THE FOUR GOSPELS - A Study of Origins, The Manuscript Tradition, Sources, Authorship, & Dates. By B.H. Streeter, Hon.D.D.Edin. Fellow of Queen's College, Oxford; Canon of Hereford. First published by MacMillan & Co Limited 1924. - Prepared for katapi by Paul Ingram 2004.

Chapter VII


Home | Diagram: the synoptic sources | synopsis | historians & their sources | the priority of Mark | Matthew's omissions | Luke's great omission | minor agreements of Matthew & Luke | the document Q | the overlapping of Q & Mark | a modern illustration | additional notes | list of MSS | (pages 150-198)


historians and their sources

The conception of COPYRIGHT a consequence of the invention of printing has entirely changed the conditions under which it is legitimate for authors to make use of previous writers. Ancient historians frequently reproduce almost verbatim considerable portions of the work of their predecessors.

the priority of mark

The accepted view that Mark (so far from being, as Augustine thought, an abridgement of Matthew) was a source used by Matthew and Luke requires slightly restating. Matthew may be regarded as an enlarged edition of Mark; Luke is an independent work incorporating considerable portions of Mark.

Five reasons for accepting the priority of Mark.

  1. Matthew reproduces 90% of the subject matter of Mark in language very largely identical with that of Mark; Luke does the same for rather more than half of Mark.
  2. In any average section, which occurs in the three Gospels, the majority of the actual words used by Mark are reproduced by Matthew and Luke, either alternately or both together.
  3. The relative order of incidents and sections in Mark is in general supported by both Matthew and Luke; where either of them deserts Mark, the other is usually found supporting him.
    This conjunction and alternation of Matthew and Luke in their agreement with Mark as regards
    (a) content,
    (b) wording,
    (c) order,
    is only explicable if they are incorporating a source identical, or all but identical, with Mark.
  4. The primitive character of Mark is further shown by
    (a) the use of phrases likely to cause offence, which are omitted or toned down in the other Gospels,
    (b) roughness of style and grammar, and the preservation of Aramaic words.
  5. The way in which Marcan and non-Marcan material is distributed in Matthew and Luke respectively looks as if each had before him the Marcan material in a single document, and was faced with the problem of combining this with material from other sources.

Matthew's solution was to make Mark's story the framework into which non-Marcan material is fitted, on the principle of joining like to like. Luke follows the simpler method of giving Marcan and non-Marcan material in alternate blocks; except in the Passion story, where, from the nature of the case, some interweaving of sources was inevitable.

Two objections to the view that the document used by Matthew and Luke was exactly identical with Mark.

  1. Why did they omit certain sections of Mark?
  2. How explain certain minute verbal agreements of the other two against Mark?

To meet these, the theory of an Ur-Marcus, or earlier edition of Mark, has been proposed. Its merits will be determined by the study of the facts that follow subject to the general consideration that they were authors not scribes, and its implications.

matthew's omissions

At first sight, these seem to number 55 verses (of which 25 are found in Luke), but under examination even this small amount rapidly shrinks.

Matthew appears to omit three miracles recorded by Mark; but details from the omitted sections appear elsewhere in Matthew as amplifications or modifications of similar stories which he has embodied from Mark. Matthew, then, was not omitting, but rather conflating, incidents which stood in Mark.

Three other items omitted by Matthew are guaranteed as Marcan by internal evidence. Matthew therefore used our Mark.

luke's great omission

The case for an Ur-Marcus rests mainly on the fact that Luke omits the long section

The theory is plausible that Luke's copy of Mark lacked vi.53-viii.21, i.e. all but the first and last paragraphs of this section. Formidable objections, however, arise from

  1. linguistic evidence for genuineness of the section adduced by Hawkins,
  2. the need of postulating two editions of Mark, both of which were without a conclusion; for the text of Mark used by Matthew and Luke seems, like that of our oldest MSS., to have ended at xvi.8

It is possible that Luke intentionally omitted this section.   As an alternative, a case is stated for the view that, in the copy of Mark used by him, the section was absent through accidental mutilation of the papyrus roll.

minor agreements of matthew and luke

These are discussed at length, with reference to the original Greek, in Chapter XI. They appear to be due to three causes.

