Re: [Synoptic-L] Gentile means later?
- In a message dated 10/3/2004 11:43:31 PM Eastern Daylight Time, tlewistlewis@... writes:
Mark is not only no longer interested in legitimating Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, he is no longer even particularly interested in defining Jesus' relationship vis-a-vis Israel nor does he understand this relationship to be Jesus' defining identity. In other words, Mark's perspective is that of the later Christian creeds.
Must less Jewish (more Gentile) mean later? Based on this reasoning how would you situate Jn, timewise, in relation to the synoptics?
Less Jewish needn't in principle mean later, but in the present case (Mark's use of Matthew) it does seem to imply or at least confirm that. My hypothesis credibly explains why Mark has so many OTHER late features when compared to Matthew. Also, Matthew reads not only as Jewish, but as what I have called "naively" Jewish, i.e. there is little evidence that he is trying contentiously to re-Judaize originally un-Jewish perspectives (in material that was obviously originally Jewish). In other words, my paragraph cited above is not supposed to prove Matthean priority but only to illustrate how much sense the hypothesis makes once it is has been decided on other grounds that Mark is probably secondary to Matthew.
John is a very different case. In many ways, it is both the most Jewish and the most Greek of the four canonical Gospels. What suggests to me that it is secondary to, and probably dependent on the Synoptic tradition is the way in which John consciously develops and moves forward along lines of theological development initiated by Matthew and continued by Luke. In this trajectory, John is quite demonstrably the latest and most mature point of development (take the way he treats John the Baptist, for instance). This is not to deny that John could have used earlier materials, and depended also on early historical witnesses that were not themselves dependent on the Synoptics. There is also evidence that John knew Mark's Gospel, but my feeling is that, like other sophisticated Christian writers of the time, John was not particularly interested in Mark. He probably recognized it for what it was, a late pastoral dramatization of the more literary and theologically significant and dynamic productions of Matthew and Luke.
Blessed John XXIII National Seminary