I come now – at *last*, you might say – to the final post in this thread dealing with how the Gospels of the New Testament came to be named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. I have covered a lot of territory in this thread, arguing that the Gospels were not known by these names until near the end of the second century; that they probably acquired their names because of an edition of the Gospels produced in Rome sometime after the time of Justin Martyr (mid second century), an edition that influenced both Irenaeus and the author of the Muratorian canon, and eventually all of Christendom.
This edition named the first and last of the Gospels after two of Jesus’ disciples and the third Gospel after a companion of the apostle Paul. I have explained the reasons in the preceding posts. And now comes the most difficult and puzzling question: why was the second Gospel attributed to Mark?
I regularly am asked this question, and usually the questioner expresses it with some surprise: why *Mark* of all people? Why someone so obscure? Why not an apostle, or at least someone famous?
I have several responses to that question. The first is that….
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