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Sources and Method. Inkwell from Qumran. Mt Gerizim in Samaria. Aramaic Fragments of 1 Enoch from Cave 4 at Qumran. Oil Lamp from the Herodian Period. The Synoptic Gospels. Papias on the Gospel of Mark. The Gospel of Mark. Origin of the Gospel of Mark.

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papias on the gospel of mark

The Synoptic Gospels

Papias on the Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark

Origin of the Gospel of Mark

“And the elder used to say this, Mark became Peter's interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said and done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had followed him, but later on, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord's oracles, so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.” H.E. 3.39

papias on the gospel of mark1

The Synoptic Gospels

Papias on the Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark

Origin of the Gospel of Mark

Pros taschreias: “As necessity demanded" or "in the form of chreia“?

AeliusTheon, the Alexandrian sophist, defines a chreia as "a concise and pointed account of something said or done, attributed to some particular person" (Progymnasmata 3.2-3).

slide8

The Synoptic Gospels

The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark as a Source for Matthew and Luke

Evidence for Markan Priority

1. Matthew and Luke include the vast majority of Mark's pericopes. Matthew contains 90% of Mark's material, while Luke has over 50% .

2. What is unique to the Gospel of Mark tends to be material that is more easily explained as being omitted rather than as being inserted.

3. The order of pericopes in the triple tradition is similar, and Mark is the middle term in the relationship between the three: Mark is closer to Matthew and Luke than they are to each other. When Matthew departs from Mark’s order Luke supports and when Luke departs from Mark’s order Matthew supports it.

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The Synoptic Gospels

The Gospel of Mark

The Gospel of Mark as a Source for Matthew and Luke

Evidence for Markan Priority

4. There is substantial verbatim agreement in the triple tradition. When there is divergence, most times Mark is the middle term in the relationship between the three: Mark is closer to Matthew and Luke than they are to each other. Matthew and Luke do not very often agree with each other against Mark.

5. In most cases, Matthean additions to the triple tradition are absent from Luke. Likewise, there are Lukan additions to the triple tradition not found in Matthew.

6. In general, Mark has longer versions of pericopes than do Matthew and Luke.

7. Stylistically, Mark must be judged to be inferior to Matthew and Luke. It is less literary, resembling the Greek of common speech.

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On the assumption of Markan priority, how would you as a historian explain the differences between Mark and Matthew? How might this make a difference to the task of historical reconstruction?

double tradition
Double Tradition

The Synoptic Gospels

Matthew and Luke have a large amount of material in common (c. 200 verses), the so-called double tradition, absent from Mark; almost all of this is sayings material as opposed to narrative.

The divergent amount of verbatim agreement and the lack of a common order suggests that the double tradition did not originate as a single document. There is no credible explanation as to why Matthew and/or Luke would use this document in such an inconsistent manner.

It must be remembered that there is no direct evidence that this hypothetical document ever existed: no manuscript evidence or references to it in other text exists.

double tradition1
Double Tradition

The Synoptic Gospels

A less simple explanation than that Matthew and Luke independently made use of a common written source is required.

Many of the differences between pericopes of the double tradition probably result from there being more than one written or oral sayings collections with different versions of the same saying and with different, but similar sayings.

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If one assumes that the double tradition originated in a single, intentionally-composed document (so-called Q-source) how must one explain the differences between the Matthean and Lukan accounts of the parable of the lost sheep? If there was no such source, how else can one explain the differences between the two?

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The Synoptic Gospels

The So-Called Special Lukan and Matthean Sources

Since it was concluded that there was no single document ("Q-source”) to which Matthew and Luke both had access, it makes no sense to speak of Lukan and Matthean special sources.

question
Question

How do the synoptic gospels relate to one another literarily? How does this affect the historian's use of them in the task of historical reconstruction?

the gospel tradition before the synoptic gospels
The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

The Oral Period

Luke 1:1-4: Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, in order that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.

the gospel tradition before the synoptic gospels1
The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

The Oral Period

1 Corinthians 15:1-7: “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.”

the gospel tradition before the synoptic gospels2
The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

