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Old 07-09-2013, 05:26 PM   #1
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Default Ur-Marcan Priority? Or Inner Circle?

This thread is meant to build on to my Seven Written Gospel Eyewitnesses thesis by specifying authors for non-eyewitness portions, along with modifying what I said about Q2 and the Twelve-Source.)
Marcan Priority? Or Inner Circle?
The case for eyewitness testimony in Mark has often been made, such as the green grass in the Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:39). However, more direct evidence of the eyewitness person himself is sparse in Mark unless we consider that the direct eyewitness is to the underlying Ur-Marcus. Sure, there’s Mark 1:36 in which the awkward “Peter and his companions” supports the eyewitness Peter saying to the author “me and those with me” (which may even have appeared that way in the original draft), where a less self-involved teller would have just said “us”. The same construction occurs in Luke 9:32, “Peter and his companions were heavy with sleep.” This embarrassment did not make the cut in the parallel verse at Mark 9:5. There must have been an Ur-Marcus in which both overly-personal Peter namings occur. Luke is as close to the underlying tale by Peter told to (presumably) John Mark. Note also that Peter and John are identified together in Luke 22:8 where the comparable Mark 14:13 only says “two disciples”. To get this immediacy we have to resurrect Ur-Marcus (in Greek, by this time), going against the current Marcan Priority paradigm.
Less likely to be noticed is the similar situation in John 20:2 in which even the scribe is himself involved. Mary Magdalene “came running to Simon Peter and to another disciple”, basically repeated in John 20:4. Against most critics, we should recognize here that most of this is from a source that underlies the Synoptics as well. (It is already well recognized that John does not depend on knowledge of the finished Synoptics.) True, these verses (except possibly John 20:1) do not occur in the Synoptics, but we can easily see that in transmission (including translation) these verses could be dispensed with, as just a visit to the tomb without seeing anything (particularly if 20:6-7 had not been added yet, forming the basis for the disputed Luke 24:12. Total these together and we have four spots in which the narrator Peter gets himself too much into the view or even the scribe reveals his presence. (In my understanding this scribe-author is John Mark.)

The name “Peter” occurs throughout the gospels, revealing his participation in the generation not just of Mark but of Q (see Luke 12:41) and the Signs Gospel (John 1:40, 41), the Passion Narrative (throughout), L (Luke 22:31-34, but under his old name of Simon), and M (Mt. 14:28-33, 16:17-20, 22-23). Notice the frequency in which he is mentioned in a pair with his brother Andrew (Mk 1:16, 29, Mt. 4:18, Jn. 1:40, 41) and in a group of three with James and John (Mark 9:2, 14:33, paralleled except the second in the other Synoptics). In the Synoptics no other loyal disciples are ever mentioned more than once except the pair James and John (as in Mark, 1:29, 3:17, 5:37, 9:2, 10:35, 41, 14:33, also Lk 9:54. We see here a close focus on the man Peter and his closest associates (in spite of usually failing to mention his own brother Andrew, apparently never listed (but the once, with the 12, Lk 6:14) in Ur-Marcus. (One’s younger brother is invisible.)

In spite of Peter’s name showing up everywhere, he did not himself contribute very many verses to the gospels. Rather, his role in Ur-Marcus caused his name to be in the forefront of gospel editing. He did not write Q (or at most wrote Q2), but only his name is in it (Lk. 12:41). He did not write L, but only his name is in it (Lk. 22:31-34). His name is found a lot in M, but not in what seems like eyewitness touches. During his lifetime Peter got the writing started, but the M layer in Matthew cannot be regarded as that early.
Ever-so-many critics call out Luke for changing Mark, but this is improper because both our gospels trace back to a shared original.
So far, so good. However, the frequency of the name “Peter” is becoming clearly not just a carryover from an underlying source. The formation of the gospels was rather inbred among a narrow circle of disciples. That John Mark wrote the Passion Narrative led him to seek to find the earlier basis for enmity to Jesus. This he found from Peter, whom he certainly knew, at least in Acts 12:12. When his expanded narrative in Greek was ready, the parts unknown to the writer of Proto-Luke were copied into it. But this Proto-Luke already included Q1 and the Q2 that had been added by a disciple of John the Baptist, and the only name included with it at Luke 12:41 is Peter. His name did not get in it there because he wrote it, but because he acquired Q1 still in Aramaic and added some narrative materials in Aramaic (best called the Twelve-Source) that had earlier become available for the afore-mentioned Proto-Luke.

