LOY Excursus: Mark’s Editorial Style

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This LOY Excursus is a compendium of our observations regarding the redactional changes the author of Mark typically made to his sources and discusses the image of Jesus he wanted to portray in writing his Gospel.

Revised: 23-February-2017
Dedicated to the memory of Professor Eduard Yechezkel Kutscher (1909-1971).

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The writing style of the author of the Gospel of Mark has long been regarded as idiosyncratic.[1] Mark’s pervasive use of the “historical present”[2] and its bizarre proliferation of the word εὐθύς are two well-known examples.[3] Despite its awkwardness, and indeed sometimes because of it, Mark’s Gospel 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 upon which Luke is based.[4]

Lindsey’s theory not only explains why Luke’s Gospel is so much more Hebraic than Mark’s, but also why Luke’s text often seems so much more reliable. For instance, Luke’s version of Jesus’ prophecy about the destruction and liberation of Jerusalem addresses the disciples’ question, “When will these things be?” and retains the theme of the fate of Jerusalem throughout. In Luke 21, Jesus’ prophecy is infused with a Jewish nationalist sentiment that is appropriate to a first-century Jewish teacher. In Mark 13, by contrast, there is no concern for the fate of Jerusalem or the Jewish people. Rather, in Mark’s version the focus is on the elect and on the advent of the Son of Man. Most striking of all, Mark’s version of the prophecy fails to answer the disciples’ question about when the Temple will be destroyed.[5]

Lindsey’s Stemma. (Graphic created by Pieter Lechner.)

Another example of Luke’s greater reliability in comparison with Mark is the conversation between Jesus and the chief priests during Jesus’ interrogation. According to Luke’s version, Jesus engaged in a sophisticated dialogue in which, through subtle biblical allusion, Jesus led his interrogators to draw their own conclusions about his messianic claims (Luke 22:67-70), whereas in Mark’s version (Mark 14:61-62) Jesus’s answer is unequivocal and the chain of biblical allusions is obscured by a single overt citation of Daniel 7.[6]

A third example of Luke’s greater historical reliability is found in the Healing a Man with a Withered Hand story. According to Luke’s account, the Pharisees discuss what they might do with Jesus (Luke 6:11), the point being that there was nothing the Pharisees could do since Jesus had not violated Sabbath prohibitions. Luke’s account resembles the story of the first-century B.C.E. Hasid Honi ha-Me’agel (m. Taan. 3:8; cf. b. Taan. 23a), in which a Pharisaic leader rebukes Honi and remarks אֲבָל מָה אֶעֱשֶׂה לְךָ (’avāl māh ’e‘ eseh lechā, “But what can I do to you?”), because although the Pharisee disapproved of Honi’s behavior, Honi had not actually transgressed the halachah. In Mark’s version of the Healing of Man with Withered Hand, however, the Pharisees plot with the Herodians how they might destroy Jesus (Mark 3:6).[7] Plotting to murder Jesus for the healing of a man on the Sabbath when Jesus had not committed any violation of Sabbath rest[8] is not only a priori unlikely, but the question of whether acts of mercy take precedence over the restrictions of work on the Sabbath was an open one in the first century. It seems clear that Mark artificially attributed the motives and intentions of Jesus’ later opponents to his Pharisaic critics.[9]

One of the main advantages of Lindsey’s hypothesis is that it allows us to observe and evaluate Mark’s editorial style. Lindsey’s hypothesis releases us from the assumption that Mark preserves the most primitive and original forms of the synoptic tradition. Accepting Lindsey’s premise that Luke often preserves a more authentic and reliable account opens our eyes to observe the freedom with which the author of Mark treated his sources.

Mark’s Freedom and Creativity

Lindsey concluded that the author of Mark was not interested in transmitting his sources as he had received them. Instead, Mark’s editorial style is characterized by creativity. Lindsey noted the following characteristics of Mark’s treatment of his sources:

  1. Relocation of pericopae from the Lukan order to a new context.
  2. Rewriting pericopae by substituting synonyms for the words Mark found in his source(s).
  3. Rewriting pericopae using vocabulary Mark had picked up from the sections of Luke that Mark had omitted, from Acts, from the Pauline Epistles and from the Epistle of James. These “Markan pick-ups” allowed Mark to show how the stories about Jesus resonated in the experiences of the later Church.[10]
  4. Radical abbreviation, for example, the Temptation narrative in Mark as compared with the Temptation narratives in Luke and Matthew.
  5. Expansion of pericopae by adding detail and duplicating phrases, for example, in the Lawyer’s Question Mark adds “Hear! O Israel….” to the citation of the double love commandment (Mark 12:29), and he repeats the entire answer (Mark 12:32-33).

Lindsey believed that the Lukan-Matthean minor agreements against Mark are an important witness to the readings of the pre-synoptic source that stands behind all three Synoptic Gospels.[11] The Lukan-Matthean minor agreements reflect traces of the pre-synoptic source shared by Matthew and Luke that escaped Mark’s editorial activity. Therefore, careful examination of the Lukan-Matthean minor agreements provides clues for understanding the author of Mark’s editorial style.

In attempting to classify the Lukan-Matthean minor agreements, Neirynck compiled a list that includes the following categories:[12]

  1. Asyndeton in Mark and conj. in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  2. Historical present in Mark and not in Matt. and Luke[13]
  3. Genitive absolute in Mark and not in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  4. Active or middle voice in Mark and passive in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  5. Simple verb in Mark and compound verb in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  6. Object-verb [order] in Mark and verb-object in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  7. Verb supplied in Matt. and Luke
  8. Prepositions changed in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  9. Changes in vocabulary; diminutive in Mark and not in Matt. and Luke[14]
  10. Singular in Mark and plural in Matt. and Luke, and vice versa
  11. Duplicate expressions in Mark and simple phrases in Matt. and Luke

Neirynck’s list is an excellent, if partial, description of Mark’s editorial method. To Neirynck’s list we add the following changes the author of Mark made to his source(s):