  1. In a few passages there is evidence for the existence of a version of a saying or incident in Q parallel to that of Mark.
  2. Matthew and Luke consistently improve Mark's style and grammar; inevitably, therefore, they will sometimes coincide in the more obvious corrections.
  3. A larger number are explicable as corrupt readings of the great MSS., due to assimilation of parallels as between Matthew and Luke or to minute errors in the text of Mark.

In the majority of cases the reading found in Matthew and Luke is, from the standpoint of grammar or style, an improvement on Mark. It follows that if the agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark cannot be entirely explained by the causes above mentioned, the only alternative is the hypothesis of Dr. Sanday that the text of Mark used by the other evangelists had been subjected to a slight stylistic revision. But this, be it noted, is the exact reverse of any Ur-Marcus theory; for it implies that our text of Mark is more primitive than the text used by Matthew and Luke.

the document Q

Matthew and Luke have in common material, which is not found in Mark, amounting to about 200 verses, mostly discourse. The hypothesis that this was derived from a document now lost commonly alluded to by the symbol Q is more probable than the view

  1. that Luke copied Matthew (or vice versa), or
  2. that the common source was oral tradition.

The Q hypothesis, however, can be pressed too far.

  1. Where the versions of sayings in Matthew and Luke differ considerably, the probability is high that one (or both) of the two versions did not come from Q.
  2. Matthew probably omitted some sayings of Q which Luke retained, and vice versa.
  3. Short epigrammatic sayings would be likely to circulate separately by word of mouth.

Hence all attempts at a reconstruction of Q must be tentative.

the overlapping or Q and mark

Certain items, in all about 50 verses, occur in both Mark and Q. Each had a version of John's preaching, the Baptism and Temptation, the Beelzebub Controversy, the parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven and of some shorter sayings.

Some critics hold that Mark's version of the above items was derived from Q. More probably Mark and Q represent independent traditions. This is shown by detailed examination of the passages in question.

A modern illustration

An illustration from contemporary literature of the necessity on occasion, and of the working out in practice of editorial processes like "conflation," "agglomeration," etc.

The representation of Christ's life and teaching in Matthew and Luke comparable, not to the exactness of photographic reproduction, but rather to the creative interpretation in a great portrait.

additional notes

(A) Omissions from Mark
List of passages of Mark which are absent

  1. from both Matthew and Luke,
  2. from Matthew only,
  3. from Luke only;
  4. list of passages of Mark which are absent from Luke but for which Luke in another context substitutes a version from a different source.

(B) The non-Marcan parallels in Matthew and Luke

(C) Passages peculiar to Matthew

(D) Passages peculiar to Luke



historians and their sources

THE mechanical invention of printing has reacted on the methods and conventions of authorship itself in more ways than we are apt to imagine. When books were copied by hand, COPYRIGHT had no commercial value; no kind of injury could be done either to author or publisher by any one who made and sold copies. But in the setting up of a printed book capital is sunk; work has been done and a risk has been incurred, in return for which it is reasonable that the publisher should enjoy such legal protection against unauthorised reproductions as will enable him to derive a fair profit. Again, in antiquity an author, unless, as most commonly happened, he was a man of inherited wealth, lived on the bounty of some noble patron of letters. Printing has enabled a modern Horace to live, not by flattering a Maecenas, but on the profits of his books. For both these reasons the conception of property in literature has arisen.

