A Case for Markan Priority

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A Case for Markan Priority

Scott McKnight

Chapter 3

The Oxford Hypothesis

“Virtually all scholars today fit either into the Griesbach or Oxford hypothesis” (94)

Keywords:
B.H. Streeter
Deconstructionism - focuses on the text rather than the author’s intention, stressing the impossibility of interpretation. This rejects the Western philosophical tradition of seeking certainty through reasoning. (Jacques Derrida was a proponent of this)

pg 66 - there is a quote from Alvin Kernan about the modern shift in education in the second half of the 20th century

The Modern Debate
Key name: Christopher Tuckett
Streeter believes that “you can’t understand a text accurately unless you know its context and its tradition-history” (67) Griesbach hypothesis (Farmer) vs. Oxford Hypothesis (Tucket)

Dungan
Wrote about the synoptic problem. He claimed that there were four factors involved Textual Criticism (what text is used)
Canon (which books are authoritative)
Composition (how the Gospels were created)
Hermeneutics (how the Gospels are interpreted)

Tatian, Origen and Augustine (for the next few pages, McKnight outlines Dungan’s views - at the moment I think the Dungan is a Matthean priorist) Here, the priority of Matthew becomes orthodoxy
McKnight argues that “The rise of Matthean priority in this period was never established by carefully Synoptic texts. Instead, when Eusebius issued his canons, he took the most popular Gospel, Matthew, and put it first.” (71) He argues that all Augustine did was try to show that Mark and Luke could be historically confirmed to Matthew He further argues that Dungan inappropriately implies that Markan priority is grouped with anti-Semitism (maybe because the Germans were proponents of this) - though McKnight clears up that he doesn’t think Dungan meant to say that all Markan priorists are anti-Semitic.

Matthean Priority
McKnight argues that Matthean priorists “don’t consider carefully enough the phenomenon of writing” (74)

The Phenomena of the Synoptic Gospels
The synoptic gospels show “remarkable signs of similarity along with even more interesting cases of dissimilarity.” (75)

The phenomenon of content
90 percent of Mark is found in Matthew
50 percent of Mark is found in Luke
235 verses, mostly sayings of Jesus are common to Matthew and Luke (and aren’t found in Mark) (75) Explanations
Matthew used Mark or Mark used Matthew
They both used an “ur-gospel”

The phenomenon of order
“at least two of the Evangelists agree almost all the time on the order of the events in the life of Jesus.” (76)

The phenomenon of words
There is substantial similarity in some of the words used - here is uses an example from Matthew and Luke (they are nearly identical) One explanation is that Luke copied Matthew
Matthew copied Luke
Each copied another source
Or God told both of them the same thing

Mark as the middle factor. This is also called the Oxford hypothesis or the two-source hypothesis vs. the Griesbach (Matthean priority) the two-Gospel hypothesis. McKnight sites the two most influential proponents of the Oxford hypothesis as Streeter and Tuckett

THE OXFORD HYPOTHESIS (THE MEAT OF THE ARGUMENT)
1894, Sanday’s seminar on the synoptic problem
the dominant solution seemed to be the “oral hypothesis” the most influential source critic of this seminar is Streeter

Streeter’s Argument
There were four sources involved in the making of the Synoptic Gospels Says that Mark has “primitive character” (87)
he thinks their dates and origin can be discerned
Q deals with verses common to Matthew and Luke but not in Mark (Antioch 50 AD) L is the source for Luke’s Gospel (Caesarea 60 AD)
M is the source for Matthew’s Gospel (Jerusalem 60 AD)
Mark (Rome 66 AD)
Proto-Luke was a combination of Q and L
Canon-Luke is a result of proto-Luke & another source (for Luke 1 & 2) and also the Gospel of Mark (Corinth 80 AD) Matthew is a result of Mark, Q, M and the...
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