  1. Mark inverts word order. For example in Mark we find, “scribes of the Pharisees” (Mark 2:16), instead of “the Pharisees and their scribes” (Luke 5:30); “lord…the son of man…of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:28), instead of the Lukan-Matthean, “lord…of the Sabbath the son of man” (Luke 6:5; Matt. 12:8); “governors and kings” (Mark 13:9) instead of Luke’s “kings and governors” (Luke 21:12).
  2. Mark transposes the order of events. For example, the author of Mark wrote “and killed him and threw him out of the vineyard” (Mark 12:8), opposite the Lukan-Matthean, “and they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him” (Luke 20:15; Matt. 21:39). We also find this type of Markan change in the Preparations for Eating Passover Lamb pericope where the author of Mark transposed the order of Luke 22:8 and 22:9.
  3. Mark repeats words and sentences. Compare, for instance, “fearing and trembling” (Mark 5:33) to Luke’s “trembling” (Luke 8:47). In the Call of Levi story the author of Mark stated that Jesus’ critics seeing “that he is eating with sinners and toll collectors” (ὅτι ἐσθίει μετὰ τῶν ἁμαρτωλῶν καὶ τελωνῶν) ask “Why is he eating with toll collectors and sinners?” (ὅτι μετὰ τῶν τελωνῶν καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν ἐσθίει; Mark 2:16).[15] Mark repeats “and he appointed [the] twelve” (Mark 3:14, 16) in the Choosing of the Twelve pericope. Mark repeats Jesus’ statement that it is hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven (Mark 10:23, 24) in the Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven incident, and likewise repeats the double love command (Mark 12:30-31, 33) in the Lawyer’s Question.
  4. Mark also duplicates stories in his text, creating a second story resembling the first and partially preserving its vocabulary. Examples include Feeding 4,000 (Mark 8:1-10), which duplicates Feeding 5,000 (Mark 6:30-44). The Walking on the Water (Mark 6:45-52) is a duplication of Stilling of Storm (Mark 4:35-41). The Blind Man of Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-26) may be a duplication of Man Healed of Blindness (Mark 10:46-52).
  5. Mark adds and expands Scripture quotations. For example, against Matthew and Luke, the author of Mark added the quotation of the Shema (Deut. 6:4) to the Greatest Commandment (Mark 12:29). Against Matthew and Luke, the author of Mark expanded the quotation of Isa. 56:7 in the story of Yeshua’s Protest in the Temple to include the phrase “all nations” (Mark 11:17).[16] Likewise, only Mark has “In the days of Abiathar the high priest” in the Plucking Ears of Grain on Sabbath story (Mark 2:26).[17]
  6. Mark supplies the names of anonymous individuals. For example, in Man Healed of Blindness only Mark’s version gives the name of the name of a blind beggar (Bartimaeus; Mark 10:46). Likewise in Prediction of Jerusalem’s Destruction where the questioners are anonymous in Luke 21:7 and are designated only as “the disciples” in Matt. 24:3, the author of Mark identified them as Peter, James, John and Andrew (Mark 13:3).
  7. Mark supplies additional biographical detail. For example, the author of Mark supplied information about Jesus’ vocation (Mark 6:3);[18] and he highlighted familial connections: e.g., “Levi the son of Alphaeus” (Mark 2:14) against “Levi” (Luke 5:27) and “Matthew” (Matt. 9:9); “Peter and James and John the brother of James” (Mark 5:37) opposite Luke’s “Peter and John and James” (Luke 8:51);[19] and “Simon, the father of Alexander and Rufus” (Mark 15:21) opposite Matt. 27:32 and Luke 23:26 where the names of the sons of Simon are omitted.
  8. Mark supplies numerical specificity. For example, the author of Mark specified the age of Yair’s (Jairus’) Daughter (“12 years” [Mark 5:42], against a Lukan-Matthean agreement of omission [Luke 8:55; Matt. 9:25]); he specified the cost of feeding the 5,000 (“200 denarii” [Mark 6:37], against a Lukan-Matthean agreement of omission [Luke 9:13; Matt. 14:17]); and he specified the number of times the rooster crowed (“Before the cock crows twice” [Mark 14:30; cf. Mark 14:72], against Matthew and Luke’s “Before the cock crows” [Matt. 26:34; Luke 22:34; cf. Luke 22:61]).
  9. Mark adds vivid descriptions. For instance, the author of Mark specified that the people sat “on the green grass” (Mark 6:39), against a Lukan-Matthean agreement of omission (Luke 9:14: “sit down”; Matt. 14:19: “sit down on the grass”); and in his account of the Transfiguration, the author of Mark says that Jesus’ clothes became “intensely white, as no fuller on earth could bleach them” (Mark 9:3; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke). Similarly, according to Mark Jesus “was in the stern asleep on the cushion” (Mark 4:38), against a Lukan-Matthean agreement of omission (Luke 8:23; Matt. 8:24).[20] Compare Mark’s μύλος ὀνικός (“donkey millstone”; Mark 9:42), in place of Luke’s less vivid λίθος μυλικός (“millstone”; Luke 17:2).
  10. Mark, alone of the Synoptic Gospels, inserts Aramaic phrases into his narratives. Many Semitic words in the Gospels (e.g., mammon, korban, rabbi, abba) are found in both Hebrew and Aramaic.[21] However, Mark’s is the only Gospel to incorporate words that are unambiguously Aramaic transliterations.[22] They are: Ταλιθα κουμ (Mark 5:41) and Ἐλωῒ ἐλωῒ λεμὰ σαβαχθάνι (Mark 15:34).[23] The word Εφφαθα (Mark 7:34) is probably also a transliteration of an Aramaic command.[24] The presence of Aramaic phrases in Mark is more likely to inform us about Mark’s linguistic background than about the language spoken by Jesus.[25] In fact, it appears that all of the Aramaic phrases in Mark are secondary. Lindsey argued that Ταλιθὰ κούμ in Mark 5:41 was inspired by Peter’s command Ταβιθά, ἀνάστηθι (Acts 9:40).[26] Buth has shown that Mark reworked the tradition according to which Jesus quoted Psalm 22:1 from the cross. In the pre-synoptic tradition the bystanders confused Jesus’ cry of Ἠλὶ ἠλὶ with a summons for the prophet Elijah (Ἠλίας). Mark’s Ἐλωῒ ἐλωῒ makes the reason for the bystanders’ confusion incomprehensible, a clear indication that Mark’s version is secondary.[27] Ἐφφαθά, too, is likely to be a Markan creation. It appears in a story not paralleled in Matthew or Luke that contains thaumaturgical elements that are peculiar to Mark’s Gospel (see below).
  11. Mark introduces Latin loanwords into the text of his Gospel. Latin loanwords appear in all three Synoptic Gospels.[28] We have counted fifteen Latin loanwords that appear at least once in Matthew, Mark, or Luke.[29] Of these fifteen Latin loanwords, six appear in Luke,[30] eleven appear in Mark,[31] and eleven appear in Matthew.[32] Three Latin loanwords are unique to Mark, namely, κεντυρίων (Mark 15:39, 44, 45), ξέστης (Mark 7:4) and σπεκουλάτωρ (Mark 6:27). Three additional Latin loanwords were introduced by Mark and copied by Matthew, namely, πραιτώριον (Mark 15:16; Matt. 27:27), φραγελλοῦν (Mark 15:15; Matt. 27:26) and κῆνσος (Mark 12:14; Matt. 22:17).[33] Thus, supposing Mark relied on Luke as the source for his Gospel, Mark is responsible for introducing six of the fifteen Latin loanwords that appear in the Synoptic Gospels. By contrast, there is only one Latin loanword unique to Luke (σουδάριον [Luke 19:20]), and Matthew is responsible for introducing only two of the Latin loanwords in the Synoptic Gospels (κουστωδία [Matt. 27:65, 66; 28:11]; μίλιον [Matt. 5:41]).[34] There is one Latin loanword shared by Matthew and Luke that is unknown to Mark (ἀσσάριον [Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6]).[35]
  12. Mark introduces elements of Hellenistic thaumaturgical practice into his healing narratives. Mark 7:32-35 describes the healing of a man who was deaf and unable to speak (unparalleled in Matthew or Luke). Uncharacteristically for healings by Jesus, Mark’s story has Jesus insert his fingers into the man’s ears, spit and touch the man’s tongue. According to Mark, Jesus also sighs deeply. In the Healing of the Man in Bethsaida from Blindness (Mark 8:22-26; unparalleled in Matthew or Luke, cf. John 9:6), Mark reports that Jesus spat on the man’s eyes. The use of spittle, reports of sighing and/or groaning, and the use of magical words are common in Hellenistic descriptions of magical healings.[36] The Jewish Sages, by contrast, expressly opposed the practice of spitting in the context of healing (cf. t. Sanh. 12:10; b. Sanh. 101a; Avot de-Rabbi Natan, Version A, chpt. 36 [ed. Schechter, 108]).[37] The Hellenistic thaumaturgical practices attributed to Jesus appear to have been introduced into the Gospel traditions by Mark.[38]
  13. Mark provides psychological insight.[39] For example, Mark reports that Jesus was “moved with pity” (Mark 1:41), and that Jesus looked at the rich man and loved him (Mark 10:21; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke). Compare Mark’s “Jesus knew in his spirit” (Mark 2:8) with Matthew’s “knowing their thoughts” (Matt. 9:4), and especially Luke 5:22: “When Jesus noticed their argument.” Observe also Mark’s statement that Jesus “looked around at them with anger, grieved at their hardness of heart” (Mark 3:5) in comparison with Luke 6:10: “He looked around at them all, and said…,” and Matt. 12:13: “Then he said to the man….” Mark likewise informs his readers that Jesus’ family members believed he was out of his mind (Mark 3:21), a statement unparalleled in Matthew or Luke. Mark’s details that Jesus was indignant toward his disciples (Mark 10:14; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke) and that at the Transfiguration Peter did not know what to say “for they were exceedingly afraid” (Mark 9:6; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke) falls within this category.
  14. Mark heightens drama. In Mark, for example, a person can be “guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:29), in place of Luke’s Hebraic “he who speaks a word against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven” (Luke 12:10). In Mark 5:5 we learn that the demoniac would cry out and injure himself with stones, dramatic information not present in Luke or Matthew. Similarly, in the story of the Boy Delivered from Demon Mark heightens the drama by describing the demon as “a dumb spirit” (Mark 9:17; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke), by adding dramatic symptoms such as grinding his teeth and becoming rigid, by depicting the attack in graphic detail when the boy approaches Jesus (compare Mark 9:20 with Luke 9:42), and by adding the detail that after the attack the boy seemed to be dead (Mark 9:26; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke). Mark is also the only Gospel to report the dramatic story of the young man who fled naked at Jesus’ arrest (Mark 14:51-52).
  15. Mark multiplies words of astonishment.[40] It is a strange fact that Luke and Mark never agree to use the verb θαυμάζειν at the same point in their Gospels. In Luke θαυμάζειν occurs 12xx and in Mark 4xx. In place of θαυμάζειν in Luke, the author of Mark frequently substituted synonyms. Thus in Yeshua Attends Synagogue in Nazareth, Mark replaced Luke’s καὶ πάντες…ἐθαύμαζον ἐπὶ τοῖς λόγοις τῆς χάριτος (“and everyone…marveled at his gracious words”; Luke 4:22) with καὶ οἱ πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο (“and the many who heard were astounded”; Mark 6:2), cf. Matthew’s ἐκπλήσσεσθαι (Matt. 13:54). In Quieting a Storm, the author of Mark replaced Luke’s φοβηθέντες δὲ ἐθαύμασαν (“and fearing they marvelled”; Luke 8:25) with καὶ ἐφοβήθησαν φόβον μέγαν (“and they feared a great fear”; Mark 4:41), cf. Matthew’s agreement with Luke against Mark to write ἐθαύμασαν (Matt. 8:27). And in Question Concerning Tribute to Caesar, the author of Mark replaced Luke’s καὶ θαυμάσαντες ἐπὶ τῇ ἀποκρίσει αὐτοῦ (“and they marveling at his answer”; Luke 20:26) with καὶ ἐξεθαύμαζον ἐπ’ αὐτῷ (“and they were amazed by him”; Mark 12:17), cf. Matthew’s ἐθαύμασαν (Matt. 22:22).
    Despite his avoidance of θαυμάζειν wherever it appears in Luke’s Gospel, the author of Mark used a variety of synonyms for wonder or astonishment: θαυμάζειν 4xx (Mark 5:20; 6:6; 15:5, 44); θαυμαστός 1x (Mark 12:11);[41] ἐκθαυάζειν 1x (Mark 12:17); ἐκπλήσσεσθαι 5xx (Mark 1:22; 6:2; 7:37 [ὑπερπερισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο (“completely they were astounded”)]; 10:26 [περισσῶς ἐξεπλήσσοντο (“much they were astounded”)]; 11:18);[42] ἐξίστασθαι 4xx (Mark 2:12; 3:21; 5:42; 6:51);[43] ἔκστασις 2xx (Mark 5:42; 16:8);[44] θαμβεῖσθαι 3xx (Mark 1:27; 10:24, 32); and ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι 4xx (Mark 9:15; 14:33; 16:5, 6).
    Three Markan words for amazement (ἐκθαυάζειν, θαμβεῖσθαι, ἐκθαμβεῖσθαι) do not appear at all in Luke or Matthew. It should also be noted that the author of Mark sometimes attributed astonishment to the crowds and to the disciples for no apparent reason (Mark 9:15; 10:32).
  16. Mark expands sayings and narratives. Partly as a result of the editorial techniques outlined above, Mark’s pericopae are generally longer than their Matthean and Lukan counterparts. Although Mark is the shortest Gospel, this is because the author of Mark elected to report fewer stories, not because he was given to brevity.[45] Two extreme examples of how expansive Mark can be are the Boy Delivered from Demon and Yair’s Daughter and a Woman’s Faith.

Scholars often refer to the unique wordings of Mark (wordings often followed by Matthew) as “vivid detail” or “freshness,” assuming these “primitive” readings to be a sign of Mark’s originality. However, once Mark’s Gospel is recognized as dependent on Luke’s, Mark’s editorial style becomes unmistakable.

A Jewish Model for Mark’s Editorial Style?

The author of Mark’s modus operandi was to make almost every kind of change to his text that an editor can make. Often his changes appear to be without purpose—simply change for the sake of change. Yet, although to post-Enlightenment western readers Mark’s treatment of his sources may seem arbitrary and even indefensible, there are ancient Jewish models for Mark’s editorial techniques in the later rabbinic aggadic midrashim[46] and in the targumim (especially in the Palestinian Targum tradition as represented by Targum Neofiti, Targum Pseudo-Jonathan and the Fragmentary Jerusalem Targums).[47]

Aggadic midrash is a rabbinic approach to the Hebrew Scriptures that seeks novel interpretation and fresh encounters with the stories of the Bible. Aggadic midrash is infused with a playful sense of creativity. Hirshman writes, “The Spirit of the aggadic enterprise may be summed up in ben Bag Bag’s dictum in Avot 5:22, ‘Turn it and turn it again, for all is in it….'”[48] The appeal of aggadic midrash was not restricted to highly educated rabbis, but was directed toward a broader audience. Its creative approach was intended to entertain and to draw listeners in and to engage them with the biblical text.[49]

Among the techniques that can be observed in the aggadic midrash is heightened dramatization of biblical stories. For example, in expounding the Binding of Isaac, we read:

“And Abraham took the wood for the burnt-offering [and put it on his son Isaac (Gen. 22:6)]”—as one who bears his cross on his shoulder. (Gen. Rab. 56:3)

Another technique is providing psychological insight to explain the motives of biblical characters. For example, in the story of Lot’s daughters it is stated:

They [the daughters] thought that the whole world was destroyed, as in the generation of the flood. (Gen. Rab. 51:8)

Likewise, when Abraham sent his servant to find Isaac a wife, the servant asks what he should do if a woman was unwilling to return with him (Gen 24:5). The midrash asks: “Why did the servant ask this question?” Answer: “Because he was hoping to give his own daughter to Isaac in marriage” (Gen. Rab. 59:9).

A third technique for engaging listeners was to identify anonymous characters[50] and to supply additional biographical information. Thus the tradition cited above identifies Abraham’s anonymous servant as Eliezer (Gen. 15:2). Likewise, the aggadic midrash supplies a backstory for Sarai’s maidservant Hagar—she was the daughter of Pharaoh:

When Pharaoh saw what was done on Sarah’s behalf in his own house, he took his daughter and gave her to Sarah, saying, “Better let my daughter be a handmaid in this house than a mistress in another house.” (Gen. Rab. 45:1)

Similarly, Ruth and her sister-in-law, Orpah, are said to be the daughters of Eglon, king of Moab (Judges 3:12):

Eglon rose from his throne when Ehud informed the king that he came with a message from God. “The Holy one, blessed be he, said to him: ‘You stood up from your throne to honor me. By your life, I will raise up from you a descendant sitting on the throne of the Lord.'” (Ruth Rab. 2:9)

Yet another feature of aggadic traditions is to provide numerical specificity. Thus, when Rebekah’s family requests that “the maiden remain with us יָמִים [yāmim, lit., “days”; the number is not specified], at least ten days” (Gen. 24:55), an aggadic tradition states, “Yamim refers to seven days of mourning” (Gen. Rab. 60:12).[51]

Many of these aggadic techniques are also reflected in the targumim, the Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Scriptures. The targumim were not merely translations of the Hebrew Scriptures, they also provided a fresh look at the text. Rather than rendering the text literally, the targumists frequently introduced a variety of changes designed to keep the audience engaged. Sperber describes the style, or approach, of the targumists, giving examples from Codex Reuchlinianus of more than 30 categories of targumic change, for example:

  1. Changes in accord with similar biblical passages
  2. Free translation
  3. Figurative speech
  4. Elaboration on a brief text
  5. Additions necessary for a better understanding
  6. Collective nouns treated as plurals
  7. Abstract nouns replaced by corresponding concrete forms
  8. Adding and omitting suffixes with substantives and verbs
  9. Active construction in lieu of passive, and vice versa
  10. Choice of verbal tense adjusted to the context
  11. Addition or omission of particles
  12. Finite verb instead of abs. inf.
  13. Change of place names
  14. Asyndeton instead of polysyndeton, and vice versa

Although the Gospel of Mark is earlier than the rabbinic collections of aggadic midrash and the targumim, these ancient Jewish treatments of Scripture may provide a useful model for understanding Mark’s creative approach to the Gospel traditions.[52] Moreover, many of the methods exhibited in aggadic midrash and the Aramaic targumim are also discernable in Jewish literature from the Second Temple period, including works such as the Book of Jubilees and the Genesis Apocryphon, Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities, Philo’s commentaries on the books of Moses, and Josephus’ re-telling of the biblical narratives.[53]

Roman fresco depicting a man with a papyrus scroll. Herculaneum (first-century C.E.).

