The most widespread tradition says that Mark wrote his Gospel in Rome immediately
after the mid-first century AD following a request from Peter or the Christian
community to preserve the memory of the former's preaching.
Mark's is the shortest of the four Gospels. It was written in Greek and
has only 16 chapters, divided into two parts. The first, consisting of
the first eight chapters, deals with the actions of Jesus, concentrating
on numerous miracles with view to demonstrating that Jesus really was
the Son of God.
It appears that this is the reason why, since the early Christian period,
the lion was chosen as his symbol because the lion, with his roar, prevails
over the other animals, just as Mark proclaimed loudly that Jesus was
the Son of God.
In the second part the words of Jesus are preferred, words that explain
the necessary conditions for following the Redeemer to his death on the
In narrating the life of Jesus, Mark shows a preference for anecdotal
data and episodic aspects, with a marked taste for observation of details.
He carefully describes the marine environment of the Sea of Galilee, the
countryside and the villages, but above all the crowds that throng around
the divine Master seeking cures for the most disparate illnesses, freedom
from demons or to hear the word of goodness.
His style is swift, essential, and nervous, typical of the artist. In
the end one notes in him the technique of the practised catechist, the
interpreter of the apostle Peter's long speeches concerning Jesus' words
and actions. Someone who wants to highlight the strictly necessary for
his hearers whom one supposes were Romans inclined to concreteness and
practicality in things.
Certain themes predominate in Mark's gospel: the messianic secret, which
is to say that Jesus gradually reveals that he actually is the Son of
God; the kingdom of God is always near and expected; Jesus son of God
shall suffer on earth until the end of time.