Mark's dependence on Luke - the end of Markan priority - plus support for the traditional ending

Steven Avery

There is a lot of error built around Markan priority theory.

We will leave that open for discussion here, and in the next post show why Markan priority is a totally false theory.

As a bonus this adds to the overwhelming evidences for the authenticity of the traditional ending of Mark.

And I will be making sure the AV is used, and adding more information.
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Steven Avery

Here I am using the thread started on the BCHF forum, by Ben C. Smith, and include my additions on p. 8 and 9.

Presumptions of reader knowledge in Mark
Ben C. Smith - Feb, 2020

There are several junctures in the gospel of Mark at which the author/editor seems to presume previous knowledge, on the part of the reader, of significant parts of the overall storyline.
1. The imprisonment of John.

Mark 1.14-15 (AV - all scriptures)

Now after that John was put in prison, [μετὰ δὲ τὸ παραδοθῆναι τὸν Ἰωάννην] Jesus came into Galilee,
preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
And saying,
The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand:
repent ye, and believe the gospel.

While John himself has been introduced (in 1.2-6), nothing has been said which would imply that he was going to be imprisoned. Therefore, this notice seems to presume readers will already know about John's imprisonment, in much the same way that John seems to presume that his readers will know about it:

Luke 3:20
Added yet this above all,
that he shut up John in prison.

John 3.23-24
John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim,
because there was much water there;
and people were coming and were being baptized —
for John had not yet been thrown into prison.

Matthew 14:3
For Herod had laid hold on John, and bound him,
and put him in prison for Herodias' sake,
his brother Philip's wife.

The notice in Mark 1.14-15 suggests that readers of Mark, are expected to have known that John had been placed in prison.

Likewise, for readers of Mark, the imprisonment of John seems to have been a known event.
2. Simon Peter.

Mark 1:16
Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee,
he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.

Mark 1.16 seems to presume that readers will already know who Simon is. Unlike most characters in the gospel, Simon is given no introduction by nickname, patronymic, or any of the usual manners; and his brother, Andrew, is identified by his relationship to Simon. Refer to my post on named characters in Mark for more information:

Introducing named Marcan characters.
4. The disciples of John.

Mark gives the reader no early indication that John might have disciples. His description of the prophet is as a loner in the desert: surrounded by crowds, to be sure, but not calling them to himself or instructing them as a mentor instructs pupils. So that John has disciples comes a bit abruptly:

Mark 2.18
And the disciples of John and of the Pharisees used to fast:
and they come and say unto him,
Why do the disciples of John and of the Pharisees fast, but thy disciples fast not?

To be fair, however, all groups in Mark seem to be introduced abruptly: "the scribes" (1.22), "the scribes of the Pharisees" (thus introducing the Pharisees themselves, as well, 2.16), and the Herodians (3.6). So the introduction of groups may not follow the pattern of introducing individual characters.

ETA: Stefan points out that the Sadducees are actually a group which Mark gives something of an introduction for. I missed that.

We do have the calling of the disciples explained in Luke and Matthew

Luke 1:5-11
And it came to pass, that, as the people pressed upon him to hear the word of God, he stood by the lake of Gennesaret,
And saw two ships standing by the lake: but the fishermen were gone out of them, and were washing their nets.
And he entered into one of the ships, which was Simon's, and prayed him that he would thrust out a little from the land.
And he sat down, and taught the people out of the ship.
Now when he had left speaking, he said unto Simon, Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught.
And Simon answering said unto him, Master, we have toiled all the night, and have taken nothing:
nevertheless at thy word I will let down the net.
And when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their net brake.
And they beckoned unto their partners, which were in the other ship,
that they should come and help them.
And they came, and filled both the ships, so that they began to sink.
When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying,
Depart from me; for I am a sinful man, O Lord.
For he was astonished, and all that were with him,
at the draught of the fishes which they had taken:
And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon.
And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.
And when they had brought their ships to land, they forsook all, and followed him.

Matthew 4:18-22 AV
And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother,
casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.
And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.
And going on from thence, he saw other two brethren, James the son of Zebedee,
and John his brother, in a ship with Zebedee their father,
mending their nets; and he called them.
And they immediately left the ship and their father, and followed him.
5. The betrayal by Judas.

In the list of disciples, long before Judas has betrayed his Lord, Mark already mentions that betrayal:

Mark 3:16-19
And Simon he surnamed Peter;
And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James;
and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:
And Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas,
and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Canaanite,
And Judas Iscariot, which also betrayed him: and they went into an house.

John 11:1-2:
Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
It was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment,
and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

This anointing will not take place until a chapter later, in 12.1-11. It is as if John expects his readers to already know this story (from earlier gospels, at least), and he is merely pointing out that this is that Mary. Similarly, it is as if Mark expects his readers to already know the story of the betrayal by Judas, and he is merely pointing out that this is that Judas.