Hence there has gradually grown up an entirely different convention as to the manner and conditions under which it is legitimate to make use of what others have written. The change is one that affects historical more than any other kind of writing. Whenever a historian is not an actual eyewitness of the events he records, or the first to write down a living tradition, he is bound to depend to a large extent on the works of previous historians. The modern convention requires that when this happens he shall either quote the exact words of his authority or entirely rewrite the whole story with some general indication of the source from which it comes. Here again the printing press has made a difference. It has facilitated the development of inverted commas, footnotes for reference, and other such devices unknown to the scribes of Classical Antiquity, which make it easy for an author to indicate without clumsy circum­locutions the exact extent of his debt to predecessors. The conventions of every art are determined by what is mechanically possible; it is not, therefore, surprising that these inventions have reacted on actual methods of composition employed by the modern author in so far as these entail a use of previous writers. In antiquity, however, and in the Middle Ages, only the writings of a few outstanding men like Thucydides are wholly original; more commonly the historian pursued what we should call a method of "scissors and paste." Without any acknowledgement, he will copy page after page from his source, omitting passages that for his purpose seem irrelevant, adding here and there material from some other authority. What he copies he frequently gives almost word for word, but he will often abridge, and occasionally paraphrase, in order to elucidate some difficulty or to preclude what he would regard as a false impression which the language of the original might convey.

This kind of editorial adaptation of earlier sources can be traced in all the historical books of the Old Testament, and in many classical and mediaeval writers. I would call attention to one example in each of these fields where the survival of the original sources, the nature of the subject matter, and the accessibility to the ordinary reader of the relevant literature, combine to make a study of ancient methods and their bearing on our present investigation both exceptionally profitable and relatively easy. Turn to the books of Chronicles in a reference Bible. It is clear that, from 1 Chron.x. on, almost everything is an abridgement, with trifling modifications, of the narrative in the books of Samuel and Kings. [These and other O.T. analogies may most conveniently be studied in Deuterographs by R. B. Girdlestone (Oxford, 1894), where the relevant passages are printed in parallel columns with the differences indicated by italics.]. Consult the appendices dealing with the earliest accounts of St. Francis of Assisi, either in the Life by Sabatier or in that by Father Cuthbert, and you will see a "synoptic problem," explicable on these lines. Lastly, compare the fragment of the Greek historian Ephorus lately discovered at Oxyrhynchus with the account of the same events in Diodorus [Cf. Oxyrhynchus Papyri, i. p. 102 ff.], and you will find an illustration in a Greek writer practically contemporary with the authors of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. You will notice, and the analogy is important, that the Greek writer, in contrast to the Hebrew, makes many more little alterations of phrase so as to leave upon all that he has incorporated the impress of his own style.

the priority of mark

Such being the almost universal method of ancient historians, whether Jewish or Greek, it is natural to ask whether the remarkable resemblance between the first three Gospels, which has caused the name Synoptic to be applied to them, would not be most easily explained on the hypothesis that they incorporate earlier documents. A century of discussion has resulted in a consensus of scholars that this is the case, and that the authors of the First and Third Gospels made use either of our Mark, or of a document all but identical with Mark. The former and the simpler of these alternatives, viz. that they used our Mark, is the one which I hope in the course of this and the following chapters to establish beyond reasonable doubt.

The attempt has recently been made to revive the solution, first put forward by Augustine (cf. p. 10), who styles Mark a kind of abridger and lackey of Matthew, "Tanquam breviator et pedesequus ejus." But Augustine did not possess a Synopsis of the Greek text conveniently printed in parallel columns. Otherwise a person of his intelligence could not have failed to perceive that, where the two Gospels are parallel, it is usually Matthew, and not Mark, who does the abbreviation. For example, the number of words employed by Mark to tell the stories of the Gadarene Demoniac, Jairus' Daughter, and the Feeding of the Five Thousand are respectively 325, 374 and 235; Matthew contrives to tell them in 136, 135 and 157 words. [Cf. J. C. Hawkins, Horae Synopticae2, p. 159 (Oxford, 1909).] Now there is nothing antecedently improbable in the idea that for certain purposes an abbreviated version of the Gospel might be desired; but only a lunatic would leave out Matthew's account of the Infancy, the Sermon on the Mount, and practically all the parables, in order to get room for purely verbal expansion of what was retained. On the other hand, if we suppose Mark to be the older document, the verbal compression and omission of minor detail seen in the parallels in Matthew has an obvious purpose, in that it gives more room for the introduction of a mass of highly important teaching material not found in Mark.

