This is a summary of my findings on Gospel origins, as originally motivated by the Talmud of Jmmanuel document. It takes into account the external evidence and internal evidence, allowing for false representations only where the truth would have proven too embarrassing to early Christian leaders, or too unacceptable to the Gospel writers in carrying out their particular agendas.
The Augustinian hypothesis, as expressed at least in part in writings by Papias, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, as well as by Augustine and later church fathers, has three primary parts:
MAH-A. Considerable validity to the patriarchal evidence. The MAH accepts the first two of the above three parts of the Augustinian tradition as historically correct, but not the third. The lack of any mention of the Gospels until several decades into the 2nd century, the definite appearance only then of quotations from the Gospel of Matthew – but unattributed quotations at first, and the numerous writings ever since that time that relate to the Gospels (by Papias, Justin Martyr, Marcion,...), all point towards the Gospels not having become known until well into the 2nd century. But it must have been embarrassing to early church leaders to have four Gospels appear on the scene, starting around 120 CE, attributed to disciples and friends of Peter and Paul (Mark and Luke, respectively) when these persons could no longer be alive. Nor could the apostles Matthew and John still have been alive and active then. Consequently, with the exception of Papias as quoted by Eusebius, we find no mention of their names in connection with the Gospels until a couple more generations had gone by, i.e., until about 172 CE by Apollinaris of Hierapolis, soon after followed by Irenaeus. By then it had become unacceptable for early Christians to believe anything other than that the Gospels had been written by their attributers. By then it could more easily be assumed that the Gospels had been written at a much earlier date. Click here for a more extensive treatment of the chronology.
The MAH allows that not only does the longer version of Ignatius's epistles contain many Gospel quotations spuriously fed in later, but even the shorter version may contain a few, and similarly the writing of 1 Clement appears to contain a couple of later insertions (in 13:1b-2 and 46:8); i.e., neither the writer of 1 Clement nor Ignatius knew Matthew. Regarding Papias, if, circa 130 CE, he had written of the Gospels of Matthew and Mark as if they had actually been authored by their attributers, why would it have taken another 40 years before any other Christian writer would dare mention these gospels by name? I have not come across any NT scholars who have addressed this question. The most obvious solution, however, is that in his writings Papias had included statements to the effect that the Gospels had not been written by the names ascribed to them. For several decades subsequent writers would already have known this, and/or have believed Papias. Yet they would recognize great value in the Gospels and would wish to quote from them. So they utilized the Gospels but omitted their attributed names. However, by the time of Irenaeus, it could be assumed that the Gospels first appeared so many decades earlier that Christian dogma could be initiated that their authors had indeed been their namesakes of the first century. By this reasoning, Eusebius circa 300 CE was forced to extract sparingly and carefully from Papiasís voluminous writings, and edit them as heavily as necessary, to preserve this new piece of theological commitment. By the same reasoning, the writings of any other "whistle blowers" who mentioned the late (2nd century) date of appearance of the Gospels would not survive.
Considering the first two parts of the Augustinian tradition, it would be common knowledge, after Semitic Matthew had come out, that it had been the first gospel. Those in certain house-churches in Rome would know that Mark had been written in response to Matthew, and similarly at the church where the writer of Luke was located and the church where John's writer was located. Those at other churches, too, would know the order in which the gospels had appeared, as several years probably elapsed between their successive appearances. It could not have been kept a secret that Semitic Matthew had been first, as too many persons in too many places must have known about it. Hence there is no reason that the oral tradition regarding order of appearance of the Gospels (within the 120-130 CE time frame) would be wrong or would have been invented. If anything, after the anti-gentile Semitic Matthew was superseded by its somewhat altered, Greek translation (see B. below), there might have been a temptation to invent a rumor that there never had been a Semitic Matthew that motivated the writing of the other gospels. But since no such rumor was spread, and the potential embarrassment of Semitic Matthew's primacy was admitted, the apparent truth of its priority deserves our full consideration.
MAH-B. Anti-gentilism within Matthew. An important aspect of the MAH concerns the anti-gentile statements in Matthew. These occur at Matthew:
Therefore, I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation producing the fruits of it.This was another warning to the Israelites of what would happen to them if they continued to flout the true teachings. Comparison of this with Matthew's source lets us know what the true teachings were, and the great extent to which the warnings to Israelites were softened here and elsewhere in Matthew (MAH-H.). During this editing, some pro-gentile content was unavoidably retained.
The parable of the sheep and the goats (Mt 25:31-46), which includes
gentiles – presumably converted gentiles – among those who might
receive the reward of the sheep, may appear to be a relaxation of the
writer's anti-gentile attitude. So it does seem that this writer
sometimes realized that if Messianic Judaism was to triumph by the time
of the End Days, a goodly number of gentiles would need to be converted
to it. Presumably these gentiles would be those who "will come from
east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the
kingdom of heaven."
There thus seems to have been a strong three-way tension between the writer of Matthew's cultural dislike of gentiles, his great disappointment over most Jews – led by scribes, chief priests and Pharisees, for not having accepted Jesus as Messiah – and his desire that Jewish Christianity eventually succeed by acquiring sufficient converts, even if pagan converts. If this explanation for this writer's general attitude is not sufficiently satisfying, one may consider the words of Scot McKnight (2001, p. 95): "Any theory [referring to hypotheses on the Synoptic Problem], in fact, that explains everything easily and convincingly is overdoing it."
MAH-C. Reactions to Matthew's anti-gentilism. The relevance of B. above is that the writers of Mark and Luke, along with their associates who strongly favored discipleship for gentiles, must have reacted strongly against Semitic Matthew's anti-gentile stance. With Christianity having been expanding into gentile lands for the previous half century, those engaged in spreading the good word could not have condoned the appearance of a Gospel limiting discipleship to the children of Israel, no matter how valuable other portions of Matthew were deemed to be. What could they do about it? – the most literate among them could pen their own gospels! The writers' feelings show up in their Gospels – in Mark by its omission of Matthew's anti-gentile statements, by its retaliative treatment of the Jewish disciples as being extra dumb and unsuited for discipleship relative to Matthew, and by its omission of much Judaistic material. (For Luke, see E. below.)
Although it has been claimed that this negative
treatment of the disciples is overstated (Blomberg, 1997, p. 132), that
view only holds if Mark is considered to have preceded Matthew. With
Matthean priority, Mark's negative view of the Jewish disciples and
even of Jews more generally cannot be overstated, as will be seen. The writer of Mark had evidently already held an anti-Jewish attitude. Goodman (1987, p.8) notes that, "Josephus
accused the governors of Judaea not simply of incompetence but also of
malevolence towards the Jews... Doubtless any such antisemitism may
have been simply an irrational dislike of people with idiosyncratic
customs, but it may be relevant that most of the procurators were from
the Italian gentry and will have known about Jews mostly from the
Jewish diaspora in Rome. There a large community had been settled since
at least the mid first century B.C., most of them originally brought to
Rome as slaves. These freedmen and descendants of freedmen were mostly
poor and were, like much of the plebs of the city of Rome, prone to
violence. It would not be surprising if most of the governors thus came
to Judaea with an unfavourable image of Jews." Judging from 1 Clement,
probably written around A.D. 97, there was at that time internal
disorder within the church of Rome (as well as in the church at
Corinth) involving a jealous zeal of Christians against fellow
Christians (Brown and Meier, 1983, p. 179; see also 1 Clement 7:1 and
46:5-7), and this likely included Jewish Christians pitted against
gentile Christians. Outside the church, during the Jewish uprisings of
115-117 already mentioned, the Jews had committed horrible atrocities
against both Greeks and Romans, according to Cassius Dio (LXXV.31), in
Egypt, Cyrenaica and Cyprus; as a result, no Jews were thenceforth
allowed to set foot in Cyprus.
Thus strong anti-Jewish feelings persisted in Rome and other portions of its empire during early 2nd century, when the MAH sees Mark to have been written. It should not be unexpected, therefore, that the writer of Mark, if based in Rome as external and internal evidence suggests, shared in this anti-Jewish sentiment. The church in Rome, with which the writer of Mark would then have been associated, is believed to have been made up of individual house churches governed by presbyter-bishops and not by any single bishop, until around 140-150 CE; single presbyters may have supervised individual house churches, with the church of Rome being "supervised by the collective group of such house-church presbyter-bishops" (Brown & Meier, pp. 163-164,173-175). Thus there was room for diversity in attitudes within or between the various house churches regarding Jewish versus gentile views. This could encompass the anti-Jewish attitude of the writer of Mark, who may have been an anti-Jewish presbyter or deacon of a gentile-Christian house church. The anti-gentile barbs in Matthew must have contributed strongly, however, towards his motivation for writing a gospel (Mark) that would correct and replace Matthew.
Brown & Meier (pp. 2-8) identified four basic groups of early Christians ranging from the most strongly Jewish Christians (Group 1, which insisted on "full observance of the Mosaic law") to the most strongly gentile Christians (Group 4, which "saw no abiding significance in Jewish cult and feasts"). The MAH finds the writer of Matthew to be identified most closely with Group 1 and the writer of Mark with Group 4 or beyond. And we find that the anti-Jewishness of Mark, assuming Matthean priority, indicates that the tension between Gentile Christians and Jewish Christians in Rome did not rapidly fade away after the time of Paul (see Rom 14-15), but persisted for many decades thereafter.
It seems incredible that with respect to the Synoptic Problem, New Testament scholars have not heretofore taken note of this obvious possibility and explored the implications of an anti-Jewish Mark. It will be seen to be a key element in allowing the MAH to solve the synoptic problem more comprehensively than the two-source or two-gospel hypothesis. After the Markan-priority hypothesis gained hold, by early 20th-century, the new consensus did not have to contend with this embarrassment; they could merely say that, for whatever reason, Mark has its "unflattering warts" and the writers of Matthew and Luke corrected them. An exception is Pierson Parker (1983), who placed Matthew before Mark; he summarized, "He [the writer of Mark] evidently got caught up in the Jewish-Gentile controversy, and was a strong partisan for the Gentile side."
It can only be concluded that the spectre of Mark's writer being flagrantly anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic, much more so than Marcion a few decades later, was so terribly distasteful to New Testament scholars that it was the primary, though unspoken and almost unthinkable, reason for Markan priority over Matthew to have been set in motion in the 19th century. That spectre remains no less distasteful today, what with memories of the Holocaust firmly entrenched.
MAH-D. Mark's writer's anti-Semitism and distancing of his gospel from Matthew. It stands to reason that if the writer of Mark wished his gospel to be directed to gentiles and supersede Matthew, he would need to make it look as different as possible from Semitic Matthew. Yet he had to depend exclusively upon Matthew for all except what he found in a certain short Ur-Mark document (see F. below). He made use of several methods for distancing his gospel from that of Matthew:
MAH-E. Reaction by the writer of Luke. Regarding Luke, its
writer favored inclusion of Jewish background material as well as
pro-gentile material. Thus he reinstated within his own gospel much of
the Matthean text omitted from Mark. Yet he could not hide his anger at
the first gospel, Semitic Matthew, which said that Jesus "was
sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel," considering that he and his
associates had been working for years or decades at converting pagans
to early Christianity. He would disclose his anger at Matthew's
anti-gentile stance in several ways:
a) favoring Mark over Matthew – following Mark's text and order where it deviates significantly from Matthew's text or order. This includes instances of omission, where Mark lacks a portion of a pericope it otherwise shares with Matthew, and so Luke also lacks the same portion. This results in many major disagreements between Luke and Matthew's text in comparison with Mark's; however, the writer of Luke could not carry this out so fastidiously as to avoid many minor agreements between Luke and Matthew against Mark, which would show up after Semitic Matthew had been translated into Greek Matthew.
b) when incorporating pieces of valuable Matthean material of substantial size omitted by Mark (Q verses), placing them in different, invented contexts than in Matthew, and usually in different sequence. This would show the writer's distaste for Matthew's anti-gentile stance without reproving the writer of Mark for having omitted the verses, while also ensuring that his gospel would not resemble Matthew any more than necessary; and
c) in places where Mark follows Matthew's order and content closely, showing his disrespect for Matthew more indirectly by either following neither gospel very closely (or recasting), or by following neither at all but often adding in his own special material, of which there was much. His gospel would then look quite different from Matthew, especially since it would be written in Greek not Hebrew.
To the extent that the writer of Luke felt obliged to incorporate much of the Matthean material omitted in Mark, he can be considered a mediator between the Jewish Christianity reflected in Matthew and the gentile Christianity of Mark. However, the manner in which he incorporated this Matthean material, b) above, reflects an unforgiving attitude against Semitic Matthew's anti-gentile slurs and statements denying discipleship for gentiles. He may also have been more supportive of gentile than Jewish Christianity, judging from Acts 28:28, in which Paul tells the Jews, "Let it be known to you then that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen."
d) Not only would his gospel look different from Matthew, however, it would look different from Mark, too, since it would be much longer then Mark and be written in better Greek, which included removal of most of Mark's pleonasms or redundancies.
It may be noticed that followers of the Griesbach hypothesis (Matthew, Luke, Mark order of gospels) accept the harsher Markan portrayal of the disciples relative to Matthew. They do so, however, without mention of Mark's especially obvious anti-Jewish slant relative to Matthew; they evidently rely on a general scholastic feeling that this is too disgraceful an attitude for a Gospel writer to have held and also for a present-day scholar to reflect upon, so that their silence on this aspect would receive little if any scholarly discussion. On the other hand, by placing Mark last, they can say that the writer of Mark rarely diverged from Matthew in order and content except when he was following the order and content of Luke. In that manner they can avoid any implication that the writer of Luke was a "crank" in his editorial behavior, as has occurred during discussions of the Augustinian hypothesis, where Luke comes after the other two Gospels (Streeter, 1964, p. 94, fn.). The MAH finds he was no erratic "crank," but had all-too-human reasons for his behavior.
MAH-F. Ur-Mark and its shortness. 1. With the MAH, there is
an additional motivation for Mark to have been written besides
correcting and over-correcting for Matthew's anti-gentile stance.
According to Clement of Alexandria, when Peter and Mark were in Rome
together they possessed a document
that Peter neither discouraged from being read nor urged forward. With
the Talmud Jmmanuel (TJ) as a guide, one may infer that this document
had been an early attempt at writing down Immanuel's (Jesus') ministry
as it progressed, until this Aramaic writing (call it Ur-Mark) was
stolen by a young Pharisee so as to turn it over, for a price, to a
chief priest seeking evidence of blasphemy. Eventually, after the
crucifixion, Ur-Mark was apparently recovered by either Peter or by
John Mark in Jerusalem and carried to Rome with them. The point in the
TJ where this theft occurred corresponds to Matthew's 12th chapter,
which happens to be the very point at which Mark's order of pericopes,
from there onwards, follows Matthew's order.
The writer of Mark is inferred to have known about this old document at
his or another's house-church in Rome, and, when Matthew appeared on
the scene, to have noticed that Ur-Mark's contents largely agreed with
the contents of Mt 8-11, except for Matthean redactions. So he utilized
this Ur-Mark to correct, vivify and amplify upon the
corresponding Matthean pericopes, while maintaining Matthean redactions
that preserved early Christian orthodoxy.
We may note that according to Clement of Alexandria, the Ur-Mark document held by Peter and (John) Mark in Rome was neither urged forward by Peter nor strongly forbidden (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History Bk 6, 14:6-8). This suggests it contained a few heresies relative to Paul's preaching that didn't bother Peter but which discouraged its active dissemination, allowing it to lie fallow within some house-church in Rome for many decades before the appearance of Semitic Matthew there caused Ur-Mark to come to the attention of the writer of Mark.
2. His utilization of Ur-Mark in expanding and vivifying some
pericopes served to authenticate part of his gospel, and so he spread
out the location of those pericopes into other sections of his gospel
in order to enlarge the authenticated region. This caused the order of
many of Mark's healing pericopes to differ from that of Matthew – this
"improper order" was apparently commented upon by Papias. It would be
consistent with this if the writer of Mark added other authenticating
touches to his gospel. In particular, he could utilize occasional
Aramaic words from Ur-Mark, or perhaps from suggestions by an associate
well versed in Aramaic, whose meaning he would explain in his Greek
We cannot be certain, however, that the different order in Mark of a few of the healing pericopes isn't more accurate than Matthew's order, since their order in the Ur-Mark chronicle must have been correct, while the TJ source of Matthew was written years later.
3. It may be mentioned that of the Gospel writers, only the
writer of Mark had access to Ur-Mark. However, after the writer of
Matthew was done utilizing the TJ in forming his gospel, the writers of
Luke and John did have, apparently, some limited access to the TJ. The
writer of Mark had no access to the TJ. This information comes from
comparing the TJ against the Gospels.
What Eusebius quotes from Papias may be relevant in support of this: "Matthew compiled the Logia in the Hebrew language, and each interpreted them as best he could." In speculation, it is possible that before Eusebius had so tersely abbreviated Papias, the original meaning had been that the writer of Matthew worked with an Aramaic document (the TJ) to produce his gospel, and other Gospel writers (writers of Luke and John) interpreted the document as best they could. This is possible because the TJ itself was much too heretical to have received any direct mention. However, dozens of other interpretations of Papias are possible and have been made in the past. In most of them, it is assumed that Papias was referring entirely to the Gospel of Matthew, and/or that the Greek word rendered "interpreted" above means "translated."
MAH-G. The role of Semitic Matthew's translator. Regarding
the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek, one must allow that he
would make several kinds of changes. He or his church would likely have
been persuaded by the time that Mark and Luke appeared, i.e., around
130 CE, that if the Gospel of Matthew weren't made more palatable to
gentiles, it would lose its dominance and influence to either Luke or
Mark or both within the evangelically expanding Christianity. By this
time, the writer of Semitic Matthew may well have lost his influence
within the church or synagogue of Matthew's origin and have been
considered too reactionary, or have passed away, leaving the way open
for a modest revamping of Matthew by a translator who was not
anti-gentile. (The evidence of an underlying Hebraic and/or Aramaic
source to our Greek Gospels is really very extensive, as spelled out here.)
Considering that the Greek grammar in Mark is acknowledged to be quite crude and awkward, the odds are good that this translator of Semitic Matthew was more skillful in literary Greek than the writer of Mark. Hence, the MAH has this plausible explanation for Matthew's better Greek, since it allows that Greek Matthew was written only after Mark and Luke were available to the translator. This translator's changes need not have been restricted to the addition of the three pro-gentile passages mentioned in MAH-B. He probably made some reverential upgrades, too. Beyond this, however, how could his translation make it known that Mark and Luke weren't so different from Greek Matthew that either of those gospels wouldn't be considered primary rather than dependent upon Matthew? Their authors had designed their gospels to be as different in appearance from Matthew as feasible. This had to be countered. The obvious way would be for him, in translating Semitic Matthew's verses to which Mark or Luke had parallels with unaltered meaning, to utilize their Greek, word for word, in those places. Then any scribe who knew both Hebrew and Greek could see that there was a strong dependence there. And since it was well known that Greek Matthew was the offspring of Semitic Matthew, and was still very similar to it in content, the dominance that had once been enjoyed by Semitic Matthew within Jewish communities would carry over to Greek Matthew, which, however, would be more acceptable to gentiles. Neither Mark nor Luke could then be considered more primary than Greek Matthew even though Greek Matthew was written afterwards.
It is noted that the numbers of lengthy strings of identical consecutive Greek words in parallel verses of Luke and Matthew, and of Mark and Matthew, are very significantly greater than can be explained by normal editing. It required purposeful replication by the translator of Semitic Matthew, with manuscripts of Mark and Luke on hand, to accomplish this. On the other hand, the number of strings of identical consecutive Greek words in parallel verses of Mark and Luke are no greater than is to be expected from normal editing. See Deardorff, 1997, Sec. III. Thus, following the MAH, the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek was the "middle term" in explaining the intense verbal agreement between parallel passages of Matthew and Luke (Q verses), and between closely paralleled portions of Matthew and Mark.
MAH-H. Semitic Matthew's source. Although Semitic Matthew was the first of the Gospels, it had a definite source, the Talmud of Jmmanuel (TJ), which is the main subject of this web site. Hence Matthew, from the time of its Hebraic version onwards, contained much evidence of redactions that crept in when heavy editing was required in forming it out of the TJ. For the most part, however, the MAH does not rely upon the TJ other than noting that Semitic Matthew had a source different from Mark. An important exception is that from the TJ, as authenticated within this web site, we know that the writer of Luke had secondary access to it. Hence, he could ascertain which portions of Matthew were the inventions or alterations of its writer, many of which he would basically accept in preference to the TJ's heresies.
It is to be noted that the Augustinian solution to the Synoptic
Problem proposed by B. C. Butler (1969) bears some resemblance to the
above, in that he allowed that Matthew and Mark could both have been
dependent upon a Proto-Matthew. In the MAH, Semitic Matthew could be
called "Proto-Matthew" if desired. However, Butler postulated that
Proto-Matthew was written in Greek, not Hebrew or Aramaic. Therefore,
Butler's solution was missing the role of Semitic Matthew's translator (G.
above). Also missing, however, were the various motivations for the
Gospel writers' editorial behaviors. Being an abbot, Butler was
probably in no position to delve into improper or repugnant editorial
behaviors exhibited by the Gospel writers.
An earlier proposal by Theodor Zahn (1909) comes closer to the MAH. He proposed a Proto-Matthew written in Aramaic, which was utilized by the writers of both Matthew and Mark. Like Butler, however, his hypothesis lacked realistic motivations for the editorial behaviors of the Gospel writers.
The term "modified Augustinian hypothesis" has previously been briefly applied to Butler's defense of the Augustinian hypothesis by Dungan (1999), who also inexplicably lumped the Farrer hypothesis (a Mark-Matthew-Luke order) in with it.
Burkett's first argument that applies independently of the language Matthew was first written in is his #11): Mark and Luke do not contain Matthew's "fulfillment quotations," which support the belief that Jesus was the messiah. If coming after Matthew, he reasoned, their writers should be expected to have included those quotations, as they did not object to the messiah concept. Although Burkett allows that an explanation might be put forth to explain this, he leaves this as a probable point against Matthean priority. With the MAH, Mark's omission of these quotations is explained by D.1, and Luke's by E.a). This is discussed in greater detail below under the critique of Stein's argumentation (his 6a, second topic).
The next question that applies is Burkett's #13), concerning
Matthew's five end-of-discourse phrases, such as "when Jesus finished
these sayings." Mark contains none of them, while Luke contains only
one. It seemed more likely than not to Burkett that if Mark followed
Matthew, it would have retained these phrases; if the opposite sequence
had occurred, he felt that the writer of Matthew would likely have
added the phrase. That's possible, but not at all compelling due to the
following reasons, which stem from MAH-D.1.
Matthew's first end-of-discourse phrase, Mt 7:28, comes at the end of the Sermon on the Mount, whose entirety Mark omits except for a very few verses. So Mark can't be expected to contain any parallel there to Matthew's end-of-discourse phrase.
The next occurs at Mt 11:1, which follows a discourse of some 27 verses to which Mark has only 8 scattered verses in parallel. Again, the writer of Mark would therefore not be expected to include an end-of discourse phrase after having abbreviated out so much of the discourse.
The third occurs at Mt 13:53, the end of Jesus' long series of parables. Here the writer of Mark had omitted 16 verses from Matthew, and at Mk 4:33 ended the parables he had included by stating, "With many such parables he spoke the word to them." Hence no further ending would be needed there that would parallel Mt 13:53.
The fourth occurs at Mt 19:1. At the corresponding point in Mark – Mk 10:1 – Mark omits 26 Matthean verses, with a verse from the Sermon on the Mount in their place. Thus at this point Mark's writer had not been following Matthew's order, and would not necessarily have felt any need to go back and pick up Matthew's end-of-discourse phrase.
The fifth occurs at Mt 26:1. At the corresponding point in Mark its writer had just omitted a whole chapter and more of Matthew, going back to Mt 24:42. So once again we cannot expect him to have added a Matthean end-of-discourse phrase after having abbreviated out so much discourse.
Regarding the writer of Luke, according to the MAH-E.b) he felt obligated to add back in much from Matthew that Mark omits. So he did include at Lk 7:1 one of Matthew's end-of-discourse phrases. But he also wished to support Mark over Matthew where Mark deviates from Matthew. His compromise on this favored Mark by including only one of Matthew's five end-of-discourse phrases.
Burkett's final, relevant topic involved the apparent Matthean interpolations of Mt 9:13a and 12:7: "Go and learn what this means, 'I desire mercy and not sacrifice.'" From MAH-H., one can agree that these are Matthean interpolations, but it was a different source than Mark they were added to. The writer of Mark at Mk 2:17 and 2:26, while following Matthew, could easily decide to omit the two Matthean verses, since to understand them requires knowledge of Hos 6:6 plus other Hebrew teachings – see MAH-D.1 – which gentile Christians in Rome would have no need for.
In summary, Burkett's objections to Mark having made use of canonical Matthew carry no weight against the Modified Augustinian Hypothesis and its priority of Semitic Matthew.
In chapter 2 of his book, Stein (1987) gives many of the usual arguments in support of Markan priority, and in particular, priority over Matthew.
1. Mark's shortness. Stein starts off by presenting the old
argument that the first gospel is likely to be the shortest, with
subsequent gospel writers adding to it and thereby increasing the
length of their gospels. Indeed, Mark is only some 62% as long as
Matthew, and 58% as long as Luke. However, this argument fails if a
gospel writer has strong reason to abbreviate his primary source, which
the writer of Mark had, according to MAH-D.1.
Moreover, as is well known, the Markan pericopes that parallel those of
Matthew tend to be longer not shorter, and this destroys Stein's
"shortness" argument. Although this was discussed by Stein, he did not
distinguish between the omission of large blocks of material deemed
inessential or too Judaistic by a writer with an anti-Jewish viewpoint
(see MAH-C.) from the expansion and
redaction of individual pericopes deemed important and retained. The
whole concept of Semitic Matthew having been especially anti-gentile in
tone, and especially offensive to the writer of Mark in Rome, is
missing from Stein's presentation, as from NT studies in general.
And Stein never questioned whether or not the writer of Mark would desire his gospel to be as different as feasible from Matthew, but just assumed that if he were to abbreviate out large chunks of teachings, surely he would also abbreviate everything he wished to retain. Instead, as a bulk abbreviator, the writer of Mark nevertheless betrayed his gospel's secondary nature by expanding upon the individual accounts he retained from Matthew.
