An Investigation Of The Agreements Between Matthew And Luke Against Mark -- By: Robert L. Thomas

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 19:2 (Spring 1976)
Article: An Investigation Of The Agreements Between Matthew And Luke Against Mark
Author: Robert L. Thomas


An Investigation Of The Agreements Between
Matthew And Luke Against Mark

Robert L. Thomas*

The usual method of handling agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark is to view them as insignificant because of their small number.1 Or else they are termed “minor” because they consist largely of stylistic variations and for the most part affect only a word or two.2 Usually those who notice the agreements in any detail analyze them in a manner sixnilar to Hawkins’: (1) accidental agreements caused by changes from kai to de in Matthew and Luke; (9) accidental agreements caused by changes of the historical present to the imperfect or aorist in Matthew and Luke; (3) accidental agreements caused by words that are ordinary and colorless and nearly synonymous with Mark’s words; (4) accidental agreements caused when Matthew and Luke add obvious amplifications or explanations; (5) accidental agreements caused by cases of abrupt style in Mark; and (6) twenty passages where the agreements could not have been accidental.3

Usual explanations for the twenty passages that could not have been accidental fall into one of the following categories: (1) All three writers depended on an Ur-Markus; (2) an early non-Markan document included over 58 sections of triple tradition as well as the ten sections of Logia; (3) either Matthew or Luke consulted the other’s work; (4) the agreements are due to copyists’ changes (cf. Streeter); or (5) Matthew and Luke worked from a recension of Mark that is not now extant.4 None of these is convincing enough to have won universal acceptance among proponents of Markan priority.

Three factors have led the writer to a renewed interest in this subject: (1) the unresolved question of how the universally acknowledged non-accidental agreements could have occurred; (2) the logical fallacy that the agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark are not significant just because they are not as numerous as those of Matthew and Mark against Luke or as those of Mark and Luke against Matthew; and (3) the growing conviction that the complete story of these agreements has not been told.

*Robert Thomas is professor of New Testament at Talbot Theological Seminary, La Mirada, California.

I. The Agreements

The agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark number about 230. Of the 58 sections where a triple tradition exists,5 only five are void of agreements...

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