This is a good argument against Markan priority and Johannine priority.
Ben then goes into Old Testament and Josephus analogies.
6. Pilate

Pilate, like Simon Peter, is one of the characters in Mark who needs no introduction:
He comes in unannounced:

Mark 15.1:
And straightway in the morning the chief priests held a consultation
with the elders and scribes and the whole council,
and bound Jesus, and carried him away, and delivered him to Pilate.

Luke 3.1 and Matthew 27.2, on the contrary, give Pilate a proper introduction into the narrative.

It is clear that this is a strong evidence for Luke before Mark.

Luke 3:1
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar,
Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea,
and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee,
and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis,
and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene,

Matthew 27:2
And when they had bound him, they led him away,
and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.

John 18.29
Pilate then went out unto them, and said,
What accusation bring ye against this man?

By proper early dating 1 Timothy 6:13-16 is not relevant, since the Gospels were circulating.
Similarly, I snip Ben's later ECW entries.

Mark's first mention of Pilate is every bit as abrupt as the creeds' mentions of Pilate are, suggesting that his readers already knew under whose authority Jesus was crucified.
8. The second Mary.

Mark 15:40

There were also women looking on afar off:
among whom was Mary Magdalene,
and Mary the mother of James the less and of Joses, and Salome;

Mark 15.40 seems to presume that readers will know how to sort out the names of the women:
Μαρία ἡ Μαγδαληνὴ καὶ Μαρία ἡ Ἰακώβου τοῦ μικροῦ καὶ Ἰωσῆτος μήτηρ καὶ Σαλώμη.

The issue is that second Mary. The Greek wording is capable of being understood in six different ways, including three in which two separate women are in view:

  • Mary (the wife) of James the Less and the mother of Joses.
  • Mary (the daughter) of James the Less and the mother of Joses.
  • Mary the mother of James the Less and of Joses.
  • (A) Mary (the wife) of James the Less and (B) the mother of Joses.
  • (A) Mary (the daughter) of James the Less and (B) the mother of Joses.
  • (A) Mary the mother of James the Less and (B) the mother of Joses.
How is the reader supposed to know which option is correct unless s/he already has some knowledge of these women? (This point comes from Theissen.)
The Gerd Theissen material is interesting, but weakened by his mis-dating of Corinthians as before the Gospels.

Then we have Ben's conclusion:

To summarize, I think that the author of the gospel of Mark was writing for readers who already knew at least certain parts of the story. One part of the story involves John the baptist, since readers are expected to know both that he was imprisoned and that he had disciples. Another part of the story involves the crucifixion of Jesus, since readers are expected to know who Pilate is, that Jesus was betrayed, who Alexander and Rufus are, and at least something about the women at the cross. There may be other presumed parts of the story that I have not sussed out yet. The title "son of man" may not be a story element at all, but rather an element of early Christian theology. And knowledge of Simon Peter may or may not include stories about him; he may simply have been known as a famous Christian apostle.

This analysis says nothing about whether what Mark's first readers knew came from historical facts, from legendary tales, or from previous gospel texts. Any or all of those options are left wide open, much in the same way that there are many different ways in which Josephus' readers might have come to learn about the Temple.

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Steven Avery

These are the two that I added.
They are also evidence for the long ending.

Appearance in Galilee

Mark 14:28 (AV)
But after that I am risen,
I will go before you into Galilee.

Mark 16:7 (AV)
But go your way,
tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee:
there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Matthew 28:16-20
Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.
And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.
And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

John 21:1
After these things Jesus shewed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias;
and on this wise shewed he himself.

Since Mark does not write of this appearance, even in the massively supported traditional ending, it is a reasonable understanding that the appearance is available in an existing writing, at the time of the publication of Mark's Gospel. Note: I place the Gospel in the 40s, YMMV.
Mary Magdalene - cast out seven devils

Mark 16:9 (AV)
Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week,
he appeared first to Mary Magdalene,
out of whom he had cast seven devils.

Luke 8:2 (AV)
And certain women,
which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities,
Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,

Another one that shows the same type of relationship from the traditional ending and Luke. So now it is becoming a corroborative evidence for the traditional ending! Since you are totally right on the Markan connection to earlier writings.

And the death-knell to Marcan priority. An interesting question, how many of these have been mentioned in earlier "synoptic/priority" writings, of any stripe? Who, where, and what did they say. Please note, I have been mentioning the Galilee one for some years as an evidence for non-Markan priority and the authenticity of the traditional ending.
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Steven Avery

Not used in my exposition.

