The Order Of Events In Matthew And Mark -- By: J. F. Springer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 079:314 (Apr 1922)
Article: The Order Of Events In Matthew And Mark
Author: J. F. Springer


The Order Of Events In Matthew And Mark

J. F. Springer

A Problem and Its Solution In Two Parts

Part I—The Problem

The New Testament is perhaps the best attested of all the ancient writings, comparable in size, whose earliest witnesses to the text are separated by a similar interval from the autograph. So much is this the case that we feel confident that our modern recensions set before us what are substantially the original compositions. Nevertheless, there remain some textual phenomena which still await explanation. And nowhere do such problems occur with greater frequency than in the Synoptic Gospels. It is to one of the most considerable of these questions that I desire in the present paper to call attention; and, having done this, I propose then to offer what appears to be a satisfactory solution. The facts which require explanation are concerned with the divergences in the sequence of incidents, as these divergencies are disclosed by a comparison of the texts of Matthew and Mark. Assuming that our recensions of these Gospels are approximate equivalents of the autographs, both in form and content, we find ourselves, immediately we examine into the matter, confronted with difficulties of a very formidable character. Let us nevertheless investigate the consequences of this assumption.

It is a notable fact that nearly all of the incidents in the Second Gospel are parallels of incidents in the First. For the most part, there is exact agreement in respect to the order of occurrence in the two texts; but the first third of Mark and the Matthaean region broadly paralleled by this third are in remarkable disagreement in so far as the progression of events is concerned. Accurately defined, the two sections are Mt. 3:1–13:58 and Mk. 1:1–6:13. Of the twenty-four incidents in the Markan

section, The man with the unclean spirit is not a parallel of a Matthaean event, and the Appointment of the Twelve is only doubtfully so. The remaining twenty-two are all parallels. In the Matthaean section, there is much unparalleled matter, chiefly though of a didactic character. Further on in the Ministry, the two narratives are in disagreement in arrangement for a short space. The textual regions may be broadly denned as Mt. 21:10–22 and Mk. 11:11–26. The one progression of events differs from the other in respect to the sequence of just two incidents. In Matthew, Purging the Temple precedes Cursing the fig tree, whereas in Mark the order of these events is rever...

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