The Earliest of the Four Gospels.

I’ve been blogging on the Gospels for two years now, and I thought I’d comment on the debate as to whose Gospel was written first, Matthew’s or Mark’s.   The New Testament is traditionally ordered so that Matthew’s Gospel always comes first.  The Fathers of the early church chose this order – Matthew – Mark – Luke – John – based on their understanding of the chronological order in which the Gospels were written.  Thus the early Christian church believed that Matthew’s Gospel was written first (in Hebrew) and that John’s Gospel was written last.    According to Wikipedia’s article on Markan Priority, Papias (130), Irenaeus (c. 130-200), Origen (c. 185-254), Eusebius (c. 260-340) Jerome (c. 340-420), and Augustine of Hippo (c. 354-430), accepted this order of priority.

Wikipedia also tells us that several German Scripture scholars of the eighteenth and nineteenth century proposed that Mark wrote his Gospel first.  These scholars include Gottlob Storr (Philosophy & Theology: Tubingen 1768), Karl Lachmann (Philology: Konigsberg ~1820), Christian Wilke (Philosophy & Theology: Leipzig ~1810), Christian Weisse (Philosophy: Leipzig, ~1830), and Heinrich Holtzmann (Theology: Berlin, ~1860).  All five scholars are Lutherans or Christian deists.

Weisse and Holtzmann advanced the “two-source hypothesis,” arguing that the Gospel of Matthew comes from a) Mark and b) a collection of sayings called “Q.”  The “Q” monicker stands for quelle, which means “source” in German.  This theory is scholarly, but not particularly plausible given the evidence.  The thesis is also declining in popularity among a younger generation of scripture scholars who feel less obliged to pay their respects to German historical-critical scholarship.

There are several weaknesses with the proposition that Mark wrote his Gospel before Matthew.  First, there is no internal evidence, either in style, structure or content, that would suggest Mark’s Gospel was written first.  Admittedly, it is a cause of wonder when a student of Scripture closely studies the synoptic Gospels, and discovers how similar certain passages are. There are many passages in Mark and Matthew that are identical, word-for-word, with each other. Yet the synoptic nature of the Gospels tells us nothing about the source of the Gospels. It only tells us that some of the material in Matthew, Mark and Luke has a common source.

A second flaw is that the “Q” hypothesis is not well-reasoned scholarship.  Oddly, the study of Scripture is one of the few academic disciplines where pure speculation is considered serious scholarship.    For example, think of the scholars of the “Jesus Seminar” voting on passages by using colored beads.  The “Q” hypothesis is a scholarly contrivance erected on a foundation of sand. Returning to the world of reality and historical research, we realize that “Q” is simply a mathematical construct. It is the set of data that includes all passages common to Luke and Matthew, that is not common to Mark.  There is no “Q” document sitting in a museum anywhere, nor in the hands of a private collector. “Q” simply does not exist.

A third flaw with the “Q” hypothesis is that there are places where Matthew, Mark and Luke agree, yet Luke and Matthew have common variations against Mark.  In other words, Mark is the odd Gospel out in certain instances. These commonalities are known as “minor agreements,” and their existence undermines the argument for Marcan priority.  A fourth flaw with “Q” is that “Q” is never mentioned by the early church. Several Fathers of the Church made extensive inventories of early Christian writings, even spurious and heretical writings. Nowhere do the Fathers of the Church say that Matthew copied from another source.

To press my case further, no historian of the first, second or third century tells us that Matthew or Luke borrowed material from a common or concise source, whether written or oral.  The only evidence that Weisse and Holtzmann have is a second-hand reference by one Bishop Papias, a legitimate church authority of the late first century whose writings were lost.

Of course, Weisse and Holtzmann bungle their understanding of Papias.  Eusebius tells us that Papias wrote a manuscript which was his own, second-hand, accumulation of the teachings of Jesus.  Because Papias claims to assemble the “logia” (sayings) of Jesus from second-hand sources, Weisse and Holtzmann assume and infer, somewhat incredulously and with no direct evidence, that the author of the Gospel of Matthew does the same thing.

Are Weisse and Holtzmann right?  Well, unlike the writings of Papias, which are lost, the Gospel of Matthew spread throughout the early church very quickly.  It was rapidly accepted because a) Matthew was an apostle of Christ, b) the community regarded the Gospel itself as authoritative, c) and it was accepted as coming from an authority who knew Jesus personally.  Papias, on the other hand, is a second-hand source.  Further, he was never authorized by the twelve to write his own “Gospel.”  It was an initiative he took up himself.  Later church authorities, while neutral about his writing, do not regard Papias as an authoritative commentator on the life of Jesus.  They saw the writing of Papias for what it was: an unauthorized and non-systematic mishmash of the sayings of Jesus.