3. The son of man.

The gospel of Mark uses the title "son of man" in a way which seems to expect its readers already to know what it means. Mark 2.10 and 2.28 may be using the phrase "son of man" to mean "human," which is one of its main functions as a Semitic idiom. But in Mark 8.31 it means something more, and this "something more," as a title for Jesus, is never really explained, leaving modern scholars to write entire monographs on the topic.
This one would not have a lot of pizazz unless "son of man" was more specifically explained in another Gospel.

This next one is not internal to NT, it is interesting for knowledge of the Old Testament, by Mark and his readers.

7. Alexander and Rufus.

The book of Ruth gives, with the birth of Obed, a miniature genealogy leading down to David:

Ruth 4.17
And the women her neighbours gave it a name, saying,
There is a son born to Naomi; and they called his name Obed:
he is the father of Jesse, the father of David.

Clearly, readers of this book are expected to already know who David is, and the author is merely telling them that Obed happens to be this famous
David's grandfather. In a similar manner, readers of Mark are expected to know who two sons of one of the supporting characters is:

Mark 15.21
And they compel one Simon a Cyrenian, who passed by,
coming out of the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to bear his cross.

This kind of jumping out of the narrative to mention later people or events which depend in some way upon what is happening in the narrative is a fairly common storytelling device:
In this case, Alexander and Rufus, while unknown to us, must have been known in some way to the first readers of this text.
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Steven Avery

This was from Ben on the first one, a minor addition:

The notice itself is of the kind found frequently in the Hebrew scriptures whereby the narrative or oracle at hand is dated with reference to a well known event:

Jeremiah 24.1 (AV)
The Lord shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the Lord,
after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah,
and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.

Baruch 1.1-2, 8-9 (AV)
And these are the wordes of the booke, which Baruch the sonne of Nerias, the sonne of Maasias, the sonne of Sedecias, the sonne of Asadias, the son of Chelcias, wrote in Babylon, In the fift yere, and in the seuenth day of the moneth, what time as the Caldeans tooke Ierusalem, and burnt it with fire.
At the same time, when he receiued the vessels of the house of the Lord that were caried out of the Temple, to returne them into the land of Iuda the tenth day of the moneth Siuan, namely siluer vessels, which Sedecias the sonne of Iosias king of Iuda had made, After that Nabuchodonosor king of Babylon had caried away [μετὰ τὸ ἀποικίσαι Ναβουχοδονοσορ βασιλέα Βαβυλῶνος] Iechonias, and the Princes, and the captiues, and the mightie men, and the people of the land from Ierusalem, and brought them vnto Babylon:

Lamentations 1.1 LXX:
1 And it came to pass, after Israel was taken captive [μετὰ τὸ αἰχμαλωτισθῆναι τὸν Ισραηλ], and Jerusalem made desolate, that Jeremiah sat weeping, and lamented with this lamentation over Jerusalem, and said, "How does the city that was filled with people sit solitary! She is become as a widow: she that was magnified among the nations, and princess among the provinces, has become tributary."

1 Maccabees 1.1: 1
And Alexander, son of Philip the Macedonian, who came from the land of Kittim, after he had smitten [μετὰ τὸ πατάξαι] Darius, king of the Persians and the Medes, succeeded him as king. (He had previously become king of Greece.)

Steven Avery

Also, in another element of the dating question, the Lukan Prologue is a strong evidence that neither Mark or Matthew were circulating. The Theophilus proposal is also in harmony with this point.

Johann David Michaelis made this point in the 1700s.

The section should be here:

Introduction to the New Testament, Volume 3, Part 1
By Johann David Michaelis

Around p. 138-140, right now I am going by a note that I made. Oh, it might be around p. 106

"St. Luke, as I shall shew hereafter, could not well have seen the Gospel of St. Matthew before he wrote his own; or, he would have avoided every apparent contradiction to an eye-witness, and moreover would not have arranged his facts in a manner so very different from that of Sr. Matthew. But if St. Matthew's Gospel .was written several years before that of St. Luke, it could hardly have been unknown to this Evangelist, especially as he had been in Jerufalem, and even wrote his Gospel, as I shall endeavour to shew hereafter, during St. Paul's imprisonment at Cæfarea. Besides, when an ancient father assigns a date to the publication of a book, we have rather reason to suspect, that he has made it too ancient, than that he has made it too modern. "

This mentions the eyewitnesses element, however it does not specifically say that Luke's somewhat negative comment about earlier writers on Jesus would not fit with any of the Gospels. So I need to look for the "shew thereafter".

Also there should be a number of Evangleicals who say that Luke must precede the other Gospels based on the Prologue. Will try to document some here.

Michaelis mentions Origen's Homily on the Preface to Luke's Gospel, perhaps through Jerome.
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