts read well without the need for any explaining away nor for any mental gymnastics.

I would go so far as to say that the errors in the Greek when compared to the oldest Latin version make it glaringly obvious that the Latin makes sense whereas the Greek sounds, well, stupid.

Errors in The Greek Version

→ Mistaking “et” [Latin, and] as making up part of Gennessar. Gennessaret, is not a place. Mark 6:53

→ Mistaking “impotabilis” [Latin, undrinkable] for the impossible and nonsensical “impotentabilis” [able to powerless]. English translations skirt around the problem by just making it up with: “new teaching with authority”. Mark 1:27

→ Mistaking “grabatto” [Latin, pallet] for “iugerebant” [four were carrying]. This gives us the very awkward and disconcerting “they came to him bringing a paralysed man taken by four men”

→ Completely misreading “Vt audierunt de eo exierunt tenere eum” [Latin, when they heard about him they went out to seize him] The “him” here refers to Jesus. Greek gives us the nonsensical “and when they heard from him they went out to seize him”. This sort of gives “de” [Latin, about, of] a possible sense, but one which is nonsensical in the context; Mark 3:21

→ Mistaking “uenerunt” [Latin, met], for “fuerunt” [Latin, came]. Mark 3:32 → Mark 4:8,20 says “afferebant unum tricesimum et unum sexagesimum et unum centesimum” [Latin, yielding, some thirtyfold and some sixtyfold and some a hundredfold]. But the Greek only has the numbers not the yield increase: “one thirty, one sixty, one a hundred” despite the odd Greek that this produces.

Here is an in depth essay on the topic by David Bruce Gain:

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