Further advance, however, towards a satisfactory solution of the Synoptic Problem has been, in my opinion, retarded by the tacit assumption of scholars that, if Matthew and Luke both used Mark, they must have used it in the same way. To Professor Burkitt, I believe, belongs the credit of first protesting against this assumption:

Matthew is a fresh edition of Mark, revised, rearranged, and enriched with new material; ... Luke is a new historical work made by combining parts of Mark with parts of other documents.
[The Earliest Sources for the Life of Jesus (Constable, 1922).]

The distinction thus stated by Burkitt, I shall endeavour to justify and to elaborate in a new direction in Chap. VIII.  I conceive it to be one of fundamental importance in any attempt to estimate the value of the Third Gospel as an historical authority for the life of Christ.

Partly in order to clear the way for a more thorough investi­gation of this point, partly because this book is written for others besides students of theology, I will now present a summary statement of the main facts and considerations which show the dependence of Matthew and Luke upon Mark. Familiar as these are to scholars, they are frequently conceived of in a way that tends to obscure some of the remoter issues dependent on them.
They can most conveniently be presented under five main heads.


The authentic text of Mark contains 661 verses.
Matthew reproduced the substance of over 600 of these.
Mark's style is diffuse, Matthew's succinct; so that in adapting Mark's language Matthew compresses so much that the 600 odd verses taken from Mark supply rather less than half the material contained in the 1068 verses of the longer Gospel. Yet, in spite of this abbreviation, it is found that Matthew employs 51% of the actual words used by Mark. [Oxford Studies in the Synoptic Problem, ed. W. Sanday, pp. 85 ff. (Clarendon Press, 1911).]

The relation between Luke and Mark cannot be stated in this precise statistical way—for two reasons. First, in his account of the Last Supper and Passion, Luke appears to be CONFLATING to use the convenient technical term for the mixing of two sources the Marcan story with a parallel version derived from another source, and he does this in a way which often makes it very hard to decide in regard to certain verses whether Luke's version is a paraphrase of Mark or is derived from his other source. Indeed there are only some 24 verses (cf. p. 216 f.) in this part of Luke's Gospel which can be identified with practical certainty as derived from Mark, though it would be hazardous to limit Luke's debt to Mark to these 24. Secondly, there are also, outside the Passion story, a number of cases where Luke appears deliberately to substitute a non-Marcan for the Marcan version of a story or piece of teaching. Thus the Rejection at Nazareth, the Call of Peter, the parable of the Mustard Seed, the Beelzebub Controversy, the Great Commandment, the Anointing, and several less important items are given by Luke in a version substantially different from that in Mark, and always, it is important to notice, in a context quite other from that in which they appear in Mark.

Another striking feature in Luke's relation to Mark is his GREAT OMISSION, so called, of a continuous section of 74 verses, Besides this he omits several shorter sections, which added together amount to 56 verses. If we leave out of account all passages where there is reason to suspect that Luke has used a non-Marcan source, it appears on an approximate estimate that Luke has reproduced about 350 verses (i.e. just over one half of Mark). When following Mark, Luke alters the wording of his original a trifle more than Matthew does; on the other hand he retains many details which Matthew omits, and he does not compress the language quite so much. The result is that on an average Luke retains 53% of the actual words of Mark, that is, a very slightly higher proportion than does Matthew.

