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This article surveys the subscriptions to the Gospel of Mark in 157 Greek manuscripts, noting their gradual development from being identical to the title in the earliest phase to becoming more and more elaborate and significant for the history of interpretation. Early on, as reflected in the title, the Second Gospel was associated with Mark, known to be Peter's disciple and interpreter. In the fourth or fifth century, an editor added the information that it was written (or spoken) by Mark in Latin in Rome as reflected in the Peshitta and later Byzantine manuscripts. At some point between the seventh and ninth centuries, an unknown editor added dates for each of the four Gospels from a source which has been attributed to Hippolytus’ Chronicle, and in the process made a cascading error which resulted in too early dates for Mark, Luke and John. In the archetype of Family 13, these traditions were combined which suggests that the archetype of Family 13 is no earlier than the eighth century. A main factor behind this gradual growth of the subscriptions is authentication and authorisation – in the case of the Second Gospel, the association with Mark and Peter legitimates its claim of apostolicity and orthodoxy. Moreover, the situating of each Gospel in time and space through the subscriptions not only satisfies human curiosity but contributes to the construction of an ancient Christian ‘landscape of memory’, reflecting the collective memory of the early Christians, thus shaping and enhancing their identity.
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