First-century C.E. Roman fresco depicting a man with a papyrus scroll (Herculaneum). Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Even the Septuagint (ca. 150 B.C.E.), the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, exhibits elements of creative exegesis. For example, the Greek translation of Exodus 22:28 reinterprets the verse for a diaspora setting, and rather than saying “You must not curse אֱלֹהִים [God],” it says θεοὺς οὐ κακολογήσεις (“You shall not revile gods [plur.]”; NETS).[54] Another example is LXX’s translation of Ruth 1:14, which reads, Ρουθ δὲ ἠκολούθησεν αὐτῇ (“but Ruth followed her”), as opposed to the Hebrew text which reads, וְרוּת דָּבְקָה בָּהּ (“but Ruth clung to her”). The verbal change may seem insignificant—after all, Ruth did follow Naomi from her homeland in Moab to Bethlehem in Judah—however the Greek verb translated “followed” had another connotation: to adhere to a philosophy or moral code. This same Greek word is used in the Gospels to refer to discipleship. In later Jewish sources, Ruth’s decision became a paradigm for conversion (Ruth Rab. 2:22; Targum of Ruth 1:16). A third example is LXX’s rendering of 1 Sam. 14:42, which greatly expands the original verse.[55]

The method of creative exegesis exists even in the Hebrew Bible itself! Observe how the author of Deuteronomy expanded portions of the Ten Commandments in midrashic fashion. For example, the author of Deuteronomy saw that the expression שׁוֹר וַחֲמוֹר (“ox and donkey”) in Exod. 20:17 is a synonym for בְּהֵמָה (“beast”) in Exod. 20:10, so he combined them in Deut. 5:14, giving all three nouns. Another example is how the Chronicler retells the stories in the Books of Samuel and Kings. In the Chronicler’s retelling of the story of David’s Census, for instance, the Chronicler explains that it was Satan who incited David (1 Chr. 21:1; cf. 2 Sam. 24:1, where it is the LORD who incited David). The Chronicler also identifies the site of the Temple in Jerusalem with the mountain upon which Abraham proved his faithfulness through the Binding of Isaac (2 Chr. 3:1; Gen. 22:2). At another point the Chronicler explains away an apparent contradiction in 2 Sam. 21:19 where we read that Elhanan (not David!) killed Goliath. According to 1 Chr. 20:5, Elhanan slew Lahmi, Goliath’s brother.

These Jewish models of creative exegesis may provide the necessary framework for understanding Mark’s editorial style. Mark attempted to retell the familiar story of Jesus’ words and deeds in a fresh, attention-grabbing manner. Mark’s editorial changes were intended to draw his audience in and to keep them enthralled with the dramatic tale of Jesus’ adventures.

A good example of the author of Mark’s aggadic style is his version of the Mustard Seed parable (Mark 4:30-32). The author of Luke speaks of a seed which, when cast in a garden, becomes a tree. Notice the brevity of Luke’s text (Luke 13:18-19)—only 27 Greek words. Mark expanded the parable by 60% (by 16 words). The author of Mark explains that the mustard seed, when sown on the earth (Luke: “garden”),[56] “is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth” (repeating “earth”), but when sown (repeating “sown”), it becomes the greatest (dramatization) of all the herbs,[57] and puts forth large (dramatization) branches so that (an explanation of Luke’s Hebraic καί) the birds can (added by Mark) dwell in its shade.[58] In the Lukan-Matthean parallels to Mark’s version of the parable (each are only two verses in length), there are six Lukan-Matthean minor agreements against Mark:

  1. ὁμοία ἐστὶν ἡ βασιλεία
  2. ὃν λαβὼν ἄνθρωπος
  3. αὐτοῦ (Luke: ἑαυτοῦ)
  4. αὐξηθῇ (Luke: ηὔξησεν)
  5. δένδρον
  6. ἐν τοῖς κλάδοις αὐτοῦ

Mark’s version of the parable is dramatic, exaggerated, creative and exciting, just like the creative interpretations of Scripture found in aggadic midrash and the targumim.

Mark’s Portrait of Jesus

If the author of Mark were writing his Gospel today, perhaps he would have chosen to write it as a graphic novel. The Gospel of Mark certainly has features that are reminiscent of comic book stories. Like a comic book, the Gospel of Mark uses bold lines and vivid colors that attract a reader’s attention.[59] Mark’s strange use of εὐθύς (evthūs, “immediately”) reminds one of changes of scene in a comic book from one frame to the next.[60] Like a comic book, Mark has a superhero: Jesus. And just as a comic book is better suited for action than dialogue, Mark’s Gospel mainly focuses on the stories rather than on the teachings of Jesus. The one kind of teaching Mark retains, apart from a highly redacted eschatological discourse in Mark 13, are parables, which are themselves picturesque illustrations.

Comic book-style portrait of Jesus by illustrator Jim Padgett. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Markan portrayal of Jesus is that of a superhero with immense power and authority.[61] In the opening scene of Mark’s narrative, John the Baptist declares that one who is even more powerful is about to arrive (Mark 1:7). And immediately Jesus begins to demonstrate his power and authority by summoning total strangers to leave everything behind to follow him (Mark 1:16-20; cf. 2:14). Synagogue worshippers recognize Jesus’ authoritative teaching (Mark 1:22) even before Jesus has a chance to demonstrate his authority to command demons (Mark 1:27). Jesus not only has authority over human beings and evil spirits, he also has authority to forgive sins (Mark 2:10). Jesus is also able to impart authority to others (Mark 3:15; 6:7). The chief priests and their entourage unsuccessfully challenge Jesus’ authority (Mark 11:27-33).

Neither science, nature, nor religion are a match for Jesus: Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), nature obeys Jesus’ command (Mark 4:41), and Jesus is more potent than the doctors who failed to stop the woman’s bleeding (Mark 5:26; unparalleled in Luke and Matthew). Mark’s emphasis on Jesus’ power is demonstrated in his use of the verb δύνασθαι[62] to describe Jesus’ ability or to contrast Jesus’ power with the inability of others to succeed. Jesus is able to cleanse lepers (Mark 1:40); Jesus is proved able to forgive sins, despite the scribes’ belief that only God is capable of this action (Mark 2:7); Jesus is able to bind the strong man and plunder his house (Mark 3:27; δύνασθαι absent in Luke 11:21, but copied in Matt. 12:29); Jesus subdues the demoniac whom no one was able to bind (Mark 5:3; δύνασθαι absent in Luke 8:27, no Matthean parallel); Jesus proves able to procure food in a remote place (Mark 8:4; δύνασθαι absent in Matt. 15:33, no Lukan parallel); Jesus censures the father of a boy with a demon for his doubt in Jesus’ ability to exorcise his son (Mark 9:22-23; no Lukan or Matthean parallel); Jesus’ success is contrasted with the disciples’ inability to exorcise the demon from the boy (Mark 9:28; no Lukan parallel, but copied in Matt. 17:19).

Yet Mark’s superhero is elusive.[63] When crowds seek Jesus, Jesus avoids them and goes elsewhere (Mark 1:38). Mark’s Jesus does not want people to know his whereabouts (Mark 7:24; 9:30; both verses unparalleled in Luke or Matthew). And, in Mark, Jesus insists on secrecy when he performs miracles and drives out evil spirits (Mark 1:44; 3:12 [unparalleled in Luke or Matthew]; 5:43; 7:36 [unparalleled in Luke or Matthew]; 8:26 [unparalleled in Luke or Matthew]). Jesus also demands secrecy about the transfiguration (Mark 9:9; no parallel in Luke, but copied in Matt. 17:9). But it is not only his miraculous powers that Mark’s Jesus attempts to conceal. In Mark Jesus also attempts to conceal his teachings. According to Mark, Jesus hides from the crowds in order to teach the disciples (Mark 9:30-31; cf. 13:3). Jesus’ public instruction was in the form of parables, a term Mark seems to understand in the sense of riddles, in order that the outsiders will not understand the secrets of the Kingdom of God, for otherwise they might be forgiven (Mark 4:12). Only when the disciples are alone does Jesus reveal to them the meaning of the parables (Mark 4:34; unparalleled in Luke and Matthew).

Not only is Mark’s Jesus secretive, Mark also portrays Jesus as impatient and disdainful: “Are you also without understanding?” Mark’s Jesus chides his disciples (Mark 7:18; no parallel in Luke, but copied in Matt. 15:16). Later, when Mark recounts the feeding of the 4,000, Mark’s Jesus chides the disciples again for their lack of understanding (Mark 8:21; no parallel in Luke, in Matt. 16:12 the disciples do understand). When the Pharisees ask Jesus for a sign, Jesus groans in exasperation (Mark 8:12; unparalleled in Matthew and Luke). Mark’s Jesus is a lonely figure, a towering genius forced to endure the company of fools.

The author of Mark went to great lenghts to demonstrate Jesus’ alienation from the people around him.[64] The alienation of Mark’s Jesus begins with his own family, who consider him to be insane (Mark 3:21; unparalleled in Luke and Matthew). The people from Jesus’ hometown took offense at Jesus, because although he came from Nazareth he was different from the rest of its inhabitants (Mark 6:3; unparalleled in Luke, but copied in Matt. 13:57). The Jerusalem scribes deemed Jesus to be possessed by Beelzebul (Mark 3:22),[65] and Herod supposes that Jesus is John the Baptist who has come back from the dead (Mark 6:16).[66] Even the disciples sometimes regard Jesus’ actions as ridiculous. In response to Jesus’ suggestion that they feed the multitude, the disciples patiently explain to Jesus that it would cost too much money (Mark 6:37; unparalleled in Luke and Matthew). Later, in the story of the feeding of the 4,000, despite their having witnessed Jesus’ earlier miracle, the disciples protest that it is obviously impossible to obtain bread in the desert (Mark 8:4; absent in Luke, but copied in Matt. 15:33). And when Jesus told his disciples of his impending death, Peter went so far as to rebuke his master (Mark 8:32; unparalleled in Luke but copied in Matt. 16:22). The disciples’ failure to understand Jesus is a major theme in Mark’s Gospel. Despite his best efforts, the disciples continue to misinterpret Jesus’ parables (Mark 4:13; unparalleled in Luke and Matthew), his teachings (Mark 7:18 [unparalleled in Luke, but copied in Matt. 15:17]; 8:16-21 [cf. Matt. 16:12]; 9:10 [unparalleled in Luke and Matthew]), and actions (Mark 6:52; unparalleled in Luke and Matthew).

The estrangement of Mark’s Jesus reaches its climax in the passion narrative.[67] In contrast to Luke’s account, where Jesus’ execution is mourned by the people of Jerusalem, in Mark Jesus is abandoned by all those who are close to him. The disciples flee at Jesus’ arrest, Jesus is brought before Jewish authorities and Roman rulers for reasons that are not clearly stated, at the cross Jesus is mocked by everyone, and Jesus’ dying conviction is that even his heavenly Father has abandoned him. With sound justification, Flusser described Mark’s passion narrative as Kafkaesque.[68]

Flusser remarked that the Markan Jesus’ connection to Judaism and the Jewish people is practically non-existent (ibid). This observation is particularly borne out by the highly redacted version of Jesus’ eschatological prophecy in Mark 13. In Luke’s version of the prophecy, the fate of Jerusalem and of the Jewish people is Jesus’ central concern. In Mark’s version, by contrast, Jesus forgets about the Temple and Jerusalem and focuses instead on the fate of the elect (Mark 13:20, 22) and their gathering into the kingdom (Mark 13:27). Israel has no place in the future redemption envisioned by the Markan Jesus.

However, it is not clear that Mark is anti-Jewish.[69] The author of Mark does not assert that keeping the Sabbath is wrong, only that Jesus is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). Contrary to the opinion of many interpreters, the Markan Jesus does not abolish the Jewish dietary laws, but simply declares that ritual handwashing is not obligatory.[70] The explanatory note about Jewish ritual customs (Mark 7:3-4) gives the impression that Mark’s audience was non-Jewish, but the author of Mark does not condemn the Jewish customs he describes.[71] It should also be noted that despite the author of Mark’s improbable suggestion that the Pharisees plotted with the Herodians how they might destroy Jesus (Mark 3:6),[72] the Gospel of Mark does not implicate the Pharisees or the Jewish people as a whole in the passion narrative.[73] The last we hear of the Pharisees in Mark is their question about paying taxes (Mark 12:13), which takes place prior to Yesua’s arrest, trial and crucifixion. For the author of Mark, the Jewish people are not Jesus’ enemies, but neither are they the focus of his mission.[74] At worst, the author of Mark was neutral toward Judaism and indifferent toward the Jewish people, and his indifference is reflected in his portrait of Jesus.

