Sometimes one word makes a world of difference: A return to the origins of Mark’s Gospel (Mark 1:38)

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


One word in Mark’s Gospel has caused considerable difficulty in translation and yet has received little concerted attention. The hapax legomenon κωμόπολις (Mk 1:38) receives here detailed attention for two reasons. Firstly, it is a word that seems to have currency only in the eastern half of the Roman Empire. Both the transmission history of the Gospel of Mark and the testimonia confirm this assessment. Secondly, the sifting of the patterns of human settlement to which the term might be applied are explored in detail. The familiar citations from Strabo are supplemented by the less well-known partial text of Isidore of Charax to yield some new insights into the word’s meaning. These insights raise two further issues for future research. The first relates to the implications the study may have for a re-assessment of the provenance of the gospel; the second suggests that Mark is shifting the axis of geo-spatial relationships for the term.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe impact of Jesus of Nazareth
Subtitle of host publicationHistorical, theological and pastoral perspectives
EditorsPeter G. Bolt, James R. Harrison
Place of PublicationMacquarie Park, NSW
PublisherSCD Press
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781925730142
ISBN (Print)9781925730135
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameHistorical and Theological Studies


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