Papias’ credibility is further undermined by the fact that his own “logia” or writings do not survive.  What we know of Papias’ writings comes from second-hand ancient sources, like Eusebius.   Papias’ writing did not survive because there was no demand for scriptural accounts that were unauthorized – even if they were written by a local churchman.  The official Gospels had to be received not just by a single community but by all of Christendom, a region stretching from England in the north-west to Syria in the east. And the Gospels had to be received without objection by the sister churches.  The early church, though far-flung, was small enough that word of the existence of a new “gospel” travelled quickly.  If it was not of apostolic origin, then the gospel was not accepted.

Ironically,Papias himself testifies to the importance of Apostolic authority. Papias tells us that Mark was authorized by Peter the Apostle to write the Gospel of Mark.  Papias also tells us that Mark paid no attention to chronological order: he simply tried to record the events of the life of Jesus based on what Peter told him.  Contrary to what the scholars Weisse and Holtzmann tell us, Papias asserts that Matthew wrote his Gospel of his own accord.  Papias himself is telling us that the “Matthew” who wrote the Gospel was his own Apostolic authority. In other words, Matthew the Apostle authored or dictated his own Gospel.  What Papias tells us is not that Matthew wrote a Gospel based on someone else’s “sayings,” but that Matthew wrote a Gospel that was a first-hand account of the life of Jesus. Matthew, unlike Mark, was written by an eyewitness who just happened to be a smart, self-educated tax collector and astute student of Hebrew Scripture. In short, Matthew was the just the sort of man Jesus wanted as an Apostle who would one day write down what he had witnessed.

If you ask me, Jerome and Augustine were right. The first Gospel was written by an eyewitness, with a very sophisticated understanding of theology.  The first Gospel was written by Matthew.  The shorter Gospel of Mark was likely commissioned by Peter. Yet given the commonality of certain sections with Matthew’s Gospels, it would seem that Mark and Peter had access to the circulating Gospel of Matthew when they set about writing the second Gospel.  It is quite possible that Peter authorized the Gospel of Mark. Yet at the same time, Mark appears to be a redaction of Matthew.


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  1. Hi. I would recommend you read some of the more detailed “scholarly” discussions of the priority of Matthew vs. Mark, rather than rely on sources like Wikipedia. While Wikipedia is becoming a better and better source with time, it does not go into the kind of depth necessary or specifics to answer the question at hand. If possible, the introduction to the commentary on Matthew by Davies and Allison in the International Critical Commentary is a great source. That’s a very expensive book, so another is the treatment by Donald Guthrie in his Introduction to the New Testament or R. T. France’s Matthew Evangelist and Theologian, D. A. Carson’s commentary on Matthew or his Introduction to the NT, etc. There are countless good sources from conservative authors that cover this issue in great depth. If nothing is available to you other than internet sources, I’d be happy to copy some pages from one of these sources and send them to you (a few pages from a large work is, I’m sure, within the “fair use” principle of copyright).

    You mentioned the “minor agreements” as incompatible with Markan priority. Out of context, this sounds more substantial than it is. These minor agreements are rather few and ambiguous, typically using common transitional words. However, Matthew and Mark agree against Luke in large portions where there is almost word for word agreement, and Luke and Mark agree against Matthew in a similar way. I’ve sat with a parallel of the Gospels in front of me in Greek and English and checked some of this out myself, rather than rely on secondary opinions. The bottom line is that the agreement between Matthew and Mark against Luke and Mark and Luke against Matthew is extensive, involves specific wording, and deals with content that could have been worded in many different ways, making the agreements quite striking. The “minor agreements” are rare, brief, and involve generic transition words (e.g., “and he went on from there”) that have fewer ways available to word those transitional comments. This latter agreement could be reasonably accounted for by coincidence, but the former is beyond coincidence and clearly portrays dependence. Also, minor agreements can be partially accounted for by copyists trying to bring things into agreement (particularly Luke with Matthew, because it seems Matthew’s gospel was the dominant Gospel in the first few centuries of the Church).