The Markan portrait of Jesus is that of an inscrutable, powerful, tragic and lonely individual who is compelling and mysterious. Misunderstood in his time, Jesus will nevertheless be revealed in glory when he gathers the elect into his kingdom.

Appreciation for Mark

Understanding the author of Mark’s editorial style allows for a proper appreciation of Mark’s Gospel. The Gospel of Mark is a retelling of Jesus’ story, an aggadic-type dramatization based on Luke’s text. Although Mark is not the best source for the most authentic and historical traditions about Jesus—for that we must turn to Luke and the non-Markan portions of Matthew—the Gospel of Mark remains an important and valuable witness to the development of pre-synoptic traditions and the way they were understood by the early Church.[75] Mark shows how deeply the early Christian community was influenced by Jewish interpretive techniques. In addition, as Lindsey observed, without Mark’s Gospel it would have been impossible to arrive at a correct solution to the Synoptic Problem:

Without the Gospel of Mark we would not understand the interconnections of the Synoptic Gospels. Without Mark the verbal distance between Matthew and Luke would remain a conundrum and the important distinction between Matthew in his non-Markan and Markan contexts would be unclear. Without Mark the homiletical methods of John would appear to have no antecedent, for John’s use of some of the Markan stereotypes is an important key to understanding the approach of the writer of the Fourth Gospel. Moreover, without Mark the extremely important insight of Markan priorists that Matthew and Luke are independent of each other could not have been achieved.[76]


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  • [1] For abbreviations and bibliographical references, see “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’
  • [2] See Hawkins, 143-149; Taylor, 46-47; Randall Buth, “Mark’s Use of the Historical Present,” Notes On Translation 65 (1977): 13-28.
  • [3] In Mark εὐθύς (evthūs, “immediately”) occurs 41xx, compared to 7xx in Matthew, and 1x in Luke.
  • [4] See “Introduction to ‘The Life of Yeshua: A Suggested Reconstruction.’
  • [5] See David Flusser, “The Times of the Gentiles and the Redemption of Jerusalem.”
  • [6] See Robert Lindsey, “The Hebrew Life of Jesus,” under the subheading “Jesus’ Interrogation by the Chief Priests.”
  • [7] Given the types and volume of change Mark introduces into Gospel stories (see below), one wonders whether οἱ Ἡρῳδιανοί (“the Herodians”; Mark 3:6; 12:13 [= Matt. 22:16]) are a Markan creation. The Herodians are found nowhere else in ancient literature. BDAG (440) suggests that the Herodians are to be identified with “the partisans of Herod” (οἱ τὰ Ἡρῴδου φρονοῦντες; Josephus, Ant. 14:450; trans. Marcus [Loeb ed.]).
  • [8] Note that, just as it was not Honi, but God who sent the rain, so in the Healing of Man with Withered Hand, Jesus takes no action to heal the man. He only tells the man to stretch out his hand and God effects the miraculous healing.
  • [9] See David Flusser, “Foreword to Robert Lindsey’s A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “What they might do…”
  • [10] For a fuller discussion of the Markan pick-ups, see Lindsey, “From Luke to Mark to Matthew: A Discussion of the Sources of Markan ‘Pick-ups’ and the Use of a Basic Non-canonical Source by All the Synoptists.”
  • [11] See Robert L. Lindsey, “The Major Importance of the Minor Agreements“; idem, “Unlocking the Synoptic Problem: Four Keys for Better Understanding Jesus,” under the subheading “‘Minor’ Agreements.”
  • [12] Frans Neirynck, ed., The Minor Agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 1974), 7-8, 199-288.
  • [13] We define examples of the historical present as third person indicative present tense verbs that appear in narrative contexts where the action is clearly in the past (see Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996], 526-529). Accordingly, we have identified 156 instances of the historical present in Mark, 99 instances of the historical present in Matthew, and 13 instances of the historical present in Luke:
    156 Instances of the Historical Present in Mark
    1 1:12 [ἐκβάλλει] TT (cf. Luke 4:1 [ἤγετο]; Matt. 4:1 [ἀνήχθη])
    2 1:21 [εἰσπορεύονται] Mark-Luke (cf. Luke 4:31)
    3 1:30 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 4:38 [ἠρώτησαν]; Matt. 8:14 [–])
    4 1:37 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Luke (cf. Luke 4:42)
    5 1:38 [λέγει] Mark-Luke (cf. Luke 4:43)
    6 1:40 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 5:12 [καὶ ἐγένετο…καὶ ἰδοὺ]; Matt. 8:2 [καὶ ἰδοὺ…προσελθὼν])
    7 1:41 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 5:13; Matt. 8:3 [λέγων])
    8 1:44 [λέγει] = Matt. 8:4 TT (cf. Luke 5:14)
    9 2:3 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 5:18 []; Matt. 9:2 [])
    10 2:4 [χαλῶσι] TT (cf. Luke 5:19 [καθῆκαν]; Matt. 9:[–] [–])
    11 2:5 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 5:20; Matt. 9:2 [εἶπεν])
    12 2:8 [διαλογίζονται] TT (cf. Luke 5:22 [διαλογισμούς]; Matt. 9:4 [ἐνθυμήσεις])
    13 2:8 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 5:22; Matt. 9:4 [εἶπεν])
    14 2:10 [λέγει] = Matt. 9:6 TT (cf. Luke 5:24)
    15 2:14 [λέγει] = Matt. 9:9 TT (cf. Luke 5:27)
    16 2:15 [γίνεται] TT (cf. Luke 5:29 [–]; Matt. 9:10 [ἐγένετο])
    17 2:17 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 5:31; Matt. 9:12 [εἶπεν])
    18 2:18 [ἔρχονται] = Matt. 9:14 [προσέρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 5:33 [–])
    19 2:18 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 5:33 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 9:14 [λέγοντες])
    20 2:25 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 6:3; Matt. 12:3 [εἶπεν])
    21 3:3 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 6:8 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 12:[–] [–])
    22 3:4 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 6:9; Matt. 12:11 [εἶπεν])
    23 3:5 [λέγει] = Matt. 12:13 TT (cf. Luke 6:10)
    24 3:13 [ἀναβαίνει] TT (cf. Luke 6:12 [ἐξελθεῖν]; Matt. 10:1 [–]; cf. Matt. 5:1 [ἀνέβη])
    25 3:13 [προσκαλεῖται] TT (cf. Luke 6:13 [προσεφώνησεν]; Matt. 10:1 [προσκαλεσάμενος])
    26 3:20 [ἔρχεται] U
    27 3:20 [συνέρχεται] U
    28 3:31 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 8:19 [παρεγένετο]; Matt. 12:46 [–])
    29 3:32 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 8:20 [ἀπηγγέλη]; Matt. 12:[47 (εἶπεν)])
    30 3:33 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:[–] [–]; Matt. 12:48 [εἶπεν])
    31 3:34 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:21; Matt. 12:49 [εἶπεν])
    32 4:1 [συνάγεται] TT (cf. Luke 8:4 [συνιόντος]; Matt. 13:2 [συνήχθησαν])
    33 4:13 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:[–] [–]; Matt. 13:[–] [–])
    34 4:35 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:22 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 8:18 [ἐκέλευσεν])
    35 4:36 [παραλαμβάνουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 8:22 [–]; Matt. 8:23 [–])
    36 4:37 [γίνεται] TT (cf. Luke 8:23 [κατέβη]; Matt. 8:24 [ἐγένετο])
    37 4:38 [ἐγείρουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 8:24 [διήγειραν]; Matt. 8:25 [ἤγειραν])
    38 4:38 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 8:24; Matt. 8:25 [λέγοντες])
    39 5:7 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:28 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 8:29 [λέγοντες])
    40 5:9 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:30 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 8:[–] [–])
    41 5:15 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 8:35 [ἦλθον]; Matt. 8:34 [ἐξῆλθεν])
    42 5:15 [θεωροῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 8:35 [εὗρον]; Matt. 8:34 [])
    43 5:19 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:38 [λέγων]; Matt. 8:[–] [–])
    44 5:22 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 8:41 [ἦλθεν]; Matt. 9:18 [ἐλθών])
    45 5:22 [πίπτει] TT (cf. Luke 8:41 [πεσών]; Matt. 9:18 [προσεκύνει])
    46 5:23 [παρακαλεῖ] TT (cf. Luke 8:41 [παρεκάλει]; Matt. 9:18 [])
    47 5:35 [ἔρχονται] = Luke 8:49 [ἔρχεταί] TT (cf. Matt. 9:[–] [–])
    48 5:36 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:50 [ἀπεκρίθη]; Matt. 9:[–] [–])
    49 5:38 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 8:51; Matt. 9:23 [ἐλθών])
    50 5:38 [θεωρεῖ] TT (cf. Luke 8:52 [–]; Matt. 9:23 [ἰδών])
    51 5:39 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:52 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 9:24 [ἔλεγεν])
    52 5:40 [παραλαμβάνει] TT (cf. Luke 8:53 [–]; Matt. 9:25 [–])
    53 5:40 [εἰσπορεύεται] TT (cf. Luke 8:53 [–]; Matt. 9:25 [εἰσελθών])
    54 5:41 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 8:54 [λέγων]; Matt. 9:25 [–])
    55 6:1 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 4:16 [ἦλθεν]; Matt. 13:54 [ἐλθών])
    56 6:1 [ἀκολουθοῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 4:16 [–]; Matt. 13:54 [–])
    57 6:7 [προσκαλεῖται] TT (cf. Luke 9:1 [συγκαλεσάμενος]; Matt. 10:1 [προσκαλεσάμενος])
    58 6:30 [συνάγονται] Mark-Luke (cf. Luke 9:10)
    59 6:31 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:[–] [–]; Matt. 14:[–] [–])
    60 6:37 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 9:13 [–]; Matt. 14:16 [–])
    61 6:38 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:13 [–]; Matt. 14:17 [–])
    62 6:38 [λέγουσιν] = Matt. 14:17 TT (cf. Luke 9:13)
    63 6:45 [ἀπολύει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 14:22)
    64 6:48 [ἔρχεται] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 14:25)
    65 6:50 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 14:27)
    66 7:1 [συνάγονται] = Matt. 15:1 [προσέρχονται] Mark-Matt.
    67 7:2 [ἐσθίουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:[–])
    68 7:5 [ἐπερωτῶσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:1)
    69 7:18 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:16)
    70 7:28 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:27)
    71 7:32 [φέρουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:30)
    72 7:32 [παρακαλοῦσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:30)
    73 7:34 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:[–])
    74 8:1 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:32)
    75 8:6 [παραγγέλλει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 15:35)
    76 8:12 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 12:39; 16:2)
    77 8:16 [ἔχουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 16:7)
    78 8:17 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 16:8)
    79 8:19 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 16:9)
    80 8:20 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 16:10)
    81 8:22 [ἔρχονται] U
    82 8:22 [φέρουσιν] U
    83 8:22 [παρακαλοῦσιν] U
    84 8:29 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:20; Matt. 16:16 [εἶπεν])
    85 8:33 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:[–] [–]; Matt. 16:23 [εἶπεν])
    86 9:2 [παραλαμβάνει] = Matt. 17:1 TT (cf. Luke 9:28)
    87 9:2 [ἀναφέρει] = Matt. 17:1 TT (cf. Luke 9:28)
    88 9:5 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:33; Matt. 17:4 [εἶπεν])
    89 9:19 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:41; Matt. 17:17 [εἶπεν])
    90 9:25 [ἐπισυντρέχει] TT (cf. Luke 9:42 [–]; Matt. 17:18 [–])
    91 9:35 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 9:[–] [–]; Matt. 18:[–] [–])
    92 10:1 [ἔρχεται] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 19:1)
    93 10:1 [συμπορεύονται] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 19:2)
    94 10:11 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 19:9)
    95 10:23 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 18:24; Matt. 19:23 [εἶπεν])
    96 10:24 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 18:[–] [–]; Matt. 19:24 [λέγω])
    97 10:27 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 18:27; Matt. 19:26 [εἶπεν])
    98 10:35 [προσπορεύονται] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 20:20)
    99 10:42 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:25; Matt. 20:25 [εἶπεν])
    100 10:46 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 18:35 [ἐγένετο…ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν]; Matt. 20:29 [ἐκπορευομένων])
    101 10:49 [φωνοῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 18:40 [–]; Matt. 20:32 [–])
    102 11:1 [ἐγγίζουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 19:29 [ἤγγισεν]; Matt. 21:1 [ἤγγισαν])
    103 11:1 [ἀποστέλλει] TT (cf. Luke 19:29; Matt. 21:1 [ἀπέστειλεν])
    104 11:2 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 19:30; Matt. 21:2 [λέγων])
    105 11:4 [λύουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 19:33 [λυόντων]; Matt. 21:6 [–])
    106 11:7 [φέρουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 19:35; Matt. 21:7 [ἤγαγον])
    107 11:7 [ἐπιβάλλουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 19:35 [ἐπιρίψαντες]; Matt. 21:7 [ἐπέθηκαν])
    108 11:15 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 19:45 [–]; Matt. 21:12 [–])
    109 11:21 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 21:20)
    110 11:22 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 21:21)
    111 11:27 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 20:1 [–]; Matt. 21:23 [–])
    112 11:27 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 20:1 [ἐπέστησαν]; Matt. 21:23 [προσῆλθον])
    113 11:33 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 20:7 [ἀπεκρίθησαν]; Matt. 21:27 [εἶπαν])
    114 11:33 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 20:8 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 21:27 [ἔφη])
    115 12:13 [ἀποστέλλουσιν] = Matt. 22:16 TT (cf. Luke 20:20)
    116 12:14 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 20:21; Matt. 22:16 [λέγοντες])
    117 12:16 [λέγει] = Matt. 22:20 TT (cf. Luke 20:23)
    118 12:18 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 20:27 [προσελθόντες]; Matt. 22:23 [προσῆλθον])
    119 12:41 [βάλλει] Mark-Luke (cf. Luke 21:1)
    120 13:1 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 21:5 [λεγόντων]; Matt. 24:1 [ἐπιδεῖξαι])
    121 14:12 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 22:9 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 26:17 [λέγοντες])
    122 14:13 [ἀποστέλλει] TT (cf. Luke 22:8 [ἀπέστειλεν]; Matt. 26:18 [–])
    123 14:13 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:10; Matt. 26:18 [εἶπεν])
    124 14:17 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 22:14 []; Matt. 26:20 [])
    125 14:27 [λέγει] = Matt. 26:31 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    126 14:30 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:34 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 26:34 [ἔφη])
    127 14:32 [ἔρχονται] = Matt. 26:36 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 22:40)
    128 14:32 [λέγει] = Matt. 26:36 TT (cf. Luke 22:40)
    129 14:33 [παραλαμβάνει] TT (cf. Luke 22:[–] [–]; Matt. 26:37 [παραλαβών])
    130 14:34 [λέγει] = Matt. 26:38 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    131 14:37 [ἔρχεται] = Matt. 26:40 TT (cf. Luke 22:45)
    132 14:37 [εὑρίσκει] = Matt. 26:40 TT (cf. Luke 22:45)
    133 14:37 [λέγει] = Matt. 26:40 TT (cf. Luke 22:46)
    134 14:41 [ἔρχεται] = Matt. 26:45 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    135 14:41 [λέγει] = Matt. 26:45 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    136 14:43 [παραγίνεται] TT (cf. Luke 22:47 [προήρχετο]; Matt. 26:47 [ἦλθεν])
    137 14:45 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:47 [–]; Matt. 26:49 [εἶπεν])
    138 14:51 [κρατοῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 22:[–] [–]; Matt. 26:[–] [–])
    139 14:53 [συνέρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 22:54 [–]; Matt. 26:57 [συνήχθησαν])
    140 14:61 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:67 [λέγοντες]; Matt. 26:63 [εἶπεν])
    141 14:63 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:71 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 26:65 [λέγων])
    142 14:66 [ἔρχεται] TT (cf. Luke 22:56 [–]; Matt. 26:69 [προσῆλθεν])
    143 14:67 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 22:56 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 26:69 [λέγουσα])
    144 15:2 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 23:3; Matt. 27:11 [ἔφη])
    145 15:16 [συγκαλοῦσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 27:27)
    146 15:17 [ἐνδιδύσκουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 27:28)
    147 15:17 [περιτιθέασιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Matt. 27:29)
    148 15:20 [ἐξάγουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 23:26; Matt. 27:31 [ἀπήγαγον])
    149 15:21 [ἀγγαρεύουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 23:26 [ἐπέθηκαν]; Matt. 27:32 [ἠγγάρευσαν])
    150 15:22 [φέρουσιν] TT (cf. Luke 23:33 [ἦλθον]; Matt. 27:33 [ἐλθόντες])
    151 15:24 [σταυροῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 23:33 [ἐσταύρωσαν]; Matt. 27:35 [σταυρώσαντες])
    152 15:24 [διαμερίζονται] TT (cf. Luke 23:34 [διαμεριζόμενοι]; Matt. 27:35 [διεμερίσαντο])
    153 15:27 [σταυροῦσιν] = Matt. 27:38 [σταυροῦνται] TT (cf. Luke 23:33)
    154 16:2 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 24:1 [ἦλθον]; Matt. 28:1 [ἦλθεν])
    155 16:4 [θεωροῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 24:2 [εὗρον]; Matt. 28:[–] [–])
    156 16:6 [λέγει] TT (cf. Luke 24:5 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 28:5 [εἶπεν])