He added to it his John-the-Baptist apocalypticism, with this latter portion in Greek getting copied into both Matthew and Luke as Q2, whereas these two gospels had to independently translate the Aramaic Q1 into Greek (explaining why so much of Q has parallel wording of 50% or less).
All these texts were available only to a very few people centered in Jerusalem. Peter and John Mark have already been mentioned. The enlarged Q1/Q2/Twelve-Source available in Jerusalem was further expanded by the future (or present, if after 62 CE) bishop of Jerusalem, Simon (his name apparently still appearing in Luke 7:36-50 and 24:34). Another copy (or perhaps the same one) was utilized towards the Gospel of Mark by someone who realized that the name of Peter’s brother Andrew had been inadvertently missed (see above). This limited group of people all were very aware of James and John and added several stories about them in several of these and a later edition of Mark. [to be continued]
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Old 07-09-2013, 07:44 PM   #2
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The case for eyewitness testimony in Mark has often been made, such as the green grass in the Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:39).
Im sorry but its nonsense from the first real paragraph.

Isnt the 5000 by most scholars account fiction that parallels the Emperors divinity and the large crowds that gathered in front of him.

The 5000 is nonsense it is fictional mythology.


Your not making any case for ur Mark, or a eyewitness. At best you might be able to show how impossible it is to trace oral traditions that existed 40 years previously.
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Old 07-17-2013, 10:59 AM   #3
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Well, at least you've learned to spell "emperor", but does no one else have a more substantive reply?
Following is the rest of what I originally wrote. Meanwhile I've been researching whether anyone else thinks James wrote Matthew or some facsimile thereof--I'm not so alone on that as I thought.


Quite strange is that in Luke 9:54 we have James and John presented (as in Mark 10) unfavorably, fitting a concept that the underlying original named this pair more often than we see in the finished gospels. However, this is a Special Luke section with lots of Semitisms, so needs to be attributed to the author of Luke. Why would this named pair (and also the Peter, James and John) come not just from Ur-Marcus, but L and also Mark? (For the last see especially Mark 10:35, 41.) I seem to be coming to the conclusion that these three really are the most important of the apostles, that it’s not the subjective bias of the eyewitness sources.
But wait. Isn’t it still the case that we are dealing with very few names in the Synoptics? (Contrast John which brings in Phillip and Thomas several, plus Bartholomew and the other Judas.) Consider how limited was the exchange of documents. Even assuming Matthew (or Levi) as the presumed writer of Q1, how do we account for Q1 being available to several apostles? But if he wrote it as notes to Jesus’s sermons, isn’t it reasonable that other apostles would come to know about it over the next twenty years? It does not continue into the Passion Narrative, presumably because the latter already existed and the two made a handy pair for study or worship. It had time enough to be copied in Aramaic several times, leaving generation of several translations towards the eventual texts of Matthew, Luke, Thomas, and perhaps separately to Mark as well. Except for Thomas, each gospel developed from Q1 also had the Passion Narrative attached to it. Access to the combination of both brings us to John Mark, a known associate of Peter. Their compilation work was known to the writer Luke (Lk 1:1-4), whose access to so many early Christian writings probably centered in Jerusalem.