    Also, the hypothesis of Matthean priority results in another curiosity. Mark’s narratives are consistently longer than Matthew’s and Luke’s, often substantially longer. A parallel of the Gospels shows this very clearly. Mark includes many details that are not contained in Matthew and Luke. Most of these details are not necessary for the point of the story. So here’s the curiosity: Why would Mark cut out a lot of very relevant material that we find in Matthew, but then fill that up with lots of comparatively irrelevant details? Wouldn’t it make more sense that Matthew and Luke shortened Mark and left out the details not necessary for telling the story? Keep in mind that one dip of the reed allowed for writing of two letters, so writers were choosy about what they wrote vs. what they left out. It just seems so odd that Mark would put so much effort into adding incidental details largely unimportant for telling the story (indeed Matthew and Luke told those stories without those details) yet eliminate extensive amounts of very important and profound teachings and deeds of Jesus. Also, why would Mark cut out Matthew’s resurrection accounts?

    Here’s another curiosity. I have read all the Gospels in Greek. While the observation I’m about to mention has been around for years, my reading confirmed this observation for me. Matthew’s Greek is rather simple, but elegant, and Luke’s is impressive and nearly classical (Luke is a tough read compared to Matthew, Mark, and John). Yet Mark’s Greek is quite rough, with comparatively awkward grammatical constructions throughout. So if Mark followed Matthew, why would he take direct, simple, elegant Greek and do a hatchet job on it? Wouldn’t it make more sense that Matthew “smoothed out” Mark’s Greek rather than the idea that Mark roughed up Matthew’s Greek, for no apparent reason?

    I don’t mean to sound contentious, but your comments about Q seem like you are mischaracterizing the concept. I don’t think you will find a single scholar who believes there was ever a “Q document” yet you seemed to have created the assumption that scholars believe this (some may have early on, but this was long ago rejected). Scholar’s acknowledge one basic basic definition of Q: It is the material common to Matthew and Luke that is not found in Mark – period. Sure, there have been differing speculations about the nature of that common material. Most would argue that such common material may have existed as multiple sources of oral tradition and/or multiple written sources. But to parody Q by saying there is no Q document in a museum seems like a misrepresentation of the concept. I assume that you acknowledge that there is similar material between Matthew and Luke that is not in Mark, and if my assumption is correct, then welcome to the club – you acknowledge the existence of Q! Q is not a document. It is simply a way of referring to common material. However, whatever combination of written or oral sources were involved, some of it was likely written because of the verbatim wording between Matthew and Luke at points. Q is still Q if it turns out the material is similar between Matthew and Luke because one used the other. The point is that Q = the material common to Matthew and Luke not found in Mark. All else is speculation. How one would find that objectionable is unclear to me. By the way, the idea that there were multiple written sources floating around back then is not some contrivance of modern scholars. Luke says that very thing in the opening line of his Gospel.

    I have not figured out why folks feel threatened by Markan priority. Those from a conservative perspective should find Markan priority welcome because a strong argument for the historical reliability of the Gospels can be made if one assumes Markan priority, but this argument disappears if Matthew and Luke did not use Mark. I’d be happy to describe it if you are interested. While this argument does not support Markan priority, it is a nice side effect of it!

    Sorry to go on so long, but I was sitting watching the olympics and typing at the same time, so I had the time . . .

    • Thanks for your email. You raise some interesting points. You are quite right. Q is as you say, just that which is common to Mt and Lk, but not in Mk. That’s fine. However, it is often cited as an authority, as if its existence is proof of Marcan priority. I have issues with discussions of Q as if it has an existence all of its own. It does not, as you say – rather, it is a mathemetical or logical expression.

      Some self-disclosure: I used to accept Marcan priority. My difficulty with Marcan priority is the structural elegance of Matthew.I honestly don’t see how Matthew could have taken Mark and turned it into a theological tour-de-force. My thesis is that Matthew developed two major discourses – the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon in the Temple (Mt chapters 21 – 25 or 26), and used them as “twin pillars” in his account of the ministry of Jesus.

      This structure simply is not present in Mark. In my view, Matthew wrote his Gospel first.

      However, you are right that the commonalities and differences among the three synoptics make it difficult to be certain who wrote their Gospel first. However, coming from the perspective of a theologian, not a biblical scholar, I balk at the notion that Mark wrote his Gospel first. There is too much “deliberate thought” or intentionality going into Matthew’s Gospel to assume dependency on Mark.