     

    99 Instances of the Historical Present in Matthew
    1 2:13 [φαίνεται] U
    2 2:19 [φαίνεται] U
    3 2:22 [βασιλεύει] U
    4 3:1 [παραγίνεται] TT (cf. Mark 1:4; Luke 3:3)
    5 3:13 [παραγίνεται] TT (cf. Mark 1:9; Luke 3:21)
    6 3:15 [ἀφίησιν] TT (cf. Mark 1:[–]; Luke 3:[–])
    7 4:5 [παραλαμβάνει] DT (cf. Luke 4:9)
    8 4:6 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 4:9)
    9 4:8 [παραλαμβάνει] DT (cf. Luke 4:5)
    10 4:8 [δείκνυσιν] DT (cf. Luke 4:5)
    11 4:10 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 4:8)
    12 4:11 [ἀφίησιν] DT (cf. Luke 4:13)
    13 4:19 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 1:17)
    14 8:4 [λέγει] = Mark 1:44 TT (cf. Luke 5:14)
    15 8:7 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 7:[–])
    16 8:20 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 9:58)
    17 8:22 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 9:60)
    18 8:26 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 4:40; Luke 8:25)
    19 9:6 [λέγει] = Mark 2:10 TT (cf. Luke 5:24)
    20 9:9 [λέγει] = Mark 2:14 TT (cf. Luke 5:27)
    21 9:14 [προσέρχονται] = Mark 2:18 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 5:33 [–])
    22 9:28 [λέγει] U
    23 9:28 [λέγουσιν] U
    24 9:37 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 10:2)
    25 12:13 [λέγει] = Mark 3:5 TT (cf. Luke 6:10)
    26 13:28 [λέγουσιν; parable] U
    27 13:29 [φησιν; parable] U
    28 13:44 [ὑπάγει; parable] U
    29 13:44 [πωλεῖ; parable] U
    30 13:44 [ἔχει; parable] U
    31 13:44 [ἀγοράζει; parable] U
    32 13:51 [λέγουσιν] U
    33 14:8 [φησίν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 6:25)
    34 14:17 [λέγουσιν] = Mark 6:38 TT (cf. Luke 9:13)
    35 14:31 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 6:[–])
    36 15:1 [προσέρχονται] = Mark 7:1 [συνάγονται] Mark-Matt.
    37 15:12 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 7:[–])
    38 15:33 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 8:4)
    39 15:34 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 8:5)
    40 16:15 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20)
    41 17:1 [παραλαμβάνει] = Mark 9:2 TT (cf. Luke 9:28)
    42 17:1 [ἀναφέρει] = Mark 9:2 TT (cf. Luke 9:28)
    43 17:20 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 9:[–]; Luke 17:6)
    44 17:25 [λέγει] U
    45 18:22 [λέγει] DT (cf. Luke 17:4)
    46 18:32 [λέγει; parable] U
    47 19:7 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 10:4)
    48 19:8 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 10:5)
    49 19:10 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 10:[–])
    50 19:18 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20)
    51 19:20 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 10:20; Luke 18:21)
    52 20:6 [λέγει; parable] U
    53 20:7 [λέγουσιν; parable] U
    54 20:7 [λέγει; parable] U
    55 20:8 [λέγει; parable] U
    56 20:21 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 10:36)
    57 20:22 [λέγουσιν] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 10:39)
    58 20:23 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 10:39)
    59 20:33 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Mark 10:51; Luke 18:41)
    60 21:13 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 11:17; Luke 19:46)
    61 21:16 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 11:[–]; Luke 19:[–])
    62 21:19 [λέγει] Mark-Matt. (cf. Mark 11:14)
    63 21:31 [λέγουσιν] U
    64 21:31 [λέγει] U
    65 21:41 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Mark 12:9; Luke 20:16)
    66 21:42 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 12:10; Luke 20:17)
    67 21:45 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 12:12; Luke 20:19)
    68 22:8 [λέγει; parable] DT (cf. Luke 14:21)
    69 22:12 [λέγει; parable] DT (cf. Luke 14:[–])
    70 22:16 [ἀποστέλλουσιν] = Mark 12:13 TT (cf. Luke 20:20)
    71 22:20 [λέγει] = Mark 12:16 TT (cf. Luke 20:23)
    72 22:21 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Mark 12:16; Luke 20:24)
    73 22:21 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 12:17; Luke 20:25)
    74 22:42 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Mark 12:35; Luke 20:41)
    75 22:43 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42)
    76 25:11 [ἔρχονται; parable] U
    77 25:19 [ἔρχεται; parable] DT (cf. Luke 19:15)
    78 25:19 [συναίρει; parable] DT (cf. Luke 19:15)
    79 26:25 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 14:[–]; Luke 22:[–])
    80 26:31 [λέγει] = Mark 14:27 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    81 26:35 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 14:31; Luke 22:33)
    82 26:36 [ἔρχεται] = Mark 14:32 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Luke 22:40)
    83 26:36 [λέγει] = Mark 14:32 TT (cf. Luke 22:40)
    84 26:38 [λέγει] = Mark 14:34 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    85 26:40 [ἔρχεται] = Mark 14:37 TT (cf. Luke 22:45)
    86 26:40 [εὑρίσκει] = Mark 14:37 TT (cf. Luke 22:45)
    87 26:40 [λέγει] = Mark 14:37 TT (cf. Luke 22:46)
    88 26:45 [ἔρχεται] = Mark 14:41 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    89 26:45 [λέγει] = Mark 14:41 TT (cf. Luke 22:[–])
    90 26:52 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 14:[–]; Luke 22:51)
    91 26:64 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 14:62; Luke 22:67)
    92 26:71 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 14:69; Luke 22:58)
    93 27:13 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 15:4; Luke 23:[–])
    94 27:22 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 15:12; Luke 23:20)
    95 27:22 [λέγουσιν] TT (cf. Mark 15:13; Luke 23:21)
    96 27:24 [ὠφελεῖ] TT (cf. Mark 15:[–]; Luke 23:[–])
    97 27:24 [γίνεται] TT (cf. Mark 15:[–]; Luke 23:[–])
    98 27:38 [σταυροῦνται] = Mark 15:27 [σταυροῦσιν] TT (cf. Luke 23:33)
    99 28:10 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 16:[–]; Luke 24:[–])

     

    13 Instances of the Historical Present in Luke
    1 7:40 [φησίν] U
    2 8:49 [ἔρχεταί] = Mark 5:35 [ἔρχονται] TT (cf. Matt. 9:[–] [–])
    3 9:33 [λέγει] TT (cf. Mark 9:6; Matt. 17:[–])
    4 11:37 [ἐρωτᾷ] U
    5 11:45 [λέγει] U
    6 13:8 [λέγει; parable] U
    7 16:7 [λέγει; parable] U
    8 16:23 [ὁρᾷ; parable] U
    9 16:29 [λέγει; parable] U
    10 17:37 [λέγουσιν] DT (cf. Matt. 24:28)
    11 19:22 [λέγει; parable] DT (cf. Matt. 25:26)
    12 24:12 [βλέπει] TT (cf. Mark 16:[–]; Matt. 28:[–])
    13 24:36 [λέγει] U

    Not only do we find that the historical present occurs in Mark with a much greater frequency than in Matthew and Luke, but an examination of the distribution of the historical present in the Synoptic Gospels reveals some interesting patterns. In Mark, the historical present occurs 119xx in TT, 27xx in Mark-Matt. pericopae, 5xx in Mark-Luke pericopae, and 5xx in uniquely Markan material. In Matthew, the historical present occurs 49xx in TT (20xx in agreement with Mark, 29xx without Mark’s agreement), 14xx in Mark-Matt. pericopae (agreeing with Mark only 1x), 15xx in DT (never in agreement with Luke), and 21xx in uniquely Matthean material. In Luke, the historical present occurs 3xx in TT (agreeing with Mark only 1x [Luke 8:49 = Mark 5:35; cf. Matt. 9:–]), 2xx in DT (never in agreement with Matthew), and 8xx in uniquely Lukan material. In addition, the historical present occurs 18xx in Acts (19xx if the textual variant in Acts 2:38 is accepted). If Luke depended on Mark, one wonders why he expunged almost every instance of the historical present from Mark, since the instances in DT, uniquely Lukan material, and Acts prove that the author of Luke had no aversion to the historical present in principle. One possible explanation is that Luke did not rely on Mark, but on a pre-synoptic source that rarely used the historical present (if at all), and that the author of Mark was responsible for the introduction of the historical presents in his Gospel. The 84 instances where Luke and Matthew agree against Mark’s use of the historical present may suggest that, at least in these instances, the historical present in Mark is editorial. Note that Matthew and Luke never agree to use the historical present in parallel with one another.