Stein also repeated objections as to why the writer of Mark, if his gospel was second, would omit specific sections, such as the Nativity. Consider, however: He didn't question why Mark includes a clause about Jesus looking around with anger at the Jewish folk in the synagogue (Mk 3:5), why it includes a sentence relating that Jesus' (Jewish) friends were saying that Jesus was "beside himself" (crazy) (Mk 3:21), why it includes the sentence, "He meant to pass by them" (Mk 6:48c) as Jesus was walking on water towards the boat full of (Jewish) disciples in distress, and other anti-Jewish slurs. And so the thought didn't seem to arise that the writer omitted Matthew's nativity account so as to avoid emphasizing Jesus' Jewish step-father and Jewish genealogical line of descent, as well as avoiding unnecessary Scriptural quotations. The revised naming of one of Jesus' brothers, Joseph in Mt 13:55 to Joses in Mk 6:3 (in the nominative case), is consistent with this theme, since the son Joseph was likely named after his Jewish father, Joseph.
The possibility that the writer of Mark was anti-Jewish in outlook (MAH-C.) as well as aggravated over Matthew's anti-gentile slant (MAH-B.) seems not to have been considered by Stein (and others).
And why would the writer of Mark omit Matthew's Sermon on the Mount?
It is not unreasonable, then, that the writer found so much wrong
with the Sermon, and was so intent upon omitting as many large chunks
from Matthew as feasible, that he omitted essentially the entire Sermon
on the Mount.
Mark fails to contain not only Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, but other Matthean teaching material. Stein asks if that would be consistent with Matthean priority, in that Mark contains no shortage of brief references to Jesus' teaching ministry. Several points can be made here:
(a) It would be consistent for a bulk abbreviator to form summaries of longer accounts, as with Mark's 2-verse summary (Mk 1:12-13) of Matthew's 11 verses of the Temptations in the Wilderness that included Scriptural allusions. Thus the writer need not have had any aversion towards including brief summaries of Jesus' teachings from Matthew (Mt 4:23/Mk 1:39, Mt 7:29/Mk 1:22, Mt 9:35/Mk 6:6b, Mt 13:54/Mk 6:2).
(b) According to MAH-D.1., teachings that seemed inessential to the writer, or that did not make sense to him, would be prime targets for omission. E.g., he could omit the parable of the eccentric employer (Mt 20:1-16) since it didn't make sense that those who worked one hour would be paid as much as those who worked all day; he could omit the parable of the two sons (Mt 21:28-32) perhaps because he didn't understand the connection between it and harlots, tax collectors and John, and so felt that his readers wouldn't understand it either.
(c) The writer of Mark had access to a short document called Ur-Mark here, according to MAH-F. Being more of a chronicle than later remembrances of the ministry that produced the TJ and then Matthew, Ur-Mark could well have contained a few more healing episodes and summaries of teaching episodes than is found in Matthew. For this reason the writer of Mark may have desired to emphasize Jesus as a teacher as well as a healer.
Stein includes mention of the resurrection narratives (beyond the empty tomb) as an omission in Mark difficult to understand on the basis of Matthean priority. By MAH-B., however, the only resurrection narrative at that time was Mt 28:16-17, in which the disciples both worshiped and doubted. Mt 28:18-20 were added later by the translator. Because Semitic Matthew ended on such an ambiguous note, it is understandable that the writer of Mark would have left this brief resurrection narrative alone.
2. Mark's poorer writing style. This argument is based upon the supposition that if Mark was secondary to Matthew, it was secondary to the Greek, canonical Matthew, not Semitic Matthew. Then it is assumed, rather reasonably, that the writer of Mark would not have "dumbed down" Matthew's better Greek writing style. With the MAH-A., one sees that this line of argument is specious. Indeed, on this one question the MAH agrees in a sense with Markan priority – Mark was the first Gospel written in Greek. So it is not surprising that its use of the Greek language was poorer than in the other Gospels.
The fact that Mark contains more Aramaic expressions than is found
in Matthew or Luke, is discussed in this section by Stein. He somehow
tries to explain it as being due to the Greek-speaking audiences of
Matthew and Luke having no perceived need to hear the Aramaic words.
His reasoning here with respect to the MAH is quite deficient. The main
audience for Semitic Matthew was the large Jewish community that had
still not accepted the new messianic form of Judaism. They of course
would not need any explanation for the meaning of Aramaic or Hebrew
words within an Aramaic/Hebrew document. Later, after Matthew was
translated into Greek, its Greek-speaking audience would need
explanations for Aramaic expressions that were retained. And so the
translator provided them, perhaps being prompted by such explanations
Secondly, MAH-F.2. supplies a good reason why the writer of Mark would insert some Aramaic expressions into his gospel. The ones at Mk 3:17 (Boanerges), Mk 5:41 (Talitha cumi) and Mk 7:34 (Ephphatha) are believed here to have stemmed from Ur-Mark. At Mk 15:22, "Golgatha" stemmed from Hebraic Matthew, with the parenthetical explanation added by the writer of Mark, and later added by the translator to Mt 27:33. The Aramaic "Eloi, Eloi" at Mk 15:34 (rather than the Hebrew "Eli, Eli" at Mt 27:47) could have stemmed from Semitic Matthew, since Aleph and other old manuscripts containing Matthew attest to "Eloi."
Concerning the avoidance in Luke of these Aramaic expressions in Mark, the MAH cannot offer anything definite. It could be due to any of several reasons. The possibility I prefer is that Luke's writer was more sophisticated and experienced at writing than either Mark's writer or Matthew's translator, and knew that adding in parenthetical explanations would detract from, rather than add to, the perceived authenticity of his gospel. The prologues of Luke and Acts suggest that their writer was concerned at providing an appearance of authenticity for the two books, and the lack of continuation of narration in Acts about Paul, shortly before his death in Rome, suggests a concern that his writing be given an early date—many decades earlier than when he wrote it.
Concerning Mark's "rather clumsy redundancy," Stein has no explanation other than treating it as more of the poor writing style of Mark's writer. He considers it to be a purely Markan stylistic feature, cleaned up by gospel writers who followed Mark. He gives reasons it could not be due to the writer of Mark having conflated Matthew and Luke, as backers of the Griesbach hypothesis have proposed. However, the solution provided by MAH-D.3. & 4. was not mentioned by Stein. The thought just never seems to arise within NT scholarship that the writer of a gospel who must depend upon a previous gospel for most all his material would want his gospel to be different in content and appearance from the gospel he copied from, while still telling the essence of the story. And indeed, after the several types of changes the writer of Mark made in this respect (MAH-D.), Mark is sufficiently different from Matthew that many scholars object to the word "copied" being used here. To recap, Stein has no satisfactory explanation for the 116 or so pleonasms (or dualisms or redundancies) in Mark's text paralleled by Matthew.
3a. Mark's harder readings: Apparent limitation of Jesus' power
or influence. Stein gives two of three examples where Mark reads
like "he healed many" (in Mk 1:32-34a and 3:9-10), while the parallels
in Matthew and Luke refer to "healing them all." Here it is surmised
that these are two instances in which the writer of Mark had utilized
Ur-Mark, which had been written "on the spot," so to speak, rather than
relying just on the Matthean account that had come from remembrances
(in the TJ) some years after the events. See MAH-F.1.
Therefore, in these two pericopes the Markan accounts are more vivid
and detailed than their Matthean parallels. They are likely more
accurate, therefore. The tendency in writing events from years-old
memories is to generalize, as from "many" to "all"—those few who
weren't healed are forgotten or ignored in comparison with the many who
In his third example, Mt 13:58/Mk 6:5-6, Stein compares Matthew's "And he did not do many mighty works there" with Mark's "And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them." Here one is hard pressed to say which reading is the "harder," since the "except" clause in Mark fully compensates for the "not do many mighty works" clause of Matthew. I find it's a toss-up. It's an example of Markan "change for the sake of change," MAH-D.4.; it's not a variant related to Ur-Mark, which writing had been aborted due to theft at an earlier point corresponding to about the beginning of Matthew's chapter 12.
It would have been fair if Stein had presented some examples that
point to redaction in the opposite direction. For example, in Mk 2:12
we read: "And he [the paralytic] rose, and immediately took up the
pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and
glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'" The Matthean
parallel (Mt 9:7-8) reads, "And he rose and went home. When the crowds
saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such
authority to men." We see here that the writer of Mark did not wish to
dilute the power and authority of Jesus by implying that men had this
same authority to heal, as stated in the Matthean parallel. Matthew has
the harder reading.
As another example, in Mk 3:3 we read: "And he said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Come here' (or 'Rise into the midst' in the Greek)." Then followed the healing. In Matthew's parallel (Mt 12:10-11) there is no such corresponding command. It appears to be a Markan addition designed to further portray Jesus as a commanding figure with greater authority. If Mark were written first and Matthew second, one would not expect this command to be absent from Matthew. Mark has the easier reading.
As a third example, in Mark's version of the feeding of the five thousand the following clause (Mk 6:41-43) occurs that's not in the Matthean parallel (not in Mt 14:19): "and he divided the two fish among them all." This appears to be a Markan improvement over Matthew as well as an insertion for the sake of change. Although in Matthew it is mentioned how the loaves were distributed by the disciples, there is no explicit mention of the distribution of the fish. The writer of Mark thus corrected this oversight in his gospel. By so doing, he heightened Jesus' powers. At the same time, he added to the reverential aspect by specifying that it was Jesus, not the disciples, who should receive full credit for the multiplication and distribution of the fish. Matthew has the harder reading.
As a fourth, consider that Mk 8:34 reads, "And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, 'If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.'" In contrast, the Matthean parallel (Mt 16:24) just starts out, "Then Jesus told his disciples, 'If any man would come after me...'" This then is an upgrading of Matthew by the writer of Mark, having the purpose of showing that a message of which he particularly approved had gotten across to a much larger audience (the multitude) than to just the disciples. Here in Mark, Jesus has greater influence.
In the parable of the vineyard at Mk 12:9, Jesus asks the chief priests, scribes and elders in the temple what the owner of the vineyard would do about the killings by the vineyard tenants. Then he immediately answers his own question in 12:9b. However, the reason for speaking a parable is to try to get one's listeners to do the thinking and answering of questions for themselves. In the Matthean text that the writer of Mark was following here (Mt 21:40-41), the question was indeed answered by the listeners of the parable, not by Jesus. We may then infer that the Matthean form of this verse is the harder reading and the more original. The writer of Mark is seen to have been motivated to make the change primarily so that Jesus would be the sole teacher, fully in control, and would not be dependent upon the chief priests, scribes and elders to provide an answer.
As a sixth example, we have the Markan story at 14:13-17 in which Jesus provides prophetic instructions to two disciples whom he sends out to prepare the Passover meal. In the Matthean version, Mt 26:18-19, Jesus displays no power of clairvoyance, but just tells the two the name of the person to go to. Thus the Matthean version is the harder reading, as the Markan version displays Jesus' powers of foreknowledge.
3b. Mark's harder readings: Negative descriptions of the disciples. Along with the scholarly consensus, Stein has no explanation for these negative descriptions. MAH-C. & D.2. were unknown or unacceptable to him.
3c. Mark's harder readings: Miscellaneous theological issues.
In Mt 19:17 an unknown person "came up" to Jesus and asked, "Teacher,
what good deed must I do, to have eternal life?" The reply is, "Why do
you ask me about the good? One is the good." (Here a close translation
to the Greek is used.) In the Markan parallel, Mk 10:17-18, we read, "a
man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, 'Good Teacher, what
must I do to inherit eternal life?' And Jesus said to him, 'Why do you
call me good? No one is good but God alone.'" Stein, along with most
Bible text, interprets the final response in Matthew as "One there is
who is good." This then is considered an easier reading than Mark.
However, as pointed out by Lamar Cope (1976), Matthew's "the good" was
a rabbinic term for the Torah. Many Gospel scholars are unaware of
that, and, by the MAH, the writer of Mark in Rome was most likely also
unaware. Thus he attempted to improve upon the Matthean verse and
remove its ambiguity. This he did by writing Jesus' response in
authoritative terms. But in so doing and writing, "Why do you call me
good? No one is good but God alone," he introduced the more serious
problem of Jesus not being good. Thus a failed Markan improvement is
nowadays incorrectly considered to be an unexplained and harder
reading. And let us notice that the Markan verses are otherwise a
reverential upgrade of Matthew: Jesus is called "Good Teacher," not
just "Teacher," and the man kneels before Jesus, which reverence is not
Stein's second example in this category has already been mentioned under discussion of his "Mark's shortness" section. He can give no explanation as to why, in Mk 3:5, Jesus looks around at the persons in the synagogue with anger, and can only say it's a harder reading of Mark. With MAH-C. & D.2., it's merely one of many Markan anti-Jewish slurs in retaliation of Semitic Matthew's anti-gentile slurs.
His third example occurs in Mk 2:26 where the writer adds to the Matthean parallel (at Mt 12:3-4) by saying Abiathar was high priest at the time of the incident. It is known that, instead, it was Ahimelech who was high priest then. Stein considers this a "harder reading" for Mark, which the writer of Matthew avoided, whereas by the MAH-D.3. it is no less likely that the writer of Mark was adding to Matthew to help make his gospel less identical to Matthew, but in this case made a factual mistake. That the writer of Mark was woefully ignorant of Judaism has been brought out by Pierson Parker (1983).
It may also be noticed that in Mark the disciples pluck the grain as if for no good reason (Mk 2:23), whereas in Matthew they had cause: they were hungry (Mt 12:1). The omission of their hunger could well have been purposeful by the writer of Mark in order to portray the disciples in a poorer light than in Matthew (MAH-D.2.).
4. The scarcity of major Matthew-Luke agreements against Mark:
The argument from agreements in verbal content and in order. Here
Stein discusses the fact that in the triple tradition (where all three
Synoptics contain the same material in general) the content and order
of Matthew and Mark is nearly the same, and so also between Mark and
Luke, but not so between Matthew and Luke. He suggests that Markan
priority, with Matthew and Luke independent of each other, best
explains this. Although he allows that other possibilities can explain
it if Matthew and Luke are not independent, he notes that those
possibilities are ruled out if "Q" exists, which he favors but the MAH
rules out. However, MAH-E.a) half
explains these lack of major agreements: the writer of Luke showed his
strong preference for pro-gentile Mark over anti-gentile Hebraic
Matthew by following Mark's content and order where Mark deviates
from Matthew's order and/or content. This left a strong majority of
instances with Mark and Luke in good agreement but not Luke and Matthew.
The other half of the explanation, in the triple tradition, is that where Mark follows Matthew closely, the writer of Luke avoided showing any support for Matthew by not following either very closely (MAH-E.c)), thereby leaving many minor instances with Matthew and Mark in good agreement. In so doing, he was not showing his usual preference for Mark because it follows Matthew closely. It is also to be noted that those places where the writer of Mark omitted most but not all the Matthean passage, and the writer of Luke felt obligated to reinstate it using Matthew, became places displaying major agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark. They are also sometimes called Mark-Q overlaps.
By Stein's reckoning, the present MAH solution would probably fall under his umbrella of "insurmountable problems" requiring the existence of "Q". That is, it is totally unacceptable (an insurmountable problem) to a majority of NT scholars that the Gospel writers would exhibit their anti-gentile or pro-gentile and anti-Jewish feelings through their editorial behavior. Concerning the strong case against "Q", the work of Michael Goulder (1989) and web site of Mark Goodacre are quite revealing.
It needs mentioning that the writer of Luke could not be absolutely consistent in his anti-Matthean editorial behavior, and so minor agreements between Luke and Matthew against Mark do exist.
5. Some literary agreements explained by Markan priority?
Here, if we focus upon Matthew and Mark, Stein first considers the
difference between their accounts of the healing of the paralytic (Mt
9:1-2 and Mk 2:1-5). Mark has the fuller, more vivid account that
portrays the resolve of the men with the paralytic to bring him in past
the crowd to where Jesus can heal him. The details in this pericope are
seen here to have stemmed from Ur-Mark (see MAH-F.1.),
though with the declaration "your sins are forgiven" from Matthew
having been included by the writer of Mark. It is entirely
understandable that when Matthew's source (the TJ) was written years
later than Ur-Mark, many details were omitted and/or forgotten that had
been included in Ur-Mark. Hence Matthew lacks some of the detail of
Stein makes mention also of the extra details in Mk 5:29-33,35-37 not in Matthew's parallel at Mt 9:18-26. Since this was an incident occurring after the Sermon on the Mount and before Matthew 12, it is also a prime candidate to have been in Ur-Mark (again, MAH-F.1.). Hence I regard portions of it that were not redacted by the writer of Mark as having priority over Matthew.
Interestingly, in discussing these episodes, Stein reasons that it was typical of the writer of Matthew to abbreviate individual accounts in Mark, while expanding his gospel otherwise. With the writer of Mark, Stein did not want to allow the reverse: that he would expand upon the individual accounts he wished to retain from Matthew while abbreviating much else by simply omitting large chunks.
The next example concerns the difference in wording between Matthew's
"And having been baptized, Jesus immediately went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened..." (Mt 3:16, Greek transliteration),and Mark's
"Jesus...was baptized...And immediately, going up out of the water, he saw the heavens being rent..." (Mk 1:9-10, Greek transliteration).Stein argues that the reversal of participle and active verb in the first part, between the two versions, somehow points to Markan priority. I presume he finds the Markan version to be more apt, perhaps due to a better placement of "immediately" in Mark, as Werner Georg Kümmel (1966) had argued years before. However, with the MAH, we see that the translation of Semitic Matthew into Greek by the writer of Mark seems to be a slightly better one than that by the translator of Semitic Matthew a decade or so later. One need not expect one translation (Matthew) to be better than another (Mark) at all points.
6a. The argument from redaction: Matthean redactional emphases
compared with Mark (and Luke). Stein's first topic here concerns
the frequent use of "Son of David" in Matthew (some 11 times) versus
only some four times each in Mark and Luke. In the four pericopes he
discusses, he finds it more convincing that the writer of Matthew added
many of these than that the writers of Mark and Luke omitted them.
However, he did not know that the MAH arguments well explain them.
Three of them are:
Mt 12:22b-24/Mk 3:22/Lk/11:14b-15, explained by MAH-D.1. & E.a);
Mt 21:12-15/Mk 11:15-17/Lk 19:45-46, also explained by MAH-D.1. & E.a); and
Mt 21:9/Mk 11:9-10/Lk 19:37b-38. In this latter one, the writer of Mark is seen to have omitted "to the Son of David" after "Hosanna" in Matthew, as could be expected by MAH-D.1. However, immediately following he utilized "David" in an awkward extra verse: "Blessed is the kingdom of our father David that is coming." This easily fits into the category of using "David" for the sake of "padding" or change for the sake of change (MAH-D.3.); most of that Markan verse (11:10a) probably qualifies as a pleonasm.
In a fourth pericope, Mt 15:21-27/Mk 7:24-27, the explanation for Mark's omission of "Son of David" again is MAH-D.1. – the writer of Mark often omitted Judaic material if it was inessential, although this doesn't mean he was consistent or rigorous in so doing. The writer of Luke omitted this pericope entirely, instead of supporting Mark by including a version that would parallel Mark much more closely than Matthew. In speculating as to why, several possibilities arise. One is that he felt that the writer of Mark had too flagrantly altered Matthew in changing the Canaanite woman into a Greek Syrophoenician, so he omitted the pericope entirely rather than follow Matthew. A second is that the writer of Luke understood what "take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs" meant in Matthew, which the writer of Mark included, apparently in ignorance of its anti-gentile meaning. So Luke's writer omitted the entire pericope. A third possibility is that, since the writer of Luke had had a chance to read the TJ before writing or finishing his gospel (see MAH-F.3.), and so knew that the pericope had been invented by the writer of Matthew, he would not include it. If so, however, he was not at all consistent in this regard. I tend to favor the second possibility.
Stein's second topic here involves the formula quotations "this was
to fulfill...", which occur in some 11 Matthean verses. In six of these
Mark and Luke contain neither a parallel to the formula quotation nor
to the Matthean pericope leading up to it: Mt 1:22, 2:15, 2:17, 2:23,
4:14, and 27:9. This is exactly as per MAH-D.1.
& E.a): Luke follows Mark where Mark deviates from
Matthew, thus rewarding the writer of Mark for his deviance.
In four other cases, there are parallel passages in Mark and Luke to the Matthean pericopes leading up to the fulfillment quotation, but again no fulfillment quotations in either. These are the Matthean passages: Mt 8:17, 12:17, 13:14 and 21:4. Again this is as per MAH- D.1. & E.a): Luke follows Mark where Mark deviates from Matthew, with Mark's deviation being not so great as to include omission of the associated pericope.
Regarding Mt 8:17, the writer of Mark certainly did not wish to omit the pericope of Jesus healing the sick, which was likely present in Ur-Mark, too; so he retained it (Mk 1:32-34) while omitting the fulfillment quotation which followed.
Regarding Mt 12:17, a healing pericope led up to this fulfillment quotation, which the writer of Mark could not have wished to omit (Mk 3:10).
Regarding Mt 13:14, the writer of Mark understandably retained some of Matthew's preceding pericope about why Jesus spoke in parables, at the end of which he could add a verse denigrating the disciples' intelligence (Mk 4:13).
Regarding the pericope immediately preceding the fulfillment quotation of Mt 21:4, this concerned Jesus' sending two disciples into Jerusalem to secure an animal for him to ride on into the city. This was an important part of the passion narrative that Mark could not have skipped over, though he could easily omit the Scriptural fulfillment quotation.
In the remaining case, Mt 26:54,56, Mark contains the associated pericope and the fulfillment quotation as well (Mk 14:49). However, this concerns a general reference to letting the scriptures of the prophets be fulfilled, with no scriptural quotation. Even more important, the writer of Mark would have to include it in order that some explanation be given why Jesus allowed himself to be captured and arrested. And, no surprise to the MAH, Luke does not contain any allusion to the scriptures here. This simply follows MAH-E.1. Where Mark follows Matthew, that's where the writer of Luke felt free to deviate from both. However, Stein argued that this particular case indicates there was no Markan reluctance to include scriptural material, so that the general absence of the fulfillment quotations in Mark and Luke relative to Matthew could best be explained by Matthew having added them to Mark. The idea that all this is perfectly consistent with a plausible solution to the Synoptic Problem (the MAH) that takes into account Mark's "harder readings" and the external evidence, was apparently quite unknown to Stein (1987). My book on the subject came out only later (Deardorff, 1992).
6b. The argument from redaction: Markan stylistic features
compared with Matthew. The first feature Stein considers here is
Mark's excessive use of the word "immediately," (euthys or eutheõs
in Greek). Whether one knows Greek or not, its excessive use there is
apparent. It occurs 41 times in Mark but only 18 times in Matthew, 14
of which are in verses with Markan parallels. He reasons that if Mark
followed Matthew, then Matthean material not in Mark (M and Q) should
contain the word a considerable number of times, roughly in the ratio
(a) the number of Matthean words in verses not having Markan parallels (7,392), to
(b) the number of Matthean words in verses that do have Markan parallels (10,901).
This ratio is 0.68. Since "immediately" occurs 17 times in (b), Stein expects it to occur some 0.68 x 17 = 12 times in (a), not just twice (in Mt 14:31 and 25:15 or 16). (He does not include Mt 14:31 as an M verse, a Matthew-only verse, though it lies within the four verses of Peter walking on the water, not in Mark. It may be that in defining parallel text, he was dealing with the text at the pericope level, while I dealt with it at the verse or half-verse level.) So he reasons that Matthew's use of the word resulted from its having been derived from Mark, with some of Mark's excessive uses omitted. It certainly does appear that the translator of Semitic Matthew was inclined to use the word only when his Aramaic text called for it (shaah), and not to use it just to denote a temporal sequence or even as a conjunction, as the writer of Mark often did. Of the 14 times that both Mark and Matthew use euthys or its alternate in parallel passages, I find that 13 make good or very good sense in terms of "immediate," with only 1 (in Mt 14:22) being unnecessary (however in some Matthean manuscripts the word is absent at 14:22). On the other hand, of the 15 times that Mark contains euthys and Matthew has a parallel passage but the word does not occur there, I find that 8 of them constitute poor or very poor usage in Mark, 6 are not needed, and 1 is not absolutely necessary. So this is quite consistent with the translator of Semitic Matthew knowing when to properly use the word and not use the word, during his translation.
However, from a perspective of Matthew's translator or writer having used the word because he copied it from Mark, there are 4 instances in which Matthew uses the word but it is not in Mark (as noted by Stein), versus the 14 times Matthew uses the word and it is in a Markan parallel. I believe we should be comparing these 4 against 14, not 1 against 14. I.e., if Matthew was formed out of Mark, there are 4 instances in which its use of "immediate" did not depend upon Mark.
One may nevertheless ask Stein's question, of why euthys or eutheõs does not appear considerably more than once or twice in the M & Q verses. Those verses include Matthew's genealogy, Sermon on the Mount, some parables and teachings where no sequence of actions is involved, and many isolated verses where "immediately," had it been present, could not have been divorced from its preceding verse. Hence we see that "immediately" occurs relatively more often within verses of narration than verses of discourse. If (a) and (b) above are restricted to verses of narration (distinguishing them down to the 1/2-verse level), one finds the ratio of interest to be 0.39, not 0.68. Hence a more reasonable statistical expectation would be for 6 occurrences in M & Q, not 12, compared with the 2 occurrences so far discussed.
The actual subject matter of M & Q, along with what the writer of Mark chose to retain from Matthew, needs to be taken into account also. One is hard pressed to look over a list of M verses, and of Q verses, and find more than the two spots already mentioned where euthys in its sense of "immediately" would be appropriate. It might be thought appropriate for use in the pericope of the healing of the centurion's servant (at Mt 8:13b, not in Mark), but there the healing took place "in that hour" (according to the Greek text) rather than "at once." On the other hand, what the writer of Mark chose to retain from Matthew most notably included passages involving action, and Jesus' ministry with its temporal sequence of events and immediate healings. All that included many verses where use of "immediate" was appropriate, but by definition those verses cannot appear in M & Q.
Therefore, the burden is upon the supporter of Markan priority to point to a significant number of M & Q verses where the proper use of euthys would have been appropriate.
Stein's second subject on stylistic
features concerns the circumstances under which the Greek gar
(or "for," the conjunction that provides a connection to an immediately
following explanatory sentence or clause) is used in Matthew versus
Mark. Both use the word quite frequently. Some of these uses of gar
are editorial, i.e., used in the narration – 11 of them in Matthew, of
which Mark has 10 parallels, and 34 in Mark. Mark contains some 25 more
usages of the editorial gar not paralleled in Matthew. If
Matthew followed Mark, shouldn't one expect that Matthew would contain
more than just 29% (10/34) of Mark's editorial gar's? However,
Stein doesn't ask that question. Instead, he asks, why in the Matthean
verses not paralleled within Mark (M & Q) does the editorial gar
occur only once, while occurring 10 times in the verses paralleled by
Mark? Again using the 0.68 ratio of (a) to (b), Stein expects that
Matthew should contain about 7 (68% of 10) gar clauses within
its M & Q verses, not just 1. Thus Stein reasons that Markan
priority explains this – the writer of Matthew followed Mark and used
its editorial gar's, except for the 25, which Stein apparently
accepts as redactional insertions by the writer of Mark ("probably not
part of the tradition that Mark used"). He does not suggest any source
material to which the writer of Mark added these insertions, but with
the MAH, that source was Semitic Matthew.