      I don’t mean to be dismissive, but Matthew is an outstanding theologian and a pretty good scholar of Hebrew Scripture. For me, to presume dependency on Mark begs the question as to why a theologian of Matthew’s calibre would have to start with someone else’s Gospel. That just seems to defy common sense. Of course, that’s my opinion.


      • Thanks for your reply. Lest you think I’m closed-minded on this issue, I’m ordering a book that argues for the priority of Matthew. I hear the author does a good job with this topic.

        Regarding your argument from the elegant structure of Matthew. I’m familiar with the structure of Matthew’s Gospel and aware of discussions about it, however I have not heard this put forth in the debate over Markan priority. Did you come up with this or have others used it? I’ve obviously not read all there is to read on this topic. Most of my reading on this synoptic issue was 20-30 years ago (except for the Introduction to the Davies and Allison commentary on Matthew which I read about 2 years ago – it covers this in great depth). So, if there has been a shift in the field and better arguments available compared to 20-30 years ago, I’d like to know about them.

        You mentioned that you see a structure in Matthew that you don’t see in Mark. However, I’m wondering if your argument from that fact to the priority of Matthew is a non sequitur. If Mark was a source for Matthew, Matthew would not be obliged to follow Mark’s pattern (or lack thereof), but would have been free to include material from Mark as needed to fill out his rather elegant structure. I don’t think anyone is arguing that Matthew is a simple rewrite of Mark. The old form critics (Bultmann et al) seemed to treat the stories and sayings as isolated units strung together and failed to recognize a sophisticated literary structure to each of the Gospels (quite clearly Matthew’s is more sophisticated than Mark’s!). Rather, I think the idea is that Mark is a source for Matthew in terms of specific sayings and deeds (mostly the latter), but not for the structure. The structure is Matthew’s own, not shared with Mark, Luke, or John. According to the “standard theory,” Matthew structured material from Mark and from other sources, including material shared with Luke but not in Mark (i.e., Q), as well his own unique material.

        So, the structure argument you put forth, I believe is a non sequitur, i.e., the conclusion does not necessarily follow from the premise(s). Other conclusions are also possible from the same premises. In fact, I think a different conclusion makes more sense, at least to me. It seems like it makes more sense for Matthew to create an elegant structure and incorporate Mark’s material into that structure rather than Mark take a well structured Gospel of Matthew and “rough up” that structure, just like, as I mentioned previously, he “roughed up” Matthew’s Greek, and eliminated much relevant material and extensively added unnecessary details to what he found in Matthew’s Gospel. The scenario of Matthew smoothing out Mark seems more likely than Mark roughing up Matthew. The idea that Matthew used Mark seems to more naturally account for all of this. The hypothesis that Mark used Matthew makes Mark’s gospel very puzzling to me.

        Lucky for you, I’m not watching the Olympics at the moment, so I will not continue on and on and on like I did in my last post!

        In addition to the book I intend to read, do you have other things to recommend to me? As firm as I may appear on Markan priority, it represents no philosophical or doctrinal preference.

        Thanks for the discussion.

        P.S. I think the Jesus Seminar gave Q a bad name. I think because many in the general population first heard of Q in the context to media reports about the Jesus Seminar, Q has suffered from a “guilt by association.” Q was a pretty harmless concept before then. 26 years ago (pre-Jesus Seminar), I received a Master’s in Biblical Studies from a very conservative institution (big on inerrancy) and they taught Markan priority and were quite comfortable with Q (they still are). I had already read much on this before attending, so I was not introduced to these concepts there, but they were certainly “reinforced” there.

      • Dave

        Here’s my response to your comments.

        1. Did you come up with this or have others used it?

        It’s my personal view after following the Year A cycle of Readings. I was left thinking that there was, in my opinion, no way Matthew borrowed from Mark. It did not seem to be complimentary with the idea that matthew deliberately structured his Gospel. (And nor am I questioning the historicity of the accounts, I just think Matthew reflected on the ministry of Jesus quite a bit before authoring his Gospel.)

        2. The old form critics (Bultmann et al) seemed to treat the stories and sayings as isolated units strung together

        That’s right. I suppose they used the term “pericope” and referred to “pearls on a string.” The problem with this theory is that, in Matthew’s case there’s too much intentional structure to refer to Matthew’s Gospel as “pearls on a string.” Even if Matthew post-dated Mark, this simply doesnt make sense, to me.

        Per Matthew’s priority, 3.Other conclusions are also possible from the same premises.

