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LOY Excursus: Mark’s Editorial Style
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Date First Published: May 26, 2014
Roman fresco depicting a man with a papyrus scroll. Herculaneum (first-century C.E.).

by David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton[1]

Revised: 16-Sept.-2014
Dedicated to the memory of Professor Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher (1909-1971).
T

he writing style of the author of the Gospel of Mark has long been regarded as idiosyncratic. Its pervasive use of the “historical present” and its bizarre proliferation of the word εὐθύς are two well-known examples. Despite its awkwardness, and indeed sometimes because of it, Mark has been regarded as the most primitive of the Synoptic Gospels and one of the sources for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. Robert Lindsey challenged this scholarly consensus of Markan Priority when he discovered the more Hebraic quality of Luke vis-à-vis Mark and vis-à-vis Matthew wherever Matthew was dependent on Mark. Lindsey concluded that Luke was the first of the Synoptic Gospels, that Mark reworked Luke, and that Matthew is based on Mark and one of the sources utilized by Luke.[2]

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