DOI: 10.1177/00145246231195255 ISSN:

The Species and Purpose of the ‘Young Man’ in Mark 14 and 16

Dr. Rob James
  • Religious studies

This article presents evidence that the νεανίσκος, “young man”, referred to in Mark 16 is intended to be read as a human being rather than as an angel. Matthew’s and Luke’s use of Mark 16 is examined to show that they too understood Mark in this way and chose to edit the text to replace the young man with one or two angels. Reading Mark 16 in this way elicits an easier linkage with the young man in Mark 14, and it is suggested that the author intended for such a connection to be made. Following Robin Scroggs and Kent Groff, this connection leads to the suggestion that the stripping and reclothing of the young man in Mark 14 and 16 is an allegory of baptism. Further evidence of this is presented in a tentative suggestion about the liturgical origins of some of Mark 16, and the observation that the word for the clothing worn by and taken from the young man in Mark 14 is only ever used elsewhere in the New Testament for the burial shroud of Jesus.

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