However, there is an important question as to just what an editorial gar, or editorial comment, is, and what Stein meant by it. He referred (p. 83) to Mt 7:12 as containing one of them, which occurs within discourse of Jesus. If such discourse is allowed as being "editorial," then there are very numerous examples of the "editorial gar" in the M and Q verses, not just one. Here we must assume this was a typo; neither of us believes that Jesus wrote any of the Gospels (though an implication of the MAH-H. is that Immanuel or Jmmanuel dictated most of the TJ to his trusted writer years after his survival of the crucifixion). Another question arises from Stein's footnote 43, in which he doesn't include the gar occurring in Mt 28:2 as editorial, saying it "is part of the account itself." Yet it was an explanation by the writer of that account, which fits his definition of being editorial though it and others are not obvious parenthetical expressions. Moreover, there are several instances in the M verses where editorial gar occurs as spoken through words stemming from the writer – how the writer acquired them may be uncertain. Why shouldn't these be considered "editorial gars," especially for a hypothesis that assumes the writer or editor invented the account? Examples occur in Mt 1:20 (spoken by an angel), 2:2,5 (spoken by the Magi), 2:13,20 (spoken by an angel)? Many Markan priorists assume that these and other aspects of the Nativity account in Matthew are redactions or stem from legends (e.g., Beare, 1981), so shouldn't they consider the "explanatory gars" occurring therein to be editorial? And how about Mt 13:15, which contains a gar explanatory clause in a rendering of the LXX version of Is 6:9-10? In the LXX here gar is not present, indicating this was an editorial change wrought by the writer of (Hebraic) Matthew, later translated utilizing gar. This occurs in an M verse. If these considerations are taken into account, we find from 2 to 6 more, or up to 7 in all, uses of the gar explanatory clause that could qualify as editorial, in Matthean verses not in Mark.
In addition, however, one again needs to take into account the subject matter of the M & Q verses, on the one hand, and the Markan material its writer favored retaining and omitting from Matthew, on the other, if statistically comparing word usage between the two, using an Augustinian or MAH perspective. A large fraction of Matthew missing from Mark is comprised of Jesus' discourses, which by definition contain no narration and thus no editorial gars, while what its writer most favored was Jesus' ministry in action, which involved a good deal of narration. This distinction should have been taken into account, and we should be comparing the narration verses. Of a total of about 504 verses in M & Q, only 106 involve narration. Of a total of about 535 verses in Matthew that have parallels in Mark, about 270 are narration. The ratio of narration verses in M & Q to narration verses in Matthew with parallels in Mark, is 0.39. Thus, at the most, Stein should be using a statistical percentage of 106/270 = 39%, not 68%, giving 4 expectations of editorial gars in M & Q rather than 7 expectations. And we found up to 7 depending upon how one defines "editorial" gar.
In a footnote, Stein mentions that a third stylistic feature of Mark that may have bearing on the Synoptic Problem is its frequent use of the historic present ("and he comes, and says, and heals, and goes"). Mark contains it about three times more frequently than does Matthew. This has sometimes been argued to be in favor of Markan priority, but apparently without due regard for the MAH. With the MAH, one may allow that it reflects underlying Semitic usage within the sources of Mark and Matthew, which carried over into the Greek in Mark. Its less frequent usage in canonical Matthew then reflects greater concern for Greek literary correctness by the translator of Semitic Matthew than by the writer of Mark.
7a. Mark's more primitive theology. Here Stein considers the Christological title "Lord." He pointed to a dozen places in the triple tradition where Matthew uses "Lord" but the parallels of Mark instead make use of "teacher," "master," "rabbi" or no special title. By MAH-G., this strongly implicates the translator of Semitic Matthew in reverential upgrading while forming his Greek text. Such minor alterations would have been especially simple for the translator to make, as they could be implemented even without close examination of the copies of Mark and Luke he had on hand. This is not some "convenient" aspect of a hypothesis designed to explain away criticisms from competing hypotheses. It is instead an essential aspect of a hypothesis built largely upon those portions of oral tradition (the external evidence) having no logical reason for being false – Semitic Matthew was written before Mark (and translated later).
7b. Mark's more advanced theology (not mentioned by Stein). With either the Augustinian hypothesis or the MAH, one expects that indications may exist of the writer of Mark having advanced his theology over that of Semitic Matthew. If so, Mark's theology should appear, in different locations of the gospel, both more primitive and more advanced. Examples of the latter are:
These examples by no means exhaust the indications of Markan dependence upon Matthew. More Markan improvements upon Matthew can be found here, and other indications of Markan awareness of the Gospel of Matthew here.
In this web page we have concentrated on how the MAH explains the priority of Matthew over Mark. We have not delved much into the evidence indicating Luke's dependence upon both Matthew and Mark. The presently most accepted hypothesis (two-source hypothesis) assumes that Luke and Matthew were written independently of each other. One of its strongest drawbacks are the minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark (e.g., see the web site of S. Carlson). The MAH supports the scholarship that indicates these minor agreements are of critical importance in showing that the writer of Luke made use of Matthew as well as Mark.
Mark's redundancies. Tuckett starts off by reviewing and augmenting Streeter's arguments, questioning why, if the writer of Mark followed Matthew, he added a lot of redundancies – see MAH-D.3. Further on, he similarly asks, "Why too did he expand much of the material he did retain with such inconsequential details so that the same story is often twice as long in Mark as in Matthew?" See MAH-D.3.&4.
Why is Mark so much shorter than Matthew? Then there
is the usual question of why the writer of Mark would have omitted so
much good material from Matthew – see MAH-D.1.
and the discussion of particulars under Stein's Sec. 1 above. One
particular question not covered there is why the writer of Mark, even
if he felt like omitting the entire Sermon on the Mount, did not go
back and extract the Lord's Prayer from it and utilize it somewhere in
his text. Surely he would want that, so the argument goes. However, in
its introduction (Mt 6:7-8a), one reads, "And in praying, do not heap
up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be
heard for their many words. Do not be like them..." Those are words
guaranteed to rankle a gentile writing a gospel for gentiles. However,
the writer of Mark did apparently have second thoughts later and picked
out one piece from the Lord's Prayer, in writing, "And whenever you
stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so your
Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses" (Mk
11:25). It seems as if the writer favored praying standing up, and
therefore did not care for the inference of Mt 6:5 that only hypocrites
pray standing up. The possibility may further be suggested that the
writer did not endorse the Father's name being hallowed, as he once
referred to him as "Abba" or "Papa" (Mk 14:36). Hence there are
plausible reasons why the writer of Mark may have wished to mostly
avoid use of the Lord's Prayer as written in Matthew.
Tuckett also asks why Mark, if it is secondary to Matthew, omits the teaching of John the Baptist. This teaching involves Abraham (Mt 3:7-10), so if the writer wished to most strongly focus his abbreviations on Judaistic material (MAH-D.1), this was a prime chunk to omit.
From Mark's omissions Tuckett finds "some force" in their support of the hypothesis of Markan priority. However, this implicit feeling comes from viewing the writer of Mark as a respectable Christian by modern standards, which view in turn comes from presuming Matthew came only after Mark. Instead, when considering the view of Matthean priority, we must view the writer of Mark by the profile his gospel provides of him under the proviso that his gospel actually came after (Hebraic) Matthew, upon which he was dependent. Neither way of viewing it represents an argument of circularity, but rather of consistency.
Order of pericopes. Next, Tuckett finds some merit in Streeter's argument that "the deviations in order between Matthew and Mark, and between Luke and Mark, are relatively small in number and can quite easily be explained as due to the redactional activity of [the writers of] Matthew and Luke respectively. ...the Augustinian hypothesis cannot really explain why [the writer of] Mark should have changed the Matthean order in the way he must have done." However, this is easily explained by MAH-F.2.
Editorial behavior of Luke's writer. Tuckett also finds the editorial behavior of the writer of Luke very difficult to explain with an Augustinian type hypothesis, in the writer's typical preservation of Mark's order of pericopes while substantially changing the order of Matthean material. However, this difficulty stems from Tuckett (along with almost all other NT scholars) having ignored the anti-gentile tone of Semitic Matthew, and having ignored how seriously an important but anti-gentile first gospel would be treated by pro-gentile evangelists, decades after early Christianity had been expanding into gentile lands. This editorial behavior is explained in MAH-E.a) & b).
Comparison of parallel texts. Next, Tuckett looks at the "not many miracles" versus "no miracles except" comparison.
|Matthew 13:58||Mark 6:5-6|
|And he did not do many
because of their unbelief
|And he could not do any miracles
there, except that he laid his
hands on a few sick people and
healed them and he marveled
because of their unbelief
As discussed above under Stein 3a), neither writer can be shown here
to have portrayed Jesus as more powerless than the other. In Mark he
healed a few persons, thereby performing a few miracles; in Matthew he
did not do many miracles, which is the same as having done a few
miracles. Thus, in both accounts he performed a few miracles. The
Markan account shows the expansion characteristic of a redactor,
especially one who purposely feeds in redundancies and restates his
source to ensure that his gospel will look different from that source (MAH-D.4).
Tuckett does bring forth an additional argument, however: in Mark it is not stated that Jesus performed only a few miracles because of the people's unbelief, as is stated in Matthew. Instead, Mark's use of "unbelief" leaves Matthew's reason as implicit while expressing the thought that the Jewish people's unbelief was appalling. So Tuckett concludes that Mark's is the harder reading and thus more original. However, this conclusion totally ignores MAH-D.2., which, along with Mark's verbose rewording, easily explains the Markan text.
Tuckett then chooses some examples from the triple tradition, first from Peter's confession at Caesarea Philippi.
|Matthew 16:16||Mark 8:30||Luke 9:20|
|You are the Christ, the
Son of the living God
|You are the Christ||You are the Christ of God|
Here it seemed fairly evident to Tuckett that the writers of Matthew
and Luke expanded upon the short Markan sentence to honor Jesus with a
more divine title. However, he failed to discuss the fact that the
Matthean title is "Son of the living God." The "living God"
expression is Judaistic, being found in Deuteronomy, 1 Samuel, 2 Kings,
Psalm 42, Daniel and Hosea. From MAH-D.1.,
we thus find it more likely than not that the writer of Mark would have
omitted "son of the living God" from Matthew, or at least "living"; he
chose to do the former. Consistent with this is that in Mk 14:61 he did
not copy Matthew's "living God" from Mt 26:63. To this we may add that
the writer of Mark, in Rome, would know that various Roman emperors had
claimed to be God or god, and their sons might be called sons of the
living god; he wouldn't wish Jesus to be placed in that category.
The writer of Luke here would likely have noticed that the Markan text follows the first half of the Matthean text perfectly while omitting the last half. From the latter, his inclination would be, according to MAH-E.a), to follow this first half closely, while from the former his inclination would be to deviate from both texts (MAH-E.a)). So he added "of God" rather than "Son of the living God;" in his gospel he also avoids any use of the term "living God."
Next, an example of pure Markan redundancy:
|Matthew 8:16||Mark 1:32||Luke 4:40|
|When evening was come||When evening was come
and the sun was setting
|When the sun was setting|
Tuckett notes that although the above and similar examples have been used to argue in favor of Markan priority, such arguments are probably indecisive. Here, these parallels are shown in that they typify the editorial behaviors of the writers of Mark and Luke as set out by the MAH. The writer of Mark added a redundancy to Matthew for the reason expressed by MAH-D.3. The writer of Luke favored Mark over Matthew by following Mark's addition (MAH-E.a)) and omitting the Matthean portion, also so as to remove a Markan redundancy (MAH-E.d)).
The minor agreements. This topic is then discussed by Tuckett, as the minor agreements between Luke and Matthew against Mark are difficult to explain on the assumption of Markan priority, even with the assumption of the Two-Source Theory (2ST) that Luke was written independently of Matthew, with both making use of "Q". As stated elsewhere by Tuckett (1996),
"The fact that the Minor Agreements are so minor makes it very hard to believe that [the writer of] Luke has been both influenced positively by Matthew's text in such (substantively) trivial ways, but also totally uninfluenced by any of Matthew's substantive additions to Mark. Undoubtedly the Minor Agreements constitute a problem for the 2ST, but precisely their minor nature constitutes a problem for Goulder's theory [Mark-Matthew-Luke order] as well."However, with the MAH none of this causes any problem. We see that where the writer of Luke was "totally uninfluenced by any of Matthew's substantive additions to Mark" represents all the places where Luke's writer noticed that Mark deviates strongly from Matthew, and so he followed Mark rather than Matthew (MAH-E.a)), to show his preference for pro-gentile Mark over anti-gentile Hebraic Matthew. Where the writer of Luke was "influenced positively by Matthew's text in such (substantively) trivial ways" represents the places where the Markan deviations from Matthew were too minor for him to have taken the above action. In those places, the later translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek could utilize Greek wording that was closer to Luke's than Mark's whenever he chose, which would lead to minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark.
Tuckett then examines the most famous of all the minor agreements, involving "Who hit you" or its absence:
|Matthew 26:67-68||Mark 14:65||Luke 22:64|
|Then they spat in his face
and struck him with their fists,
and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ!
Who hit you?"
|Then some began to spit
they blindfolded him,
struck him with their fists,
and said, "Prophesy!"
They blindfolded him
and demanded, "Prophesy!
Who hit you?"
The 2ST does not simply assume that the writers of Matthew and Luke
added to Mark in order to provide a reason for the "prophesy" command,
for that would imply that one was aware of the other's text. That
theory's preferred solution is that some scribe, when transcribing an
early copy of Matthew, saw the "Who hit you?" in Luke and added it in
to Matthew. Tuckett acknowledges the obvious weakness of this
hypothesis – there is no manuscript evidence for any texts of Matthew
that were unaffected by such a scribal error. By the MAH, some time,
perhaps up to ten years, elapsed before the Gospel of Luke appeared
following Matthew. In that time, surely many copies of Semitic Matthew
had been transcribed, so that the 2ST solution does seem very shaky.
Although it might be postulated by the MAH that the question was an addition fed into Matthew by its translator, this does not seem likely or necessary. Instead, the present MAH postulates that the writer of Mark attempted an improvement of Matthew by providing a reason for the "Prophesy!" command, but then overlooked the copying of "Who hit you?" An accidental error of this sort seems somewhat more probable than the scribal intent of assimilating text from a different gospel.
The writer of Luke is then seen as following Mark in correcting the oversight in Matthew of having omitted the blindfold, while correcting the oversight in Mark of not asking for something to be prophesied.
The hypothetical "Q" source. Tuckett reviews some
arguments pro and con on the reality of Q. Regarding order of
pericopes, the writer of Luke, by the MAH, made very few changes to the
Markan order but thoroughly changed the Matthean order. So Tuckett asks
the common question, "Why has [the writer of] Luke behaved so
conservatively with the order of one of his sources (Mark), and with
such freedom in relation to the order of his other alleged source
(Matthew)?" As noted before, the MAH well explains this in MAH-E.a) & b) as editorial
behavior that should not seem surprising in view of the provocative
anti-gentile content of Matthew. However, Tuckett notes that close
inspection of the order of Lukan pericopes within the five main blocks
of Matthean teachings does disclose striking agreement in order with
their Matthean parallels. This is also consistent with the MAH: the
writer of Luke, in showing his distaste for the anti-gentile Hebraic
Matthew by thoroughly "disrupting Matthew's clear and concise
arrangement of the teaching material," did so on the gross scale
without bothering to do this in minutia. Tuckett's finding has caused
supporters of the Q hypothesis to assume that the writer of Luke
followed the order of pericopes in Q much more closely than did the
writer of Matthew, who supposedly rearranged them.
Tuckett feels that the Q hypothesis is strengthened by "the fact that [the writer of] Luke never seems to be aware of Matthew's modifications to Mark in Markan material. Examples cited are Mt 12:5-7 and 16:16-19; the writer of Luke "never betrays any knowledge of these Matthean additions." By the MAH, however, these are not Matthean additions but pieces of Matthew that the writer of Mark did not see fit to reproduce (MAH-D.1.); the writer of Luke showed his preference for Mark over Matthew by following Mark's omissions (MAH-E.a)). Of course, that writer had to exercise his judgment on which omissions of Mark were important enough for him to reinstate in his gospel (much later to be known as Q), and which weren't.
Relevant to his discussion on reasons why he thinks the writer of
Luke did not make use of Matthew, Tuckett mentions a few beatitudes
that he believes are expressed more primitively in Luke than in
Matthew, such as Mt 5:3/Lk 6:20b. However, this has been capably
nullified by Goodacre (2002).
In the same vein, he points to Luke's shorter version of the Lord's Prayer than Matthew as being indicative of Luke being more primitive than Matthew. Tuckett did not use this reasoning when discussing Mark's pericopes generally being of greater length than their Matthean parallels. However, length is no guide to priority in every case, and it could well be that the writer of Luke was adhering even here to his feelings of preferring Mark over Matthew: since Mark omits the Lord's Prayer almost entirely, he would compromise by shaving off portions of Matthew's prayer while incorporating most of it because of its importance within his Christian community.
Tuckett mentions the Sign of Jonah verses in Lk 11:30 seeming to be more primitive than Matthew's (Mt 12:40; not in Mark). However, it seems easier to argue for the reverse case. In the Matthean pericope, the Sign of Jonah is explained as an omen of Jesus' coming entombment for three days and nights. In Luke, an entirely different explanation is given. It could well be that Luke's writer did not want any inference to be drawn that, because Jonah survived his three-day experience within the great fish, Jesus may have survived his crucifixion and entombment, thus explaining the post-crucifixion appearances.
An argument involving doublets that is said to favor Q is also utilized: There are a few (perhaps only two?) doublets shared between Matthew and Luke in which one of the verses is shared by Mark also. So it is assumed that the latter set of doublets arises from dependence of Matthew and Luke upon Mark, and the other arises from Q. The example Tuckett gives is the doublet of Mt 16:24/Mk 8:34/Lk 9:23 along with Mt 10:38/Lk 14:27. It involves the saying of denying oneself, taking up the cross and following Jesus. The latter half of the doublet occurs in a Matthean context of setting a man against his father, not being worthy of Jesus if you love your son or daughter more than him, and of losing your life if you find your life. It's not surprising that a bulk abbreviator with an agenda that includes MAH-D.1. would find cause here to omit the entire pericope of Mt 10:34-40a (which contains the four statements of Micah 7:6), thus causing Mark not to share in the doublet. The other instance I know of lies adjacent to the above one, except in Luke: Mt 16:25/Mk 8:35/Lk 9:24 along with Mt 10:39/Lk 17:33. Hence it is not present in Mark for the very same reason.
Again, the web site of Goodacre is recommended for some sound arguments against the existence of Q.
1. Jesus' kin. This is the first pericope he treated, found in Mt 12:46-50, Mk 3:31-35 and Lk 8:19-21. If Matthew came first, Smith asked:
(a) Why did the writers of Mark and Luke alter Matthew's literate Greek style?
This is explained by MAH-G. Semitic Matthew was translated into Greek Matthew only after Mark and Luke were written. Matthew's translator was free to use his own Greek style, or improve upon that in Mark and/or Luke if he wished, or even replicate parts of their Greek text. It was during translation that substantial alterations and additions could most freely be made. The new text in Greek could be promulgated while the previous Hebraic text could be phased out. While the two texts coexisted, few persons were capable of comparing both texts for the purpose of sorting out changes, assuming they could even acquire both texts. And as we know from comparison of the surviving Gospels, non-heretical changes made by anonymous editors to the texts of others could be tolerated. Bishop Papias was probably one who could read and write Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, and he noted that events in Mark were not in correct order; this must have been with respect to a preceding writing, namely Semitic Matthew.
(b) Why did the writer of Mark "add a redundant verse (Mark 3:32) in which a 'crowd' simply relays to Jesus the information the narrator gave in the previous verse"?
This is well explained by MAH-D.3. The writer of Mark added it as change for the sake of change, which he may also have believed was a minor improvement over Matthew, to better explain why Jesus' kin could not fit in the house. The writer of Luke retained the "crowd" in Mark for the reasons expressed in MAH-E.a) (he tended to follow Mark where Mark deviates from Matthew).
(c) Why did the writers of Mark and Luke both change Jesus' pronouncement on who his mother, brother and sisters were?
Actually, Mark has it nearly the same as in Matthew, except for "God" instead of "Father in heaven." Luke has rather different wording. Matthew's "Father in heaven" is just "God" in Mark, and from the greater prevalence of "God" than "Father" in Mark, one presumes that its writer preferred to use "God," probably because "Father" is an old Testament term for God used in Isaiah and Jeremiah (MAH-D.1). His alteration here, according to the MAH, could also have been due to his desire for "change for the sake of change" (MAH-D.4.). We might infer that the writer of Luke noticed Mark's use of "God" here instead of "Father," and so followed Mark for the usual reason (MAH-E.a)), by using "God." However, the Markan pronouncement is so similar to the Matthean one, otherwise, that Luke's rather different wording from both Mark and Matthew fits the other typical editorial behavior of Luke's writer (MAH-E.c))
2. Parable of the Sower. In this pericope (Mt 13:1-9/Mk 4:1-9/Lk 8:4-8) Smith noted that all hypotheses need to account for:
(a) The fact that Luke deviates from the details of setting & parable that are in Matthew & Mark, where both are virtually identical.
This is fully explained by MAH-E.c). Where Mark and Matthew agree in meaning, the writer of Luke was free to insert his own additions. If he were to literally follow Mark at those points, he would be following Matthew too, and that would not express his approval of Mark and dissatisfaction with Matthew. There are exceptions to this behavior, of course, which account for some of the minor agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark.
(b) The fact that Mk 4:9 contains "He who has ears to hear, let him hear," Luke has it the same as Mark, while Mt 4:9 has the simpler "He who has ears, let him hear." So Smith noted that Luke's aphorism about "hearing" echoes the unnecessary infinitive in Mark (to hear) that is not in the oldest mss. of Matthew. But this is well explained by MAH-D.3. & E.a). The writer of Mark added a bit of superfluous material (the extra "to hear," for the reasons mentioned); the writer of Luke, having noticed this addition, then expressed his preference for Mark over Matthew by following Mark's deviation from Matthew. The later translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek faithfully translated its text here without copying Mark or Luke.
(c-e) Why the writers of Mark and Luke regularly changed Matthew's plural forms to singular, added superfluous verbs [in the triple tradition] about growth & yield, and inserted an unnecessary break ("and he said," in Mark; somewhat more in Luke) between parable & aphorism. These are also explained by MAH-D.3.&4., and by MAH-E.a). The writer of Mark made changes for the reasons stated – these changes could be noticed by the writer of Luke even though the Matthean text was written in Hebrew or Aramaic. So the latter writer could show his preference for Mark there by following it rather than Matthew.
(f) Why, if Mark's text (in Greek) is longer than Matthew's, that could be consistent with the writer of Mark being an abbreviator. MAH-D.4. explains this. The tendency is for the redactor to add to the length of passages he goes over in detail, which is what the writer of Mark did. Other passages that he omits entirely causes his gospel to be shorter overall.
(g) Smith also noted five ways in which, if Mark came after Matthew, the writer of Mark "butchered" the Matthean passage. All five of these are well explained by MAH-D.3. – he didn't butcher any of Greek Matthew's text because Hebraic Matthew, upon which he was dependent, had not yet been translated into Greek.
Something Smith did not comment upon is that Mark's "and brought forth grain ....and yielded thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold" (Mk 4:8) appears to be a dramatic improvement over Matthew's "and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty" (Mt 13:8).
3. Why speak in parables. This pericope occurs at Mt 13:10-17/Mk 4:10-12/Lk 8:9-10.
|Matthew 13:10-17||Mark 4:10-12||Luke 8:9-10|
the disciples came
and said to him,
"Why do you speak to them
11And he answered them,
"To you it has been given
to know the secrets of the kingdom
but to them
it has not been given.
12For to him who has
will more be given,
and he will have abundance;
but from him who has not,
even what he has
will be taken away.
13This is why I speak to them
because seeing they do
and hearing they
do not hear,
nor do they understand.
14With them indeed is fulfilled
the prophecy of Isaiah which says:
'You shall indeed hear
but never understand,
and you shall indeed see,
but never perceive.
15For this people's heart has grown dull,
and their ears are heavy of hearing,
and their eyes they have closed,
lest they should perceive
with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their heart,
and turn for me to heal them.'
16But blessed are your eyes,
for they see,
and your ears, for they hear.
17Truly I say to you,
many prophets and righteous men
longed to see what you see,
and did not see it,
and to hear what you hear,
and did not hear it."
|10And when he
those who were about him
with the twelve
concerning the parables.
11And he said to them,
"To you has been given
the secret of the kingdom
but for those outside,
12so that they may indeed
see but not perceive,
and may indeed hear
but not understand;
lest they should
turn again, and be forgiven."
what this parable meant,
"To you it has been given
to know the secrets of the kingdom
but for others
so that seeing they may
and hearing they
may not understand."
(a) Why Mark and Luke both "have a problematic purpose clause rather than Matthew's pedagogically accurate causal clause to explain Jesus' use of parables." This refers to Mt 13:13 in its use of "because" versus the use of "so that" in the parallels of Mark and Luke in the above table.
This is explained by MAH-C. By making this small alteration, the writer of Mark could imply that the disciples were not supposed to perceive or understand – being Jews they weren't supposed to be worthy of it. In Matthew, one notices that the purpose of the parables was to help the unseeing disciples see. The writer of Luke followed Mark here, because it deviated somewhat from Matthew (MAH-E.a)), yet its derogatory tone towards the disciples was evidently too subtle to gain his attention or require his modification.
(b) Why Mark and Luke both "omit most of the rest of Matthew's version of Jesus' reply, including a biblical quotation that clarifies Jesus' perplexing words." This refers to the absence from Mark and Luke of the content of Mt 13:14-15 and most of 13:16-17.
Again this is explained by the attitude of the writer of Mark (MAH-D.1. & 2.), followed by that of the writer of Luke (MAH-E.a)). Mark's writer didn't want the disciples to be honored by being the fulfillment of a prophecy, and even went out of his way to alter the introduction to the parable so that Jesus' listeners would not be just the disciples but also others who were about him along with the disciples. He also did not mind omitting Mt 13:14-15 due to it being Judaistic scriptural material. The writer of Luke could have decided either way – to show his preference for Mark by following its text with its omission of these two Matthean verses, or to reincorporate them in his gospel in another context. He chose the former, quite likely because it would be difficult to invent a different yet relevant context to include them in.