    Historical Present in Acts
    [–] 2:38 [φησίν]* Textual variant
    1 7:25 [δίδωσιν]* Stephen’s historical overview.
    2 8:18 [δίδοται]
    3 8:36 [φησιν]
    4 10:11 [θεωρεῖ]
    5 10:27 [εὑρίσκει]
    6 10:31 [φησίν]* Cornelius’ account of his experience.
    7 12:8 [λέγει]
    8 14:9 [ἔχει]
    9 19:35 [φησίν]
    10 21:37 [λέγει]
    11 22:2 [φησίν]
    12 22:30 [κατηγορεῖται]
    13 23:18 [φησίν]
    14 25:5 [φησίν]
    15 25:22 [φησίν]
    16 25:24 [φησιν]
    17 26:24 [φησιν]
    18 26:25 [φησίν]

     

    84 Lukan-Matthean Agreements Against Mark’s Use of the Historical Present
    Group 1: Lukan-Matthean agreement against historical present in Mark (different vocabulary)
    1 Mark 1:12 [ἐκβάλλει] against Luke 4:1 [ἤγετο]; Matt. 4:1 [ἀνήχθη]
    2 Mark 1:30 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 4:38 [ἠρώτησαν]; Matt. 8:14 [–]
    3 Mark 1:40 [ἔρχεται] against Luke 5:12 [καὶ ἐγένετο…καὶ ἰδοὺ]; Matt. 8:2 [καὶ ἰδοὺ…προσελθὼν]
    [–] Mark 2:4 [χαλῶσι] against Luke 5:19 [καθῆκαν]; Matt. 9:[–] [–]
    4 Mark 2:8 [διαλογίζονται] against Luke 5:22 [διαλογισμούς]; Matt. 9:4 [ἐνθυμήσεις]
    5 Mark 2:15 [γίνεται] against Luke 5:29 [–]; Matt. 9:10 [ἐγένετο]
    6 Mark 2:18 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 5:33 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 9:14 [λέγοντες]
    [–] Mark 3:3 [λέγει] against Luke 6:8 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 12:[–] [–]
    7 Mark 3:13 [ἀναβαίνει] against Luke 6:12 [ἐξελθεῖν]; Matt. 10:1 [–] (cf. Matt. 5:1 [ἀνέβη])
    8 Mark 3:13 [προσκαλεῖται] against Luke 6:13 [προσεφώνησεν]; Matt. 10:1 [προσκαλεσάμενος]
    9 Mark 3:31 [ἔρχεται] against Luke 8:19 [παρεγένετο]; Matt. 12:46 [–]
    10 Mark 3:32 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 8:20 [ἀπηγγέλη]; Matt. 12:[47 (εἶπεν)]
    [–] Mark 3:33 [λέγει] against Luke 8:[–] [–]; Matt. 12:48 [εἶπεν]
    11 Mark 4:1 [συνάγεται] against Luke 8:4 [συνιόντος]; Matt. 13:2 [συνήχθησαν]
    12 Mark 4:35 [λέγει] against Luke 8:22 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 8:18 [ἐκέλευσεν]
    13 Mark 4:37 [γίνεται] against Luke 8:23 [κατέβη]; Matt. 8:24 [ἐγένετο]
    14 Mark 4:38 [ἐγείρουσιν] against Luke 8:24 [διήγειραν]; Matt. 8:25 [ἤγειραν]
    15 Mark 5:7 [λέγει] against Luke 8:28 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 8:29 [λέγοντες]
    [–] Mark 5:9 [λέγει] against Luke 8:30 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 8:[–] [–]
    16 Mark 5:15 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 8:35 [ἦλθον]; Matt. 8:34 [ἐξῆλθεν]
    17 Mark 5:15 [θεωροῦσιν] against Luke 8:35 [εὗρον]; Matt. 8:34 [–]
    [–] Mark 5:19 [λέγει] against Luke 8:38 [λέγων]; Matt. 8:[–] [–]
    18 Mark 5:22 [ἔρχεται] against Luke 8:41 [ἦλθεν]; Matt. 9:18 [ἐλθών]
    19 Mark 5:22 [πίπτει] against Luke 8:41 [πεσών]; Matt. 9:18 [προσεκύνει]
    20 Mark 5:23 [παρακαλεῖ] against Luke 8:41 [παρεκάλει]; Matt. 9:18 []
    [–] Mark 5:36 [λέγει] against Luke 8:50 [ἀπεκρίθη]; Matt. 9:[–] [–]
    21 Mark 5:38 [θεωρεῖ] against Luke 8:52 [–]; Matt. 9:23 [ἰδών]
    22 Mark 5:39 [λέγει] against Luke 8:52 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 9:24 [ἔλεγεν]
    23 Mark 5:40 [εἰσπορεύεται] against Luke 8:53 [–]; Matt. 9:25 [εἰσελθών]
    24 Mark 5:41 [λέγει] against Luke 8:54 [λέγων]; Matt. 9:25 [–]
    25 Mark 6:1 [ἔρχεται] against Luke 4:16 [ἦλθεν]; Matt. 13:54 [ἐλθών]
    26 Mark 6:7 [προσκαλεῖται] against Luke 9:1 [συγκαλεσάμενος]; Matt. 10:1 [προσκαλεσάμενος]
    [–] Mark 8:33 [λέγει] against Luke 9:[–] [–]; Matt. 16:23 [εἶπεν]
    [–] Mark 10:24 [λέγει] against Luke 18:[–] [–]; Matt. 19:24 [λέγω]
    27 Mark 10:46 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 18:35 [ἐγένετο…ἐν τῷ ἐγγίζειν]; Matt. 20:29 [ἐκπορευομένων]
    28 Mark 11:1 [ἐγγίζουσιν] against Luke 19:29 [ἤγγισεν]; Matt. 21:1 [ἤγγισαν]
    29 Mark 11:4 [λύουσιν] against Luke 19:33 [λυόντων]; Matt. 21:6 [–]
    30 Mark 11:7 [ἐπιβάλλουσιν] against Luke 19:35 [ἐπιρίψαντες]; Matt. 21:7 [ἐπέθηκαν]
    31 Mark 11:27 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 20:1 [ἐπέστησαν]; Matt. 21:23 [προσῆλθον]
    32 Mark 11:33 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 20:7 [ἀπεκρίθησαν]; Matt. 21:27 [εἶπαν]
    33 Mark 11:33 [λέγει] against Luke 20:8 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 21:27 [ἔφη]
    34 Mark 12:18 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 20:27 [προσελθόντες]; Matt. 22:23 [προσῆλθον]
    35 Mark 13:1 [λέγει] against Luke 21:5 [λεγόντων]; Matt. 24:1 [ἐπιδεῖξαι]
    36 Mark 14:12 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 22:9 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 26:17 [λέγοντες]
    37 Mark 14:13 [ἀποστέλλει] against Luke 22:8 [ἀπέστειλεν]; Matt. 26:18 [–]
    38 Mark 14:30 [λέγει] against Luke 22:34 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 26:34 [ἔφη]
    [–] Mark 14:33 [παραλαμβάνει] against Luke 22:[–] [–]; Matt. 26:37 [παραλαβών]
    39 Mark 14:43 [παραγίνεται] against Luke 22:47 [προήρχετο]; Matt. 26:47 [ἦλθεν]
    40 Mark 14:45 [λέγει] against Luke 22:47 [–]; Matt. 26:49 [εἶπεν]
    41 Mark 14:53 [συνέρχονται] against Luke 22:54 [–]; Matt. 26:57 [συνήχθησαν]
    42 Mark 14:61 [λέγει] against Luke 22:67 [λέγοντες]; Matt. 26:63 [εἶπεν]
    43 Mark 14:63 [λέγει] against Luke 22:71 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 26:65 [λέγων]
    44 Mark 14:66 [ἔρχεται] against Luke 22:56 [–]; Matt. 26:69 [προσῆλθεν]
    45 Mark 14:67 [λέγει] against Luke 22:56 [εἶπεν]; Matt. 26:69 [λέγουσα]
    46 Mark 15:21 [ἀγγαρεύουσιν] against Luke 23:26 [ἐπέθηκαν]; Matt. 27:32 [ἠγγάρευσαν]
    47 Mark 15:22 [φέρουσιν] against Luke 23:33 [ἦλθον]; Matt. 27:33 [ἐλθόντες]
    48 Mark 15:24 [σταυροῦσιν] against Luke 23:33 [ἐσταύρωσαν]; Matt. 27:35 [σταυρώσαντες]
    49 Mark 15:24 [διαμερίζονται] against Luke 23:34 [διαμεριζόμενοι]; Matt. 27:35 [διεμερίσαντο]
    50 Mark 16:2 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 24:1 [ἦλθον]; Matt. 28:1 [ἦλθεν]
    51 Mark 16:6 [λέγει] against Luke 24:5 [εἶπαν]; Matt. 28:5 [εἶπεν]
    Group 2: Lukan-Matthean agreement against historical present in Mark (identical vocabulary)
    1 Mark 1:41 [λέγει] against Luke 5:13; Matt. 8:3 [λέγων]
    2 Mark 2:3 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 5:18 [–]; Matt. 9:2 [–]
    3 Mark 2:5 [λέγει] against Luke 5:20; Matt. 9:2 [εἶπεν]
    4 Mark 2:8 [λέγει] against Luke 5:22; Matt. 9:4 [εἶπεν]
    5 Mark 2:17 [λέγει] against Luke 5:31; Matt. 9:12 [εἶπεν]
    6 Mark 2:25 [λέγει] against Luke 6:3; Matt. 12:3 [εἶπεν]
    7 Mark 3:4 [λέγει] against Luke 6:9; Matt. 12:11 [εἶπεν]
    8 Mark 3:34 [λέγει] against Luke 8:21; Matt. 12:49 [εἶπεν]
    [–] Mark 4:13 [λέγει] against Luke 8:[–] [–]; Matt. 13:[–] [–]
    9 Mark 4:36 [παραλαμβάνουσιν] against Luke 8:22 [–]; Matt. 8:23 [–]
    10 Mark 4:38 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 8:24; Matt. 8:25 [λέγοντες]
    11 Mark 5:38 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 8:51; Matt. 9:23 [ἐλθών]
    12 Mark 5:40 [παραλαμβάνει] against Luke 8:53 [–]; Matt. 9:25 [–]
    13 Mark 6:1 [ἀκολουθοῦσιν] against Luke 4:16 [–]; Matt. 13:54 [–]
    [–] Mark 6:31 [λέγει] against Luke 9:[–] [–]; Matt. 14:[–] [–]
    14 Mark 6:37 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 9:13 [–]; Matt. 14:16 [–]
    15 Mark 6:38 [λέγει] against Luke 9:13 [–]; Matt. 14:17 [–]
    16 Mark 8:29 [λέγει] against Luke 9:20; Matt. 16:16 [εἶπεν]
    17 Mark 9:5 [λέγει] against Luke 9:33; Matt. 17:4 [εἶπεν]
    18 Mark 9:19 [λέγει] against Luke 9:41; Matt. 17:17 [εἶπεν]
    19 Mark 9:25 [ἐπισυντρέχει] against Luke 9:42 [–]; Matt. 17:18 [–]
    [–] Mark 9:35 [λέγει] against Luke 9:[–] [–]; Matt. 18:[–] [–]
    20 Mark 10:23 [λέγει] against Luke 18:24; Matt. 19:23 [εἶπεν]
    21 Mark 10:27 [λέγει] against Luke 18:27; Matt. 19:26 [εἶπεν]
    22 Mark 10:42 [λέγει] against Luke 22:25; Matt. 20:25 [εἶπεν]
    23 Mark 10:49 [φωνοῦσιν] against Luke 18:40 [–]; Matt. 20:32 [–]
    24 Mark 11:1 [ἀποστέλλει] against Luke 19:29; Matt. 21:1 [ἀπέστειλεν]
    25 Mark 11:2 [λέγει] against Luke 19:30; Matt. 21:2 [λέγων]
    26 Mark 11:7 [φέρουσιν] against Luke 19:35; Matt. 21:7 [ἤγαγον]
    27 Mark 11:15 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 19:45 [–]; Matt. 21:12 [–]
    28 Mark 11:27 [ἔρχονται] against Luke 20:1 [–]; Matt. 21:23 [–]
    29 Mark 12:14 [λέγουσιν] against Luke 20:21; Matt. 22:16 [λέγοντες]
    30 Mark 14:13 [λέγει] against Luke 22:10; Matt. 26:18 [εἶπεν]
    31 Mark 14:17 [ἔρχεται] against Luke 22:14 [–]; Matt. 26:20 [–]
    [–] Mark 14:51 [κρατοῦσιν] against Luke 22:[–] [–]; Matt. 26:[–] [–]
    32 Mark 15:2 [λέγει] against Luke 23:3; Matt. 27:11 [ἔφη]
    33 Mark 15:20 [ἐξάγουσιν] against Luke 23:26; Matt. 27:31 [ἀπήγαγον]

    (Key: U = material unique to the Gospel; TT = Triple Tradition; DT = Double Tradition; [–] = no corresponding verse or word)For all these statistics we are deeply indebted to Hawkins, 143-149.