From these various figures it appears that, while Matthew omits less than 10% of the subject matter of Mark, Luke omits more than 45%, but for much of this he substitutes similar matter from another source. Each of them omits numerous points of detail and several complete sections of Mark, which the other reproduces; but sometimes they both concur in making the same omission. The student who desires to get a clear grasp of the phenomena would do well to prepare for himself, by the aid of the lists in the Additional Note A at the end of this chapter, a marked copy of the second Gospel, indicating by brackets of four different shapes or colours—

  1. passages peculiar to Mark;
  2. those reproduced by Luke, but not by Matthew;
  3. those reproduced by Matthew, but not by Luke;
  4. those which Luke omits, but for which in another context he substitutes a parallel version.


Let the student take a few typical incidents that occur in all three Synoptists I would suggest Mk.ii.13-17 and xi.27-33 to begin with and, having procured a Synopsis of the Gospels, underline in red words found in all three, in blue words found in Mark and Matthew, in yellow words found in Mark and Luke. If this is done throughout the Gospels it will appear that a proportion varying from 30% to over 60% of the words in Mark are underlined in red, while a large number of the remainder are marked either blue or yellow.
[The happy possessor of W. G. Bushbrooke's magnificent Synopticon will find the work done for him by the use of different types and colours. Of Greek Synopses on a smaller scale, the most conveniently arranged are A. Huck's Synopse (Mohr, Tubingen) and Burton and Goodspeed's Harmony of the Synoptic Gospels (Universities of Chicago and Cambridge). For those who have little or no knowledge of Greek an admirably arranged Synopsis based on the English of the Revised Version is The Synoptic Gospels by J. M. Thompson (Clarendon Press).]
What is still more significant, if the collocation of words and the structure of sentences in Matthew and Luke be examined, it will be found that, while one or both of them are constantly in close agreement with Mark, they never (except as stated p. 179 ff.) support one another against Mark. This is clear evidence of the greater originality of the Marcan version, and is exactly what we should expect to find if Matthew and Luke were independently reproducing Mark, adapting his language to their own individual style.


The order of incidents in Mark is clearly the more original;
for wherever Matthew departs from Mark's order Luke supports Mark, and whenever Luke departs from Mark, Matthew agrees with Mark. The section Mk.iii.31-35 alone occurs in a different context in each gospel; and there is no case where Matthew and Luke agree together against Mark in a point of arrangement.

A curious fact, of which an explanation is suggested later, p. 274, is that, while in the latter half of his Gospel (chap. xiv. to the end) Matthew adheres strictly to the order of Mark ( to end), he makes considerable rearrangements in the first half.
[A convenient chart showing Matthew's rearrangements of Mark's order is given in the Commentary on Matthew by W. C. Allen in the "International Critical" series (T. & T. Clark, 1907), p. xiv. The discussion of the relation of Matthew and Mark in this work, pp. i-xl, is the most valuable known to me; I cannot, however, accept the theory of Matthew's second main source, p. xli ff.]
Luke, however, though he omits far more of Mark than does Matthew, hardly ever departs from Mark's order, and only in trifling ways.
[These are enumerated and discussed in Oxford Studies, p. 88 ff.]
On the other hand, wherever Luke substitutes for an item in Mark a parallel version from another source, he always gives it in a different context from the item in Mark which it replaces. This, as we shall see later, is a fact of very great significance for the determination of the source of Luke's non-Marcan material.

We note, then, that in regard to

  1. items of subject matter,
  2. actual words used,
  3. relative order of sections,

Mark is in general supported by both Matthew and Luke, and in most cases where they do not both support him they do so alternately, and they practically never agree together against Mark. This is only explicable if they followed an authority, which in content, in wording, and in arrangement was all but identical with Mark.


A close study of the actual language of parallel passages in the Gospels shows that there is a constant tendency in Matthew and Luke showing itself in minute alterations, sometimes by one, sometimes by the other, and often by both to improve upon and refine Mark's version.  This confirms the conclusion, to which the facts already mentioned point, that the Marcan form is the more primitive.  Of these small alterations many have a reverential motive.  Thus in Mark, Jesus is only once addressed as "Lord" (κύριε), and that by one not a Jew (the Syrophoenician).  He is regularly saluted as Rabbi, or by its Greek equivalent διδάσκαλε  (Teacher).  In Matthew κύριε occurs 19 times; in Luke κύριε occurs 16, ἐπιστάτα (Master) 6 times.  In the same spirit certain phrases that might cause offence or suggest difficulties are toned down or excised.  Thus Mark's

he could, do there no mighty work (vi.5)

becomes in Matthew (i.58)

he did not many mighty works;

while Luke omits the limitation altogether. 