The other two Matthean verses, 13:16-17, were probably omitted, with exception of a couple of clauses, by the writer of Mark because they blessed and praised the disciples – see MAH-C. and MAH-D.2. We see, however, that he went out of his way to infer, by his retained out-of-context clauses, that the disciples and other Jews were not worthy of receiving forgiveness after repenting. The writer of Luke went along with Mark's general omission here in showing preference for Mark, although again by the MAH he could have retained them from Matthew if he had thought they were sufficiently important, in which case they would have become "Q" verses. He did not retain Mark's out-of-context clauses apparently because they are too blatantly anti-Jewish.
(c) Why Mark and Luke would both omit "a saying that in Matthew promises a bonus to Jesus' disciples [Mt 13:12], into a more ambiguous context a few lines later [at Mk 4:25/Lk 8:18]." This saying is, "For to him who has will more be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away." Different interpretations can be given to it. It may have been omitted at this point by the writer of Mark because, in its Matthean context, it did not make sense to him (MAH-D.1.). I.e., how did that saying explain why Jesus spoke in parables? In its later Markan context the saying can take on a more material meaning, concerning those who have riches being in a position to gain still more. Again the writer of Luke followed Mark rather than Matthew, in showing his displeasure with the gospel that would deny discipleship to gentiles and favoritism toward the gospel that promoted gentile discipleship. He also utilized the saying in a context that parallels that in Mark (and used it once more as a doublet at Lk 19:26 in parallel with but different context to Matthew's doublet at Mt 25:29).
4. Explanation of the Parable of the Sower. This explanation occurs at Mt 13:18-23/Mk 4:13-20 /Lk 8:11-15. Regarding the writers of Mark and Luke, Smith asked:
(a) Why did they both regularly change Matthew's singular forms to plural?
The answer is the same as in Smith's 2.(c-e) shortly above.
(b) Why did they omit Matthew's reference to "the kingdom"?
Regarding Mark, a plausible though speculative explanation is that its writer did not know for sure what Matthew's "word of the Kingdom" referred to. The phrase isn't mentioned earlier in the parable of the sower. He may have thought it referred to Judaistic teachings rather than to the word of Jesus, and so omitted it (MAH-D.1.). Regarding Luke, its writer once again favored Mark over Matthew where Mark made a noticeable deviation from Matthew.
(c) Why did they alter the "syntax & wording of Matthew's well-constructed opening sentence [Matt 13:19]"?
At this point (Mk 4:13) the writer of Mark inserted a remark from Jesus that would denigrate the disciples' intelligence and point to their unworthiness to be disciples (MAH-D.2.). It would not have followed sensibly if the writer had then quoted Matthew's "Hear then the parable of the sower," immediately after implying they wouldn't be able to understand any parables.
The writer of Luke could discern that Mark went much too far in its derogation of the disciples here, and so did not copy Mark's alteration. But not to precisely follow Matthew either, he made his own brief introductory sentence to the parable's explanation.
Again Mark's version of the pericope is longer than Matthew's, which Smith implied should not favor Matthean priority over Mark. However, by the MAH, this editorial behavior is just what is to be expected of a bulk abbreviator who wishes to make alterations in the passages he chooses to retain from his source, especially if the alterations serve the purpose of making his writing be different from his source (MAH-D.4.). Such alterations tend to lengthen a pericope.
In some of his discussions of source theories, Smith remarked that "a hypothesis that presupposes that Luke used Matthew as a secondary source ...must also explain why Luke deviates from wording where the texts of Matthew & Mark are virtually identical." This applies to the Augustinian hypothesis among others. So it is noted that the present hypothesis fully explains this as part of a consistent editorial behavior by the writer of Luke (see MAH-E.c)).
5. The Lamp. The next pericope, of The Lamp, Smith expressed as being located within Mk 4:21-25/Luke 8:16-18; Mt 5:15/Lk 11:33; and Mt 10:26-27/Lk 12:2-3. However, with an Augustinian approach, it is expressed as: Mt 5:15/Mk 4:21/Lk 11:33, with the parallels Mt 10:26/Mk 4:22/Lk 8:17 & 12:2 (Nothing is hid that won't be revealed...) stemming from a different saying involving not being afraid of those who malign you. Lk 12:2 is a doublet of Lk 8:17. Additionally, Mk 4:25/Lk 8:18 are not a part of The Lamp aphorism, but are parallels to Mt 13:12, already discussed under 3.(c) above. Mk 4:24 has the parallel of Mt 7:2b, a different aphorism yet.
(a) If the Augustinian approach is to be viable, Smith noted, it must explain why, in Mark and Luke, aphorisms are linked that Matthew presents in separate contexts.
First, one notices that the writer of Mark extracted several verses that he liked from the Sermon on the Mount, which he otherwise abbreviated out in bulk. One of these was Mt 5:15, another Mt 7:2b. So these perforce had to be placed in different contexts than Matthew's. He also made use of Mt 10:26, which would also need a new context since he had omitted its three preceding verses. These three extracted verses he placed in the order of 5:15, 10:26 and 7:2b (Mk 4:21,22 and 24), where they abruptly change the subject on which Jesus had just been speaking (the explanation of the parable of the sower). The writer of Luke had been following Mark in this region where its order deviated strongly from Matthew's order, and so continued to show his favoring of Mark over Matthew by including and paralleling Mark's linkage of the three aphorisms in Lk 8:16-18. More on this aspect is discussed under (c) below.
(b) Another explanation requested by Smith is why the parallel content of Mark and Luke "agree with each other" in their alteration of Matthew's rhetoric. It can be seen that the text of Lk 8:16-17 agrees rather closely with that of Mk 4:21-22,24, which differs more significantly from its Matthean parallels. But this editorial behavior on the part of the writer of Luke (MAH-E.a)) we have already noticed repeatedly and explained: where Mark deviates significantly from Matthew, the writer of Luke sided with Mark.
(c) A third explanation needed is why this paralleled set of aphorisms in Mark and Luke appear at the same point in their narrative that differs from the setting of either saying in Matthew.
From Mk 1:39 through Mk 6:13 Mark deviates strongly in order, and considerably in content, from Matthew. (This was prompted by his use of Ur-Mark, MAH-F.). Within this region, then, with one large exception the writer of Luke followed Mark's order and content, MAH-E.a). The exception is where the writer of Luke inserted a large number of (Q) verses from Matthew that had been omitted from Mark, mainly from the Sermon on the Mount. He completed this insertion at Lk 8:4, from which point through Lk 9:17 he continued following Mark closely. The three aphorisms in question lie within this latter region, and therefore contain the same setting in Mark and Luke that differs from the Matthean settings from which the writer of Mark had extracted them. It's all very straightforward.
In discussing the treatment of the Sermon on the Mount by the writer of Mark, Smith said, "...if Mark got this material from Matthew, he is better described as totally dismantling that text rather than epitomizing it. Moreover, in the process of reassembling the few fragments he saw fit to salvage, Mark would have deliberately complicated & obscured sayings that were simple & clear in his supposed source....Why he would have done this is unclear." However, under the above discussion of Stein's book (in his section 1.), reasons are presented why the attitude of the writer of Mark suggests he would chuck the Sermon on the Mount; however, there were some six verses within it he appreciated and could extract for use within his own gospel.
In Mk 4:21 there is an interesting use of the definite article in, "Is the lamp brought in to be put under a bushel...?" (this wording is what the favored Greek text gives; in the RSV translation this was rendered "a lamp"). Now, this is the first time any lamp is mentioned in Mark. By writing "the lamp," the writer was inadvertently, it seems, revealing that he already knew about this lamp. From where else would he have known about it, and its aphorism, but from (Hebraic) Matthew? Elsewhere in his gospel he amply demonstrates that he well understands when the definite article or the indefinite (anarthrous) is to be used. This giveaway clue of Mark being secondary is not mentioned in Smith's analysis.
6. The measure you give or gain. This pericope involves Mt 13:12/Mk 4:25/Lk 8:18; Mt 7:2/Lk 6:38b; and Mt 25:29/Lk 19:26, as Smith presented it. The problem he saw here, for an Augustinian type solution to the Synoptic Problem, is:
"A hypothesis that presupposes that Matthew is the primary source of this pericope... must be able to explain why both of the other synoptics would transpose the aphorism in Matt 13:12 from Matthew's context [in Jesus' explanation of why he speaks in parables] preceding the interpretation of the parable of the sower to a point following that pericope."
The first part of this question was asked by Smith previously, and answered. See under "Why speak in parables" in section 3.(c) above. As to why the writer of Mark, upon utilizing this aphorism out of context, would place it where he did, can probably never be known. However, after first omitting it and then deciding to utilize it elsewhere, it seems more likely that he would place it at a later spot within his gospel rather than at an earlier spot. Regarding the behavior of the writer of Luke in following Mark rather than Matthew at this point, this has already been repeatedly explained.
7. Parable of the weeds or harvest. Mark's parable of the harvest (Mk 4:26-29) in its beginning and end bears considerable resemblance to Matthew's parable of the weeds (Mt 13:24-30), in that seeds are sown and a harvest is later reaped. Moreover, it closely follows Matthew's order of parables, coming after the explanation of the parable of the sower and just before the parable of the mustard seed. Hence, from an Augustinian viewpoint, it is natural to explore the likelihood that the writer of Mark based his parable upon Matthew's but strongly altered Matthew's parable into one that would make more sense to him – one that did not involve an enemy, the weeds he planted, and their gathering for burning before harvest. Smith acknowledged that the similarity between the two parables "suggests some genetic relationship between the two." However, he found it unacceptably enigmatic as to why, if the writer of Mark edited Matthew, he would have deliberately:
(a) "dropped the initial dichotomy between both good seed & weeds & the farmer & his enemy,"
(b) "changed the characterization of the farmer from alert & knowledgeable to inactive & ignorant,"
(c) "eliminated the figures of the servants," and
(d) "altered the conclusion in which some are saved & the rest destroyed."
It is easy to imagine, however, that the writer of Mark did not see any important point to this parable in Matthew, though he liked the thought of reaping a harvest. Why introduce weeds into the parable, if they do no good but will just need to be gathered separately and burned? If the kingdom of God has anything to do with pulling out weeds just before harvest, why not pull them out immediately before they interfere with the crop? And why not seek out the evil person who planted the weed seeds? So he omitted the weeds and the enemy who planted them (MAH-D.1.), in converting it into a story with a theme he understood and appreciated: collecting a bounty (the harvest). Thus (a) and (d) are answered. Having eliminated any mention of the weeds, he had no need either to refer to servants who would ask the householder why weeds appeared within the crop, thus answering (c).
As to (b) above, it is probably not correct to call the householder or farmer ignorant if he doesn't know what makes seeds sprout and grow all by themselves. The answer lies even beyond modern plant sciences. As to the farmer being inactive in comparison with Matthew's householder, this is a necessary consequence of Mark's farmer not needing to take action to handle a weed problem, and therefore having nothing to do in his story after scattering the seeds.
The writer of Mark's attempt at improving Matthew's parable was a dud, in likening the kingdom of God to a man who scattered seed, let it sprout and grow, and then harvested the crop. There is no meat to this story, so that it is no wonder that the writer of Luke decided to avoid it altogether rather than to follow Mark on it as per usual where Mark deviates strongly from Matthew. However, in Matthew's parable a worthwhile teaching can be discerned, if we assume that the householder later uses the cut weeds as fuel or their ashes as fertilizer. With this interpretation, the kingdom of heaven allows existence of evil as well as good, and one should turn the evil to good use where feasible. The MAH assumes that this interpretation did not occur to the writer of Mark, or would not have been acceptable if it had.
Smith spent 67 lines trying to explain why the writer of Mark should not have wanted to avoid the "weeds & evil" aspect of Matthew's parable. But none touched upon the likelihood that the writer simply did not view the parable as having any understandable or worthwhile point, but that with his alteration it might be turned into a worthwhile parable. With the point of Mark's parable being, with the MAH, that God should provide a reward in this life for the deserving, some space is devoted below to that theme:
Upon revisiting Mk 4:24, we notice "...the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given to you." The emphasized clause is not in the Matthean parallel, Mt 7:2b. From an Augustinian viewpoint, this indicates an emphasis upon receiving and maintaining material bounty in one's present life. Along with this may be mentioned Mark's omission of "Give to him who begs from you," "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth," and "You cannot serve God and mammon" in the Sermon on the Mount – another reason for that writer having omitted the whole Sermon except for a few verses.Altering Matthew's unclear parable into a vacuous one with a punch line of receiving the harvest well fits the profile of the writer of Mark.
In the list of commandments of Mk 10:19, which parallels Mt 19:18, Mark includes "Do not defraud," i.e., do not unrighteously deprive of a right, or of money, or of property. It is not in Matthew. This also suggests a Markan emphasis upon material goods. And Mark's omission of Matthew's parable of the eclectic employer is consistent with a concern that the amount of money a worker is paid be appropriate for the amount of his labor.
One may notice that Mt 19:29 reads:"And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life."whereas the parallel in Mark (10:29-30) reads:"...there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers...and in the age to come eternal life."The italicized phrase is not in Matthew. The interest by the writer of Mark in gaining material wealth in the present life, relative to the writer of Matthew, is unmistakable.
8. Parables of the mustard seed and leaven. Matthew and Luke share both parables, Mark only that of the mustard seed, in Mt 13:31-35/Mk 4:30-34/Lk 13:18-19 as seen below.
he put before them, saying,
"The kingdom of heaven
a grain of mustard seed
which a man took
in his field;
32it is the smallest
of all seeds,
but when it is grown
the greatest of shrubs
and becomes a tree,
the birds of the air
come and make nests
in its branches."
30And he said,
"With what can we compare
the kingdom of God?,
or what parable
shall we use for it?
31It is like
a grain of mustard seed,
upon the ground,
is the smallest
of all the seeds
32yet when it is sown
it grows up and becomes
the greatest of all shrubs,
and puts forth large branches,
the birds of the air
can make nests
in its shade."
18He said therefore
the kingdom of God like?
And to what
shall I compare it?
19It is like
a grain of mustard seed
which a man took
in his garden;
and it grew
and became a tree,
the birds of the air
in its branches."
First, with respect to the parable of the mustard seed, Smith asked why the writer of Luke decided to introduce it into a narrative context that differs from that provided by both Matthew & Mark.
The writer of Mark closely followed the narrative order and general content of Matthew's series of parables (except for his omissions), and this is one of them he retained. Here the writer of Luke exhibited his typical editorial behavior as stated in MAH-E.c), by placing his parallel to this parable (along with that of the leaven) in quite a different context — between Jesus' healing of an ailing woman and his continued journeying and teaching.
Regarding the parable of the leaven, since Mark omits it but we may notice that the writer of Luke apparently deemed it an important parable to include, the latter followed the editorial behavior stated in MAH-E.b). Thus it would become a "Q" verse, also in a different context than Matthew's.
Next, Smith asked for explanations of why both "Mark & Luke omit different details of this segment stressed by Matthew [parable of the mustard seed] & yet introduce the parable of the mustard with rhetorical questions not used by Matthew."
Regarding the latter, Mark introduces the parable in a different manner than does Matthew (see the above synopsis), so the writer of Luke showed his favoritism of Mark over Matthew there by following Mark's introduction more closely than Matthew's (MAH-E.a)). The writer of Mark continued to make minor changes in Matthew's content until following Matthew's "is the smallest of all seeds" very closely (between arrows C and D in the synopsis). That may be why the writer of Luke chose that region to alter (MAH-E.c)) into just "and it grew." Mark does contain "and puts forth large branches" not in Matthew, which the writer of Luke omitted perhaps because he would mention its branches at the end rather than replicate "shade" in Mark. This left Mark's clause "and puts forth large branches" to later become considered part of "Q" or a minor agreement in omission between Luke and Matthew against Mark.
Mark's "shade" in place of Matthew's "branches" was presumably a change for the sake of change (MAH-D.4). Possibly the writer of Luke chose "branches" over "shade" because having birds nest in a tree's shade, as in Mark, was less applicable than nesting in its branches, as in Matthew, since a tree's shade is usually thought of as a place on the ground to rest out of the hot sun.
As a note of interest, there is a mustard tree, also called the toothbrush tree – salvadora persica, which grows in Israel and the Mideast but apparently not in Italy where the gentile writer of Mark is believed to have been situated. Its trunk can grow up to a foot in diameter, though its seeds may not be exceptionally small.
Between arrows A and B we do not see the typical editorial behavior of the writer of Luke. This is probably because no other text there, significantly different from what's in both Matthew and Mark, could have properly described the start of the parable. Hence we see that the general Lukan editorial behavior has many exceptions, especially on minor points, which have led to the minor agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark.
Smith did acknowledge that "casual comparison of this section of the synoptic gospels seems to favor a source theory that presupposes the priority of Matthew." Then he intended to counteract this statement with mention that in Mark both the parable of the mustard seed and its summary take up more Greek words than in Matthew. However, this is again consistent with the writer of Mark having been an abbreviator of Matthew in the bulk but disclosing the usual tendency of a redactor when dealing with retained material – tending to expand upon it.
Regarding Greek grammar here, Smith again believed that the following questions implicate priority of Mark over Matthew: Why would the writer of Mark replace "Matthew's grammatically correct Greek (two complete well-formed sentences) with a very clumsy construction (an incomplete sentence -- with no explicit subject or main verb -- beginning with a free-floating prepositional phrase ['As a grain of mustard'] followed by a hodge-podge of relative & independent clauses);" and introduce "redundant wording that was not derived from the text of Matthew?" At the risk of too much repetition here, it is because the writer of Mark was working from Hebraic Matthew, not the later Greek text of Matthew; the later translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek was the more skilled in Greek; and the redundancy in Mark is explained in MAH-D.3.
The parable of the leaven (Mt 13:33) seems not to have entered into Smith's discussions of Markan versus Matthean priority. This parable was probably omitted by the writer of Mark because he didn't make good sense of it – i.e., why should the kingdom of heaven be hidden? (MAH-D.1.). We need to bear in mind that when Mark was written, Semitic Matthew had been available for only a very few years and only to selected persons; there hadn't yet been decades and centuries of debate and discussion by theologians over meanings of the parables.
9. Explaining the parable of the weeds (or harvest). This explanatory pericope (Mt 13:36-43) is not found in Mark or Luke. Smith questioned why not, and gives his reasons why the writer of Mark would most definitely have included it if he had been dependent upon Matthew as a source.
In response, Matthew's pericope is an explanation of the parable of the weeds, not of Mark's parable of the harvest! In Mark's grossly altered rendition of it (the parable of the harvest), there were no weeds to be explained, there was no "good" seed that needed explanation, there was no enemy to explain as being Satan, there were no reapers to be explained as angels (only the farmer himself, who had scattered the seed, was the reaper). It would be a very simple decision, therefore, for a bulk abbreviator to omit Matthew's explanatory pericope altogether. It did not explain Mark's parable of the harvest, which didn't need any allegorical interpretations.
The writer of Luke did not include the explanatory parable, of course, because he had omitted Matthew's parable of the weeds and Mark's parable of the harvest.
10. Parables of the treasure, the pearl and the net. These occur in Mt 13:44-50 and nowhere else. One may again ask, if Matthew came first, why weren't these parables utilized by the writers of Mark and/or Luke?
The parable of the hidden treasure (Mt 13:44) still remains enigmatic to many scholars. Why would the man who found the treasure in the field immediately hide it again, yet at great personal expense purchase the field? The writer of Mark was likely perplexed, and so did not copy it from Matthew (MAH-D.1.). So also the writer of Luke, who we imagine was happy to follow Mark's lead on this.
The parable of the pearl (Mt 13:45-46) is less enigmatic, but just what does it mean to find the kingdom of heaven – is it to learn how to achieve the rewards of heaven after death? We have noticed that the writer of Mark was at least as interested in achieving rewards in the present life (see Section 7. above) as in a future life. Such unanswered questions may well have induced the writer of Mark to omit this parable, and the writer of Luke likewise as in the parable of the hidden treasure above.
Why the writer of Mark did not retain the parable of the fish net (Mt 13:47-50) seems more conjectural. He may have thought the analogy was poor: Why should a present kingdom of heaven be likened to an event that will occur only in the End Days? And perhaps the fact the parable was immersed within a large block of other pericopes he didn't care to retain (Mt 13:35-52) contributed to his omission of this parable. Again the writer of Luke preferred to follow Mark over Matthew.
11. The trained scribe. This is in Mt 13:51-52, and not in the other Gospels. (Mt 13:53 is paralleled by Mk 6:1a.) Once again, the question was asked, why didn't the other two synoptists include it?
For the writer of Mark, the answer may lie, at least partially, from 13:51, which indicates that the disciples had understood the parables. This was not the picture of the disciples that the writer of Mark had been conveying. He had been picturing them as obtuse and dull-witted relative to Matthew's portrayal. Yet, 13:52 is constructed as if it flows as a consequence from 13:51, implying that Mt 13:52 would not have been spoken had the disciples said they did not understand the parables. Hence for this reason he may also have omitted 13:51-52.
An additional possibility involves the saying of 13:52 itself: "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old." Modern analysts, including Smith, interpret this to mean that a scribe may write about new teachings but should retain the old ones as well. This interpretation, when extended to the writer of Mark, implies that he was free to add his own material to what he found in his source (Matthew), but he should not omit any of Matthew's material; and this in turn could mean that the writer omitted the passage so as to justify his own omissions from Matthew. Smith found this reasoning to be circular, though perhaps "self-consistent" would be a more apt description. However, when Mark was written, Matthew was quite new. The writer of Mark is more likely to have considered Matthew's gospel as "the new" and the Scriptures, which he wished to minimize (MAH-D.1.), as "the old." Hence he may have avoided 13:52 also for that reason.
Again the writer of Luke showed his preference for Mark over Matthew by following Mark here and omitting the passage.
As stated by Goodacre (1998), "Editorial fatigue is a phenomenon that will inevitably occur when a writer is heavily dependent on another's work. In telling the same story as his predecessor, a writer makes changes in the early stages which he is unable to sustain throughout. Like continuity errors in film and television, examples of fatigue will be unconscious mistakes, small errors of detail which naturally arise in the course of constructing a narrative." In our case, the writer of Mark made several types of changes as per MAH D.1.-4.: he characteristically omitted substantial chunks from his source (Matthew), added to the verses and pericopes that he retained, and made small alterations. Any of these steps could, through insufficient attention to detail, lead to logical difficulties further along in his text. By Goodacre's viewpoint, it was the writer of Matthew who added to, or altered, Mark, causing difficulties at times. In practice, an "early stage" mistake can be located almost anywhere within the text, with the ensuing difficulty occurring afterwards, but not necessarily immediately afterwards.
King Herod? First, the well known problem is raised
that in Matthew the tetrarch Herod is once called "the king" (Mt
14:10), while in Mark (Mk 6:14-29) he is called "king" several times
and never tetrarch. By the reckoning of Markan priorists, in Mark he
was incorrectly called "king", while the writer of Matthew corrected
this at first (Mt 14:1), but after calling him "he" four times and
"Herod" three times, he called him "king" once. In so doing, he is
accused of having made a correction to Mark (from "king" to "tetrarch")
but having a relapse in calling him "king" once.
However, this possibility needs to be weighed against the plausibility that the writer of Matthew, or of Matthew's source, introduced Herod by his proper title, then after mentioning him some seven times as "he" or "Herod," called him loosely once by the title of "king." This is literally quite permissible for a writer to do in order to provide some variety in name or title, and because both a king and a tetrarch are, after all, rulers over a land. The writer of Mark, in following Matthew, decided to use the "king" title throughout (four or five times), probably because he felt his audience need not bother with the distinction between tetrarch and king (MAH-D.1), and perhaps also because he wished to add the phrase "even half my kingdom" (Mk 6:23) to Herod's vow of a gift to the daughter (MAH-D.3.). Hence, this example of Goodacre's proves to involve highly reversible argumentation.
Moreover, an aspect of Mk 6:14 pointing to Matthean priority was apparently overlooked by Goodacre: Its introductory sentence presumes that the reader knows what's in the mind of the writer; it is just: "King Herod heard" or "King Herod heard of it." Now just what did Herod hear? The statement follows immediately after a verse telling of the healings performed by the disciples, not by Jesus, and seven more verses before that having nothing to do with Jesus' marvelous powers. Thus it was the healings done by the disciples that one would infer Herod heard about. But from the rest of the sentence it is clear that it must have been the great works wrought by Jesus that is referred to. If one assumes Markan priority, one then assumes that this is an example of extra clumsy writing in Mark, an error he committed "for whatever reason." However, assuming Matthean priority one sees the likelihood that the writer of Mark, with Matthew in front of him where its translation at this point read, "Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus..." (Mt 14:1), overlooked the fact that he hadn't written the same into his gospel. The editorial rework by the writer of Mark then is what brought about this problem. This has more explanatory power than the scenario that assumes Markan priority, and is thus to be preferred.
Was Herod sorry? In the Matthean account of the
beheading-of-John episode (Mt 14:3-12), both Herod and his wife,
Herodias, wished to have John the Baptist done away with. After she had
prompted her daughter to ask Herod for John's head at the banquet,
Herod was sorry but went ahead and ordered the execution. From
the MAH viewpoint, the writer of Mark did notice this serious
discrepancy in Matthew's story, and so, after having read it over, made
some improvements of his own that would attempt to make "sorry" be
appropriate. Namely, he placed full blame on Herodias (Mk 6:17,19), and
wrote that Herod considered John to be "a righteous and holy man" whom
he gladly heard speak though his talk perplexed him (Mk 6:20). So he
retained Matthew's statement that Herod was sorry to have to order John
executed. However, these alterations have the appearance of a hasty
editing job in Mark, since a person does not, realistically speaking,
go and listen to a man talk if he fears him and if his preaching is
perplexing, and do it gladly. And it is totally illogical that Herod
would have John beheaded, vow or no vow, if he himself believed the man
to be righteous and holy, was keeping him safe from execution, and
gladly heard him speak (Mk 6:20). Thus, the writer of Mark, after
having made some changes that speak favorably of Herod, continued on
with Matthew's story and had Herod illogically command that John be
beheaded. Thus this qualifies as editorial fatigue on the part of the
writer of Mark!