        You are absolutely correct. My theory is circumstantial. So is the theory that Q is a source for Matthew! And that’s my point. Why am I allowing Bultmann, or another historical-critical scholar do my thinking for me? And yes, their Greek is better than mine, but their understanding of Christian theology is middling. In fact, as a seminarian, I think one of the problems is that some ofthese scholars think so far outside the box that they lose sight of Christian theology and the kerygma of the faith.

        As firm as I may appear on Markan priority, it represents no philosophical or doctrinal preference.

        I don’t see huge issues with Marcan priority vis-a-vis historicity of the gospels either, I just got tired of thinking “inside the academic box,” or shall we say, according to the historical critical scholarly tradition.

        As per the matter of recommended reading, I really don’t know of recent research on the matter of Marcan or Matthean priority (I wish I did). Perhaps my antipathy to it reflects my peers’ sensibilities as well. I studied at the Gregorian University. The faculty was reasonably comfortable with historical criticism, although the Gregorian emphasizes “literary criticism” as well which is their own contribution to the field of biblical study. However, among students, I know that there was/is quiet suspicion with certain aspects of historical criticism, since we seem to all be repeating what 7 or 8 scholars had proposed in the nineteenth century. I recall giving a presentation in class and a challenged some of the premises of the historical critical school (this was an OT class). Though my comments drew a few tut-tuts, it never affected my grade. I think I was simply saying what a lot of other people were thinking. Identifying the flaws of historical criticism can be, as you well know, a politically sensitive matter in a University environment.

        Per recommended reading, I regard R.T. France’s “Gospel of Matthew” to be one of the best commentaries. He is not a huge fan of the historical-critical method, as his Christianity is more on the reformed-evangelical side (Yet I think he’s Episcopalian). But his commentary is widely cited, and often appears in a top-five list of commentaries.

        I’ll also admit, I am in the minority in stating an opinion about Matthean priority. But frankly, I think the argument for marcan priority is circumstantial, and I’m not going to go along with the academic crowd on an argument that has not been adequately demonstrated, as of yet.



      • Justin,

        Now you are in trouble. I just purchased and installed Dragon NaturallySpeaking voice dictation for my Macintosh, which will make it easy for me to go on and on and on! However, I’ll try to restrain myself.

        I get the impression from your response that you are studying for the Catholic priesthood. Is that correct? If so, I commend you and would be happy to support you by way of prayer as well as discussion. If you are studying for some other form of ministry or another denomination, my offer still holds!

        I don’t mean to be a nuisance, but my last comment in my previous post (about Q and the Jesus Seminar) seems to apply to your comments of Markan priority, namely guilt by association. You seem to be reacting to the type of scholarship that produced the view as well as the idea that it is the majority view. Technically, (and I know you know this), neither of those have anything to do with whether or not Mark wrote first. In a sense, these are forms of ad hominem arguments. They don’t directly address the argument, but they focus on who generated the arguments. Your comments seem to have an aesthetic and attitudinal angles to them, rather than directly addressing the evidence. My assessment may be a bit of an overreach, but it seems that beyond your concerns about Markan priority being the majority view and being developed by Liberal scholars, your primary argument is the structure of Matthew’s Gospel. It was not clear to me from what you said why it would be a problem for Matthew to take material he had in front of him and work that material into a structure. There is no suggestion here he needed to pay any attention to Mark’s structure.

        Let’s face it, Matthew got his material from somewhere. Also, he got his structure from somewhere. Structures need material, and why can’t Mark’s material be incorporated into the structure of Matthew? It would be helpful to me if you could indicate what it is about Matthew’s structure that precludes him incorporating material from anywhere in general, and Mark in particular. The notion that Mark’s does not have the same structure of Matthew’s Gospel is not relevant. Mark has material and Mark has a structure, and Matthew can draw from one without the other. If Matthew had all kinds of material in front of him, ranging from his own personal eyewitness recollections, the recollections of others, the material we refer to as the Q material, and Mark’s gospel, it seems that he could create a structure or manner of arranging all that material which we now know as the structure of Matthew’s Gospel. He has a birth narrative followed by alternating sections dealing with teachings and with actions/miracles and moves on to the passion narrative. But as you know there’s much more than that, in terms of parallelism, chaistic structure, theological themes, etc. It is not clear to me what it is about his structure that would preclude him from drawing material from various sources, including Mark.