Christianity in Jerusalem had become dominated by the family of Jesus, and I hold that one of them, Simon, combined Q with his own L contribution to form Proto-Luke. That this Simon was the companion of Cleopas on the Road to Emmaus was known to Origen in Contra Cesium ii. 62, 68 and is found in a marginal note in Codex Sinaiticus, or at least as some son of Cleopas according to a fragment of Julius Africanus in Philip of Side. That forms an inclusio with this Simon at Luke 24:34 that began in Luke 7:36-50. So I’m the only one speculating that this Simon also wrote the L material between those markers while he was incorporating Q into Proto-Luke? Well, it’s not just speculation based on internal evidence, unless such speculation occurred a millennium ago. An Origen-level genius of the 20th Century (highly regarded by Robert Price reviewing his 1997 posthumous book), Hugh Schonfield had a strange form of Judaism that regarded Jesus as the Messiah. Schonfield wrote many books on the New Testament and acquired fame (and notoriety) with his particular reworking of the swoon-theory in his 1965 Passover Plot. In his 1974 The Pentecost Revolution, he uncovered late Jewish writings that stated that this Simeon, the second Bishop of Jerusalem, was also a scholar. He wrote Book of John, Ascents of Jacob, and the Gospel according to the Hebrews. (Page 56-57, citing his own 1937 According to the Hebrews.) Here again my speculation that the last of these was our Q or L or some compilation thereof like Proto-Luke is not just my own idea. This Gospel was known among the Ebionites not by that name, but as the Gospel according to the Apostles, Gospel according to Matthew, or Gospel according to the Twelve, (See Early Christian Writings under Gospel of the Ebionites or more specifically James Trimm at wnae.org, Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim.) This last would be most indicative that Q1 is at issue here, as the expanded Q narrative in the Triple Tradition highlights the word “Twelve”.

That not Q but also L is the proper understanding (and even with rejection of Q in his case) is the position well documented (but poorly argued) by James R. Edwards in his 2009 The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition. If Q2 was already attached in Greek to Q1, the only name mentioned is Peter at Luke 12:41. Perhaps Peter as a former disciple of John the Baptist (or at least his brother Andrew was) would have been in a good position to add this apocalyptic material to Q1. He might also have added the Twelve-Source items of Triple Tradition, similarly limited in names (adding only Levi or Matthew at Mk 2:14 etc., no other new names), but readily calling the apostles “the Twelve”. This was more likely added by Peter, as his name occurs frequently in these sections, and the names James and John are found as well (Peter, James and John; Mk 9:2, Lk 9:28, Mt 17:1 at the Transfiguration), as stand-alone at Lk 9:54, and more frequently absent from Luke (Mk 10:35, 41, without their specific names at Mt 20, 24). This explains why it is so difficult to sort strata in Mark based on style, content, or even names, because the various strata may be done by the same people (Peter and John Mark). This Q/Twelve source got combined with Ur-Marcus to form the Greek text of Mark.

But we’re still dealing with a limited circle of people. The original writer of Q1 seems out of the picture, with additions to it by Peter of Q2 sayings and Twelve-Source narrative. All of this (and with only Q2 already in Greek) was translated and incorporated as stated above with L by Simon into Proto-Luke. But the latter did not yet include the Passion Narrative that was expanded by Peter and John Mark (perhaps in 44 CE: Acts 12:12) to become Ur-Marcus, that only became available for Luke after it had been translated into Greek—it is recognizable by the proportion of exact word use between Mark and Luke. (The lesser proportions mark the Q-Twelve-Source combination that was already in Proto-Luke, already in Greek by this time.)

Still working within a narrow circle, another Aramaic text of Q1 got translated into Greek and got combined with Q2 (already in Greek, probably from Peter). This text could readily have been known by Simon’s brother James, the Bishop of Jerusalem from 44-62 CE. Marcan Priority and the Two-Document Hypothesis tell us that such a Q was combined with the Mark (above), but a lot of material unique to Matthew was added. It has an ethical, sociological, and churchy “feel” like the Epistle of James, and this James becomes the prime candidate for the author of Matthew. He was not in Jesus’s ministry, as far as we know, which fits that gospel having so little that looks like eyewitness testimony. Lots seem like stories that circulated around Jerusalem. Although fresh eyewitness testimony seems missing from Matthew, the presumably related Aramaic Gospel According to the Hebrews tells us (as quoted by Jerome) in detail about a Resurrection appearance to this James. This provides evidence that James was the author of a version of Matthew. (Whether or not this James wrote Matthew stands apart from my basic thesis that seven eyewitnesses wrote sources of the gospels as in my thread "Gospel Eyewitnesses".) We wind up with two brothers basically forming or finishing the first and third of the Synoptics gospels and the second written by Peter as written down by John Mark. In addition, about the only other apostles mentioned in the Synoptics are Peter’s close associates James and John.

