Ron Price writes:
But there is no textual evidence for such a 'proto-Mark', nor is it attested
by early Christians. Thus proto-Mark, like Q, is hypothetical and
I'm not arguing for a proto-Mark, so much as I'm arguing out reconstructions
of the original Mark are imperfect. That is we don't have to suppose a
rewrite was done by a single editor, just that our surviving documents can
not get us all the way back to the original Mark. There are many cases where
what we say is the best text of Mark is found only in a couple of the oldest
documents. It certainly seems quite probable that in some cases the correct
text is found in no remaining documents at all. Of course if that lost text
is not in one of the other gospels, then it is completely lost, but in some
cases Matthew or Luke might preserve a more original version. For example if
all existing copies of Mark had assimilated to Matthew in some location, it
is still possible that Luke preserves the more original reading there.
If this happens in some place then what we would expect to see is a change
in the normal pattern of agreements between the gospels. Mark/Luke
agreements against Matthew would be absent.
Also, I would consider that Mark is likely to be our most corrupted gospel.
There is more disagreement in surviving copies, for one thing. Over 50% of
the verses have some question associated with them. Secondly, as newer
gospels became more popular there would have been less copies of Mark, and
thus a change could effect all copies with more ease, and finally, as
Christianity changed, there would be the most motivation to make changes to
the earliest gospel which was the least in synch.
The exercise I would propose is very much analogous to text critical
reconstruction of the individual gospels. That is, first we use all existing
copies of Mark to reconstruct canonical Mark, and we do the same for Matthew
and Luke, but then we use the same methods of text criticism, and the
surviving text of all three gospels, to try to reconstruct "synoptic-prime"
(a less corrupted version of Mark). Because of our synoptic solution, we
would say that canonical Mark is the conservative witness to original Mark,
but Matthew and Luke are also (less-conservative) witnesses. Normally our
reconstruction of synoptic-prime would follow canonical Mark, but on
occasion, we would say internal evidence outweighs the external evidence,
and we would vote for the text of one or both of the other gospels.
Ron: But Mark's habit of interleaving stories is well known. Crossan called
Dave: Yes, but might that be a sign of accretion, and not an indication of
the original style?
Ron: But the Spirit occurs also in Mk 1:8,10,12; 12:36; 13:11, so it is not
unique to the passage under consideration.
Dave: I think we'd have to closely examine those other occurrences too.
13:11 could also be absent in synoptic-prime. It is absent in Luke there
(Luke 21:15), although found elsewhere in Luke (12:11-12). Perhaps Luke got
this via Matthew. Also note Spirit is missing in Luke's parallel to Mark
12:36 (Luke 20:42). Mark 1:8 I would say is probably original, but this is a
rather different use of "Spirit", I might argue.
> 3) Luke/Mark agreements against Matthew are absent in this section.
> 4) Luke places this text not in the order of Mark's text (or
> Matthew's) but with his other "Q" material.
Ron: As Goulder points out ("Luke: A New Paradigm", p.502), this is one of
few passages which Luke has taken from Matthew and in the Matthean order. If
Luke based his version on Matthew, then we wouldn't expect any Luke/Mark
agreements against Matthew here.
Dave: I agree, Luke has probably taken this from Matthew, and Matthew only.
But, I am arguing that the reason Luke did this is he didn't have a Markian
version to choose instead. In other words Luke normally follows Mark, and
suddenly he does not, this might indicate his Mark did not have the text
> There is no reason why Luke's behavior in #3 should be connected to his
> behavior in #4,
Ron: Ah but there is! The common factor is Luke's use of Matthew's gospel!
But notice, Luke does not place the text in Matthew's order either, he
groups it in his travel section with almost all of his other non-Mark
material. And even if Luke did decide to use Matthew's version of the text,
there is no reason this would have to correlate with a change in location,
he could rewrite the text, in Mark's location, using Matthew's words. If
somehow the new text and the new context both fit with Matthew's structure,
and Luke was following this, then perhaps we could make the argument they
should be connected. But Luke does not place in Matthew's order. Thus we
have two separate, apriori unconnected actions by Luke.
1) Stop following Mark's words and use Matthew's.
2) Move location of the text to a location not in agreement with
Matthew's order or Mark's order, but grouped with Luke's other non-Mark
The evidence is completely consistent with Luke's text of Mark missing this
And then consider that the evident of interpolation of Mark lines up exactly
with this section that was moved by Luke. That is even if
"imitation-interpolation" was part of the style of the original Mark, it is
still somewhat coincidental that it would line up exactly with the
boundaries of a section that Luke seems to indicate no knowledge of.
In short, in reconstructing the text of Mark 3:22-3-30 in synoptic-prime I
think we should follow the witness of Luke who is silent here, rather that
the witness of canonical Mark, which I think is corrupted by assimilation to
> So, in short, even though I would accept that Mark is usually secondary to
> Matthew/Luke in the "Q" sections, I would not take this as evidence of
> use of "Q".
Ron: Neither would I. Yet Mark appears to have versions of around 25 of the
sayings attested in the Double Tradition (versions of around 35 of the
sayings I attribute to the sayings source or 'logia'). I think this is too
many to attribute to oral tradition. Also there are four places where Mark
alone among the synoptic writers appears to have retained together (his
adaptations of) an adjacent pair of logia sayings. This indicates a written
Thus (to return to the subject heading) in essence I agree with
Fleddermann's conclusion that Mark had access to the sayings source, but not
with the logic behind his conclusion.
Well, I agree canonical Mark is dependent on Q and/or Matthew for many of
these. I'm just not sure synoptic-prime was. (In fact I suspect it was not).
I think two separate processes account all or most of the "Mark/Q" overlaps.
1) Items like the salt sayings, where the most original is found in
Mark. Matthew and Luke, (and possibly Q) are motivated rewrites.
2) Items like 3:22-30 where the text was not originally in Mark
(synoptic-prime) at all, but only later became part of canonical Mark.
This might be an occasion to introduce another idea that came up in
conversation with Bruce and Tim, on another list. But I'll put this in a
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