        I work in a secular University, in a very rigorous social science context, where there are very few givens. In other words, everything has to be established with the most careful reasoning and the best evidence. I think this mentality is a good one. I think we who are believers should not have any fear of this sort of approach. Our goal is with establishing truth. It is difficult to see how we can come to a greater understanding of that truth without approaching questions in a very rigorous, evidential fashion.

        Over the years I’ve had my pet theories that seemed to fit best with how I viewed things. Some of those I still hold, but some I felt compelled to abandon based on the evidence. I alluded to this in a previous post. But I have grown in my knowledge as a result of updating my understanding of any given topic area. This of course, does not mean that I’m bouncing all around in my viewpoints. But I do know that a preferred perspective can affect the way I filter information as I encounter it. There is actually a lot of social psychology research on this, that I’d be happy to share. It’s actually fascinating stuff, and I have a hobby of reading up on that area (I taught a social psychology course once for someone on sabbatical, and would love to teach it again).

        Okay, it looks like I’ve gone hog wild with my new voice dictation software. I think I’ll bring this to a conclusion.


        P.S. My e-mail is in your “system,” so if you provide me with yours, I can send you some interesting pages from a commentary that address your “structure” issue, at least somewhat.

      • Hi Dave

        I’ll agree i have my views. But I also think I am a reasonably bright guy myself. I have an MBA in finance, to boot. when I studied finance in grad school, we covered statistical method, and some further advanced mathematics in my classes in bond pricing and derivatives. Having some exposure to the practical application of statistics to real world problems, I was never particularly impressed with some of the arguments made by the historical critical scholars. What I mean by this is that they are not rooted, as you would well agree, in statistical method or statistical observation.

        Scriptural scholarship is a tricky thing, and we have philologists, philosophers, and people with an array of backgrounds (some relevant, some not) conducting post grad research in the area of biblical studies.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’ve read the historical critical research. I had to, as these texts were on the syllabus for some of my classes. And actually, Bultmmann, for example, is regarded as a towering figure in Johannine scholarship. I quoted him in a homily once and got yelled at.

        At the same time, some of us preparing for ministry (whether in the Catholic church or other denominations) have over-relied on some of this scholarship, to the point that we look like idiots.

        For example, are we supposed to espouse, and in fact preach, that Jesus did not rise form the dead, but rather it was simply an event that was part of the apostloic imagination?

        From the perspective of academia, we go with what works, empirically. So we rule out the scientifically impossible. If you want to do that, then yes, toss the Resurrection over board, along with the Ascension, Jesus walking on water, casting out demons and healing the sick.

        Bultmann, for example, has said that he can still have faith in Christianity even if the aforementioned is true. However, talk to most Christians on the street, and this is not a tenable argument. As Paul said, “If Christ is not risen, your faith is in vain.”

        Those of us in ministry have to be honest with the people in the pews, and their reactions. If you introduce historical critical scholarship into a sermon, you will empty the pews. In the Catholic church, we call this “the ordinary magisterium.” In other words, people vote with their feet. Say something they are not expecting, and they will walk. That’s why you will rarely hear Joel Olsteen, or any televangelist, quote a 19th century German scholar on Scripture.

        But this does not mean biblical scholarship is dead. One can spend years (decades) studying the Gospels and not fully understand the multiple levels of meaning. There is a lot of theology, and a knowledge of Greek would certainly help. And yes, there are questions of redaction, composition, and compilation worth studying too.

        I would also imagine that one could spend several years researching simply the question of priority vis a vis Matthew and Mark.

        I don’t worry too much about the historicity of the resurrection, myself. In other words, I believe it occurred. When you look at Scripture form this perspective, the whole hermeneutic changes, and (admittedly) you become less sceptical of some of what is presented in the Gospels. Then you end up casting a critical eye at the scholarship.

        Now, back to Marcan priority. Is it possible that Matthew structured his Gospel the way he did, while relying on Mark. I suppose it falls within the realm of possibility. However, as I feel I am sort of “counsel for the traditional position” I just don’t see the necessity of this argument. I am also, at times, frustrated by the brevity of Mark. My position could change again as I look more closely at mark, and after I finish reading a good commentary on Mark, which might help me to understand Mark’s (or the author of Mark’s, anyway) own thinking.

        Dave, one of the problems with priority between Mt and Mk, is as you know, that neither position can be demonstrated decisively. If someone wants to introduce Marcan priority in the classroom, then ok, lets just not ignore the opinion of tradition on the subject.

        you can send me an email at kofawordpress at gmail

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