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MARJORAM—MARK, ST


will not get on together,” a phrase as happy in its imitation as in its satire of the style itself. This kind of writing, of course, recurs at several periods of literature, and did so remarkably at the end of the 19th century in more countries than one. Yet this fantastic embroidery of language has a certain charm, and suits perhaps better than any other style the somewhat unreal gallantry and sensibilité which it describes and exhibits. The author possessed, moreover, both thought and observation, besides considerable command of pathos.

The best and most complete edition of Marivaux is that of 1781 in 12 vols. reprinted with additions 1825–1830. The plays had been published during the author’s lifetime in 1740 and 1748. There are modern editions by Paul de Saint Heylli Victor (1863), by G. d’Heylli (1876) and by E. Fournier (1878), while issues of selections and separate plays and novels are numerous. Of works concerning him J. Fleury’s Marivaux et le Marivaudage (Paris, 1881), G. Larroumet’s Marivaux, sa vie et ses œuvres (1882; new ed., 1894), the standard work on the subject, and G. Deschamps’s Marivaux (1897), in the Grands écrivains français, are the most important. Separate articles on him will be found in the collected essays of the chief modern French critics from Sainte-Beuve onwards.  (G. Sa.) 


MARJORAM, (O. Fr. majorane, Med. Lat. majorana; not connected with major, greater, nor with amaracus), in botany, the common name for some aromatic herbs or undershrubs, belonging to the genus Origanum (natural order Labiatae). Wild marjoram is O. vulgare, a perennial common in England in dry copses and on hedge-banks, with many stout stems 1 to 3 ft. high, bearing short-stalked somewhat ovate leaves and clusters of purple flowers. Sweet or knotted marjoram, O. Marjorana, and pot marjoram, O. Onites, are cultivated for the use of their aromatic leaves, either green or dry, for culinary purposes; the tops are cut as the plants begin to flower and are dried slowly in the shade.


MARK, ST, the traditional author of the second Gospel. His name occurs in several books of the New Testament, and doubtless refers in all cases to the same person, though this has been questioned. In the Acts of the Apostles (xii. 12) we read of “John, whose surname was Mark,” and gather that Peter was a familiar visitor at the house of his mother Mary, which was a centre of Christian life in Jerusalem. That he was, as his Roman surname would suggest, a Hellenist, follows from the fact that he was also cousin (“nephew” is a later sense of ἀνεψιός, see J. B. Lightfoot on Col. iv. 10) of Barnabas, who belonged to Cyprus. When Barnabas and Paul returned from their relief visit to Judaea (c. A.D. 46), Mark accompanied them (xii. 25). Possibly he had shown in connexion with their relief work that practical capacity which seems to have been his distinctive excellence (cf. 2 Tim. iv. 11). When, not long after, they started on a joint mission beyond Syria, Mark went as their assistant, undertaking the minor personal duties connected with travel, as well as with their work proper (xiii. 5). As soon, however, as their plans developed, after leaving Cyprus and on arrival at Perga in Pamphylia (see Paul), Mark withdrew, probably on some matter of principle, and returned to Jerusalem (xiii. 13). When, then, Paul proposed, after the Jerusalem council of Acts xv., to revisit with Barnabas the scenes of their joint labours, he naturally demurred to taking Mark with them again, feeling that he could not be relied on should fresh openings demand a new policy. But Barnabas stood by his younger kinsman and “took Mark and sailed away to Cyprus” (xv. 38 seq.). Barnabas does not reappear, unless we trust the tradition which makes him an evangelist in Alexandria (Clem. Hom. i. 9 seq., cf. the attribution to him of the Alexandrine Epistle of Barnabas).

When Mark appears once more, it is in Paul’s company at Rome, as a fellow-worker joining in salutations to Christians at Colossae (Col. iv. 10; Philem. 24). We gather, too, that his restoration to Paul’s confidence took place some time earlier, as the Colossians had already been bidden by oral message or letter to welcome him if he should visit them. This points to a reconciliation during Paul’s last sojourn in Jerusalem or Caesarea. Not long after Col. iv. 10 Mark seems to have been sent by Paul to some place in the province of Asia, lying on the route between Ephesus and Rome. For in 2 Tim. iv. 11 Paul bids Timothy, “Pick up Mark and bring him with thee, for he is useful to me for ministering.”