Why callest thou me good? (Mk.x.18)

reads in Matthew (xix.17)

Why askest thou me concerning the good? 

Much more frequently, however, the changes merely result in stylistic or grammatical improvements, without altering the sense.

But the difference between the style of Mark and of the other two is not merely that they both write better Greek. It is the difference that always exists between the spoken and the written language. Mark reads like a shorthand account of a story by an impromptu speaker with all the repetitions, redundancies, and digressions that are characteristic of living speech. And it seems to me most probable that his Gospel, like Paul's Epistles, was taken down from rapid dictation by word of mouth. The Mark to whom tradition ascribes the composition of the Gospel was a Jerusalem Jew, of the middle class [His mother had a house large enough to be a meeting-place for the church, and kept at least one slave girl (Acts .12 f.), and his cousin Barnabas had some property.]; he could speak Greek fluently, but writing in an acquired language is another matter. Matthew and Luke use the more succinct and carefully chosen language of one who writes and then revises an article for publication. This partly explains the tendency to abbreviate already spoken of, which is especially noticeable in Matthew. Sometimes this leads to the omission by one or both of the later writers of interesting and picturesque details, such as

in the stern ... on a cushion (Mk.iv.38),


they had not in the boat with them more than one loaf (Mk.viii.14).

Usually, however, it is only the repetitions and redundancies so characteristic of Mark's style that are jettisoned. Sir John Hawkins [Hor. Syn2 p. 125] collects over 100 instances of "enlargements of the narrative, which add nothing to the information conveyed by it, because they are expressed again, or are directly involved in the context," which he calls "context-supplements." Matthew omitted the majority of these and Luke also omitted a large number; though Luke sometimes omits where Matthew retains, as well as vice versa. Again, Mark is very fond of "duplicate expressions" such as "Evening coming on, when the sun set" (i.32). In these cases one or other of the later Evangelists usually abbreviates by leaving out one member of the pair; and not infrequently it happens that Matthew retains one and Luke the other. Thus in the above example Matthew writes "evening coming on," Luke "the sun having set."

Matthew and Luke regularly emend awkward or ungrammatical sentences; sometimes they substitute the usual Greek word for a Latinism; and there are two cases where they give the literary equivalent of Greek words, which Phrynichus the grammarian expressly tells us belonged to vulgar speech. Lastly, there are eight instances in which Mark preserves the original Aramaic words used by our Lord. Of these Luke has none, while Matthew retains only one, the name Golgotha (xxvii.33); though he substitutes for the Marcan wording of the cry from the Cross, "Eloi, Eloi ..." the Hebrew equivalent " Eli, Eli ..." as it reads in the Psalm (Mk.xv.34 = Mt.xxvii.46 = Ps.x.1).

The examples adduced above are merely a sample given to illustrate the general character of the argument. But it is an argument essentially cumulative in character. Its full force can only be realised by one who will take the trouble to go carefully through the immense mass of details which Sir John Hawkins has collected, analysed and tabulated, pp. 114-153 of his classic Horae Synopticae. How any one who has worked through those pages with a Synopsis of the Greek text can retain the slightest doubt of the original and primitive character of Mark I am unable to comprehend. But since there are, from time to time, ingenious persons who rush into print with theories to the contrary, I can only suppose, either that they have not been at the pains to do this, or else that like some of the highly cultivated people who think Bacon wrote Shakespeare, or that the British are the Lost Ten Tribes they have eccentric views of what constitutes evidence.


