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Oral Tradition and Markan Posteriority

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  • Mark Goodacre
    A question that occurred to me today follows on from our recent discussion of (alleged) Markan omissions and additions. My question is this: What is the place
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 30, 1998
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      A question that occurred to me today follows on from our recent discussion
      of (alleged) Markan omissions and additions. My question is this: What is the
      place of oral tradition on the assumption that Mark wrote third, using Matthew
      and Luke? For Matthew apparently has a wealth of materials available and so
      too Luke and Thomas. Papias in the second century still prefers the living
      voice to the written text. Where then does Mark fit in? Is his Gospel, on the
      assumption that it came third, an anomaly in early Christianity? In
      particular, is the lack of additional material anything to do with oral
      traditions having dried up by the time that Mark is writing or is it simply
      that he prefers the written word of Matthew & Luke, on the whole, to oral
      traditions? If the latter, then is the material that Mark adds (Blind Man of
      Bethsaida, Deaf Mute, Man Running away Naked) all that Mark happened to know or
      is it his pick of his favourite material from among oral traditions known to
      him?

      Thanks for any help. I would be particularly grateful for any bibliography on
      this.

      Mark
      -------------------------------------------
      Dr Mark Goodacre M.S.Goodacre@...
      Dept. of Theology, University of Birmingham
      Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre

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    • Brian E. Wilson
      ... According to W. R. Farmer in The Gospel of Jesus (Louisville,1994), page 18, writing about the Two-Gospel Hypothesis (alias, the Griesbach Hypothesis)
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 1, 1998
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        Mark Goodacre wrote:
        >A question that occurred to me today follows on from our recent
        >discussion of (alleged) Markan omissions and additions. My question is
        >this: What is the place of oral tradition on the assumption that Mark
        >wrote third, using Matthew and Luke? I would be particularly grateful
        >for any bibliography on this.
        >
        According to W. R. Farmer in "The Gospel of Jesus" (Louisville,1994),
        page 18, writing about the "Two-Gospel Hypothesis" (alias, the Griesbach
        Hypothesis) -

        "Thus, according to the Two-Gospel Hypothesis, Matthew wrote first,
        making extensive use of existing sources (ORAL and written); Luke wrote
        second, making extensive use of Matthew and other source material (ORAL
        and written); Mark composed his Gospel making extensive use of both
        Matthew and Luke as well as a limited amount of other source material
        (ORAL and written)."

        You might also want to ponder on a statement in Kim Paffenroth, "The
        Story of Jesus according to L" (Sheffield, 1997) page 148 -

        >"There is no known characteristic that is found only in written
        >sources, nor any such characteristic found only in oral traditions."

        It would seem that if Paffenroth is right, then the above statement by
        Farmer may be just a little bit speculative.

        I notice, also, that Farmer does not say whether the oral tradition is
        supposed to have been primary (that is, not based on an earlier written
        source), or secondary (based on an earlier written source). Our "living
        voice" of Jesus tradition in English today is based on printed English
        translations of the gospels, and is secondary oral tradition which can
        be checked and corrected against the earlier printed version. If spoken,
        the written word becomes the living voice of oral tradition, as can be
        seen in the way in which Paul spoke the words of the Old Testament when
        he dictated his letters to his amanuenses.

        Best wishes,
        BRIAN WILSON

        E-MAIL: brian@... TELEPHONE: +44-1480-385043
        SNAILMAIL: Rev B. E. Wilson, HOMEPAGE:
        10 York Close, Godmanchester, http://www.twonh.demon.co.uk
        Huntingdon, Cambs, PE18 8EB, UK
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