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Arguments for Markan Priority (that Mark was the first Gospel written)

For reasons related to an unusually convoluted thread (I’d be surprised if anyone can even detect the thread!  I myself barely can – it has to do with Jesus’ view of the afterlife) I need to answer a reader’s question about why scholars think the Gospel of Mark was the first to be written (once I do that, I can show how Luke often changed Mark, which will get me back to Luke’s treatment of Jesus’ rejection in Nazareth, which will get me back to the parable of Lazarus and the rich man, which will get me back to the question of whether the parable represents Jesus’ own views….). So far as I can tell, and to my surprise, I’ve never published a blog post showing why scholars – since the 19th century – have typically maintained that Mark was the first of the Synoptic Gospels to be written and that Luke and Matthew both used Mark for many of their own stories about Jesus.   That view is called “Markan priority” (Mark is prior to [...]

2020-04-03T01:46:47-04:00November 28th, 2017|Canonical Gospels, Public Forum|

Evidence that the Synoptics Are Copying (one another? other sources?)

In yesterday’s post, when talking about the one-time existence of Q, I indicated that scholars have long recognized that there must be some kind of literary relationship among Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Synoptic Gospels, since they have so many similarities: they tell many of the same stories, often in the same sequence, and sometimes – lots of times – in the very same words.  That is to say, someone must be copying someone else, or they are all using the same written sources. Some of my students have trouble seeing that if two documents are word-for-word the same, one must be copying the other (or they both are copying a third source).  Older adults don’t seem to have any problem seeing that, right off the bat.  But younger adults need to be convinced.  And so I do a little experiment with them that more or less proves it.  I do this every year in my New Testament class, which normally has 200-300 students in it. I come to class a minute or two late [...]

2020-04-03T13:54:50-04:00March 17th, 2015|Canonical Gospels|
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