However, these considerations are ignored by Markan priorists, who, with Goodacre, argue that it was editorial fatigue on the part of the writer of Matthew because in both Matthew and Mark Herod was sorry to have to order the deed done. Admittedly this is a very serious discrepancy in Matthew, but might be dismissed by scholastically saying "for whatever reason" Matthew has it wrong, and the writer of Mark tried to justify Herod's purported sorrow in Matthew. This is an example of reversible editorial fatigue that tends to cancel out the veracity of both stories. The reader who wishes to know more about what Matthew's source, according to the MAH, had to say on this may click here.
The cleansing of the leper – a secret in the presence of crowds? In this pericope (Mt 8:1-4, Mk 1:40-45), a leper from among a crowd, in Matthew, gains Jesus' attention and asks to be healed. He heals him and tells him not to tell anyone about it but rather to show himself to the priest. Goodacre apparently assumed that if there had been a crowd, the healing would have been evident to many of the people, so why try to keep it secret? However, we should ask some questions. Would not the leper have been wearing clothes that pretty well hid his leprosy? Would not only a tiny fraction of the crowd, if that, be able to see that he was healed? Would not Jesus' admonition serve to keep word of the healing from spreading as fast and as far as if the man had actively spread the word? And would not this allow Jesus to continue his healings and teachings longer than otherwise before chief priests & Pharisees became too upset? I find the answer to these questions to be "Yes," with the crowd or crowds having been nearby in Matthew because of having followed Jesus down from the hill where he had given his long Sermon. Goodacre evidently implicitly assumes the answers to be "No," and does not discuss that in Mark there is no mention of how many persons may have been around Jesus at the time. In Mark it doesn't say that the leper met with Jesus privately, as Goodacre infers. Thus Goodacre's labeling of this event as representing editorial fatigue on the part of the writer of Matthew rests upon unjustified assumptions.
Where is the house in which Jesus had been teaching? In Mt
12:46 while Jesus is still speaking, his mother and brothers are said
to be standing outside. But there is no mention that he had entered
into or been inside a house at that time. For the Markan parallel (Mk
3:31), however, one finds, 11 verses earlier, that he had been speaking
in a house – a house that finds no parallel within Matthew. Thus from
the standpoint of Markan priority, an omission by the writer of Matthew
followed by subsequent copying from Mark produced this error, or case
of editorial fatigue, in Matthew.
From the standpoint of Matthean priority, however, one finds that the verse in Mark containing the house in question was part of an insertion (Mk 3:19b-21) invented for the purpose of derogating Jesus' Jewish friends as being unsuited for discipleship (see MAH-D.2. and Mk 3:19-21). It seems more likely an accident that this insertion involved a house that would solve the problem, further into the text, of where Jesus was teaching when his mother and brothers came, than that it was a purposeful improvement by the writer of Mark of a Matthean error. Either way, however, it would not be a sign of editorial fatigue on the part of the writer of Matthew. The reader may click here to learn that, by the MAH, Matthew's source indicates that Mt 12:46-50 was an insertion that was not thoroughly thought out.
Goodacre continues on with cases of fatigue in Luke, relative to Mark. These seem to be much more convincing, and non-reversible, than the supposed cases of fatigue in Matthew relative to Mark discussed above.
1. The disciples go away by themselves to a lonely place, but Jesus ends up with them. Mk 6:31-34 reads:
31And he said to them [to the apostles], "Come [or Go?] away by yourselves to a lonely place, and rest a while. For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. 32And they went away in the boat to a lonely place by themselves. 33Now many saw them going, and knew them, and they ran there on foot from all the towns, and got there ahead of them. 34As he landed he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them...
In contrast, the Matthean parallel, Mt 14:13-14, is:
13Now when Jesus heard this [the story of John's beheading], he withdrew from there in a boat to a lonely place apart. But when the crowds heard it, they followed him on foot from the towns. 14As he went ashore he saw a great throng, and he had compassion on them, and healed their sick.
From Mk 6:32, the third-person plural, "they," grammatically refers back to the disciples, who were told to go to a lonely place by themselves, if the variant from Codex D ("Go" or "Depart") is considered the original. It is the "harder" reading than "Come." It must have seemed as inexplicable or unacceptable to some early transcriber(s) as it does to today's Bible editors that Jesus would have ordered his disciples to go away by themselves. The way out was simply to substitute "Come away" for "Go away." However, "Go away" is consistent with the rest of 6:31-32, since "by yourselves" means just that, and not "with me."
This editorial behavior is easily seen to be but a part of the Markan additions that denigrate the Jewish disciples, as in Mk 6:48c, when after walking on water out to the vicinity of the disciples' floundering boat, he meant to pass them by. In those two instances, the denigrating touch of the writer of Mark took the form of Jesus wishing to avoid the disciples.
Moreover, from the viewpoint of Matthean priority we see that the writer of Mark made it be the disciples, not Jesus, who withdrew to a lonely place. Thus, there is no hint left in the Markan account that Jesus withdrew due to fear and grief over his friend John's beheading, as there is in the Matthean account.
However, this alteration produced some illogic. The writer of Mark then, at Mk 6:34, resumed his close following of Matthew, at Mt 14:14, with the throng following the boat by running along the shore. Obviously, in Mark, along with the disciples Jesus was in the boat, too, otherwise no throng of people would have been running along shore just to greet the disciples. Yet, Mk 6:32 clearly states, if Codex D is correct, that the disciples were by themselves in the boat. It is evidently illogical that the disciples could have been by themselves and with Jesus at the same time.
2. Sailing to Bethsaida or to Gennesaret? Just before the walking-on-water incident, both Matthew and Mark indicate that Jesus instructed his disciples to go in their boat to the other side of Lake Galilee. However, Mk 6:45 adds that they were to go to Bethsaida, while Matthew fails to specify any particular destination. Just after this incident, when they had crossed over, both Matthew (Mt 14:34) and Mark (6:53) mention that they reached land at Gennesaret, not Bethsaida! (Bethsaida is on the northeast corner of the lake, while Gennesaret is on the northwest side, seven miles distant.) Thus it appears that the writer of Mark made a typical addition ("to Bethsaida") to the text he was copying from Matthew in order that his gospel would seem more original due to possessing increased detail (MAH-D.3.), while omitting Peter's walking-on-water attempt. But then when he resumed following Matthew, he copied/translated Mt 14:34 and its Gennesaret destination without alteration into the first part of Mk 6:53, apparently forgetting that this would conflict with his Bethsaida insertion. A preoccupation with adding his next insertion ("and moored to the shore"), to the last part of Mk 6:53, may have contributed to his editorial fatigue here.
It may be noted that later, at Mk 8:22, Bethsaida is mentioned again. This is at the start of a healing pericope not present in Matthew. It cannot be known if the writer's mention of Bethsaida at this point was prompted by his mention of it at Mk 6:45, or vice versa. However, there is no other connection between the two pericopes, with eight other pericopes and much traveling by Jesus intervening. The pericope of Mk 6:45-53 by itself well satisfies the criteria for being an instance of (Markan) editorial "fatigue."
3. What does "the parable" refer to? At Mk 7:17 Jesus' disciples ask him about "the parable." However, the previous saying in Mark: "the things which come out of a man are what defile him" is no parable. It is plain talk, as it refers to things coming out of a man, such as evil words, evil thoughts and evil actions. So why did the writer of Mark improperly call it a parable? Because that word was used in the Matthean parallel he was following at this point (Mt 15:15). In Matthew it properly refers back to the parable of the uprooted plants of Mt 15:13, which indeed is a parable, but was a parable omitted by the writer of Mark (MAH-D.1.). This editorial fatigue of the omission type then produced the mistake. (One of Goodacre's above examples of supposed editorial fatigue in Matthew is of the omission type, as are several of his examples for Luke. In the omission type, the initial alteration is an omission rather than an insert and/or substitution.)
It may be noted that in Mt 15:15-17, after Peter asked to have the parable (of the uprooted plants) explained, Jesus instead speaks about the defilement saying. This is a problem within Matthew that need not be blamed on Mark, as the defilement saying in Matthew is not a parable any more than it is in Mark. Rather, from the TJ one may notice that the defilement saying was a Matthean insertion relative to the TJ text. Hence, this example may not become clear without study of the TJ.
4. Did the disciples remember to bring along a loaf of bread?
In Mk 8:14a Mark continues to parallel Matthew rather closely, in
saying the disciples had forgotten to bring bread (loaves) along (Mt
16:5). However, in 14b an exception is mentioned: they did bring one
loaf; no such statement is in Matthew. But Mk 8:15-17 again parallels
Matthew very closely (Mt 16:6-8), in repeating twice more that the
disciples had no bread (no loaves). Thus the practice or habit
of the writer of Mark of inserting a minor detail into the text of
Matthew he had been following (MAH-D.3.),
initiated the problem. His continued following of the Matthean text
subsequently, and failure to adjust his subsequent text to conform to
the added detail, generated the Markan fatigue.
To refute this, it needs to be argued that one loaf is the same as no loaf at all for feeding twelve men. However, in view of Jesus' capability of multiplying a small amount of bread into a vast amount, that argument cannot stand.
5. What is this about a reward that might be lost? At Mk 9:41 we read: "For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ, will by no means lose his reward." This can be recognized as a parallel to Matthew's "And whoever gives to one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he shall not lose his reward" (Mt 10:42). In the Markan verse, one wonders what reward is being referred to that might be lost, as there is no mention of any reward in any of its previous verses. The verse is incoherent, as only in the following chapter of Mark is there mention of heavenly rewards. In the paralleled Matthean verse, however, different kinds of rewards are discussed in its previous two verses. The omission of these verses by the writer of Mark (MAH-D.1.), followed by his resumption of Matthean text that mentioned "lose his reward," produced this instance of editorial fatigue.
6. Did Bartimaeus depart as ordered or follow Jesus? At Mk 10:52, at the end of this blind-man healing pericope, the writer of Mark enhanced the image of Jesus as a commanding figure by having him tell the man with the restored sight to go, which command was not in his Matthean source. Then the writer of Mark went back to following Mt 20:34c by having the man follow Jesus, apparently forgetting that his addition had just ordered the man to "Go."
7. Why didn't they send the colt back to its owner? At Mk 11:3 the two disciples tell the caretakers of the colt that Jesus needs it and "will send it back here immediately." This extra clause is not in the Matthean parallel (Mt 21:2-3). It appears as a Markan improvement to Matthew so that Jesus could not be construed as stealing the property of others. However, nowhere later in Mark are the disciples mentioned as having returned the colt. In resuming his following of Matthew, the writer of Mark apparently forgot to follow through on his insertion. His emphasis, relative to Matthew, that Jesus not be accused of defrauding the colt's owner or caretaker is consistent with his inclusion of "Do not defraud" in his list of commandments at Mk 10:19 relative to its absence in Matthew's parallel at Mt 19:18; both lists contain "Do not steal."
8. Losing track of the people in Jesus' two visits into
Jerusalem (Mk 11:8-17). This is Mark's version of Jesus coming to
the temple and "cleansing" it. It occurs in two parts, apparently so as
to allow ample time for the miracle of the drying up of the fig tree to
occur over a full one-day period. It is seen to be an alteration of the
Matthean version because the writer of Mark, in making the alteration,
lost track of the people involved. In the Matthean version, some at
least of the people who followed Jesus into Jerusalem are implied to
have been present to witness the cleansing of the temple, since at the
end of that event the blind and lame among them were healed.
In Mark, these followers are not heard from again on the day of his triumphant entry into Jerusalem, when Jesus goes into the temple, looks around, and goes back out again without doing or saying anything. Those who had been following Jesus into Jerusalem seem to have vanished by the time he reached the temple. Only on the following day, after Jesus' second entrance into the temple when the cleansing occurs according to Mark, is there suddenly a multitude of people present at the temple to hear him teach (Mk 11:18); where they came from is not mentioned. There had been no announcement that Jesus would appear in the temple on the very next day. At this point, then, one sees that the writer of Mark had resumed following Matthew's outline, at Mt 21:14, of a single temple event. Thus the writer of Mark again suffered from editorial fatigue, making an alteration that added a first entrance into the temple without any mention of the many people who had been following Jesus there, and then resuming his following of the text of Matthew, though with further alterations, by having a multitude be present on the next day for Jesus' cleansing of the temple and teaching.
9. Was it the season for figs or not? Concerning the fig tree that Jesus is said to have cursed (Mk 11:13), the writer of Mark attempted to explain why, in following the Matthean parallel of Mt 21:19, the fig tree had held no fruit. It was because "it was not the season for figs" (Mk 11:13b)(MAH-D.3.), an explanation not in Matthew. Then the writer of Mark continues to follow Matthew and has Jesus curse the tree anyway for not having any figs. This was a gross error on his part, in the category of editorial fatigue.
10. Did Jesus answer him or them? In Mk 11:21-22 Peter exclaimed about the withered fig tree to Jesus, who then answers them, as if he were replying to a remark not from Peter, but from some or all of the disciples. In the Matthean parallel (Mt 21:20-21), it is indeed the disciples who ask Jesus how the fig tree could have quickly withered. Hence this bit of incoherency, or editorial fatigue, was caused by the writer of Mark having redacted Matthew to make the remark come from Peter rather than from the disciples (MAH-D.4.), but then following Matthew too closely so that the reply was to "them" instead of to "him."
11. Scribes are to be condemned for wearing robes? In Mk 12:38-40 we read, "And in his teaching he said, 'Beware of the scribes, who like to go about in long robes..., who devour widows' houses and for a pretense make long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.'" This appears to be a giant abbreviation, or small summary, of Matthew's chapter on "Woes to the scribes and Pharisees." The latter portion above, by the MAH, came from copying Mt 23:14, which, though present only as a footnote in some Bibles, is attested to by a good many manuscripts. The phrase "long robes" in the RSV translation should actually read just "robes" according to the Greek upon which it is based. So why should wearing robes be a contributory reason for receiving condemnation? To go about dressed in a robe was simply normal behavior. We see that the writer of Mark, within his large abbreviation, sub-abbreviated the invective of Mt 23:5 against the scribes and Pharisees, so as to eliminate mention of the phylacteries and fringes on the robes – items that would not be understandable or relevant for gentiles (MAH-D.1.). Hence the robes were left dangling by themselves. Thereby the writer produced this piece of editorial fatigue, since in following more of Matthew after having made his sub-abbreviation, some incoherency resulted.
12. The apocalyptic prophecies are spoken to only four disciples? In Mk 13:3 Jesus speaks only (privately) to Peter, James, John and Andrew, whereas in Matthew it was to "the disciples," which implies to all the disciples (Mt 24:3-4). However, in both gospels the content of this prophecy was directed to all the disciples: e.g., they are to take heed not to be led astray, not be alarmed by rumors of war, not be anxious what to say before governors and kings. In following Matthew closely after this alteration, the writer of Mark forgot to allow the other eight disciples to listen in, too.
13. Who will see the Son of man coming in great power? Mk 13:26 reads, "And then they will see the Son of man coming in clouds with great power and glory." There is no clue who "they" stands for. It appears within a fresh pericope that had started out with "But in those days." However, in the parallel of Mt 24:30 that the writer of Mark appears to have been following, and continues to follow, we see that it refers back to "all the tribes," a phrase the writer of Mark omitted probably because it implied a reference to the twelve tribes of Israel and thus shunned the gentiles (MAH-D.2.). His omission of "all the tribes," or failure to substitute sensibly for it, caused the problem. I regard this as falling under the definition of editorial fatigue because the rest of the verse in which Mark follows Matthew lacks much of its meaning if one doesn't know who it is that will see the Son of man coming.
14. Did he wear two sets of clothes? At Mk 15:20 we read, "And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the purple cloak, and put his own clothes on him." This is very close to its Matthean parallel (Mt 27:31): "And when they had mocked him, they stripped him of the robe, and put his own clothes on him, and led him away ..." But in writing Mk 15:17 while following Mt 27:28, the writer of Mark had omitted its clause "and they stripped him," which preceded placing the scarlet robe upon Jesus. The problem that this omission causes is that the soldiers could not have put Jesus' own clothes back upon him if they had not previously taken them off. Quite likely, the redactor omitted the clause in order to avoid some measure of indignity for Jesus.
15. Was Joseph a good Jew? Shortly after the crucifixion, on the day before the sabbath (Day of Preparation), when Joseph of Arimathea appeared on the scene, it is stated in Mk 15:42 that evening was coming. Whether or not evening had already arrived in Mk 15:42, it would have taken a considerable amount of time for Joseph to go to Pilate, and for Pilate to send out a centurion to check on Jesus' death and report back. Before then, the sabbath would have arrived, on which Jews were forbidden to conduct business or travel. However, in Mk 15:43 Joseph is portrayed as "a respected member of the council," thus one who must have followed the Jewish law. Hence he would not, or should not, have gone to Pilate at that time to conduct his business. Thus, the upgrading of Joseph's societal status by the writer of Mark, relative to Matthew, followed by his resumption of Matthew's story, produced this particular bit of Markan editorial fatigue. In Matthew it is not a problem, because Joseph is not identified as being Jewish, but only as being rich (Mt 27:57).
16. Was Joseph of Arimathea a council member who sought testimony against Jesus? As noted above, in Mk 15:43a Joseph is described as being a respected member of the council, a phrase not in Matthew's parallel at Mt 27:57. And in Mk 14:55 it is stated that the whole council sought testimony against Jesus, to put him to death, just as in Mt 26:59. However, it is inconceivable that Joseph would have asked for Jesus' body, bought a linen shroud, wrapped Jesus in it and laid him in a tomb if the previous night he had been one of those who had condemned Jesus to death (Mk 14:64). Yet in following Mt 27:58-60, this is just what the writer of Mark has Joseph do in Mk 15:43b-46. This is a serious instance of editorial fatigue.
Although Goodacre (1998) was unable to find any instances of Markan fatigue relative to Matthew, the above examples indicate that a more diligent search was needed.
|Matthew 21:13||Mark 11:17||Luke 19:46|
|He said to them,
"It is written, 'My house
shall be called a house of prayer';
but you make it
a den of robbers."
|And he taught and said to
"Is it not written, 'My house
shall be called a house of prayer
for all the nations?
But you have made it
a den of robbers."
|saying to them,
"It is written, 'My house
shall be a house of prayer';
but you have made it
a den of robbers."
The phrase "for all the nations" in Mark stands out as being unparalleled in Matthew and Luke. Goodacre shows this to be a problem for both the Farrer theory and the two-source theory. Why isn't the phrase present in Luke, since it should be congenial to that writer?
With the modified Augustinian hypothesis, it is acceptable to postulate that even though the writer of Luke realized that much from Matthew, omitted in Mark, needed to be reinstated for historical completeness, he nevertheless took a dim view of the hope that the Jews would embrace Christianity. This view is brought out in Acts 28:25-29, where it is stressed that the salvation of God has been sent to the gentiles, who will listen, as opposed to the Jews whose ears were "too heavy" to hear with. The future of the Christian movement was thus felt to lie in the gentiles, who, by the time of the writing of Luke in the 120s, worshipped more in their own house-churches than in synagogues, and certainly not in the Temple. In the passage, "house of prayer" is seen to refer to the Temple, not to synagogues in general. Hence the writer of Luke decided to follow Matthew here, rather than Mark, and not say that the Temple was "for all the nations (gentiles)." The writer of Mark, on the other hand, reasoned more simply in being eager to insert or retain all phrases favorable to gentiles.
The arguments below supposedly favoring the priority of Mark over Matthew come from Styler (1982).
The first two of these, contained in his Example A, have been nullified in dealing with Goodacre's arguments above under the headings of King Herod? and Was Herod Sorry? The next, also within his Example A, involves the "flashback" in which the story of John the Baptist's beheading is embedded (Mt 14:1-12/Mk 6:14-29).
|Matthew 14:1-3,11-13||Mark 6:14-17,29-31|
|1At that time
Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus;
2and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he had been
raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him."
3For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison.....
11and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl,
and she brought it to her mother.
12And his disciples came and took the body and buried it,
and they went
and told Jesus.
13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat
to a lonely place apart.....
heard of it; for Jesus' fame had become known.
Some said, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why these powers are at work in him." ...
16But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
17For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison..... .
28and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl;
and the girl gave it to her mother.
29When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
30The apostles returned to Jesus,
and told him all that they had done and taught.
31And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves
to a lonely place..."
Styler states that "Mark correctly resumes his main narrative with a
jump, but Matthew builds a smooth transition. ...In doing so, Matthew
has made another blunder."
From the above verse comparison, we see that the flashbacks begin at Mt 14:3 and Mk 6:17, respectively, though the writer of Matthew left it unclear that it was a flashback, due to the ambiguity of "At that time." Matthew's ends at Mt 14:12b,13 and Mark's at Mk 14:30. Styler fails to comment on the fact that in Matthew, there is no line about the apostles returning to Jesus (Mk 6:30); instead the disciples of John some time afterwards went to Jesus and told him what had happened. From an Augustinian viewpoint we see that the writer of Mark inserted a return of the apostles here because he had placed the second calling of the disciples, in which they were instructed on what they were to do, just before the beheading episode – their initial calling had been at Mk 3:13-19. The much altered sequence of events in Mark before it follows Matthew more faithfully from Matthew 12 on is explained in MAH-F.2.
By the MAH, Matthew's exit from the flashback occurs during the time involved in John's disciples burying John's body, then their hunting up Jesus' location and traveling there. Matthew's story is the more realistic of the two and thus closer to the original, in that Jesus is told what happened, which he is not in Mark. Mark's failure to do this was likely motivated by its writer's desire that Jesus not be seen to have departed in fear and grief, which is the inference one may draw from Matthew's account. This deduction is bolstered by Mark's further alteration in having only the apostles go away to a lonely place (Mk 5:31), which however is soon contradicted by Jesus being located in a boat with his disciples as Mark resumes following Matthew into the Feeding of the Five Thousand.
So we may see that Mark's jump out of the flashback was too abrupt due to editorial action on the part of its writer.
Styler further comments that at the beginning of the flashback Mark's account is the more logical in that its "whom I beheaded" provides a more proper introduction to the flashback. We can agree on this, but by MAH-D.3., it is not at all unexpected that the writer of Mark would add a bit of redundancy that, in this instance, constituted an improvement. Overall, the points supposedly favoring Markan priority do not outweigh those favoring Matthean priority.
His Example B, pertaining to the rich man and Jesus, we have already covered under Stein 3c., "Mark's harder readings."
Styler's Example C concerns the question about David's son (Mt 22:41-45, Mk 12: 35-37a).
|Matthew 22:41-42||Mark 12:35|
the Pharisees were gathered together,
Jesus asked them a question, saying,
"What do you think of the Christ? Whose son is he?"
They said to him, "The son of David."
|And as Jesus taught in
"How can the scribes say that the Christ is
the son of David?"
Styler believes that Matthew's formulation of the question is an editorial change designed to draw out the answer: "son of God." However, by MAH-D.2., and Mark's omission of the Nativity and alteration of "the carpenter's son" in Mt 13:55/Mk 6:3, we see that its writer wished to mention Jesus' Jewish background involving his father (or step-father) as little as possible. So he reworded the question of "Whose son is he?" in Matthew so as to eliminate it. This solution will, of course, be lost upon those who do not realize how serious and upsetting the appearance of an anti-gentile first gospel must have been to pro-gentile evangelists, and how it could exacerbate any pre-existing anti-Jewish feelings (MAH-B.).
Styler's Example D concerns the mention, in both Matthew and Mark, that at the beginning of the apocalyptic discourse Jesus is questioned privately. In Mark the questions come privately from Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mk 13:3-5), while in Matthew they come privately from the disciples (Mt 24:3-4).
|Matthew 24:1-3||Mark 13:1-4a|
left the temple and was going away,
when his disciples came to point out to him
the buildings of the temple.
2But he answered them, "You see all these, do you not?
Truly, I say to you,
there will not be left here one stone upon another,
that will not be thrown down."
3As he sat on the Mount of Olives,
the disciples came to him privately, saying,
"Tell us, when will this be, and...?"
|1And as he
came out of the temple,
one of his disciples said to him,
"Look, Teacher, what wonderful stones,
and what wonderful buildings!"
2And Jesus said to him, "Do you see these great buildings?
There will not be left here one stone upon another,
that will not be thrown down."
3And as he sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple,
Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,
4"Tell us, when will this be, and...?"
Styler feels that the word "privately" has "more force" in Mark than
it does in Matthew, because in Mark previously, at the temple, only one
disciple had asked a question, while in Matthew the question had come
then from the disciples again. How does this difference tell us
anything about the direction of redaction? In either gospel, since
Jesus was talking to disciples and not to a crowd, the use of the
qualifier "in private" seems equally appropriate or inappropriate. One
might even argue that "privately" has less force in Mark than in
Matthew, because in Mark where only one had asked a question at the
temple, four did so on the Mount of Olives – going from one to four
decreased the degree of privacy.
More importantly, it is more realistic that Jesus' lengthy discourse would have been delivered to all his disciples, than to just his first four. In the prophecy's 33 verses in Mark (Mk 13:5-37), nowhere is there any indication that the other eight disciples started to listen in. Yet much of its early content was apropos to all the disciples, not just four of them, such as: "Take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues...". Therefore, this appears to be a redaction by the writer of Mark of the type "change for the sake of change" (MAH-D.4.), inasmuch as many of his other changes have come under this category. It could even come under the classification of editorial fatigue also, in that the writer of Mark made a distinct change in Matthew's text, as he frequently did, but in continuing to follow Matthew's text forgot to make a follow-up change that would have allowed the other eight disciples to tune in on the discourse. This calls for Matthean priority over Mark.
Styler's Example E deals with the relative logic in Matthew
versus Mark of Pilate's offer to release either Barabbas or Jesus (Mt
27:15-18/Mk 15:6-10). Styler states that Matthew's account is not as
logical because, after Pilate's offer to release either Barabbas or
Jesus, Matthew reads, "for he knew that it was out of envy that they
had delivered him [Jesus] up." In Mark's account, this same clause
occurs after Pilate's offer to release just Jesus (not Jesus or
Barabbas). If Pilate expected the release of Jesus to please the crowd,
why then in Matthew would he not first just ask if they wished him to
release Jesus, as in Mark, rather than present them with a choice? On
this basis, apparently, Styler believed Matthew is indicated to have
come after Mark.
However, Styler seems to have missed the point that because Barabbas was a notorious criminal, by presenting the crowd with the choice of releasing either him or Jesus, Pilate was maximizing the odds they would choose Jesus for release, in whom he found no evil. If he had instead offered a choice between releasing Jesus and one of the reported thieves who were also crucified, for example, the proper choice might not have been so obvious. Upon recognizing this consideration, it appears that Matthew may be the more logical of the two accounts.
Styler's Example F concerns the question about fasting.
|Matthew 9:14||Mark 2:18|
disciples of John came to him
"Why do we and the Pharisee fast,
but your disciples do not fast?
|Now John's disciples and the Pharisees
and they (RSV: people) came and said to him,
"Why do John's disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?