  • [14] The diminutive nouns in the Gospel of Mark are the following:
    θυγάτριον (thūgatrion; dim. θυγάτηρ [thūgatēr, “daughter”])
    •    Mark 5:23 (TT) θυγάτηρ (Matt. 9:18; Luke 8:42)
    •    Mark 7:25 (Mark-Matt.) θυγάτηρ (Matt. 15:22)
    ἰχθύδιον (ichthūdion; dim. ἰχθύς [ichthūs, “fish”])
    •    Mark 8:7 (Mark-Matt.) = Matt. 15:34
    κοράσιον (korasion; dim. κόρη [korē, “girl,” “young woman”])
    •    Mark 5:41 (TT) Matt. omits verse; ἡ παῖς Luke 8:54
    •    Mark 5:42 (TT) = Matt. 9:25; omitted in Luke 8:55
    •    Mark 6:22 (Mark-Matt.) Matt. omits verse
    •    Mark 6:28 [first instance] (Mark-Matt.) = Matt. 14:11
    •    Mark 6:28 [second instance] (Mark-Matt.) second instance omitted in Matt. 14:11
    κυνάριον (kūnarion; dim. κύων [kūōn, “dog”])
    •    Mark 7:27 (Mark-Matt.) = Matt. 15:26
    •    Mark 7:28 (Mark-Matt.) = Matt. 15:27
    παιδίον (paidion; dim. παῖς [pais, “child,” “servant”])
    •    Mark 5:39 (TT) κοράσιον Matt. 9:24; omitted in Luke 8:52
    •    Mark 5:40 [first instance] (TT) verse omitted in Matt. and Luke
    •    Mark 5:40 [second instance] (TT) verse omitted in Matt. and Luke
    •    Mark 5:41 (TT) αὐτῆς Matt. 9:25; Luke 8:54
    •    Mark 7:28 (Mark-Matt.) omitted in Matt. 15:27
    •    Mark 7:30 (Mark-Matt.) cf. θυγάτηρ Matt. 15:28
    •    Mark 9:24 (TT) verse omitted in Matt. and Luke
    •    Mark 9:36 (TT) = Matt. 18:2; Luke 9:47
    •    Mark 9:37 (TT) = Matt. 18:5; Luke 9:48
    •    Mark 10:13 (TT) = Matt. 19:13; βρέφη Luke 18:15
    •    Mark 10:14 (TT) = Matt. 19:14; Luke 18:16
    •    Mark 10:15 (TT) = Matt. 18:2; Luke 9:47
    σανδάλιον (sandalion; dim. σάνδαλον [sandalon, “sandal”])
    •    Mark 6:9 (TT) ὑποδήματα Matt. 10:10; omitted in Luke 9:3; cf. Luke 10:4 ὑποδήματα
    ψιχίον (psichion; dim. ψίξ [psix, “crumb”])
    •    Mark 7:28 (Mark-Matt.) = Matt. 15:27
    ὠτάριον (ōtarion; dim. οὔς [ous, “ear”])
    •    Mark 14:47 (TT) ὠτίον (dim. οὔς [ous, “ear”]) Matt. 26:51; οὔς Luke 22:50
    Mark uses diminutive forms 25xx in his Gospel (12xx παιδίον); 15xx in TT; 10xx in Markan-Matthean pericopae. Except for παιδίον, Luke never agrees with Mark’s use of diminutive forms. Luke agrees with Mark and Matthew to write παιδίον 4xx. Matthew agrees to copy diminutive forms from Mark 11xx (6xx TT [5xx παιδίον]; 5xx Mark-Matt.), and uses a variant diminutive form in place of Mark’s diminutive 2x (TT). Of the fifteen instances of the diminutive in Mark’s TT pericopae, seven instances have no support from Matt. or Luke (two of these seven instances are Lukan-Matthean minor agreements). We believe the best explanation for these patterns is that the use of diminutives is characteristic of the author of Mark’s own writing style, and the author of Mark frequently added diminutives when rewriting his source (Luke). The author of Matthew accepted many diminutives from Mark, but sometimes rejected them due to his own literary preferences or (in TT pericopae) with the guidance of his non-Markan source (Anth.). On the use of diminutive nouns in Mark, see C. H. Turner, “Marcan Usage: Notes, Critical and Exegetical, on the Second Gospel,” Journal of Theological Studies 29 (1928): 346-361, esp. 349-351.
  • [15] This repetition is omitted in the Lukan and Matthean versions of the Call of Levi story.
  • [16] On the secondary nature of Mark’s citation, see R. Steven Notley and Jeffrey P. García,  “Hebrew-Only Exegesis: A Philological Approach to Jesus’ Use of the Hebrew Bible” (JS2, 366-371, esp. 367 n. 59).
  • [17] Admittedly this example is weak since the detail added by the author of Mark is incorrect. Ahimelech was the priest at Nob, not Abiathar (1 Sam. 21), and therefore Markan priorists can explain this minor agreement of omission as a correction on the part of the authors of Luke and Matthew.
  • [18] “Isn’t this the craftsman?” (Mark 6:3), against Matthew’s “Isn’t this the craftsman’s son?” (Matt. 13:55) and Luke’s “Isn’t this [just] the son of Joseph?” (Luke 4:22).
  • [19] Here Mark also transposes the order of the names John and James.
  • [20] Mark’s version provides the location of Jesus in the boat and the detail about a cushion. Neither Matthew nor Luke have either of these details.
  • [21] On the Greek transliterations of Semitic words in the Synoptic Gospels, see “LOY Excursus: Greek Transliterations of Hebrew, Aramaic and Hebrew/Aramaic Words in the Synoptic Gospels.”
  • [22] Bivin notes that “It is often difficult to distinguish Hebrew from Aramaic in Greek transliteration. Most transliterated proper nouns, e.g., Γεθσημανεί gethsēmanei (Matt. 26.36; Mark 14.32) and Ταβειθά tabeitha (Acts 9.36, 40), may be Hebrew or Aramaic, and, regardless of their origin, could be used in either language (or any language, for that matter)” (David Bivin, “Hebraisms in the New Testament”).
  • [23] Buth has shown that the parallel in Matthew 27:46 is Hebrew, not Aramaic. See Randall Buth, “The Riddle of Jesus’ Cry from the Cross: The Meaning of ηλι ηλι λαμα σαβαχθανι (Matthew 27:46) and the Literary Function of ελωι ελωι λειμα σαβαχθανι (Mark 15:34)” (JS2, 395-421).
  • [24] Buth states that “εφφαθα, ‘be opened,’ is actually closer to a niphal Hebrew word הפתח…. But εφφαθα can also be explained as colloquial development within Aramaic…. Because 5:41 and 15:34 are unambiguously Aramaic, it is best to read 7:35 [sic] as Aramaic, too” (Buth, “The Riddle of Jesus’ Cry from the Cross” [JS2, 398 n. 12]).
  • [25] Grintz writes: “That Mark was written by one versed in Aramaic is clear from the citations of Aramaic expressions peculiar to this gospel. But that it was actually written in Greek and intended for Gentiles is attested by the explanatory glosses relating to specifically Jewish matters. On the other hand, arguments in favor of an Aramaic original of Mark are weak, and expressly refuted by the Aramaic citations. Were the text originally Aramaic, there would be no reason for the Greek translator to retain a few Aramaic expressions (Ταλιθὰ κούμ, 5 41; Ἐφφαθά, 7 34)” (Jehoshua Grintz, “Hebrew as the Spoken and Written Language in the Last Days of the Second Temple,” Journal of Biblical Literature 79 [1960]: 33 n. 3). Similarly, Buth comments: “The Aramaic quotations in Mark 5:41, Mark 7:34 (understanding ephphatha not as Hebrew but as a dialectical form of Aramaic ’etpataḥ) and Mark 15:34, are more enigmatic than helpful in revealing the language in which Jesus taught…. If Mark’s language switch implies that Jesus switched languages, then the words would imply that Jesus did not normally teach in Aramaic” (Randall Buth, “Aramaic Language,” in Dictionary of New Testament Background [ed. Craig Evans and Stanley Porter; Downers Grove, Ill.: Intervarsity, 2000], 89).
  • [26] Robert Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Sources of the Markan Pick-ups.”
  • [27] Buth, “The Riddle of Jesus’ Cry from the Cross” (JS2, 398).
  • [28] On Latin loanwords in the Gospels, see Alan Millard, “Latin in First-Century Palestine,” in Solving Riddles and Untying Knots: Biblical, Epigraphic and Semitic Studies in Honor of Jonas C. Greenfield (ed. Ziony Zevit, Seymour Gitin, and Michael Sokoloff; Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1995), 451-458.
  • [29] We have identified the following Latin loanwords in the Synoptic Gospels:
    1. ἀσσάριον = assarius (a Roman copper coin); also a loanword in Hebrew (אִיסָר): Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6.
    2. δηνάριον = denarius (a Roman coin); also a loanword in Hebrew (דִּינָר) and Aramaic (דִּינְרָא, דִּינָרָא): Matt. 18:28; 20:2, 9, 10, 13; 22:19; Mark 6:37; 12:15; 14:5; Luke 7:41; 10:35; 20:24.
    3. Καῖσαρ = Caesar (“Caesar”); also a loanword in Hebrew (קֵסָר, קֵיסָר) and Aramaic (קֵיסָרָא): Matt. 22:17, 21 (2xx); Mark 12:14, 16, 17 (2xx); Luke 2:1; 3:1; 20:22, 24, 25 (2xx); 23:2.
    4. κεντυρίων = centurio (“centurion”); also a loanword in Hebrew (קִטְרוֹן): Mark 15:39, 44, 45.
    5. κῆνσος = census (“tax”); also a loanword in Hebrew (קְנָס) and Aramaic (קְנָסָא): Matt. 17:25; 22:17, 19; Mark 12:14.
    6. κοδράντης = quadrans (a Roman coin); also a loanword in Hebrew (קוּדְרַנְטֵיס): Matt. 5:26; Mark 12:42.
    7. κουστωδία = custodia (“guard of soldiers”); also a loanword in Hebrew/Aramaic (קוּסְטוֹדְיָא): Matt. 27:65, 66; 28:11.
    8. λεγιών = legio (a Roman military unit consisting of approx. 6,000 soldiers); also a loanword in Hebrew (לִיגְיוֹן, לִגְיוֹן) and Aramaic (לִגְיוֹנָא): Matt. 26:53; Mark 5:9, 15; Luke 8:30.
    9. μίλιον = mille (“mile”); also a loanword in Hebrew (מִיל): Matt. 5:41.
    10. μόδιος = modius (a measure of quantity); also a loanword in Hebrew (מוֹדְיָיה, מוֹדְיָא) and Aramaic (מוֹדְיָיה, מוֹדְיָא): Matt. 5:15; Mark 4:21; Luke 11:33.
    11. ξέστης = a corruption of sextarius (“pitcher,” “jug”); also a loanword in Hebrew (‏קִסְטָא, קִיסְטָא, קִיסְטְ; קְסוּסְטָרִין, קְסוּסְטִין, קְסוּסְטְבָן): Mark 7:4.
    12. πραιτώριον = praetorium (official residence of a Roman governor): Matt. 27:27; Mark 15:16.
    13. σπεκουλάτωρ = speculator (“executioner”); also known in Hebrew (סְפִקְלָטוֹר, סְפִקְלָאטוֹר): Mark 6:27.
    14. σουδάριον = sudarium (“face-cloth”): Luke 19:20.
    15. φραγελλοῦν = flagello (“to flog,” “to scourge”): Matt. 27:26; Mark 15:15.

