Mark's Use of Matthew and Luke. Some Post-Oxford Considerations

The latest major conference on the Synoptic Problem was held at Lincoln College, Oxford University, 7-10 April 2008. Published proceedings are currently anticipated from Peeters in 2010. Toward the end of that conference, some of the 40 specialists gathered there, even several who defend differing synoptic source theories, agreed that the state of some of the evidence used to argue for one or another solution of the Synoptic Problem, such as critical texts of the Greek New Testament and synopses of Mt/Mk/Lk, appeared to be less objective and more fluid following that conference than such displays of relevant evidence might have been thought to be prior to it. This paper will demonstrate how and why these insights seem valid and how increased awareness and acceptance of these insights may affect future arguments made in debates over the sources of Mark. Here we will re-examine (1) the phenomenon of alternating order of pericopae between Mark and Matthew, on the one hand, and Mark and Luke, on the other, (2) the phenomenon of alternating agreements in wording within some, but certainly not all, Markan pericopae, likewise between Mark and Matthew, on the one hand, and Mark and Luke, on the other, and (3) the nature of the unique and some of the distinctive material in Mark's gospel (called "The Markan Overlay" by advocates of the Two Gospel Hypothesis). How these new views of the evidence have import, not only for advocates of the Two Gospel hypothesis, but also for advocates of Two Document Hypothesis will conclude the paper.