By Styler's reasoning, the writer of Matthew misinterpreted Mark's
"they" (third-person plural verb ending) to refer to what it should
literally: John's disciples and the Pharisees. And he also compacted
and tidied up Mark. This reasoning has prompted scholarly Bible
translators to alter "they" to "people" in order to improve the verse
grammatically, since in Mark "they" sometimes does have to vaguely mean
"the people." But shouldn't we look into the reverse reasoning?
The writer of Mark acted in his usual style, when not abbreviating in bulk – padding Matthew's text, adding redundancy and making small alterations that usually don't change the substance (MAH-D.3.&4.). In so doing, he awkwardly replaced Matthew's "we" with "John's disciples," while this time having utilized "they" correctly.
After these examples, Styler summarizes B. C. Butler's four chief
reasons why Q, as defined by the two-document hypothesis, never
existed. He does not contest the first three of these, only the fourth,
which he reports as being Matthew's parallels to Mark often having "a
greater polish, in wording and structure." He notes that this can
instead work in favor of Markan priority, since why should the writer
of Mark have altered smooth wording of Matthew into rough wording?
Here, of course, the MAH readily explains this as due to Mark's Greek
wording having come before Matthew's gospel in Greek. Butler
did not allow that Semitic Matthew was translated into Greek after
Mark (and Luke) were written.
Styler goes on to state points for and against Q, the former of which we have dealt with in the summary of the MAH above, and in the above critiques of Stein, Tuckett and Smith. He then pays special attention to the Beelzebub pericope, finding it to be the most cogent example that supports the Q hypothesis. He states, "If Luke came last, knowing both Mark and Matthew, his procedure here must have been quite extraordinary; he must have carefully subtracted from Matthew almost all that was common to Matthew and Mark and retained verbatim much of what was left... Such a procedure would not be difficult to carry out. But to produce a plausible explanation for doing anything so apparently crazy is very difficult indeed."
|Matthew 12:25-32||Mark 3:23-30||Luke 11:17-23|
their thoughts, he said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste,
and no city or house divided against itself will stand;
26and if Satan casts out Satan,
he is divided against himself;
how then will his kingdom stand?
27And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your sons cast them out?
Therefore they shall be your judges.
28But if it is by the spirit of God
that I cast out demons,
then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
29Or how can one enter a strong man's house
and plunder his goods,
unless he first binds the strong man?
Then indeed he may plunder his house.
30He who is not with me is against me,
and he who does not gather with me scatters.
31Therefore I tell you,
every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men,
but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven.
32And whoever says a word
against the Son of man will be forgiven;
but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit
will not be forgiven,
either in this age or in the age to come.
called them to him,
and said to them in parables,
"How can Satan cast out Satan?
A24If a kingdom is divided against itself,
that kingdom cannot stand.
25And if a house is divided against itself,
that house will not be able to stand.
26And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided,
he cannot stand, but is coming to an end.
27But no one can enter a strong man's house
and plunder his goods,
unless he first binds the strong man;
then indeed he may plunder his house.
28Truly, I say to you,
all sins will be forgiven the sons of men,
and whatever blasphemies they utter;
29but whoever blasphemies against
the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness,
but is guilty of an eternal sin" —
30for they had said, "He has an unclean spirit."
knowing their thoughts, said to them,
"Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste,
and house falls upon house.
18And if Satan also
is divided against himself,
how will his kingdom stand?
For you say that I cast out demons by Beelzebul,
19And if I cast out demons by Beelzebul,
by whom do your sons cast them out?
Therefore they shall be your judges.
20But if it is by the finger of God
that I cast out demons,
then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
21When a strong man, fully armed,
guards his own palace, his goods are in peace;
22but when one stronger than he assails him
and overcomes him, he takes away his armor
in which he trusted, and divides his spoil.
23He who is not with me is against me,
and he who does not gather with me scatters."
12:10bbut he who blasphemes against
the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
12:10aAnd every one who speaks a word against
the Son of man will be forgiven;
The strong tendency can be seen for the writer of Luke to have picked up pieces of Matthew that Mark omitted, which is what Styler describes, but often to have altered them noticeably. A similar tendency is seen, when Mark follows Matthew closely, as in Mt 12:29 and Mk 3:27, for the writer of Luke to alter the story rather strongly (Lk 11:21-22), by recasting it.
Well, the writer of Luke wasn't crazy, only terribly angry,
apparently, at the writer of Matthew for having denied discipleship to
gentiles in his gospel. He took out his continuing anger here in a
manner that is quite understandable (MAH-E.c)),
but too unacceptable for most New Testament scholars to deal with.
There is no need whatsoever to hypothesize that the writer of Matthew
was conflating Mark and Luke in the above passage (Styler, p.312).
Styler's reference to a "verbatim" part in this example pertains mainly to Mt 12:26b-28,30 and Lk 11:19-20, where there is a string of 37 Matthean words (in Greek) that match those in Luke except for only 3 words. This, and many other similar examples of long strings of identical Greek words in parallel passages of Matthew and Luke can only have been due to the purposeful action of the translator of Semitic Matthew. Upon noticing that the writers of Luke and Mark made many alterations to Semitic Matthew, the translator apparently wanted it to be known that those two gospels had derived from Matthew and were not separate creations independent of Matthew (MAH-G.). So he replicated many strings of Greek text in Luke and Mark whose meanings paralleled those within Semitic Matthew.
Next, Styler treats some of the strong indications of Lukan
dependence upon Mark, of which the MAH agrees and few Synoptists would
disagree. Following this, he spends four pages on the Griesbach
hypothesis, first stating its apparent virtues and then giving reasons
to reject them. I have scarcely dealt with the Griesbach hypothesis in
this web page, having concentrated on showing reasons favoring priority
of Semitic Matthew and irrelevancy of almost all arguments favoring
Markan priority. The strong indications of Lukan dependence upon Mark
alone rule out the Griesbach hypothesis.
However, Styler's generalization stating the main argument in favor of the Griesbach hypothesis is: Where Matthew and Luke give events in the same sequence, the writer of Mark did not disturb this sequence; where their sequence diverges, the writer of Mark would "follow the order of sometimes one, sometimes the other." The MAH shows this to be a consequence of Luke following Mark where its sequence deviates from Matthew, and often not following Mark where its sequence and text closely follow Matthew (MAH-E.a) & c)). At still other times, the writer of Luke of necessity followed the same order as in Mark and Matthew (e.g., triple tradition from Lk 21:19 through 24:9). Besides having serious failings, the Griesbach hypothesis is simply not necessary.
Styler devoted space to discussing a common Hebrew source for the
Synoptics, by referring to work done by J. C. O'Neill (1974-75). In
comparing the strong verbal agreement often encountered in the double
tradition, or "Q" verses, with the lesser verbal agreement in the
triple tradition, O'Neill had argued for independent translations from
a Hebrew source to explain the latter. Here we have explained these
latter by the writer of Luke having sometimes acted in the manner of MAH-E.c) & d). The former are instances
in which the translator of Semitic Matthew wanted it known that even
though the writer of Luke had placed the Matthean verses he had
reincorporated ("Q") out of context, as if to hide their source, these
were still to be credited to Matthew (MAH-G.).
He could achieve this by causing his Greek translation to agree word
for word with Luke, in parallel verses with nearly identical content.
In short, with the MAH the translations of Semitic Matthew done by the
writers of Mark and of Luke in forming their gospels, and by the
translator of Semitic Matthew in forming Greek Matthew, were not at all
independent; we may agree with Styler on the lack of independence.
Styler offered no explanation for the distinct difference in verbal agreement between the two above cases, but went on to discuss the differences in order of pericopes between Matthew and Mark, up to Mk 6:1 or Mt 12:1. These involve mostly healing pericopes. Instead of the assumption that the writer of Matthew felt like placing many of Mark's miracles into one section (into Mt 8-11), with the MAH we find the result as due more plausibly to the behavior of the writer of Mark (MAH-F.2.).
Styler finishes by giving examples of strong verbal agreement
between parallel passages of the Synoptic Gospels, taken two at a time.
An example between Luke and Mark is "I know you who you are" in
transliterated form (Mk 1:24b, Lk 4:34). He notes that, "The
construction is idiomatic Greek, whereas a direct Hebrew equivalent
looks artificial." Not mentioned was the likelihood that this was an
invented sentence or passage by the writer of Mark, since it has no
Matthean parallel. Subsequently, the writer of Luke retained it since
it deviates strongly from Matthew.
However, Styler did not examine the distributions of the lengths of strings of identical Greek words to be able to distinguish between cases where the dependence is due to ordinary editing, versus cases where an editor or translator purposely copied lengthy strings of text for the sake of replicating them exactly without any touches of editing. When this is done, we find that the dependence of Luke upon Mark involved ordinary editing. But we find an excess of verbal agreement between Matthew and Luke, and between Matthew and Mark, that must have been introduced during the translation of Semitic Matthew into Greek, and introduced purposely (MAH-G.). The distinction between the different frequency distributions involved was of course unknown to Styler.
The book by Ehrman (2004) is designed as a primer for students at around a college freshman level. And though he gives reasons for his stated conclusions, these reasons are selectively based upon the Four-Source hypothesis, which he accepts from the start (pp. 64-65), primary sources then being Mark, "Q", Matthew's "special source" M and Luke's special source L. Hence the student, unless unusually independent-minded, will have no inkling of the anti-gentile and anti-Jewish "tensions" that lay at the heart of the origins of the Gospels and which turn this "most popular" of solutions of the Synoptic Problem upside down.
The limited scope of this book allows Ehrman's students no clues that would point to any of the internal evidence disclosing Mark's numerous dependencies upon Matthew. And the external evidence indicating that a Hebraic Matthew came first is avoided altogether.
In his chapter 6 on Matthew, Ehrman states that the title, "The Gospel according to Matthew," was added long after the document's original composition" (p. 81). Unstated, however, is that this rests upon the speculation that it was written around A.D. 80 rather than several decades later.
Various passages within Matthew that show the earmarks of being redactions are assumed to be edited versions of Mark rather than allowing that they could just as well be edited versions of a primary source for Matthew other than Mark. Other passages that also show signs of redaction, e.g., Mt 5:17, Ehrman accepts as genuine.
An example of easily reversible arguments is Ehrman's mention in the apocalyptic discourse where Matthew (24:20) reads, "Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath," while Mark (13:18) does not contain "or on a sabbath." Ehrman interprets the phrase as a Matthean addition, while by MAH-D.1., the writer of Mark omitted the phrase as being quite inessential. His readers would not need to know (and did he himself know?) that any extensive travel on the sabbath was forbidden by Jewish law.
Ehrman tells his students they can see for themselves that "Matthew has taken over [stories] from Mark," for example by comparing Matthew 12 with Mk 2:1 - 3:6 (p. 93). Below, however, is discussion of some Markan verses in this region that show just the opposite.
In the story of the healing of the paralytic, at Mk 2:7, the scribes ask, "Why does this man speak thus? It is blasphemy! Who can forgive sins but God alone?" However, in the Matthean parallel (Mt 9:3) the scribes only say, "This man is blaspheming." Thus, Matthew supplies no explanation why this was blasphemy, and so the writer of Mark corrected this omission, which allowed him to add some non-Matthean substance to his text (MAH-D.3.). If Matthew had been dependent upon Mark, would Matthew's writer have omitted Mark's explanation?
In the same pericope, in Mk 2:10, the writer of Mark, upon making use of Mt 9:6, places the "Son of man" expression in the mouth of Jesus. This openly revealed Jesus' messianic status to the people gathered around, since "Son of man" most easily refers to the messianic figure by that title in Daniel. However, this was supposed to be kept a secret in Mark (the messianic secret), except from the disciples, until Jesus was raised from the dead (see Mk 9:9-10). Yet the messianic secret is seen to have been otherwise in place following Mk 1:24, where the demon, in speaking to Jesus, calls him the "Holy One of God." This has no Matthean parallel. Although the same problem does occur in Matthew, it is more severe in Mark due to the latter's greater emphasis upon the messianic secret. This suggests that the writer of Mark used Matthew, because if it were the other way around and the writer of Matthew had noticed this problem in Mark, he would logically have eliminated the problem, not merely have reduced it by making fewer references to the secrecy theme. Thus, the writer of Mark failed to realize, here and elsewhere, the contradiction his usage of Matthew's "Son of man" expressions would bring about with his messianic-secret theme.
Although it might be thought that Jesus' messianic status was revealed early on, at the baptism, this is often denied on the assumption that only Jesus saw the Spirit descending like a dove and heard the voice from heaven saying, "Thou art my beloved Son."
Towards the end of the same pericope we find this, at Mk 2:12:And he [the paralytic] rose, and immediately took up the pallet and went out before them all; so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, "We never saw anything like this!"This may be compared with the Matthean parallel (Mt 9:7-8), which reads,And he rose and went home. When the crowds saw it, they were afraid, and they glorified God, who had given such authority to men.It seems here that the writer of Mark did not wish to dilute the power and authority of Jesus by implying that men in general had this same authority to heal, as stated in the Matthean parallel. In fact, he was reluctant to even grant such authority to Jesus' disciples (e.g., see Mk 6:7 and Mt 10:8, where authority in Mark is given for the disciples only to cast out demons; or see Mk 6:47-51 and Mt 14:23-32, where the walking-on-water episode in Mark is restricted to Jesus only). Hence he made a significant reverential improvement by omitting the Matthean clause that gave such authority to men.
Examination of Mk 2:15 (and its parallel at Mt 9:10) discloses the following:And as he sat at table in his house, many tax collectors and sinners were sitting with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many who followed him.The Matthean parallel lacks the final clause "for there were many who followed him." This clause is likely a bit of Markan apologia for the purpose of explaining why Jesus would be eating with such unsavory table companions -- among many people it was more likely that there would be many tax collectors and sinners. Hence this is an upgrading of Matthew, albeit not a logical one, since it does not follow logically that out of all those who were following him there, those at the table would be predominantly tax collectors and sinners.
At Mk 2:27 the verse begins with "And he said to them..." However, prior to this point Jesus was already speaking to the Pharisees, and he continues to do so in the remainder of this verse and in the next. So why did the writer of Mark break Jesus' response to the Pharisees right in the middle with an interruptive clause? Upon comparison with the parallel in Matthew, one finds that at this very point Mark omits Mt 12:5-7 and has an extra sentence (at Mk 2:27b) just after resuming with "And he said to them..." This interruptive clause then has the appearance of being an editorial addition suggested to the writer/editor because he himself had to pause for a while to decide how much to omit and how much, if any, to add, before resuming his close following of Matthew's text, which does not have any such needless interruption in its direct speech. At the same time, the addition of the interruptive clause would serve to remind the reader that Jesus was still speaking (quotation marks and other punctuation were not yet invented at this time), and would serve to make the text of Mark be different than that of Matthew (change for the sake of change: MAH-D.4.). Obviously, it would not suffice to have his gospel be too similar to that of Matthew and yet imply that it stemmed from an independent source -- the man (John) Mark.
At Mk 3:1-6 Jesus enters the synagogue (in an episode apparently not related to his previous discussion with Pharisees in the grain fields), and heals the man with the withered hand. A nebulous "they" watch this event and hear Jesus speak to them angrily. This "they" then turn into Pharisees who go out and hold counsel against him. Here the writer of Mark had apparently become a little careless in not noticing that the Matthean text he was following and translating (Mt 12:9f) had referred to their synagogue, which linked the story with the preceding one involving Pharisees who had evidently followed Jesus into their synagogue. The "they" in Mk 3:2,4 can hardly refer to "the people," as a nebulous "they" usually does, since Jesus would not have had cause to speak to all the people in the synagogue angrily. However Mk 3:2 forces the reader to assume that all those in the synagogue were aiming to accuse Jesus. In Matthew it is clearer that "they" refer to the Pharisees who must have followed Jesus into their synagogue. Thus the error made here by the writer of Mark was to alter Matthew's "their synagogue" into "the synagogue," or into "a synagogue" according to two valued Greek manuscripts. Either way, the failure of Mark's text to utilize "their synagogue" causes the problem; if "a synagogue" be interpreted as "he went to synagogue," instead of "to a synagogue," the same argument prevails.
The reverse interpretation -- that the writer of Matthew purposely eliminated Mark's problem -- is much less credible. He would have had to perceive that he could alter Mark's "a synagogue" into "their synagogue," and thereby imply that it was the synagogue that the Pharisees attended who had queried Jesus in the grain field. If he had simply been intent to improve upon Mark, however, he would much more likely have replaced Mark's first nebulous "they" (in Mk 3:2) with "the Pharisees inside" or some such expression.
In the same pericope at Mk 3:3 we read, "And he said to the man who had the withered hand, 'Come here.'" Then followed the healing. Actually, the command in Greek is better translated "Rise into the midst." In Matthew (Mt 12:10-11) there is no such corresponding command. It appears to be a Markan addition designed to further portray Jesus as a commanding figure; if Mark were written first and Matthew second one would not expect it to be absent from Matthew.
Ehrman's students are given no hints that the appearance of Markan dependence upon Matthew is so prevalent and strong.
In discussing Jesus' Passion (p. 93), Ehrman again states,
unjustifiably, that many of Matthew's stories were taken over from
Mark. He implies that Pilate's offer to release just Jesus, in Mark,
rather than offering a choice between Jesus and Barabbas as in Matthew
(Mk 15:8, Mt 27:17), and Mark's lack of mention of Pilate learning of
his wife's dream of a righteous Jesus, somehow suggest Markan priority
over Matthew. However, it more strongly suggests that the writer of
Mark, based in Rome, was quite willing to go along with Matthew's image
of Pilate being a relatively good Roman governor, which image he would
enhance: he would not have Pilate offer a notorious criminal for
release – a good governor wouldn't subject the people to that – and he
wouldn't have Pilate be swayed by advice from a woman's dream. The
former is discussed further under Styler's Example D above.
Ehrman also discusses Matthew's infamous cry, "His blood be on us and on our children" (Mt 27:25). Since it is found only in Matthew, he seems to imply that it is a Matthean addition to Mark, so he does not mention that it could just as well be a Matthean addition to a source document other than Mark, if his insistence upon the four-source hypothesis were relaxed. In hypotheses favoring Markan priority, there is often little concern about Mark's source. However, with the MAH (MAH-H.), the source of Semitic Matthew is known and has been vouched for by its co-discoverer, who is still alive. Why, though, would the anti-gentile writer of Matthew add such an anti-Semitic statement to his gospel? I deem the most probable answer to lie in his great disappointment that relatively few Jews had been converted to his messianic form of Judaism in the 7 to 8 decades since the crucifixion, compared with gentile conversions and the rapid spread of early Christianity into gentile lands. B. J. Hubbard's (1981) answer as to why is that "converts are sometimes capable of virulent attacks on their former coreligionists." Since the verse was not carried into Mark (or Luke), however, we must allow the alternative possibility that the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek added this notorious verse in order to shift some of the blame for the crucifixion away from the Romans and gentiles.
Other verses in Mark in the Passion narrative indicative of Mark's dependency upon Matthew are discussed starting here and here.
Although Ehrman's students are subject to totally biased reasoning concerning gospel priorities, in Ehrman (2004) they otherwise receive much valuable and well written information.
Starting with patterns of agreement, Ehrman wrote, "The fact that they [Matthew and Luke] rarely do differ from Mark while agreeing with one another indicates that Mark must have been their source" (p. 74). As with the other references critiqued above, however, this only means that the great importance of anti-Matthean feelings on the part of the writer of Luke, as well as Mark, due to the anti-gentile stance of Semitic Matthew (MAH-B and MAH-E.a)) was entirely overlooked. However, Ehrman's wording of this editorial behavior fails to consider all the major agreements between Matthew and Luke in the (Q) verses not found in Mark (MAH-E.b)); in those verses Matthew and Luke are verbally agreeing with each other but not with Mark!
Concerning the sequence of narratives, "even though Matthew
and Luke do not often agree together against Mark in the wording of
stories that all three of them share, they do extensively agree in the
wording of stories that are not found in Mark." These latter stories
"are in virtually every instance located in different places in their
narratives." As with others before him, Ehrman could imagine no reason
why the writer of Luke, with (Hebraic) Matthew in front of him, would
rearrange the Matthean stories that Mark omits. With MAH-E.b),
the reason is clear indeed. Upon placing these Matthean stories for
this reason in totally different contexts, he didn't need to alter
their contents, too. The translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek would
see to it that the Greek wording was as similar as possible, for his
own reason (MAH-G).
The big problem here for the Mark-Q priorists, however, is why, if the writers of Luke and Matthew independently extracted the foregoing stories from Q, they would differ in their context in 57 of the 63 instances involved. This seems to defy the odds, but does not receive critical discussion apparently because the alternative (the "improper" editorial behavior of the writer of Luke) is theologically or ethically repugnant. As Ehrman states it, "It is almost impossible to think that [the writer of] Luke worked this way" – impossible only if the most important aspects of the respective milieus of the writers of Matthew and Mark are ignored, along with the external evidence and much internal evidence.
Concerning grammar, Ehrman mentions the familiar fact that Mark's style of writing is often awkward, with this deficiency not being found in Luke or Matthew. This is taken to mean that Mark came first, without regard for external evidence indicating that Hebraic Matthew had come first. Thus with Mark having been written before Matthew was translated into Greek, and with Luke coming after Mark, Mark was indeed the first Greek Gospel but was nevertheless dependent upon (Hebraic) Matthew. This should not be difficult to understand, along with the many indications that Hebrew and/or Aramaic underlie these texts; see MAH-G.
Concerning Mark's relative shortness, Ehrman raises the usual arguments we have already amply nullified (see the critiques of other authors above, and MAH-D.1.).
Concerning apparent Matthean consolidation: Most of Matthew's healing stories being located in Mt 8-11, Ehrman assumes, as have many others, that its writer "often gathered together in one place stories scattered throughout his Markan source (p. 76). Neglected is the likelihood that the writer of Mark had a reason for scattering the healing stories (MAH-F.2.).
In discussing Q in chapter 6 Ehrman does discuss some
specific passages. He uses the story of the rich young man who wanted
to know what to do to achieve eternal life (p.76), to conclude it shows
Markan priority on the basis of Mark's dialogue making more sense than
Matthew's (Mk 10:17-18, Mt 19:16-17). But if one gospel writer has
improved upon another's text, is not he, the improver, often considered
for that reason to be the redactor? And Ehrman did not mention the
solution we discussed under Stein 3c above, that for those steeped in
matters of the Jewish Scriptures, "the Good" referred to the Torah (in
the Greek, the Matthean verse refers to "the good"). He uses his
assumed solution as a reason for believing that the writer of Matthew
altered the sequence of Q stories when forming his gospel but the
writer of Luke preserved their sequence. However, Ehrman did not have
space, evidently, to discuss strong opposing arguments, such as those
of Butler (1951, pp. 23-36) that demolish this assumed solution as well
as demolishing "Q" itself.
Ehrman (1997, pp. 76-77) assumes similarly in regards to Matthew's Sermon on the Mount, which is scattered into a dozen different places within Luke: that the writer of Matthew extracted them from Q and gathered them all together into one rather smoothly flowing sermon. No mention is made of the much greater difficulty in doing this than of the redactor scattering sections of a compact sermon in Matthew widely throughout his own gospel for his own reason (MAH-E.b)). The dependence of Luke upon Matthew, in the Sermon, was well confirmed by Butler (1951, pp. 37-48).
In discussing the Messianic secret on pp. 85-86 Ehrman makes a sharp distinction between Mark's keeping of the secret and Matthew's more open or early revelation of Jesus as the Christ. He suggests that the writer of Matthew altered Mark in this respect so as to make the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus all the more guilty. "If Jesus' identity is public knowledge [as in Matthew] then those who above all others should be in the know, the Jewish authorities, are all the more culpable for rejecting, and even persecuting, him." This is not particularly convincing. There are three instances in which the writer of Matthew, if following Mark, could have omitted Mark's "Don't tell" admonition but didn't. Other instances he might have altered into admonitions of "Go out and spread the word;" however none of that is realized. So let us look now at these and related Messianic-secret verses with a fresh viewpoint:
|1:34||Don't tell (Jews)||Cast out demons||8:16||No admonition|
|1:43||Don't tell (Jews)||Healed a leper||8:4||Don't tell (Jews)|
|3:12||Don't tell (mainly Jews)||Healed many possessed||12:16||Don't tell (presumably Jews)|
|5:19-20||Yes, do tell (gentiles of Decapolis)||Healed 2 demoniacs + pig episode||8:33-34||No admonition|
|5:43||Don't tell (Jews)||Raised a girl from the dead||9:23-25||No admonition (to Jews)|
|7:36||Don't tell = Do tell
(gentiles of Decapolis)
|Healed deaf man||--||--|
|8:30||Don't tell (Jews or) anyone||Warned Peter||16:20||Don't tell (Jews or) anyone|
In the above table, in Matthew there are four instances in which
Jesus issued no admonition; in two of their parallels in Mark the
"don't tell" admonition was given, and in settings where Jews
would be the main recipients (Mk 1:34 & 5:43). In the third (Mk
5:19-20), the healed man surprisingly received the admonition of "Do
tell" the wonders to his friends. They turn out to be residents of
Decapolis, who can only be understood to have been gentiles. In the
fourth (Mk 7:36), there is no parallel Matthean pericope at all. What
does this suggest in terms of the MAH and in particular, MAH-D.2.? It is that the writer of Mark found
Matthew's "Messianic secret" to fit in with his agenda of offering
discipleship to gentiles – and restricting it from Jews, in stark
contrast to Semitic Matthew's opposite tilt (Mt 15:24). So he made
extended use of the Messianic secret.
This solution to Mark's heavy emphasis on the "Messianic secret" seems unknown and/or suppressed within NT literature. However, it is known to some within a wider acedemic community according to Prof. Gregory Elder of the Humanities Department of Riverside Community College, Moreno Valley Campus, CA.
Mk 7:36 states that the more the cured people were told to keep the fact of their cures secret, the more zealously they proclaimed it. Hence this "Don't tell" admonition is tantamount to "Do tell." However, it should be evident that the writer did not really believe that saying "Don't" would produce a stronger opposite reaction, because in Mk 5:19-20 he had Jesus urge the cured person to proclaim it to his friends, who were gentiles, not inferring that this would produce greater secrecy. Evidently the pericope containing Mk 7:36, being absent from Matthew, stemmed from Ur-Mark. I suspect that the writer of Mark chose to utilize it with his own minor though awkward addition: "through the region of the Decapolis," because the inhabitants had proclaimed the message so zealously that it was as if they had been told "Do tell!"
