Dr. Robert L. Lindsey, March 1980 (photo: Kurt Ben-Joseph).
During their first furlough, members of the Lindsey family “enjoy” a checkup (Dallas, Texas, Jun. 1948).
believe that without Robert Lindsey’s approach to the first three gospels the way to Jesus’ person and message remains barren. Modern, pseudo-critical, New Testament scholarship has not helped us in making a way to Jesus, but has added even new obstacles to the old. Only with regard to one point was there essential progress already in the nineteenth century: an attempt to learn the Jewish background of the beginnings of Christianity. Lindsey, however, provided assistance in another domain. This happened because he learned well both Greek and Hebrew. By living in Israel among Jews, Lindsey learned Hebrew not as a dead but living language. That enabled him to discern between the originally Greek and originally Hebrew linguistic elements in the gospels and to reach rightly the conclusion that Mark was not the oldest gospel, on which Matthew and Luke depend. The erroneous assumption of Markan priority was and continues to be the dominant, inveterate prejudice in modern New Testament scholarship. Lindsey has shown that Mark redacted and rewrote his earlier Greek source (or sources), and that vestiges of this Markan revision are highly visible in Matthew. Since no such Markan vestiges can be discovered in Luke, Lindsey became convinced of the priority of Luke over and against Mark and Matthew. Later on, by a kind of intuition, he came to the additional conclusion that our extant gospel of Luke was known to Mark and was used in his redactional work. These are the main achievements of Lindsey’s synoptic theory.
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