Turning to the bigger picture encompassing John, my thesis includes the above John as a later writer within the sources, plus Peter’s brother Andrew as the author of the Signs Source. So this too was sort of a family affair. The only disparate part is that fundamental difference from the Synoptics, the Discourses. My thesis holds the Discourses to come from someone who was not an apostle, not related to Jesus, not even disciple (until the end), the Pharisee Nicodemus (John 3:1, 4, 9; 7:50, 19:39). He had written mostly to expose what Jesus had said wrongly. With a source completely different and an antagonistic purpose, it is surprising that there is so much that IS the same between them.

Recapping, my thesis holds that the gospels started with three source-documents from the time of Jesus: the Passion Narrative by John Mark, the Discourses by Nicodemus, and Q1 by (probably) Matthew. Then nothing happened literary-wise for a while.
The next stage was the compilation of sources with additional writings. The Passion Narrative combined with everything—an independent translation from the Aramaic towards John, added to by Peter to form Ur-Marcus in Greek, and this was later combined with a stripped-down combination of Q1 with narrative additions (Twelve-Source) by Peter . Q1 meanwhile got several translations into Greek, to which were added Greek Q2 and L by Simon to form Proto-Luke. The independently translated Q (including the already Greek Q2) got combined with the Greek Mark, adding in the M materials to form Matthew. This Greek Mark was consulted to add in its unique parts (Ur-Marcus) to Proto-Luke to form Luke.

The Passion Narrative was combined with the Signs Source and Discourses to form the first edition of John. It was thoroughly edited by John the Apostle to form a gospel like what we know today.
All these four gospels had a final stage of redaction. Even the man Luke cannot be known as one of the redactors. The other three seemed to have a propensity for adding in the incredible or the dubious (the geography of Mark, the rising of Old Testament figures from the tombs).
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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This thread is meant to build on to my Seven Written Gospel Eyewitnesses thesis by specifying authors for non-eyewitness portions, along with modifying what I said about Q2 and the Twelve-Source.)
Marcan Priority? Or Inner Circle?
The case for eyewitness testimony in Mark has often been made, such as the green grass in the Feeding of the Five Thousand (6:39). ...
Could you give some indication of who makes this case, and why it would take an eyewitness to know that grass is green?
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Old 07-17-2013, 11:27 AM   #5
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There were several such instances listed by David Foster Estes in his 1957 Encyclopedia American article on Mark. Perhaps the subsequent eclipse of Form Criticism justifies a new respect for such evidence.
Sitting on the ground might usually be in mud or dust, so a memory of green grass of early Spring would be pleasant in Mediterranean climates (like I live in).
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Old 07-18-2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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There were several such instances listed by David Foster Estes in his 1957 Encyclopedia American article on Mark. Perhaps the subsequent eclipse of Form Criticism justifies a new respect for such evidence.
Sitting on the ground might usually be in mud or dust, so a memory of green grass of early Spring would be pleasant in Mediterranean climates (like I live in).
This is hardly "a case". It is nothing more than a surmise. Anyone who picks up any poem or prose story that was part of the literary culture of the time of the gospels knows that ancient authors, no less than modern ones, were quite capable of, and loved to, "add colour" and details to their imaginary literary creations.

Scholars also argue that a reason Mark is so short is because the author had to keep stories short because of limited or costly writing material; if so, why bother with a detail that adds nothing to the meaning of the story?

Or if you think the green colour does add to the story, it is probably because it resonates with Psalm 23 where the Lord makes his flock lie down on green pastures. Such a "surmise" would immediately mean the end of an eyewitness report.