The other three "Don't tell" admonitions in Matthew were retained by the writer of Mark, as they were delivered in settings of Jewish residents.
By the MAH, Jesus issued these warnings for the purpose of slowing down, to some extent, the spread of his fame. This would give him more time to preach and teach before his coming arrest at the instigation of Pharisees and chief priests, which he could foretell. His warnings had only a secondary purpose of keeping his identity unknown as the messiah prophesied in the unfalsified writings of Isaiah, in that any such claim would further upset Pharisees and chief priests. The fact of his healing miracles alone was enough to make them fear his powers and feel endangered. The demonic revelation of Mk 3:12 that Jesus was "the Son of God" was a Markan addition that fits into the category of a reverential upgrade of Matthew (MAH-D.3.).
We have previously detailed why the writer of Mark omitted Matthew's Nativity section (see under Stein, above: "Mark's shortness"). It was not to hide the Messianic secret known to Joseph & Mary and the Magi.
Ehrman picks up on the difference between the voice from on high at the baptism saying in Matthew (3:17), "This is my beloved Son..." versus the parallel in Mark (1:11), "Thou [you] art my beloved son." This he gives as further evidence that in Matthew there was hardly any Messianic secret as compared with Mark, since the Matthean statement indicates that other people were around that heard the voice, while the Markan statement can imply that only Jesus heard the voice. By the MAH, the difference may have been purposeful on the part of the writer of Mark so as not to portray the Jewish people as being worthy of receiving this information (MAH-D.2.), or it may have been change for the sake of change (MAH-D.4.). No mention is made of Markan discrepancies nearby that may point to Matthean priority:
(a) Presumably there were other persons around at the time that John baptized Jesus, just as at Mk 1:5. If the voice had said, "You are my Son...," would the people know who it was referring to? It might have been referring to John or anyone else present, since "You" refers to the hearer. With Matthew's "This is my Son..." it is more apparent that a particular person of interest was being referred to.
(b) Just two verses later, at Mk 1:13, we read, "and the angels ministered to him" after his stint in the wilderness. This is the first we hear of any angels having been around at that time. Hence they should have been referred to simply as "angels," as in the parallel Matthean verse (Mt 4:11). Thus the writer of Mark betrayed that he had the angels of Matthew in mind here, and so called them "the angels."
Ehrman's other example of Matthean knowledge of who Jesus was that's not present in Mark, concerns, the "Son of God" revelation in Mt 14:33: "And those in the boat worshiped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God," which follows the walking-on-water episode and sudden cessation of the wind. At Mark's parallel (Mk 6:51b-52) we read: "And they were utterly astounded, for they did not understand about the loaves, but their hearts were hardened." Although the Matthean verse may not be free of redaction, the attitude of the writer of Mark shows through all too clearly. This was a Markan redaction designed to eliminate appropriate behavior on the part of the Jewish disciples and replace it with a reaction that displays their lack of understanding and unworthiness to be disciples (MAH-D.2). The imprint of the redaction is readily apparent in that the disciples would not have been thinking about the feeding of the five thousand or of the four thousand at that time (the loaves), but rather marveling at what Jesus had just done in walking on the wavy water.
In all, the MAH is fully consistent in showing that the so-called Messianic secret does not point toward Markan priority over Matthew.
Ehrman (p. 90) presumes that in the cleanliness controversy with the Pharisees over washing one's hands before meals (Mt 15:1-20/Mk 7:1-23), the writer of Matthew omitted Mark's sentence: "(Thus he declared all foods clean)" (Mk 7:19b, which is the preferred parenthetical interpretation of the Greek clause, supposedly spoken by Jesus: "cleansing all foods"). The reverse interpretation comes just as easily: the writer of Mark, in Rome, didn't want his readers to think they were bound by Jewish laws they wouldn't like, and so added the clause to the Matthean text he was following (MAH-D.2.). A verse in this pericope that implicates the writer of Mark as the redactor is Mk 7:17, as already discussed here.
Regarding "I desire mercy and not sacrifice": On p. 91 Ehrman (1997) assumes that in the story of the calling of the disciple Matthew the tax collector (Mt 9:9-13/Mk 2:13-17), a Matthean sentence absent in Mark indicates that the writer of Matthew added it rather than the writer of Mark omitting it. But with the MAH, Ehrman's presumption is easily reversible, as already noted in the above critique of Burkett.
On p. 93 Ehrman discusses the parable of the vineyard tenants,
asserting without support that "it is from Mark." His reason has to do
with Mt 21:43, "Therefore I tell you [chief priests et al.], the
kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a nation
producing the fruits of it," which verse is absent from the Markan
parallel. The verse is unfavorable toward Jews for having rejected
Jesus as the cornerstone. Thus it is seemingly as likely that the
writer of Matthew would not have inserted the verse, if following Mark,
than that the writer of Mark would have omitted it if following
Matthew. With the MAH solution, however, a verse very much like it was
in Matthew's source (MAH-H.), which its
writer retained because of his great disappointment that by the early
2nd century Christianity had spread very little among Jews – some sort
of punishment was due them for this refusal of the kingdom (added more
dramatically at Mt 27:25). So why, then, did the writer of Mark not
include the verse when copying from Matthew? By MAH-D.1.,
we surmise that the writer of Mark didn't make sense out of why, in
Matthew's preceding verse that he retained (Mt 21:42), that if Jesus'
becoming the cornerstone was a marvelous thing, any action had to be
taken as a consequence. Yet Mt 21:43 starts out with "therefore," as if
it follows upon the marvel of the cornerstone. So, he omitted the verse
along with the following one, which he also could not make sense of in
Matthew's context: "And he who falls on this stone will be broken to
pieces, but when it falls on any one, it will crush him" (Mt 21:44). Is
Jesus, the cornerstone, to be avoided altogether then? We notice that
the writer of Luke was able to make some sense out of the latter (Lk
20:18), and so included it while following Mark in omitting Mt 21:43.
With the MAH, we do not blame scribal assimilation for the occurrence
of Mt 21:44, which is a verse well attested in Matthean uncials, though
usually omitted except in Bible footnotes.
The most telling aspect of the vineyard parable that points towards the writer of Mark having redacted Matthew is as follows. In Mk 12:6, the owner of the vineyard finally sends his "beloved son" to collect some of the fruit. In Matthew (21:37) it is just "the son" who is sent in this third attempt by the owner. The Markan version is a substantial reverential upgrading of Matthew, as it makes the point clearer that this son represents Jesus in the parable, since "my beloved son" is what he was called in Mt 4:17 & 17:5, and Mk 1:11 & 9:7. It is thus very improbable that Matthew is dependent upon Mark here, but rather the other way around. If following Mark, Matthew's writer would scarcely have wished to omit Mark's "beloved." The writer of Luke (20:13), as customary with him, tended to favor Mark's alterations from Matthew (MAH-E.a)); in particular, he retained Mark's "beloved" son, as would be expected.
The following arguments come from the short survey article by Blomberg (2001). His first nine arguments favoring Markan priority over Matthean were simply brief mentions to indicate which of the classical reasonings are the most persuasive for him. We shall go over them only briefly here, usually just linking to points already covered above:
(1) "Mark frequently contains vivid touches...that Matthew or Luke omit." See MAH-F.1. The ones that parallel material in Mt 8-11 come from Ur-Mark, the others were invented by the writer of Mark (MAH-D.3.).
(2) "Matthew and Luke often seem to smooth out Mark's rougher grammar." See MAH-D.5.
(3) "Matthew and Luke often omit potentially misleading details in Mark." This apparently refers to some instances in which, by an Augustinian hypothesis, the writer of Mark made small additions to, or attempted improvements of, Matthew that resulted in inaccuracy or ambiguity. An example would be Mark's additive mention of Abiathar as high priest in the Stein critique above. As Blomberg noted, however, Peter Head (1997), though a supporter of Markan priority, does not support the generality of Blomberg's opinion. The arguments involved are quite reversible.
(4) "Mark is the shortest of the Synoptics, yet within individual pericopae he is consistently longer than Matthew or Luke, an unlikely result of later abbreviation." See MAH-D.4. and under Stein 1.
(5) "Less than 10 percent of Mark is nonparalleled; why would Mark have written at all" if a longer, fuller treatment was "already available to him, and he had so little new to say?" The MAH gives strong motivation for Mark to have been written (MAH-C.). The fact that its writer had very little new to add was reason why he had to take pains to try to make it read differently from Matthew (MAH-D.1., 3.-6.). The writer of Luke naturally wished his gospel to look different from both Matthew and Mark, so he added much text not in Mark or Matthew, as well as placing what he reincorporated from Matthew that was not in Mark into different contexts (MAH-E.b)).
(6) "[a] Comparatively, Matthew and Luke rarely differ from Mark in the same way at the same time, [b] whereas Mark and Matthew much more frequently agree with each other against Luke, [c] as do Luke and Mark against Matthew." Taking these in inverse order, [c] comes about through the writer of Luke showing his preference for pro-gentile Mark over anti-gentile Matthew by following Mark where it deviates from Matthew in order or text (MAH-E.a)). Clause [b] comes about through the writer of Luke having purposely made changes when Mark agrees closely with Matthew, so as not to show direct support for Matthew (MAH-E.c)). With [a], where Matthew and Luke differ from Mark in the same way at the same time, they agree with each other against Mark – thus constituting one of the "minor agreements against Mark"; these, however, can be viewed as being not particularly rare (see MAH-E.a) and the discussion under Tuckett).
(7) "Mark contains the highest incidence of Aramaisms among the Synoptics." Its writer happened to be less polished in the use of Greek than were the writer of Luke and the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek. Hence the underlying Aramaic of Semitic Matthew (and of Ur-Mark) shows through a bit more in Mark. Also, its writer's direct use of pieces of Aramaic in several places served the purposes of MAH-D.3. & 4.
(8) "There seems to be no reason for Mark's omission of so much of Matthew and Luke that contains many of Jesus' most precious teachings, if Mark knew of them from a source." See MAH-D.1. and under Stein.
(9) "When one assumes Markan priority, coherent patterns of redactional emphases emerge in ways that are not true on alternative models." I believe the redactional emphasis with the MAH is even stronger and more coherent than with the Two-Source Hypothesis. See MAH-B....G.
These nine arguments occur also in Blomberg (1997). Therein, however, at least one other inference of Markan priority is made, not discussed in the above critiques. At Mt 4:17 and 16:21 the identical "formula" is used: "From that time on Jesus began to..." The first of these is not present in Mark, while the latter occurs in a differently worded form, in Mk 8:31. Blomberg (1997, p. 128) assumes that the writer of Matthew probably inserted this phrase in order to separate his narrative into thirds. However, by the MAH he may well have simply retained them from his source (MAH-H.), since at some point Jesus' preaching and teaching did commence, and at some later point he did start to warn his disciples of the ordeal ahead. The omission of the first of these, at Mk 1:14, by the writer of Mark is not surprising, in that up through this region of his text he had been abbreviating Matthew very heavily.
In Blomberg (2001), he continues with a discussion of six instances of more recent work that may seem to point to Markan priority over Matthew. His first concerns the apparent Aramaic sources of Mark. We have already discussed these under (7) above, where the Ur-Mark source available to the writer of Mark, while relatively brief, was in Aramaic and his Hebraic-Matthew source was probably Hebraic in its narratives and Aramaic in its discourses.
His second consists of the relative degree of Christology within Matthew and Mark. Here, he was unaware that with the MAH, the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek is seen to have played an important role: see MAH-G., and also under Stein 7a.
His third concerns a fairly recent study (New, 1997), involving the
Old Testament quotations in Matthew, which are plentiful. New found
that of the Matthean OT quotations that have parallels in Mark, the
ones that have a text form closest to those in the Septuagint (i.e.,
the LXX, written in Greek) tended to be the ones selected for inclusion
within Mark. Thinking of no reason why the writer of Mark would do
this, New believed this suggested Markan priority. However, upon
allowing, as with the MAH, that the writer of Mark was translating from
a Semitic Matthew, it is easily understood that it would lead to easier
translation into Greek if the Matthean sentence or quotation could be
identified as a verse or passage from the LXX. The writer of Mark would
then be more inclined to utilize it. Possibly, he may have used some
discrimination in avoiding OT passages from Matthew that did not fairly
represent the LXX.
Blomberg concludes, "Matthew, on the other hand, might be expected to go his own way in rendering Old Testament passages when he was not relying on Mark." Such a statement holds also, however, for the case when the writer of Matthew was not relying upon Mark, as with the MAH. In utilizing his non-Markan source, the writer of Semitic Matthew sometimes stuck fairly close to the Scriptural version when borrowing a verse or passage from it, and at other times not very close at all; the later translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek could then, in the former instances, use the LXX version as an aid in translating.
Blomberg's fourth area of study where progress was thought to have been made concerns the minor agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark in relation to the Q hypothesis. But any progress in that area has already been rendered fruitless by MAH-E.a), and as also indicated in discussions above and in Butler (1951, 1969), Goulder (1989) and Goodacre (2002). A special point that Blomberg makes, stemming from Stein (1992), is that just because the Gospel of John sometimes agrees with two Gospels against a third does not mean that John preceded them; similarly, the minor agreements between Matthew & Luke against Mark need not mean that a "Q" had to precede them. The MAH, incidentally, agrees with Blomberg that John came after the Synoptic Gospels. It finds, consistent with a paper by Goodacre, that the Gospel of Thomas came after all four Gospels, though it contains some pre-Gospel sayings.
A fifth area of special study concerns the possible overlaps between Mark and Q, which has likewise been rendered moot by the MAH.
Blomberg's sixth area involves the supposed superiority of Markan priority in demonstrating a "consistent and significant pattern of redaction—both stylistic and theological." The greater superiority of the MAH on this was already mentioned under (9) above. The all-important Matthean anti-gentile slant, which mainly prompted the writing of Mark, can largely explain the consequent strong anti-Jewish slant of the latter writer's editorial behavior. Preference for Mark over the anti-gentile Semitic Matthew also explains much of the editorial behavior of the writer of Luke. These behaviors are not as well explained by the Two-Source Theory, as indicated by the strength of the objections to Q and lack of explanation for "Mark's harder readings." The tendency to upgrade the theology, by the writers of Mark and Luke, and by the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek, came naturally. In addition, the Two-Source Theory has to dismiss totally the external evidence for the priority of Semitic Matthew, and must ignore much internal evidence favoring Matthean priority over Mark.
The foremost point of McKnight (2001) in favor of Markan priority comes under the heading of linguistics: conclusions drawn from comparison of the Greek texts of Mark versus Matthew (and Luke) in terms of unusual Greek words in Mark, its incomplete sentences, omission of conjunctions and such, which point to Markan priority. Missing from McKnight's presentation, as from others, is any awareness that Mark could be (is) the first gospel in Greek but was preceded by Matthew in Hebrew or Hebrew & Aramaic (MAH-A and MAH-G.). Not surprisingly, the translator of Semitic Matthew usually desired to make use of better Greek than was in Mark. Hence Matthew retains overall priority over Mark.
McKnight delves more specifically into the linguistic side of his view of Markan priority through use of three examples.
|Matthew 15:29||Mark 7:31|
departing from there [the region of Tyre and Sidon],
Jesus came to the Sea of Galilee
|And again, Jesus left the regions of
and went through Sidon to the Sea of Galilee
through the middle of the regions of the Decapolis.
Here McKnight notes that the route in Mark would be a strange one,
geographically speaking, in the way it is phrased in the Greek.
However, the writer of Mark is noted for being especially ignorant of
Palestinian geography. By McKnight's reasoning, the writer of Matthew
corrected Mark's improbable route by omitting the excursion through
Decapolis in his gospel.
With Matthean priority, however, and the MAH, the reverse argument seems stronger. The writer of Mark added the Decapolis phrasing because it was known to be primarily a gentile land, and he was making whatever alterations he could to Matthew that would promote evangelism to gentiles (MAH-D.2.).
McKnight's second example compares an unusual Greek construction in Mk 14:3 with the better Greek of its parallel in Mt 26:6. We do not know, of course, if the translator of Semitic Matthew was improving upon Mark at that point or was simply translating into better Greek without recourse to Mark. Either way, the MAH finds that Greek Mark, though coming before Greek Matthew, was based entirely upon Hebraic Matthew in this region of the text.
McKnight's third example involves these verses:
|Matthew 13:2||Mark 4:1|
|and the whole crowd stood on the beach.||and the whole crowd was beside the sea on the land.|
He believes the writer of Matthew removed Mark's redundancy (beside the sea, on the land). But this reasoning totally ignores the strong reverse argument that the writer of Mark, while following Matthew, added redundancies throughout his text for the reason stated in MAH-D.3.
Next, McKnight moves on to what he calls theological phenomena,
involving examination of theological and reverential upgrading of text.
He starts with Mt 13:58/Mk 6:5-6, which we found in discussion under Stein involves a small Markan "change for the
sake of change" (MAH-D.4.), which shouldn't be
confused with theological upgrading. As with other synoptists, it
apparently never occurred to McKnight that the writer of Mark, in
writing a gospel for gentiles that would correct and counteract the
Hebraic Gospel of Matthew, and in wanting his gospel to be different
from Matthew, would go to some effort to render his gospel different in
appearance from Matthew through a difference in its wording. This
motivational aspect of the "theological phenomena" appears to be too
theologically upsetting for New Testament scholars to take under
consideration. Is the possibility of "change for the sake of change"
too simple and obvious, or does it simply never arise if the likelihood
and ramifications of Matthean priority are not confronted head on?
Some 39 other passages of Mark that the writer of Matthew is supposed to have upgraded theologically are then referred to. An example of these is:
|Matthew 27:57-58||Mark 15:43-45|
came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph,
who also was a disciple of Jesus.
58He went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus.
Then Pilate ordered it to be given to him.
Arimathea, a respected member of the council,
who was also himself looking for the kingdom of God,
took courage and went to Pilate, and asked for the body of Jesus.
44And Pilate wondered if he were already dead; and summoning
the centurion, he asked him whether he was already dead.
45And when he learned from the centurion that he was dead,
he granted the body to Joseph.
We see that, with Matthean priority and the MAH, the writer of Mark,
being a gentile in Rome, portrayed the Roman governor as being
competent and thorough. At the same time, his having made more certain
that Jesus had actually died – a theological necessity – comprises a
theological upgrade to Matthew. This was a relatively safe
little addition for the writer of Mark to have made, which, along with
its built-in redundancy, would help his gospel differ from Matthew (MAH-D.3.). For some reason McKnight regards this
comparison as supportive of Markan priority.
The evidence for Matthean priority here is supported by a comparison of Mt 27:57 with Mk 15:43. In the latter verse, the courageous Joseph is rewarded by the writer of Mark by being made into a more important person – a councilor – who would then have been among those present at Jesus' trial before the Sanhedrin. But the council's whole membership had sought testimony against Jesus to put him to death (Mk 14:55). A councilor would not then request Jesus' body and personally tend to it being placed in a nice tomb, thereby risking certain ridicule from fellow councilors. This was a careless alteration by the writer of Mark.
Many of the other 38 instances McKnight listed are likewise reversible, or explainable by the MAH, and/or have already been covered in the critiques above. Still others would need to be discussed by McKnight before I could comment.
McKnight then gives redactional phenomena as another category in which to search for indicators of gospel priority, though I would consider this to be a more general category that encompasses his other two. As a specific example within this category, he mentions the seven instances in which the word "righteousness" appears in Matthew without any parallel use in Mark. But we have discussed this under Stein above. The writer of Mark's reason for avoiding the word and connected verses (MAH-D.1.) is just as compelling as the writer of Matthew's motivation for having added them to the content of his source (MAH-H.).
McKnight continues with a discussion of three of the major problems he sees with the hypothesis of Mark-Q priority: (1) insufficient attention paid to the patristic evidence (of Semitic Matthew coming first); (2) the minor agreements of Luke and Matthew against Mark; and (3) difficulties encountered in Q studies. The MAH does not suffer from any of these.
This refers to the work of Guthrie (1965, chapter on the Synoptic Problem). Although it preceded the texts critiqued above, its salient points will be briefly presented in spite of the repetition. He starts out with summaries of five main arguments why the priority of Matthew was replaced by Mark starting in early 19th century.
(i) The great amount of Matthean material that is contained within Markan parallels apparently caused Guthrie to approve of the assumption that the writer of Matthew must have added to Mark. In his summary he gave no reason why the reverse could not also be likely: that the writer of Mark was a bulk abbreviator (MAH-D.1.).
(ii) Regarding order: where the synoptic gospels diverge in detail
"it is more rare for Matthew and Luke to agree against Mark, than for
Mark to be in the majority." This can be restated, however, by there
having been a strong preference for the writer of Luke to follow Mark
where Mark deviates from Matthew (MAH-E.a)).
To this, Guthrie added the thought that transpositions in order between Matthew and Mark can generally be satisfactorily accounted for by "the editor's desire to group his material into series." Unstated was that if the writer of Mark was a bulk abbreviator of Matthew, little would be left of Matthew's series by the time their remnants were incorporated into Mark. And, of course, Guthrie would not have known about MAH-F.2.
(iii) Regarding Markan literary characteristics that may give the
appearance of primitiveness, Guthrie mentioned "Mark's amplifications
of details." Apparently, he did not consider that many of these could
have been the amplifications of details the writer of Mark encountered
in Matthew (MAH-D.3.).
Secondly, he pointed to the better style of Greek Matthew and Luke than of Mark as if it were a point in favor of Markan priority. But missing as usual was any thought that if Semitic Matthew had been first, as attested by the early church fathers, the writer of Mark could have been the first to translate its parallel passages that he utilized into Greek; he would not be "dumbing down" a Greek Matthew (MAH-D.5.). Also, the writer of Luke and the translator of Semitic Matthew could easily have been more polished and proficient in Greek, as it's unlikely that all three would be of equal proficiency.
Third, Guthrie noted that Mark's use of eight Aramaic words versus only one in Matthew could point to Markan priority. Again, there was no consideration of MAH-D.5., since Semitic Matthew's discourses were likely in Aramaic, and the writer of Mark could utilize a bit of that. Also, with the Aramaic Ur-Mark being available to the writer of Mark (MAH-F.1.), this would likely have emphasized to him the virtue of adding Aramaic words in order to authenticate his gospel (MAH-F.2.).
(iv) Here Guthrie spoke of Mark's "greater historical candor"
(otherwise known as "Mark's harder readings") as indicative of its
primitiveness. This lies at the root of the MAH solution to the
Synoptic Problem, since it well explains these "harder readings" (MAH-D.2.) as being secondary to Semitic Matthew.
(v) As the fifth item, Guthrie spoke of Mark as being "the least explicit account." This would seem to contradict his point (iii) of Mark's "amplification of details." However, as examples of what he meant he mentions Mark's use of "king" in the beheading-of-John episode versus Matthew's use once of "tetrarch," which is resolved above under Goodacre. And he mentions Mark's use of "kill" in Mk 10:34 in place of Matthew's "crucify" in Mt 20:19; this easily comes under the heading of a Markan "change for the sake of change" (MAH-D.4.), which was then followed by the writer of Luke (MAH-E.a)).
In addition, Guthrie mentions the greater vividness of Mark as favoring its priority over Matthew (and Luke). Part of this vividness was genuine (MAH-F.1.), and part fictional (MAH-D.3.).
Following this, Guthrie discusses problems with the Two-Source hypothesis, the hypothetical Q, the supposed Matthean "M" source, and possible sources for Luke besides Q.
In his chapter on Mark, Guthrie discusses the two traditions involving (John) Mark in Rome, that Mark was written: (a) after Peter died (but presumably not too many years afterwards, referring to Irenaeus), or (b) before Peter died, according to Clement of Alexandria (Guthrie, 1965, p. 72). With the MAH, such a scenario had become the understanding during the era of Irenaeus, when perhaps a half century had elapsed since the Gospels had been written. This was sufficient time that the writer of Mark, circa A.D. 122, could be identified with John Mark who was in Rome with Peter circa A.D. 60, and Mark could be identified as "Peter's reminiscences." This chronological misrepresentation is consistent with MAH-A., in which the writers of Matthew, Luke and John, circa A.D. 120-130, were considered by the time of Irenaeus to be the apostles Matthew and John, and Luke the physician, who had lived contemporaneously with Jesus. It can be seen how theological commitment would lead to this misrepresentation, but that the other portions of the external evidence concerning Matthew need not also have been misrepresented (i.e., that Semitic Matthew had come before Mark). Hence, this MAH does not find that the above external evidence regarding Mark is at all helpful in determining when that gospel was written.
Regarding Gospel priorities, a piece of evidence from what Papias had to say about Mark is, however, quite helpful. In forming his gospel, the writer of Mark wrote "not, indeed, in order, of the things said or done by the Lord" (Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History Bk. 3, 39:15). If one accepts that Luke came after Mark, then the writing to which this lack of order corresponds must have been Matthew. Since this "lack of order" must have been an embarrassment, this bit of information needs to be taken seriously.
In his website, Kirby starts by presenting the eight key arguments extracted from Carl S. Patton (1915) that give his reasons for supporting Markan priority over Matthew and Luke. Although the argumentation was intended as a refutation of the Two-Gospel hypothesis (Griesbach hypothesis), as we shall see it does no more than refute Lukan priority over Mark. We take these eight points in order, while focusing upon argumentation that questions Matthean priority over Mark. And we ask the reader's forbearance of repetitions of explanations already made above.
1. [a] It is impossible, upon this [Griesbach] theory, to account for the omission by Mark of so much of the material that stood before him in Matthew and Luke. He has omitted most of the parables and sayings. He has added no narrative. [b] He has therefore made an abstract in which much is omitted, nothing is added, and no improvement is introduced. [c] No reason can be assigned for the making of such a Gospel by abstracting from the fuller and better Gospels of Matthew and Luke. [d] The abstract not only adds nothing of its own, but fails to preserve the distinctive character of either of its exemplars.
It can be seen that Patton's 1.[a] above, relative to Matthew-Mark,
is well explained by MAH-D.1., as expanded upon
under Stein. Thus it is by no means
impossible to understand Mark's omissions from Matthew. Instead, it has
apparently been impossible for many NT scholars to face up to the
evidence indicating that the writer of Mark had an anti-Jewish attitude.
In [b], rather than saying "nothing is added," one should say, "very little of substance was added." Recall all the added dualisms or redundancies (MAH-D.3.). And some improvements were made: see again under Stein.
Regarding 1.[c], there can be no reason for this Markan editorial behavior more valid than the great distaste that gentile evangelizers must have held for Matthew's slant that discipleship was only for the Jews: MAH-B. and MAH-C.
Regarding 1.[d] – the failure of Mark to preserve the distinctive character of Matthew — see MAH-D.
