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Chapter XVI.—Mark first proclaimed Christianity to the Inhabitants of Egypt.

1. And they say that this Mark was the first that was sent to Egypt, and that he proclaimed the Gospel which he had written, and first established churches in Alexandria. 394

2. And the multitude of believers, both men and women, that were collected there at the very outset, and lived lives of the most philosophical and excessive asceticism, was so great, that Philo thought it worth while to describe their pursuits, their meetings, their entertainments, and their whole manner of life.” 395



That Mark labored in Egypt is stated also by Epiphanius (Hær. LI. 6), by Jerome (de vir. ill. 8), by Nicephorus (H. E. II. 43), and by the Acta Barnabæ, p. 26 (Tischendorf’s Acta Apost. Apocr. p. 74), which were written probably in the third century. Eusebius gained his knowledge apparently from oral tradition, for he uses the formula, “they say” (φασὶν). In chap. 24, below, he says that Annianus succeeded Mark as a leader of the Alexandrian Church in the eighth year of Nero (62 a.d.), thus implying that Mark died in that year; and Jerome gives the same date for his death. But if the tradition that he wrote his Gospel in Rome under Peter (or after Peter’s death, as the best tradition puts it, so e.g. Irenæus) be correct, then this date is hopelessly wrong. The varying traditions are at best very uncertain, and the whole career of Mark, so far as it is not recorded in the New Testament, is involved in obscurity.


See the next chapter.

Next: Chapter XVII