And if an eyewitness was so struck by such a detail, one must wonder why the same eyewitness was so unobservant of any other details. Was there nothing else about the way the crowds just miraculously sorted themselves out into neat even groupings? Hell, ask a group of just 20 people to sort themselves out by age or height or colour or by fours and you usually have bedlam for 20 minutes.
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Old 07-19-2013, 10:54 AM   #7
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In the HJ position (and of course for the Biblical Jesus even more so) we look at what's written and evaluate who wrote about the incident. Given that something really happened, we want to know how close the writer was to it, and therefore vivid details give an indication that he was an eyewitness. If one presumes the MJ position (against so much evidence that some real person stimulated so much writing), then in that case florid detail would only testify to the writer's skill.

It's surprising that you add to the miraculousness of the feeding by them sorting out to "sit down in groups... in squares of hundreds and fifties."

Scholars acknowledge that Mark's pericopes are longer than the abridgments transcribed into Matthew.

I was just answering Toto's Post #4 with evidence that Mark as an eyewitness was once Consensus scholarship, and that the failure of Form Criticism has eliminated the main argument against that Consensus. I hardly think that substituting MJ in its place makes a better case against the old Consensus.
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Old 07-19-2013, 11:07 AM   #8
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, and therefore vivid details give an indication that he was an eyewitness. .
That would be ridiculous to even claim that statement is biblical criticism, and any sort of method a scholar would use to determine any sort of history.

That is straight nonsense.

Every piece of fiction ever created had details of some sort. You have only proved the possibility for vivid imagination.
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Old 07-24-2013, 03:28 PM   #9
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I see you have resumed your classic open-mindedness. So let me turn to opinions that matter, Taylor's enunciation of the basic Proto-Luke position and his failure to properly employ his own statistics.

Small wonder that Proto-Luke has languished after Vincent Taylor had supposedly confirmed it. Reading his 1926 Behind the Third Gospel I noticed how his word-percentages between Mark and Luke easily support my apportionment of much of the overlap to where Q (or Twelve-Source) material had already gotten into Proto-Luke and didn’t need to be copied with the high percentages applicable to Greek-to-Greek. To my shock I found Taylor assigning not just 60+% to Mark-copied-into-Luke, but 50s and below. Yes, they are in Mark as well as in Luke, but due to a common source in Aramaic. The latter separate out nicely as below 60% same word use in these two gospels.

Now no one at all says that Mark was copied into Proto-Luke when the former was still in Aramaic, so we could not be seeing percentages that run as high as 87%. The question really is whether the lower percentages stem from a common source in Aramaic that already got into both Proto-Luke and Mark. Taylor knows that some Q is in Mark, so the lower percentages would be expected where these passages are found. Yet Taylor calls them Marcan.

To illustrate with the starting passages, little of Mark 1:1-20 carries over into Luke. Then at 1:21-28 we find a high percentage 63% with Luke 4:31-37. This comes from the Ur-Marcus that had already been translated into Greek and that Luke could mostly just copy now. (The earlier verses in Mark just were redundant to what was already in Proto-Luke.) Next comes content that is paralleled in Luke, but the percentages are low and show that they did not have a common Greek source nor did one copy the other. Such passages were already in Proto-Luke from a different translation of the original Aramaic.