Once more Mark’s name occurs in the New Testament, this time with yet another leader, Peter, the friend of his earliest Christian years in Jerusalem, to whom he attached himself after the deaths of Barnabas and Paul. Peter’s words, “Mark, my son,” show how close was the spiritual tie between the older and the younger man (1 Pet. v. 13); and as he is writing from Rome (“Babylon,” since Paul’s death and the change of policy it implied), this forms a link between the New Testament and early tradition, which speaks of Mark as an Evangelist writing his Gospel under the influence of Peter’s preaching (in Rome). This is the essence of the tradition preserved from “the elders of former days” by Clement of Alexandria (in Eus. ii. 15, vi. 14), a tradition probably based on Papias’s record (cf. Eus. iii. 39) of the explanation given by “the Elder” (John) as to the contrast in form between Mark’s memoirs of Peter’s discourses and the Gospel of Matthew (see Gospels; Papias), but defining the place where these memoirs were written as Rome. That he acted to some degree as Peter’s interpreter or dragoman (ἑρμηνεύς), owing to the apostle’s imperfect mastery of Greek, is held by some but denied by others (e.g. by Zahn). His rôle throughout his career was servus servorum dei; and the fact that he was this successively to Barnabas, Paul and Peter, helps to show the essential harmony of their message.

The identification of the author of the second Gospel with Mark, which we owe to tradition, enables us to fill in our picture of him a little further. Thus it is possible that Mark was himself the youth (νεανίσκος) to whom his Gospel refers as present at Jesus’s arrest (xiv. 51 seq.; cf. his detailed knowledge as to the place of the last supper, 13 seq.). It is probably as evangelist, and not in his own person, that he became known as “he of the stunted extremities” (κολοβοδάκτυλος, “curt-fingered”), a title first found in Hippolytus (Haer. vii. 30), in a context which makes its metaphorical reference to his Gospel pretty evident.[1] It was too as evangelist that he became personally a subject of later interest, and of speculative legends due to this, e.g. he was one of the Seventy (first found in Adamantius, Dial. de recta fide, 4th century), he was the founder of the Alexandrine Church (recorded as a tradition by Eusebius, ii. 16) and its first bishop (id. ii. 2), and was author of the local type of liturgy (cf. the Acts of Mark, ch. vii., not earlier than the end of the 4th century).

As to his last days and death nothing is really known. It is possible—even probable, if we accept the theory that he had already[2] been there with Barnabas—that Alexandria was his final sphere of work, as the earliest tradition on the point implies (the Latin Prologue, and Eusebius as above, probably after Julius Africanus in the early 3rd century), and as was widely assumed in the 4th century. That he died and was buried there is first stated by Jerome (De vir. ill. 8), to which his Acts adds the glory of martyrdom (cf. Ps.-Hippolytus, De LXX Apostolis).

Literature.—H. B. Swete, The Gospel acc. to St Mark (1898), Introduction, § I., where the authorities are fully cited; also the art. in Hastings’s Dict. Bible. The Patristic and other legends are discussed at length by R. A. Lipsius, Die apokr. Apostelgesch. u.s.w. (1884), ii. 2, and T. Schermann, Propheten- und Apostellegenden (1907), 285 seq. (with special reference to Ps.-Hippolytus and Ps.-Dorotheus).  (J. V. B.) 

Medieval Legends.

The majority of medieval writers on the subject state that Mark was a Levite; but this is probably no more than an inference from his supposed relationship to Barnabas. The Alexandrian tradition seems to have been that he was of Cyrenaean origin; and Severus, a writer of the 10th century, adds to this the statement that his father’s name was Aristobulus, who, with his wife Mary, was driven

from the Pentapolis to Jerusalem by an invasion of barbarians

  1. The divergent lines of the later attempts at a literal interpretation—e.g. he amputated his thumb in order to escape the Levitical priesthood (Latin Prologue), or it was a natural defect (Cod. Tolet.)—suggest that all they had to start from was the epithet itself.
  2. Nicephorus Callistus, Hist. Eccl. ii. 43, assumes this in his picturesque account of Mark’s preaching in a quarter of the city which seems to have contained the tomb of the early bishops of Alexandria (cf. his Acts).