  • [30] The six Latin loanwords in Luke’s Gospel are: ἀσσάριον, δηναρίων, Καῖσαρ, λεγιών, μόδιος and σουδάριον.
  • [31] The eleven Latin loanwords in Mark’s Gospel are: δηναρίων, Καῖσαρ, κεντυρίων, κῆνσος, κοδράντης, λεγιών, μόδιος, ξέστης, πραιτώριον, σπεκουλάτωρ and φραγελλοῦν.
  • [32] The eleven Latin loanwords in Matthew’s Gospel are: ἀσσάριον, δηναρίων, Καῖσαρ, κῆνσος, κοδράντης, κουστωδία, λεγιών, μίλιον, μόδιος, πραιτώριον and φραγελλοῦν.
  • [33] Matthew uses κῆνσος twice on his own (Matt. 17:25; 22:19).
  • [34] It is possible that in Matt. 5:41 μίλιον reflects the Hebrew word מִיל. This word entered Hebrew via Greek and is already attested 9xx in the Mishnah: m. Yom. 6:4; m. Yom. 6:8 (4xx); m. Bab. Metz. 6:3 (2xx); m. Bech. 9:2 (2xx). It would make sense for Jesus to have referred to a Roman measure of distance in Matt. 5:41, since it was the prerogative of the Roman government to force provincials to transport burdens for them over long distances. See  Jonathan P. Roth, The Logistics of the Roman Army at War (264 B.C.-A.D. 235) (Leiden: Brill, 2012), 110-111. For a convenient list of Greek and Latin loanwords in the Mishnah, see Philip Blackman, “Hebrew Words of Greek and Latin Origin in the Mishnah” in Mishnayot (trans. Philip Blackman; 7 vols.; London: Mishnah Press, 1951-1956), 7:103-123.
  • [35] It is possible that, like μίλιον, ἀσσάριον represents a Hebrew word, in this case אִיסָר, which entered Hebrew via Greek, and which is attested in the Mishnah 29xx.
  • [36] See Young, JHJP, 139.
  • [37] See Barry Blackburn, Theios Aner and the Markan Miracle Traditions: A Critique of the Theios Aner Concept as an Interpretive Background of the Miracle Traditions Used by Mark (Tübingen: Mohr [Siebeck], 1991), 218-219.
  • [38] See Robert Lindsey, “Measuring the Disparity Between Matthew, Mark and Luke,” under the subheading “Search for the First and Third Writers.”
  • [39] Lindsey noted that “The Hebrew-styled story we see in Luke, and frequently in Matthew, is, like all Hebrew narrative, not given to picturesque redundancy and dramatization. It is straightforward and concise, emphasizing the verb and noun, nouns in construct, prepositional phrases, etc., but rarely adverbs, adjectives, or other constructions that introduce psychological descriptions of persons or events” (Robert L. Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Sources of the Markan Stereotypes: Jesus’ Baptism”). Adding descriptions of a character’s thoughts and feelings is also a feature of the way Josephus retold the biblical narratives. According to Schwartz, Josephus added psychological insights to the narratives in order to make them conform to the standards of respectable Greek literature. See Daniel R. Schwartz, “Many Sources but a Single Author: Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities,” in A Companion to Josephus (ed. Honora Howell Chapman and Zuleika Rodgers; Chichester: John Wiley and Sons, 2016), 36-58, esp. 52-53.
  • [40] On wonder in Markan miracle stories, see Blackburn, Theios Aner and the Markan Miracle Traditons, 225-227.
  • [41] Matthew follows Mark in expanding the quotation from Ps. 118 to include θαυμαστός. This part of the quotation is absent in Luke’s parallel.
  • [42] In Luke ἐκπλήσσεσθαι appears 3xx, and in Matthew ἐκπλήσσεσθαι appears 4xx. Luke and Mark agree to write ἐκπλήσσεσθαι only once, in Yeshua Attends Synagogue in Nazareth (Luke 4:32; Mark 1:22; Matt. 7:28). The two other instances of ἐκπλήσσεσθαι in Luke (Luke 2:48; 9:43) are unparalleled in Mark and Matthew. Matthew generally agrees to copy ἐκπλήσσεσθαι from Mark.
  • [43] Luke has ἐξίστασθαι 3xx, and Matthew only 1x (Matt. 12:23). Luke and Mark agree to write ἐξίστασθαι only once, in Yair’s Daughter and a Woman’s Faith. Mark intensifies Luke’s καὶ ἐξέστησαν οἱ γονεῖς αὐτῆς (“and were surprised her parents”; Luke 8:56) with καὶ ἐξέστησαν εὐθὺς ἐκστάσει μεγάλῃ (“and were surprised immediately [her parents] with a big surprise”; Mark 5:42). The other two instances of ἐξίστασθαι in Luke have no parallel in Mark or Matthew (Luke 2:47; 24:22).
  • [44] Luke has ἔκστασις once, and the word does not appear at all in Mark. Mark replaces Luke’s καὶ ἔκστασις ἔλαβεν ἅπαντας (“and surprise took everyone”; Luke 5:26) with ὥστε ἐξίστασθαι πάντας (“so was surprised everyone”; Mark 2:12).
  • [45] Lindsey noted that arguments for Markan Priority based on the claim that Mark is the shortest Gospel are inherently flawed: “arguments based on the fact that Mark is shorter are valid only if we are talking about the overall length of Mark’s Gospel, but not valid if we are talking about the comparative length of individual pericopae” (Robert L. Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Questions Not Answered”).
  • [46] For an introduction to aggadic midrash, see Marc Hirshman, “Aggadic Midrash,” in The Literature of the Sages (CRINT II.3.2; ed. Shmuel Safrai, Zeev Safrai, Joshua Schwartz and Peter. J. Tomson; Minneapolis: Fortress, 2006), 107-132.
  • [47] For an introduction to the targumim, see Philip S. Alexander, “Jewish Aramaic Translations of Hebrew Scriptures,” in Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity (CRINT II.1; ed. Martin J. Mulder; Minneapolis: Fortress, 1988), 217-251.
  • [48] Hirshman, “Aggadic Midrash,” 114.
  • [49] Hirshman, “Aggadic Midrash,” 113, 124-126.
  • [50] This technique is called זִיהוּי (zihūy). See Hirshman, “Aggadic Midrash,” 116.
  • [51] A different aggadic tradition specifies the length of yāmim as a full year (b. Ket. 57b; cf. Targum Onkelos and Targum Pseudo-Jonathan to Gen. 24:55).
  • [52] See Robert Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “Mark’s Midrashic Technique”; and idem, “Paraphrastic Gospels.”
  • [53] For a comparison of Mark’s editorial techniques with those of Josephus, see Halvor Ronning, “Who made the ‘Omission,’ Luke or Mark?
  • [54] Cf. Philo, Spec. 1.53; Josephus, Ant. 4:207; Ag. Ap. 2:237.
  • [55] On midrashic types of exegesis in LXX, see Emanuel Tov, “The Septuagint,” in Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation, 161-188, esp. 177-178.
  • [56] Observe that only a few verses earlier, in Mark’s garbled version of The Parable of the Tares, the author of Mark has ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς (“on the ground”; Mark 4:26), as here in Mark 4:31. Also notice that in Mark 4:26 this author does not write σπαρῇ (“is sown”), as in 4:31 opposite Luke’s ἔβαλεν (“throw”; Luke 13:19), but βάλῃ τὸν σπόρον (“throw the seed”), showing Mark knew Luke 13:19 when he wrote Mark 4:26.
  • [57] The word δένδρον (“tree”) in Luke is replaced in Mark’s version by the plur. of λάχανον (“edible garden herb,” “vegetable”), but Matthew’s use of δένδρον (Matt. 13:32) proves that δένδρον was part of Anth.
  • [58] Against “branches” in Matthew and Luke’s texts. The author of Mark had just used “branches” nine words earlier and so here replaced “branches” with “shade.”
  • [59] This tendency toward dramatization may account for Mark’s disproportionately high use of the historical present. According to Wallace, the main purpose for using the historical present is vivid portrayal. See Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics: An Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 526-527.
  • [60] Brad Young writes: “Mark was interested in compiling a gospel of activity. Indeed his narrative is a story of action par excellence” (Young, JHJP, 137).
  • [61] See Paula Fredriksen, From Jesus to Christ: The Origins of the New Testament Images of Jesus (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1988), 44-52; Geza Vermes, The Changing Faces of Jesus (New York: Viking Compass, 2001), 234-235.
  • [62] Δύνασθαι appears 32xx in Mark, compared to 26xx in Luke and 25xx in Matthew, both books about twice the length of Mark.
  • [63] Already in the late eighteenth century, Griesbach noted that secrecy was an important and distinctive theme in Mark’s Gospel. See Bernard Owen, trans., “A Demonstration That Mark Was Written After Matthew and Luke (A translation of J. J. Greisbach’s Commentatio qua Marci Evangelium totum e Matthaei et Lucae commentariis decerptum esse monstratur)” in J. J. Griesbach: Synoptic and Text-Critical Studies 1776-1976 (ed. Bernard Orchard and Thomas R. W. Longstaff; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1978), 103-135, esp. 112-113.
  • [64] On the theme of alienation and abandonment in the Gospel of Mark, see R. Steven Notley, “Anti-Jewish Tendencies in the Synoptic Gospels,” under the subheading “Mark’s Abandoned Holy Man.”
  • [65] In Luke and Matthew, Jesus is accused of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebul, not of being possessed (Luke 11:15; Matt. 12:24).
  • [66] In Luke 9:9 Herod knows that Jesus cannot be John, because he had ordered John’s execution.
  • [67] See Flusser, Jesus, 21-22 n. 4.
  • [68] See Flusser, Jesus, 250; idem,  “The Synagogue and the Church in the Synoptic Gospels” (JS1, 17-40, esp. 24).
  • [69] See Tomson, 255-263.
  • [70] Mark 7:19 does not say that Jesus declared all foods clean, but only that the process of digestion turns impure kosher food into pure human waste. The Markan Jesus does not condemn the Jews for observing the Torah’s prohibitions against consuming pork and other non-kosher foods. Jesus could hardly do so when he had just denounced the Pharisees for abrogating the Torah’s commands to honor one’s father and mother (Mark 7:8-13). Cf. David N. Bivin, “Mark 7:19: Did Jesus Make ‘Unclean’ Food ‘Clean’?”; Peter J. Tomson, “Jewish Food Laws in Early Christian Community Discourse,” Semeia 86 (1999): 193-211, esp. 205-206.
  • [71] Young suggests that the reason the author of Mark omitted most of Jesus’ teaching is that his Gospel was intended for a non-Jewish audience. A Gentile audience would be less likely to grasp the rabbinic sophistication of Jesus’ teachings than the significance of Jesus’ miracles. Cf. Young, JHJP, 138.
  • [72] On the secondary nature of this report, see David Flusser, “Foreword to Robert Lindsey’s A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “‘What They Might Do…'”
  • [73] On Jesus’ enemies in Mark, see Tomson, 271-272.
  • [74] Indeed, in order to create a mission to the Gentiles, the author of Mark composed a travel account in which Jesus visits Tyre, Sidon and the Decapolis. See R. Steven Notley, “Literary and Geographical Contours of ‘The Great Omission’” (Rainey-Notley, 360-362); David N. Bivin and Joshua N. Tilton, “Jesus and a Canaanite Woman.”
  • [75] For a popular appreciation of the author of the Gospel of Mark, see Joshua N. Tilton, “Reflections on Mark.”
  • [76] Robert Lindsey, “Introduction to A Hebrew Translation of the Gospel of Mark,” under the subheading “The Study of Mark.”