As a result Taylor underestimated the content of Proto-Luke. (Perhaps he reacted too much against Bartlet’s failed attempt to establish a Proto-Luke too large to withstand critical study.) Taylor does acknowledge that there is Q in Mark, but back in 1926 he did not have adequate proof of it. After 1945 we became aware of Gospel of Thomas passages in Mark, especially the Parable of the Sower in Mark 4. True, Taylor shows a high 66% for Mark 4:10-12 (Luke 8:9-10), but this includes a quotation. Equally impressive as originally Q is the Beelzebub controversy. In the middle of it are two verses that are so exact between Luke 11:19-20 and Mt. 12:27-28 that they must be Q2 insertions in the text that are not present in Mark 3:22-20. Why would only these exact verses be missing in Mark unless only the Q document had expanded to include Q2 (in Greek) by the time it was used for the other two Synoptics? Scholars have widely recognized the problem of conflation in this pericope, but they usually say Mark and Q overlapped at this point. No, the only verses in Mark had to have come from Q1. The other two gospels include the already “conflated” Q1 and Q2. Notice also that the placement in Luke 11:14-22 comes in the so-called Greater Interpolation that everyone recognizes that Luke did not copy from Mark. Yet it is narrative as well, showing that the Q that got to Mark already had narrative attached even before Q2 was added. (My display of this narrative is what I show from Mark in my gospel display in Early Aramaic Gospels.) This could include the entire Twelve-Source that is part of my thesis. Thus Taylor’s own percentages work against Mark having been basically all copied into Luke, but just the portions with paralleling exactitudes in word-use—only what I have attributed to Peter’s Ur-Marcus expansion of the Passion Narrative. (I display this as quotations from Mark in my thread Early Gospel Sources.)
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Old 07-31-2013, 04:56 PM   #10
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To amend my Post #9 above, closer study of Vincent Taylor’s main text shows me that the question he put before us is not whether a passage is Marcan or not, but whether in addition to the Marcan parallel he consulted another source. This is a reasonable way to explain lower percentages without requiring a common Aramaic source. In ever-so-many of the passages that overlap in Mark and Luke, Taylor shows percentages around 50%. This consistency is best explained as what we would expect from each following different translations of an Aramaic original, but consulting a different source would be possible, just not as probable. (Consulting a different source would tend to generate sharp fluctuations in percentages.)

In developing my thesis that seven eyewitnesses to Jesus wrote sources of the gospels, I learned from scholars rather than repeating what they said and refuting it. As above with Vincent Taylor, I seem to need on this forum to document scholars and then refute them. Let me next turn to Frederick C. Grant 30 years later in his The Gospels, Their Origin and Growth, 1957, following several earlier books on the gospels. He takes Proto-Luke very seriously, including a detailed chart on pages 130-31. Yet the chart excludes as later Marcan material everything that is paralleled between the two gospels. His previous chapter on Mark had shown numerous instances from Q on pages 108-9 in which he acknowledges Luke (and Matthew) wrote their own versions. “That is, the best explanation of the situation is to suppose that Mark is here echoing, if not abridging, the source Q which Matthew and Luke give at greater length.” This is especially true of scattered verses preceding Mark 1:21. And indeed, Grant restates as his own “assured result” that “the Gospel of Luke… is based on earlier sources, with which has been incorporated the substance of the Gospel of Mark”: the basic Q, material drawn from L (these two combined with no admixture from Mark), and only later “incorporating the substance of Mark”. (p. 129) This is really still the Proto-Luke theory, but without the nuance that Q and other material now in Mark was already in Proto-Luke before the other Marcan material was added in. Grant seems willing to contradict himself rather than take the trouble to justify that much material in Mark had already gotten into Luke from Q (or other sources).

Apparently 1957 was still too early to draw in the Gospel of Thomas to show how much of Mark had parallels with it that show the Q material in both. He seems to have only an inkling of stylistic differences that would support this. He acknowledges that the Marcan sections of Luke do not have the same style as the rest of Luke-Acts. This is exactly what we would expect if the Marcan passages got copied in last. Yet he did not observe (though Taylor already had given us statistics (above) that the parallel sections did not have the same degree of similarity in percentages). Apparently only later came the more definitive marker of consecutive word-use, which is what I used to differentiate what is Q/Twelve-Source as against Ur-Marcan. The lower percentages come from earlier use of a different translation of Q (or other sources as well), the higher percentages from the later copying-in of basically our canonical Mark.

So I find that closer study of Grant shows no need to amend my thesis stated here, but brings in new hope for proof from exploring the detail that “Marcan” sections of Luke may not fit the uniformity of style supposedly seen in Luke-Acts. Grant’s reference here is to J. Hawkins Horse Synopticae, 1909, p. 15-25. When I actually consulted Hawkins’ pages, however, I could not see that the tables made Grant’s point clear nor did Hawkins provide text to interpret the tables. He gave as his own conclusion that he had failed to find evidence for sources beneath the gospels. His study was not set up properly for that.
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