Essential similarity of the synoptics? (was: Sources for Mark)
- Chuck Jones wrote:
> ....... a significant minority of NT scholars believe that Mt came firstChuck, Mark et al.,
> and was Mk's source (I believe there are only two passages in Mk that are not
> also found in Mt). That position would be ridiculous--and would never have
> been put forward--if Mk is at a glance, obviously, not based on sources.
Chuck seems here to be saying that the synoptics are superficially similar,
and if so, then I would have to agree.
However at a deeper literary level I can see a clear distinction.
If we analyse the structure of the first five books of the NT, and then in
each case measure the extent to which the author's choice of words reflects
his structure (a task which took me many years), we find that they fall into
two distinct categories.
On the one hand in Mark, John and Acts the author's choice of words clearly
reflects what I take to be the original structure (as against the various
published attempts). On the other hand in Matthew, as in Luke, the author's
choice of words is not so distinctive and does not clearly reflect the
otherwise equally impressive structure. The obvious explanation that springs
to mind is that because of the extensive use of written sources by Matthew
and Luke, their choice of words has been significantly constrained. For me
this is a significant indication that Mark did not make extensive use of
written sources, and thus constitutes yet another convincing argument that
his gospel was written first.
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