Why Mark and Luke?

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
gmx
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Why Mark and Luke?

Post by gmx » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:43 am

So taking one perspective, the attribution of the gospels to the four evangelists was a (relatively) late development, essentially to give them apostolic authority after-the-fact. What are the theories then about how those "attributed authors" came to include Mark and Luke, as non-apostles and essentially unknown figures? Matthew, of course, was also a minor character in the gospels. Presumably names such as Andrew and James were available for attribution at that time. How did we end up with a Luke or Mark?

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MrMacSon
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by MrMacSon » Tue Mar 15, 2016 4:47 am

.
According to Barbara Thiering -

" ...when people were initiated as Christians their name was changed, to express the fact that they were now “born again” into a new symbolic family."

https://www.peshertechnique.infinitesou ... ndex9.html
That might account for Saul -> Paul (?) --& a few other scenarios (?)

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Mar 15, 2016 5:16 am

gmx wrote:So taking one perspective, the attribution of the gospels to the four evangelists was a (relatively) late development, essentially to give them apostolic authority after-the-fact. What are the theories then about how those "attributed authors" came to include Mark and Luke, as non-apostles and essentially unknown figures? Matthew, of course, was also a minor character in the gospels. Presumably names such as Andrew and James were available for attribution at that time. How did we end up with a Luke or Mark?
My tentative view is that the figure of Luke was deduced sometime in the second half of century II from a comparison of the "we" passages in Acts with references to Pauline coworkers in the epistles. Irenaeus is the first known to us to attribute the gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to Luke; it may have been his deduction, or he may have been following up on somebody else's educated guessing. The origin of the "we" passages themselves, of course, is up for debate in this connection.

As for Mark, no such deduction is possible. The tradition that Papias attributes to his elder John may well be true at least to the extent that somebody named Mark wrote down "the things said and done by the Lord." The exact relationship of this writing to our canonical Mark can be discussed, of course, as can the exact relationship of this author named Mark to the figure named (John) Mark in Acts and the Pauline epistles.

It is interesting to me that our gospel of Mark evinces linguistic layers, as it were (written in Greek, with both translations and transliterations of Hebrew words into Greek and of Greek words into Latin), while the figure in Acts possesses both a Hebrew name (John) and a Latin name (Mark) and accompanies Paul on his mission to lands that speak Greek.

It is also interesting to me that Luke 1.2 speaks of ὑπηρέται (assistants or servants) of the word who have passed down the gospel story, while Acts 13.5 calls John Mark a ὑπηρέτης (assistant or servant) to Barnabas and Saul.

Ben.
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Adam
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by Adam » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:42 am

Ben C. Smith wrote: It is also interesting to me that Luke 1.2 speaks of ὑπηρέται (assistants or servants) of the word who have passed down the gospel story, while Acts 13.5 calls John Mark a ὑπηρέτης (assistant or servant) to Barnabas and Saul.
Ben.
The later subjugation of John Mark to Barnabas and Paul would seem to argue against his having had an equivalent role with respect to Jesus, and that he thus was not an eyewitness to Jesus. However, the standard lore on John Mark is that he was an extremely young man (boy) at the time of Jesus, indeed so young as to be ignored as the "disciple known to the high priest" in John 18:15-40 (not to mention he who fled away naked in Mark 14:51-52).

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:13 am

Adam wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote: It is also interesting to me that Luke 1.2 speaks of ὑπηρέται (assistants or servants) of the word who have passed down the gospel story, while Acts 13.5 calls John Mark a ὑπηρέτης (assistant or servant) to Barnabas and Saul.
Ben.
The later subjugation of John Mark to Barnabas and Paul would seem to argue against his having had an equivalent role with respect to Jesus, and that he thus was not an eyewitness to Jesus.
Papias reports explicitly that Mark had not heard or followed the Lord. If there is anything to any of this, that is the statement to beat.
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Ulan
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by Ulan » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:35 am

gmx wrote:How did we end up with a Luke or Mark?
Those are stand-ins for Paul and Peter, respectively, which explains their apostolic acceptance. Both authors are connected to the apostles via Acts (the redactor of the NT made sure there are enough references between the texts). Also, the gospel of Peter already existed, so a direct attribution was not an option. For Paul it's less clear, but I guess his writings were too well known to suddenly produce a gospel with his name, especially as late as gLuke seems to show up.

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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by Adam » Tue Mar 15, 2016 12:05 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Adam wrote:
Ben C. Smith wrote: It is also interesting to me that Luke 1.2 speaks of ὑπηρέται (assistants or servants) of the word who have passed down the gospel story, while Acts 13.5 calls John Mark a ὑπηρέτης (assistant or servant) to Barnabas and Saul.
Ben.
The later subjugation of John Mark to Barnabas and Paul would seem to argue against his having had an equivalent role with respect to Jesus, and that he thus was not an eyewitness to Jesus.
Papias reports explicitly that Mark had not heard or followed the Lord. If there is anything to any of this, that is the statement to beat.
Thank you, Ben. Very relevant.
There is the problem, however, of possibly two different men named Mark. The one in Rome with Peter might not be the same one as John Mark in the Jerusalem region at Acts 12:12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Mark

neilgodfrey
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by neilgodfrey » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:12 pm

Good timing. This question is addressed by Ehrman in his new book and I posted the following only a week ago.

Pitre, an apologist, asked the question rhetorically:
The third major problem with the theory of the anonymous Gospels has to do with the claim that the false attributions were added a century later to give the Gospels “much needed authority.” 26 If this were true, then why are two of the four Gospels attributed to non-eyewitnesses? Why, of all people, would ancient scribes pick Mark and Luke, who (as we will see in chapter 3) never even knew Jesus?

Pitre, Brant (2016-02-02). The Case for Jesus: The Biblical and Historical Evidence for Christ (p. 22). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Ehrman's "answer":
That leaves the Gospel of Mark. One can see why the Gospel of Luke would not have been named after one of Jesus’s own disciples. But what about Mark? Here too there was a compelling logic. For one thing, since the days of Papias, it was thought that Peter’s version of Jesus’s life had been written by one of his companions named Mark. Here was a Gospel that needed an author assigned to it. There was every reason in the world to want to assign it to the authority of Peter. Remember, the edition of the four Gospels in which they were first named, following my hypothesis, originated in Rome. Traditionally, the founders of the Roman church were said to be Peter and Paul. The third Gospel is Paul’s version. The second must be Peter’s. Thus it makes sense that the Gospels were assigned to the authority of Peter and Paul, written by their close companions Mark and Luke. These are the Roman Gospels in particular.

Ehrman, Bart D. (2016-03-01). Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior (p. 111). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
The main reason there may have been reluctance to assign this book directly to Peter (the “Gospel of Peter”) was because there already was a Gospel of Peter in circulation that was seen by some Christians as heretical

Ehrman, Bart D. (2016-03-01). Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior (pp. 111-112). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
Acts is told in the third person, except in four passages dealing with Paul’s travels, where the author moves into a first-person narrative, indicating what “we” were doing (16: 10– 17; 20: 5– 15; 21: 1– 18; and 27: 1– 28: 16). That was taken to suggest that the author of Acts— and therefore of the third Gospel— must have been a traveling companion of Paul. Moreover, this author’s ultimate concern is with the spread of the Christian message among gentiles. That must mean, it was reasoned, that he too was a gentile. So the only question is whether we know of a gentile traveling companion of Paul. Yes we do: Luke, the “beloved physician” named in Colossians 4: 14. Thus Luke was the author of the third Gospel. 37

Ehrman, Bart D. (2016-03-01). Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior (p. 111). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:43 pm

neilgodfrey wrote:Ehrman's "answer"....
I think you are putting "answer" in quotation marks because Ehrman was not really responding directly to Pitre; is that correct? (It took me a few moments to realize you were probably not saying that Ehrman's response falls so far short of credibility that it fails to deserve to be called an answer.) Just making sure....
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gmx
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Re: Why Mark and Luke?

Post by gmx » Wed Mar 16, 2016 3:44 am

neilgodfrey wrote:
Acts is told in the third person, except in four passages dealing with Paul’s travels, where the author moves into a first-person narrative, indicating what “we” were doing (16: 10– 17; 20: 5– 15; 21: 1– 18; and 27: 1– 28: 16). That was taken to suggest that the author of Acts— and therefore of the third Gospel— must have been a traveling companion of Paul. Moreover, this author’s ultimate concern is with the spread of the Christian message among gentiles. That must mean, it was reasoned, that he too was a gentile. So the only question is whether we know of a gentile traveling companion of Paul. Yes we do: Luke, the “beloved physician” named in Colossians 4: 14. Thus Luke was the author of the third Gospel. 37

Ehrman, Bart D. (2016-03-01). Jesus Before the Gospels: How the Earliest Christians Remembered, Changed, and Invented Their Stories of the Savior (p. 111). HarperCollins. Kindle Edition.
It's maybe not the most far-fetched postulation. However, does Ehrman provide some other rationale for the "we" passages in Acts? The tradition that he has pulled apart as an "attribution of convenience" is fair enough, as long as he has some viable explanation for the "we" passages. Scholarship's attempts at a non-traditional explanation aren't particularly convincing.

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