2. If Mark had wished to make such an abstract, it is impossible to explain why in practically every instance he follows, as between Matthew and Luke, the longer narrative, while his own narrative is longer than either of those he copied. In the story of the healing of the leper, for example, Matthew (viii, 1-4) has 62 words, Luke (v, 12-16, without his introduction) has 87, and Mark (i, 40-45) has 97. In the healing of the paralytic (Mk ii, 1-12; Mt ix, 1-8; Lk v, 17-26) Matthew has 125 words, Luke 93, and Mark 110 (Mk ii, 13-17; Mt ix, 9-13; Lk v, 27-32). In the parable of the Sower (Mk iv, 1-9; Mt xiii, 1-9; Lk viii, 4-8) Matthew has 134 words, Luke 90, and Mark 151. In the interpretation of that parable (Mk iv, 13-20; Mt xiii, 18-23; Lk viii, 11-15) Matthew has 128 words, Luke 109, and Mark 147. Many more such instances might be given. In every case the additional words of Mark contain no substantial addition to the narrative. They are mere redundancies, which Matthew and Luke, each in his own way, have eliminated.
Although the first sentence either contains some missing or extra words, the subsequent ones make the point clear. It was not understandable to Patton or Kirby that the writer of Mark could be a bulk abbreviator of Matthew (MAH-D.1., and at the same time make changes to the portions of Matthew he wished to retain – changes that would usually add to their length (MAH-D.2.,3.,4.). It's called "heavy editing."
3. Mark contains a large number of otherwise unknown or unliterary words and phrases. For example, [in Greek:] scizomenous, i, 10; en pneumati akaqartw, i, 23; krabattoV, ii, 4, and in five other places; epiraptei, ii, 21; qugatrion, v, 23; vii, 25; escatwV ecei, v, 23; spekougatwr, vi, 27; sumposia sumposia, vi, 39; eisin tineV wde twn esthkotwn, ix, 1; eis kata eis, xiv, 19; ekperisswV, xiv, 31. Such expressions might easily have been replaced by Matthew and Luke with the better expressions which they use instead of these; they could hardly have been substituted by Mark for those better expressions.
Here, Patton, Kirby and others did not allow that, within the Augustinian and MAH frameworks, Mark was formed out of Semitic Matthew, and Greek Matthew was then only formed later, apparently after both Mark and Luke had come out. Although this is entirely consistent with what the early church fathers stated, it did not conform with the newer view that assumed Mark had come first (so that the problems of MAH-B., MAH-C, MAH-D, and MAH-G. need not be faced up to). The writer of Mark was evidently not skillful in his use of Greek. The writer of Luke and translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek were more skillful. Thus Mark was indeed the first gospel written in Greek, but Semitic Matthew held priority over it. The writer of Mark did not purposely "dumb down" Matthew.
4. Mark contains many broken or incomplete constructions; as in iii, 16+; iv, 31+; v, 23; vi, 8+; xi, 32; xii, 38-40; xiii, 11, 14, 16, 19; xiv, 49. Such constructions would be easily corrected by Matthew and Luke; they would not easily be inserted into the narratives of Matthew and Luke by Mark.
The response here is the same as in the preceding. The writer of Mark was not skillful in the use of Greek. With his gospel being the first one written in Greek, it is no wonder that neither the writer of Luke, nor the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek, utilized Mark's verses of broken construction.
5. Mark has many double or redundant expressions, of which Matthew has taken a part, Luke sometimes the same part, sometimes another. Such instances may be found in Mark's Gospel at ii, 20, 25; iv, 39; xi, 2; xii, 14; the corresponding passages in Matthew and Luke will show their treatment of these redundancies.See MAH-D.3. Then the writer of Luke, when utilizing both Mark and Semitic Matthew, had to choose which of the redundant expressions to utilize, when avoiding a repetition of Mark's redundancy. Sometimes he chose the part added by the writer of Mark, sometimes the part in Semitic Matthew.
6. Mark uses uniformly kai [for "and"], where Matthew and Luke have sometimes kai and sometimes de. Mark's use shows him to be nearer the Hebrew or Aramaic. No explanation can be given for his substitution of this monotonous conjunction in the place of the two conjunctions used by Matthew and Luke. The variation in Matthew and Luke of Mark's one conjunction is entirely natural.
Since the writer of Mark was utilizing both the Hebraic form of Matthew and the Aramaic document mentioned in MAH-F., Patton's remark here merely reflects this, along with the writer of Mark having been the least sophisticated writer of Greek. There was not yet a Greek version of Matthew in existence from which the writer of Mark might decide which Greek words he would prefer to use most.
7. Mark has many Aramaic words, which he translates into the Greek; see especially iii, 17; v, 41; vii, 11; vii, 34. It would be easy for these to be dropped out by writers making use of Mark's material for Hellenistic readers; but very unnatural for Mark to have inserted these Aramaic words into the Greek texts of Matthew and Luke.
On the contrary, the writer of Mark naturally retained these Aramaic words from the two texts he utilized as evidence of originality of his gospel (MAH-D.3. and MAH-F.2.). He would naturally wish to explain their meanings to the gentile audience his gospel was addressing. With both Luke and Greek Matthew coming out after Mark was written, the writer of Mark was not inserting anything into Greek Matthew and Luke.
8. Mark's narrative throughout is more spirited and vivid than either Matthew's or Luke's. It would be much easier for these graphic touches to be omitted for various reasons by Matthew and Luke, even though they found these before them in the Gospel of Mark, than for Mark to have added these touches in copying the narratives of Matthew and Luke. One may mention especially the details about the appearance and dress of the Baptist (Mk i, 6); the four men carrying the litter (ii, 3); the statement, "He looked around upon them with wrath, being grieved at the hardness of their hearts" (Mk iii, 5); the names of persons, and their relatives, unknown to the other evangelists, the description of the Gadarene demoniac, the additional details of the conversation between Jesus and the parents of the epileptic boy (ix, 20-24), and many similar items.
This is well explained by MAH-D.3. and MAH-F.1. A noteworthy one of these is the name "Jairus" supplied in Mk 5:22 to the Matthean parallel of Mt 9:18.
In another web page, Kirby brings forth additional argumentation from other earlier NT scholars that at first glance might seem to support Markan priority over Matthew.
Under the topic "The Argument from Sequence of Incidents," Kirby presents the following from Kümmel (1966):
[(a)] In connection with the first great discourse of Jesus (Mt. 5-7), there follows a string of ten miracle stories by way of illustrating 4:23; thus Matthew brings together in chs. 8 and 9 miracles that are scattered throughout the first half of Mark (1:29ff.; 4:35ff.; 5:21ff.). (b) Matthew attaches to these miracle chapters a mission address (10:5ff.), as an introduction to which he has moved forward the call of the twelve (Mk. 3:13ff.). [(c)] Here also can be observed in detail Matthew's alteration of Mark's sequence; the two controversy sayings in Mt. 9:9-17 are out of place in a cycle of miracles and can be accounted for only on the ground that this is where they occur in Mark. [(d)] Very significant likewise is the comparison of the parable chapter, Mk. 4:1-34, with Mt. 13:1-52: because Mt. 13:36-52 has been added even though the Markan sequence has been maintained, the explanation of the parable of the weeds has been separated from the parable itself by the parables of Mt. 13:31-33 and by a concluding statement in Mt. 13:34-35; further, a second concluding statement follows in Mt. 13:51.In (a), Kümmel's assumption that the ten miracle stories in Matthew chronologically occurring after the Sermon on the Mount were fed in there to illustrate a verse (Mt 4:23) mentioning that Jesus healed diseases before the Sermon doesn't make much sense. It does makes sense that Jesus gained considerable fame from his healing miracles preceding the Sermon, thus explaining the crowds that developed during the Sermon. Unjustified is Kümmel's assumption that the writer of Matthew brought together in chapters 8 & 9 the miracle stories scattered within a wider range of Mark. A plausible reason for the reverse to have occurred was not seriously considered by Kümmel: namely, that which is explained in MAH-F.2. Apparently, Kümmel's only "justification" for his assumptions was the unawareness that a good solution (the MAH) does exist. To ignore the present, obvious, solution he would have had to argue that the writer of Mark, who must have been engaged in the evangelization of gentiles in Rome, would not be greatly disturbed by Matthew's stance that gentiles were unworthy of discipleship. Further, Kümmel would have had to assume that, despite Mark's anti-Jewish text relative to Matthew, its writer was not part of an anti-Jewish Christian community in Rome (MAH-B.).
Regarding (b), the reverse seems more plausible. It is only realistic that Jesus would instruct his disciples as to their mission soon after he had appointed all twelve (Mt 10:1). In Mark, they are appointed and named at Mk 3:13-19 but not issued their instructions until Mk 6:7. A reason why the writer of Mark delayed giving the disciples their mission instructions and sending them out could be so that his inserted verse concerning the return of the disciples (Mk 6:30, not in Matthew) would have a close connection to their having been sent out.
Regarding (c), Kümmel seems to be saying that in Mt 8-9 the two controversy stories don't belong there because this section of Matthew should contain only miracles. But this makes no sense given that (Hebraic) Matthew could indeed have preceded Mark, and that, all along, Jesus was teaching as well as healing. Four other non-healing and non-miracle events occur in Mt 8-9 as well as the two controversy stories.
In (d), Kümmel's complaint is that Matthew's explanation of the parable of the weeds did not come immediately after his telling of the parable. However, the purpose of speaking in parables is to make one's listeners think, so it's understandable if Jesus usually did not explain a parable after speaking it, even to his disciples. Kümmel implies that he should always have explained them. The explanation of the parable of the weeds indeed stands out as a Matthean redaction (e.g., see Beare, 1981, pp. 311-313). However, within the Augustinian or MAH framework, the writer of Matthew had a source other than Mark. His insertion of an explanation for this parable is taken to be one of many redactions made upon his source (MAH-H.).
In the above, Kümmel is seen to have had nothing at all of substance to suggest that Markan priority should be preferred over Matthean.
A comparison of the order of all Markan verses placed alongside the full sequence of their Matthean parallels discloses less irregularity in order than if Matthean verses are ordered against the full sequence of their Markan parallels. These two comparisons are shown here. This is another indication of Matthean priority that falls under the heading "sequence of incidents."
Kirby then presents argumentation that apparently comes from a reprint of H. G. Wood (1953-54). His first quote from Wood (p. 18), whose article is a rebuttal to Butler (1951), is:
Unfortunately, Dom Butler does not examine the question of order in detail. If he had done so, he would almost certainly have been forced to recognize that again and again Mark's order is original and Matthew's secondary and derivative. Indeed, one clear instance would suffice. In Mk. I, the call of the first four disciples is followed by the entry of Jesus into Capernaum. The scene in the synagogue on the Sabbath is linked with the healings at sunset. Because it was Sabbath, the people waited till the Sabbath was over before bringing their sick to be healed. The series of events reads like Simon's recollection of his first Sabbath with the Master. Of this interconnected series, Matthew has only the call of the four disciples and the healing of Simon's mother-in-law, followed by healings at sunset. The call of the four disciples is related in ch. 4, and the other two incidents are related in ch. 8 after the healing of the centurion's servant. By linking the healing of Simon's mother-in-law with the healing of the centurion's servant Matthew gets the place right. He brings Jesus in to Capernaum and so into the house of Peter, but he misses the note of time. He does not hint that these two cures took place on the Sabbath, as he has omitted the scene in the synagogue. Consequently, there is no point in his saying that the cures on a large scale took place 'at even.' Only if the healing in Simon's house took place on the Sabbath would the people have waited till sunset before bringing their sick to be healed.Mark doesn't include the healing of the centurion's servant of Mt 8:5-13, so one does not know if it had occurred on a Sabbath or not. It is perfectly permissible that the day of the week when Jesus entered Capernaum was not recalled or indicated by the writer or dictator of Matthew's source, and hence is not mentioned in Matthew. However, it may well have been so indicated in Mark's limited source, Ur-Mark (MAH-F.2.). Recall there that the events generally found in Mt 8-11 are the ones deduced to have been chronicled in Ur-Mark, but may or may not have been placed within the proper temporal framework when utilized by the writer of Mark. On the other hand, as recalled years later when Matthew's source was written, the events may not all have been remembered and included there in proper order at that later time. Thus, Mark may or may not hold priority here over Hebraic Matthew.
Kirby then brings forth another point from Wood:
Wood provides another example in which Markan priority is demonstrated in the arrangement of material. In Mk 2:1-3:6, there are "a series of incidents, not necessarily connected in time or place, but linked together by the theme of the growth of Pharisaic opposition" (op. cit., p. 81 [p. 18 in Wood, 1953]). Wood finds it difficult to believe that Mark drew his material from Matthew because Matthew places the first three incidents in chapter 9 and the other two in chapter 12 (op. cit., p. 82): "Again, the probable conclusion is that the order is original in Mark and that Matthew took it over from Mark but failed to perceive the connexion between the first three and the last two incidents."
However, it is at least as possible that the order in Matthew is essentially correct, and that the writer of Mark greatly altered the order of Matthean pericopes occurring up to Mt 12, from which point onwards he maintained Matthew's order except for inserting some isolated verses occurring earlier in Matthew. As is set forth in MAH-F.2., he had reason to do so in that in Rome he had use of Ur-Mark, whose text though it did not extend beyond that of Mt 12 gave him impetus to make most of his rearrangements in this portion of the text. And Mark's writer had the additional reason given by the MAH of desiring his gospel to differ from Matthew in all ways possible (MAH-D). It stands to reason that a pro-gentile anti-Jewish evangelist dedicated towards writing a gospel acceptable to gentiles that could replace his anti-gentile Matthean source, upon which he was forced to depend for nearly all his material, would ensure that his gospel would look different from Matthew.
The following is also taken from Wood (1953, p. 19), concerning
Mark's use of an "a b b a" arrangement of material, or chiasmus, in two
incidents, and Matthew's spoiling of it. We have:
For though Matthew's narrative is affected by the marshaling of events in this order these two blocks as arranged in Mark are not to be found in Matthew. In the first instance, Matthew's narrative has b b a. He appends the repudiation of his relatives by Jesus to the criticism of the Pharisees, and Jesus' answer to them. But the first part of Mark's a b b a is missing [from Matthew]. In consequence, the reason for Jesus' refusal to speak to His relatives is left unexplained, and His apparent discourtesy becomes unintelligible. Nor is there any ground in Matthew for associating this incident with what immediately proceeds. The connexion of the intervention of the relatives with the verdict of the scribes, which is patent in Mark, is lost in Matthew. The conclusion seems inevitable. The order is original in Mark; it is secondary and derivative in Matthew.
This first incident is in Mk 3:19b-30, with a-b-b-a as described by
a - Jesus went home, where friends wished to arrest him for being crazy, and scribes said he was possessed by Beelzebul;
b - Jesus responds with his Satan parable;
b - He continues responding regarding the forgiveness or not of sins and blasphemies;
a - His relatives arrive and Jesus explains who his true relatives are.
It may be argued that in the first "a" his relatives weren't among those who wished to arrest him, so the last "a" doesn't pertain to the people in the first "a," or else, if his relatives were present for the first "a", why were they not still present for the second "a" but instead had to arrive for it? I believe the more striking chiasmus relates Mk 3:21 ("He is beside himself") and Mk 3:30 ("for they had said 'He has an unclean spirit'"). Hence it is not clear that this example of Wood's is at all a good one. However, his point is that Matthew (Mt 12:23-24) lacks any parallel to the first "a". But considering the imperfection of Wood's "a-b-b-a" here, and the plausibility of the MAH that the writer of Mark inserted a strongly anti-Jewish episode here (by those who said "He is beside himself") (MAH-D.2.), Wood's above argument is not at all convincing.
A more typical argument of reversibility would contend that the writer of Mark noticed that Matthew, at Mt 12:46, was missing the mention of a house earlier, and so he supplied it (or a home), along with friends and presumed relatives, at Mk 3:19b-21. The MAH prefers the former explanation.
Concerning Mark's story on the mission of the Twelve, Kirby extracts this from Wood (1953, p. 19):
Matthew records the mission of the Twelve in ch. 10. He nowhere troubles to mention their return. Much later in ch. 14 he records the judgment of Herod that Jesus is John the Baptist risen from the dead, and relates the story of the death of John the Baptist. He follows this with the withdrawal of Jesus to the desert and the feeding of the multitude. Here, again, Matthew seems to have had Mark's pattern a1, b, b, a2, before him, but having separated a1 from the rest of the block, he has no real grounds for following b b by a2, and he proceeds to make a quite impossible connection between b and a2. Misunderstanding his source and the situation, he assumes that the death of John the Baptist took place just before the feeding of the multitude and is the occasion for the withdrawal of Jesus to the wilderness. He tells us that the disciples of John buried John's body and went and told Jesus who, on hearing this, withdrew to a desert place apart. But manifestly the death of John the Baptist had taken place some time before the Twelve set out on their mission and before Herod could say of Jesus, this is John the Baptist risen from the dead. The juxtaposition of the story of the death of John the Baptist with the story of the feeding of the multitude is original in Mark. Mark is not correcting a blunder in his source, presumed to be Matthew. Matthew is misunderstanding a succession of incidents which he found in his source, which appears to be Mark.
Some of this has already been discussed under Styler. Let us extend the Table utilized there:
|Matthew 10:1-5, 14:1-3,11-13,15-21||Mark 6:7,14-17,29-31,35-44|
called to him his twelve disciples...
These twelve Jesus sent out... ... ... ...
|a1||7And he called
to him the twelve
and began to send them out...
time Herod the tetrarch heard about the fame of Jesus;
2and he said to his servants, "This is John the Baptist, he had been
raised from the dead; that is why these powers are at work in him."
3For Herod had seized John and bound him and put him in prison.....
11and his head was brought on a platter and given to the girl,
and she brought it to her mother.
12And his disciples came and took the body and buried it,
and they went
and told Jesus.
13Now when Jesus heard this, he withdrew from there in a boat
to a lonely place apart.....
15-21[Feeding of the Five Thousand]
heard of it; for Jesus' fame had become known.
Some said, "John the Baptist has been raised from the dead;
that is why these powers are at work in him." ...
16But when Herod heard of it he said, "John, whom I beheaded, has been raised."
17For Herod had sent and seized John, and bound him in prison..... .
28and brought his head on a platter, and gave it to the girl;
and the girl gave it to her mother.
29When his disciples heard of it, they came and took his body, and laid it in a tomb.
30The apostles returned to Jesus,
and told him all that they had done and taught.
31And he said to them, "Come away by yourselves
to a lonely place..."
35-44[Feeding of the Five Thousand]
The above shows the manner in which Wood seems to have designated
his a-b-b-a here.
This MAH concedes that the failure of Matthew to mention the return of the Twelve may have been an oversight of Matthew's source. However, if the disciples had gone their various ways between Mt 11:1 and 12:1, they could not have been called back at any one time, as if they all had cell phones. Whether they had gone out singly or in twos, they must have returned at different times after feeling they could do little in comparison with their Lord, and after inquiring around concerning Jesus' latest known location or returning to Capernaum and waiting for him to show up there.
The MAH view is that the writer of Mark did notice that Matthew fails to mention when or how the disciples returned to Jesus. This would not have been overly perceptive of him, since Matthew mentions John's disciples at that point, which could prompt Mark's writer to wonder what happened to Jesus' disciples. He then did correct this Matthean "blunder" in Mk 6:30, where it is notable that no particular accomplishments of the apostles were mentioned. He added to his editing here by shifting the "going away alone" from Jesus to the disciples, so that it would not be inferred that Jesus had gone off in grief or fear over John's beheading, as can be inferred from Matthew. Whether Jesus went away with or without his disciples is unclear in Mark, however, since it is said there that the disciples went away alone, yet soon thereafter they seem to have returned to shore in the same boat with Jesus – the same boat that the crowd had been following from shore knowing that Jesus was aboard. Such incongruity appears to have been the result of careless editing by the writer of Mark.
Kirby also presents material from Styler that has already been addressed above.
Then under the topic, "The Argument from Grammar and Aramaisms," he presents this argument from Streeter (1964):
[(a)] Matthew and Luke regularly emend awkward or ungrammatical sentences; sometimes they substitute the usual Greek word for a Latinism; and there are two cases where they give the literary equivalent of Greek words, which Phrynichus the grammarian expressly tells us belonged to vulgar speech. [(b)] Lastly, there are eight instances in which Mark preserves the original Aramaic words used by our Lord. Of these Luke has none, while Matthew retains only one, the name Golgotha (27:33); though he substitutes for the Markan wording of the cry from the cross, "Eloi, Eloi..." the Hebrew equivalent "Eli, Eli..." as it reads in the Psalm (Mk. 15:34 = Mt. 27:46 = Ps. 22:1).
Regarding (a), an argument also made by Kümmel, we have several times already mentioned that since Mark followed Semitic Matthew, Mark indeed was the first gospel written in Greek, thereby allowing the likelihood that its Greek was the least refined (MAH-D.5.).
Regarding (b), see under Blomberg, or under MAH-F.2.
Under the topic, "The Argument from [Mark's] Harder Readings," we have repeatedly shown how this supports Matthean priority over Mark (MAH-C. and MAH-D.2.).
Under the topic, "The Argument from Redaction," Kirby presents some interpretations from Stein (1987) within the website of Daniel Wallace that have not been discussed in preceding analyses in this web page.
In Mt 24:14, there is the unparalleled statement, "And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come." This is to be seen as a piece of Matthean redaction, fitting with the theme of spreading the gospel to all nations (cf. Mt 28:19). But this sentence finds no parallel in either Mark or Luke.
Actually, one does find a Markan parallel (Mk 14:10), within its "Little Apocalypse": "And the gospel must first be preached to all nations." The thought omitted from Matthew is, "and then the end will come." Perhaps the writer of Mark did not wish the end to come immediately after his gospel was preached to all?
In Mk 13:18, we find the statement, "Pray that it may not happen in winter." In Mt 24:20, we find, "Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a sabbath." The Matthean version is a relatively awkward construction, as one might expect the writer to choose one or the other: either winter or the sabbath. The addition also fits Matthew's redactional aims, and thus it is more plausible to see the Markan version as primary.
This has already been shown not to be any indicator of priority – see under Ehrman. Elsewhere, the argument is made that the more awkward construction is the earlier one! The complete MAH does indicate, however, that Mt 24:20 is a Matthean insertion relative to its non-Markan source (MAH-H.).
Twice in Matthew we find the laconic phrase "You have said so" on the lips of Jesus, in response to Judas in Mt 26:25 and in response to the high priest in Mt 26:24. These are in passages that are otherwise almost identical between Matthew and Mark. It is easier to understand them as Matthean additions to the Markan account than to think that the author of Mark would have noticed and excised the Matthean phrase in both cases.
This argument is quite reversible, as it is just as easy to understand them as omissions in Mark so as to portray Jesus as the dominating authority (MAH-D.3.). "You have said so" instead shifts the attention to the other person. Certain Markan additions indicate this theological slant, such as Mk 11:16 – "and he would not allow any one to carry anything through the temple."
Under the topic, "The Argument from Theology," Kirby presents arguments from one of the books of J. A. Fitzmyer, as follows:
What sort of early theologian does Mark turn out to be if his account is based on Matthew and Luke? Having behind him the certainly more developed Christologies and ecclesiologies of Matthew and Luke, what would be his purpose in constructing such a composition? There is an unmistakable Markan theology, with which one has to cope, as is now evident from the study of the Redaktiongeschichte of the second Gospel. But that this was produced by an abbreviation of Matthean and/or Lukan theologies is incomprehensible to most students of the Synoptics.
The students Fitzmyer had in mind did not attempt to confront the theology and attitude of the writer of Mark that becomes obvious when Mark is allowed to depend upon (Hebraic) Matthew (MAH-C. and MAH-D.1.-2.). Though this attitude is deplorable, it is in no way incomprehensible.
Kirby then makes use of Streeter (1964):
Streeter suggests one way in which the more primitive theology of Mark is suggested:
This confirms the conclusion, to which the facts mentioned already point, that the Markan form is the more primitive. Of these small alterations many have a reverential motive. Thus in Mark, Jesus is only once addressed as "Lord" kurie, and that by one not a Jew (the Syrophoenician). He is regularly saluted as Rabbi, or by its Greek equivalent didaskale (Teacher). In Matthew kurie occurs 19 times; in Luke kurie occurs 16, epistata 6 times.
This has been well answered primarily by the role played by the translator of Semitic Matthew into Greek (MAH-G.); see also under Stein and the 16 following counter-examples there of Mark's upgrading of Matthean theology.
Both Matthew and Luke show clear concern for the ongoing role of the church. By contrast, as Norman Perrin argues, the Gospel of Mark shows no concern for a period of time between the resurrection and the parousia. It is difficult to understand how Matthew could have written the "Little Apocalypse" yet also be concerned for the authority of Peter and the mission to all the nations. It is even more difficult to understand why Mark, presumably the later evangelist, would evince no such ecclesiastic concerns. The evidence is best explained on the hypothesis that Mark was the first of the synoptics and was written shortly after the First Jewish Revolt when expectations of the imminent parousia were very strong. Matthew and Luke were written when the ongoing role of the church had become more important because the expectations of the parousia had been pushed forward.
Here Kirby needed to have written more so as to make this understandable. Mark's "Little Apocalypse" (Mk 13, arguably an abbreviation of Mt 24) does show much concern, in at least 24 verses, for the future of the disciples (after the resurrection), and for others. And this includes Mark's parallel to Mt 24:14 (Mk 13:10) that states: "and the gospel must first be preached to all nations," which constitutes quite an ecclesiastical concern.
One of the reasons for understanding that Mark depends upon Matthew here concerns the parenthetical insert in Mk 13:14 –
But when you see the desolating sacrilege set up where it ought not to be (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.This parenthetical insert occurs in the Matthean parallel also (Mt 24:15), where it includes the clauses: "...sacrilege spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place." It then provides enough information for the reader to understand, if he is familiar, or becomes familiar, with Daniel (Dn 9:27, 11:31 and 12:11). Hence Matthew's parenthetical insert makes sense. However, the Markan verse omits these clauses, apparently in keeping with its writer's desire to minimize dependence upon the Jewish scriptures (MAH-D.1.). In so doing, the parenthetical insert that is retained in Mark does not let the reader understand anything. And its wording "where it ought not to be" appears very much as his replacement for Matthew's "holy place" in order to cover up Markan ignorance or uncertainty of what this holy place was. (It was the great altar of the temple in Jerusalem upon which Antiochus IV Epiphanes built an altar to Zeus, according to Beare (1981, p. 468).)
Kirby's presentation then ends with "The Argument from Content," whose points have been discussed previously in the above critiques and found to be wanting when compared against the MAH.
Go Back to: