80 PSYCHOTHERAPY : SCIENTIFIC AND RELIGIOUS chap.
actions and words of Jesus. These are the beads ; the thread upon which they are strung is the chronological sequence of the incidents. Each saying or event is placed in its geographical context and the narrative is enriched by descriptive phrases such as : 'on the road ' ; ' in the boat'; 'in the house '; 'on the beach ' ; 'in the synagogue '.
The Source Critics regard the Marcan narrative as of supreme value for determining order of events and the development of methods used in the ministry of Jesus. This does not mean that Mark's Gospel, although according to a universal primitive Christian tradition it contains the memoirs of Peter taken down by Mark, is perfectly accurate. It may in many places be affected by lapses of Peter's memory ; Mark's misunderstandings ; bad reporting; and omissions and additions. It is fairly certain, however, that Mark's Gospel does contain a body of Petrine reminiscences, and the defects in the work as a whole which have just been mentioned can be seen in their right perspective when it is pointed out that, with the possible exception of two passages, it is a literary unity, distinguished throughout by characteristic features. The constant recurrence of such phrases as ' again ', and ' and immediately ' ; the use of the imperfect tense to express repeated and continuous action ; and the use of the present tense to describe past events, besides giving dramatic effect and movement to the narrative, prove the Gospel to be a straightforward piece of work by one man. Another point to be noted is that it seems to cover only one year of the life of Jesus.
In the Gospel records of healing the word ' miracle ' is often used in connection with occurrences contrary to the known laws of nature, but it would be a mistake to confuse its meaning for the Evangelists, writing in a