Rawlings School of Divinity


Doctor of Philosophy in Theology and Apologetics (PhD)


Kevin King


Aeneid, Aenas, Dido, Gospel, Mark, Virgil


Biblical Studies | Christianity | Comparative Methodologies and Theories | Religion | Religious Thought, Theology and Philosophy of Religion


This dissertation will present the Gospel of Mark in light of the Aeneid, Virgil’s epic poem published by Augustus immediately after Virgil’s death in 19 B.C. The Aeneid’s genre, literary style, grammar, symbolic hermeneutics, and lasting influence has been thoroughly researched and dissected in literature courses throughout the centuries. It has been translated into numerous languages and widely distributed in terms of geography and nationalities. Virgil wrote the Aeneid to proclaim the deity of Augustus. “Hic Caesar et omnis Juli progenies magnum caeli ventura sub axem. Hic vir, his est, tibi quem promitti saepius audis, Augustus Caesar, Divi genus, aurea condet saecula qui rursus Latio regnata per arva Saturno quondam.” This was the message the Romans wanted to hear: a Savior from the unending civil wars. In complete contrast to Augustus as the Progenitor / Savior, the Gospel of Mark proclaims Jesus as the Son / Servant of God. This study will seek to demonstrate three contentions, that 1) the Aeneid received wide dissemination immediately after Augustus had it published, that 2) Mark had knowledge of, and access to, the Aeneid, and that 3) one of the reasons that Mark wrote his Gospel was to engage the Aeneid’s concepts and theology. This paper will continue the research of previous scholars by revealing an original and additional component of Mark’s intentions as He wrote his Gospel. This dissertation will help the reader understand Mark from the perspective of Roman theology as found in the Aeneid, which elevated Augustus to the status of a god, and then demonstrate Mark’s contrast between the Aeneid’s presentation of Augustus and Mark’s presentation of Jesus.