Mark and the Other Synoptics

24 Jan

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What makes a “Q” Gospel necessary? All scholars admit that there is absolutely no hard evidence for “Q”. In fact, some scholars are uncomfortable with “Q” and actually prefer replacing it with a “Mark First” position. Nevertheless, if an oral tradition is presumed, there is absolutely no reason not to allow any one of the Gospel narratives to be the first written account. A known “oral” tradition makes “Mark First” unnecessary. It would also make “Q” unnecessary. Would it not?

I have argued in an earlier posting that accepting the 2nd and 3rd century witnesses as true, showing Mark is really Peter’s Gospel in written form, renders moot many scholars’ presumption that Mark’s written record is more primitive than the other Gospel narratives. While Mark (Peter’s Gospel) may, indeed, be among the first preached, it may not have been the first written account. It is true that Matthew and Luke were both written for specific reasons, but Mark is described by the early church fathers as a transcript of what Peter preached at Rome. It was not intended to be a written witness to prove anything. Rather, it was simply Peter’s testimony at Rome about Jesus, namely, what Peter had both seen and heard.

If the 2nd and 3rd century witnesses are true, namely that Mark is a transcript of Peter’s witness to the Roman church, this puts Mark’s written Gospel **before** 70 AD. Therefore, even if we try to place the other Synoptic Gospel narratives after the Jewish War, much of what they contain is verified by Mark before the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple. This means that no matter where one desires to place them in the last quarter of the 1st century AD, they accurately record what had been done and said in the ministry of Jesus, the Messiah, in the first half of the 1st century.[1] In other words, nothing is said late in the century via Matthew and Luke that hadn’t been said earlier by Peter (viz. Mark’s Gospel).


[1] To be perfectly honest, however, I put both Matthew and Luke before Mark’s **written** account, which places all the Synoptics before the Jewish War with Rome.

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Posted by on January 24, 2012 in Textual Criticism


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