Issues with Mark
Mark is not a chronological historical account that is intended to be historiography the way Luke is. In light of the observations of the Jerusalem School, Mark is clearly the “Re-Write Man”. Mark resulted in a modified, amplified text and an inauthentic dramatization of the Gospel story. Mark’s principal method was to replace about half of Luke’s earlier and more authentic wording with a variety of synonyms and expressions he culled from certain Old and New Testament books. Mark loved to find linguistic parallels to the text he was copying in other, often unrelated, books, and then mix words and phrases taken from these parallels with others of his sources. (Robert L. Lindsey, “My Search for the Synoptic Problem’s Solution,” Jerusalem Perspective (2013)
Mark the “Re-Write Man”
In the Article, Mark the “Re-write Man” Editorial Changes in Mark are outlined as previously documented in an Article by David Bivin on Mark’s Editorial Style (David N. Bivin, “LOY Excursus: Mark’s Editorial Style,” Jerusalem Perspective (2021)) As Lindsey had concluded in the previous work, Mark was not interested in transmitting his sources as he had received them. Instead, Mark’s editorial style is characterized by creativity. Lindsey noted a number of characteristics in how Mark treated his sources.
- Relocation of parts from the Lukan order to a new context.
- Rewriting parts by substituting synonyms for the words Mark found in his source(s).
- Rewriting parts using vocabulary Mark had picked up from various later sources. These “Markan pick-ups” allowed Mark to show how the stories about Jesus resonated in the experiences of the later Church.
- Radical abbreviation in some places
- Expansion of parts by adding detail and duplicating phrases
Embellishments of Mark
There are numerous embellishments in Mark. Mark exhibits the expansionist characteristics of a Jewish midrashic or targumistic storyteller. Due to this ‘targumic’ activity, the stories Mark told are almost always (literally 80% of the time) longer than the parallel accounts in Luke and Matthew. Mark is the longest Gospel, not the shortest in terms of the actual stories he decided to incorporate. Mark is the shortest only in terms of overall length, but that is only because of the stories and sayings he chose to omit. Mark’s expansionist style fits his character as a sophisticated targumic storyteller. (Halvor Ronning, “A Statistical Approach to the Synoptic Problem: Part 4—Non-Linear Hypotheses,” Jerusalem Perspective (2016))
Embellishments of Mark listed include material unique to Mark or material in which Mark amplifies or significantly modifies the text. This is material that is not attested or rejected by Matthew and Luke or, in special cases, there is a parallel in all three Synoptic Gospels and Matthew inherits a defective reading from Mark, and they are both is inconsistent with Luke. In such cases, the reading in Luke being more Hebraic (Luke exhibiting greater ease to translate back into Hebrew) than the Mark/Matthew reading. Words in phrases in bold indicate text that exhibits modification.
List of Markan Stereotypes and Pick-ups
List of Markan Stereotypes and Pick-ups describes and links to a collection that has been made by Jerusalem Perspective of redactional words and phrases characteristic of the editorial style of Mark. Those who compiled the list noted, “The purpose of the catalog is to collect in one place all the examples that might qualify as Markan pick-ups so that the cumulative effect of the phenomenon can be measured… While it may be easy to dismiss any one example as random, inconclusive, or explicable on other grounds, the cumulative evidence becomes more impressive.” (David Bivin, LOY Excursus: Catalog of Markan Stereotypes and Possible Markan Pick-ups, Jerusalem Perspective)
Deficiencies of Mark
Mark was not very popular in the early centuries as compared to the other Gospels. It was copied less frequently than Matthew and Luke and there are few Greek manuscripts that attest to the original text. Versions of Mark also have different endings. Scholars use early Latin texts of Mark to get a better indication of the original reading of Mark. During copying and transmission, many variants were added to Mark harmonizing it with Matthew.
Corrections by Luke over Mark
Corrections by Luke over Mark documents instances where Luke provides a more accurate and original reading than what Mark does.
Critical Scholarship of Mark
Critical Scholarship of Mark provides quotes, references, and excerpts from the critical scholarship.
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