The Oral Period

Papias: “And I shall not hesitate to append to the interpretations all that I ever learned well from the elders and remember well, for of their truth I am confident....But if ever anyone came who had followed the elders, I inquired into the words of the elders, what Andrew, Peter, Philip, Thomas, James, John or Matthew, or any other of the Lord's disciples had said, and what Aristion and the elder John, the Lord's disciples, were saying. For I did not suppose that information from books would help me so much as the word of a living and surviving voice.” (H.E. 3.39.3-4)

the gospel tradition before the synoptic gospels3
The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

The Oral Period

Irenaeus: “For when I was a boy, I saw you in lower Asia with Polycarp…. So that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts that he gave of his interactions with John and with the others who had seen the Lord, how he remembered their word, and what were the things concerning the Lord that he had heard from them, concerning his miracles and his teaching, and how Polycarp received them from eyewitnesses of the word of life [1 John 1:1]. He related all things in harmony with the Scriptures. These things being told me by the mercy of God, I listened to them attentively, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart. And continually, through God's grace, I recall them faithfully” (H.E. 5.20.5-7)

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The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

Form Criticism

Form Criticism investigates the brief, but important period in which the gospel tradition existed at least partially as independent units of oral tradition.

valid form critical assumptions

The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

Valid Form-Critical Assumptions

Form Criticism

1. Before their incorporation into the gospels, the narrative and the sayings material of the gospel tradition, with the exception of the Passion narrative, circulated as self-contained units.

2. The gospel tradition can be classified according to its form: Pronouncement Stories, Miracle Stories, Sayings and Parables, Stories about Jesus (V. Taylor).

3. The gospel tradition survived and assumed its present form because it functioned to meet the religious needs of the early church.

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The Gospel Tradition before the Synoptic Gospels

Form Criticism

Invalid Form-Critical Assumptions

1. The religious needs of the early church not only shaped the gospel tradition but also gave rise to it.

2. The creation and transmission of the gospel tradition was an anonymous, unconscious and spontaneous process. Like folk traditions, it was the product of a community over time.

3. The forms of the gospel tradition correspond to typical sociological settings (Sitzen-im-Leben) in the early church. For every religious need there is a corresponding form appropriate to meet that need. 

4. There are laws or tendencies according to which the gospel tradition changed. Knowing these laws enables one to reconstruct the history of the tradition.

questions
Questions

How does the fact that the synoptic tradition has its origin as oral tradition affect the use of the synoptic gospels in historical reconstruction? What are the valid and the invalid assumptions of form criticism?

the gospel of john

The Apostolic Origin of Gospel of John

The Gospel of John

Internal, Direct Evidence

John 21:20 Peter, turning around, saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on his breast at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays you?" 21 So Peter seeing him said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?" 22 Jesus said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me." 23 Therefore this saying went out among the brethren that that disciple would not die; yet Jesus did not say to him that he would not die, but only, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you?" 24 This is the disciple who is testifying to these things and wrote these things, and we know that his testimony is true.

john 21 20 24
John 21:20-24

Triclinium from Pompeii

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The Gospel of John

The Apostolic Origin of Gospel of John

External Evidence

“But when God wished to make all that He determined on, He begot this Word, uttered, the first-born of all creation, not Himself being emptied of the Word [Reason], but having begotten Reason, and always conversing with his Reason. And hence the holy writings teach us, and all the spirit-bearing [inspired] men, one of whom, John, says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God," showing that at first God was alone, and the Word in Him.” (Theophilos of Antioch, Autol. 2. 22)

“Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.” (Irenaeus, Adv. Haer. 3. 1. 1.)

question1
Question

How should the historian use the Gospel of John in conjunction with the synoptic gospels in reconstruction the life of Jesus?

redaction criticism
Redaction Criticism

Redaction Criticism is the determination of "the theological motivation of an author as this is revealed in the collection, arrangement, editing and modification of traditional material, and in the composition of new material or the creation of new forms within the traditions of early Christianity." (N. Perrin,What is Redaction Criticism, 1)

Most redaction-critical studies verge on complete speculation and are of little use.