A Surrogate Genealogy in Mk? : Studies in Mark, Pt. 6

It has been suggested by some that Mk. 3.13-19 is a type of surrogate genealogy. I think I agree with this. When one analyzes the evidence, it seems very possible. For example:

* Both Matthew and Luke contain a kin genealogy for Jesus. However, the only other synoptic, Mark, doesn’t.

* Mark frequently shows how the relatives of Jesus do not look favorably upon Him (e.g. Mk. 3.21, 30-35). Matthew and Luke are more concerned with showing the honorable familial relationships of Jesus (in some ways, at least).

* Mark shows how those in the hometown of Jesus do not look favorably upon Jesus (Mk. 6.1-6).

* Near the beginning of His Gospel account and just before he gives the episode where Jesus’s family turns on Him, Mark situates the list of apostles (whom Jesus will refer to as His “new family” a few verses later in 3.34-35). This seems way more than accidental! These two sections were placed this closely on purpose and for a reason (or reasons).

* The twelve are “insiders” while the bloodline family members are “outsiders” (this is seen all throughout Mark). The twelve get to come to Jesus’s house while even the family must wait outside.

Thus, it appears to me (and these are just initial thoughts—a starting point if you will), that the apostolic listing in Mark’s Gospel could very well serve as a surrogate genealogy. What do you think?


  1. Why use the term genealogy rather than family? And perhaps just the term friends describes who these men are to Jesus. For aren't true friends the family who we choose, the ones who fill the needs our blood kin cannot. In that way, friends are often closer than relatives.

  2. I simply used the term genealogy because Mk lacks a formal genealogy, unlike Mt and Lk.

    You are correct that these men are friends to Jesus and that often times, friends are our truest (real to life closer than family) kin.

    What I am getting at here is, was Jesus making that fact official? (e.g. Is He redefining family & kin relations?) Perhaps, as is seen, by Mark's implementing of a surrogate genealogy. It is interesting to me that Mark might have included this where he did, on purpose, simply to make this point!

    I'll check out your site soon! Thanks for the post and keep checking back. I hope I can give you some insight or at least, food for thought.