An examination of the way in which the Marcan and non-Marcan material is distributed throughout the Gospels of Matthew and Luke respectively is illuminating. The facts seem only explicable on the theory that each author had before him the Marcan material already embodied in one single docu­ment; and that, faced with the problem how to combine this with material from other sources, each solved it in his own way the plan adopted by each of them being simple and straight­forward, but quite different from that chosen by the other.

Certain elements in the non-Marcan matter clearly owe their position in the Gospels to the nature of their contents. For example, the two first chapters of Luke, with their account of the Birth and Infancy of Christ, differ so much in style and character from the rest of the Gospel that they are almost certainly to be referred to a separate source, whether written or oral we need not now discuss; and the same remark applies to the first two chapters of Matthew. Obviously, however, these stories, whencesoever derived, could only stand at the beginning of a Gospel. Similarly the additional details, which Matthew and Luke give in their accounts of the Temptation and the Passion, could only have been inserted at the beginning and at the end of their Gospels. But the greater part of the non-Marcan matter consists of parables or sayings, which do not obviously date themselves as belonging to any particular time in the public ministry. It would appear that the Evangelists had very little to guide them as to the exact historical occasion to which any particular item should be assigned. That, at any rate, seems to be the only explanation of the curious fact (to which my attention was drawn by Sir John Hawkins) that, subsequent to the Temptation story, there is not a single case in which Matthew and Luke agree in inserting a piece of Q material (the meaning of the symbol Q will appear later) into the same context of Mark. The way, then, in which materials derived from the Marcan and from non-Marcan sources are combined must have been determined mainly by literary considerations, and very little, if at all, by extrinsic historical information.

The student who wishes to get a thorough grasp of the facts is advised to mark off in blue brackets in a New Testament, not in a Synopsis of the Gospels all passages of Matthew and Luke which appear to be derived from Mark. For this purpose the list of parallels in Additional Note B will be of assistance. He will then see clearly the difference in the methods adopted by Matthew and by Luke.

Matthew's method is to make Mark the framework into which non-Marcan matter is to be fitted, on the principle of joining like to like. That is to say, whenever he finds in a non-Marcan source teaching that would elaborate or illustrate a saying or incident in Mark, he inserts that particular piece of non-Marcan matter into that particular context in the Marcan story. Sometimes he will insert a single non-Marcan verse so as most appropriately to illustrate a context of Mark, e.g. the saying about faith (Mt.xvii.20), or about the Apostles sitting on twelve thrones (Mt.xix.28). Sometimes he expands a piece of teaching in Mark by the addition of a few verses from another source on the same subject; e.g. the non-Marcan saying on divorce, Mt.xix.10-12, is appropriately fitted on to Marcan discussions of the same theme. So the Marcan saying, repeated in Mt.xix.30,

The first shall be last and the last first,

suggests to him the addition in that particular context of the parable of the Labourers in the Vineyard which points the same moral. Similarly the moral of the Marcan parable of the Wicked Husbandmen, Mt.xxi.33 ff. (which is directed against the Jewish authorities), is reinforced by the addition immediately before and after it of the anti-Pharisaic parables of the Two Sons and the Marriage Feast.

Examples of this kind of adaptation of non-Marcan matter to a Marcan context could be indefinitely multiplied. But it is worthwhile to call special attention to the bearing of this process on the longer discourses in Matthew. All of them are clear cases of AGGLOMERATION, that is, of the building up of sayings originally dispersed so as to form great blocks. Four times, starting with a short discourse in Mark as a nucleus, Matthew expands it by means of non-Marcan additions into a long sermon.  Thus the 7 verses of Mark's sending out of the Twelve ( ff.) become the 42 verses of Mt.x.  The three parables of Mk.iv are made the basis of the seven parable chapter, Mt.i.—one only being different.  The 12 verses, Mk.ix.33-37, 42-48, are elaborated into a discourse of 35 verses in Mt. xviii.  The LITTLE APOCOLYPSE (Mk.i.) is expanded, not only by the addition of a number of apocalyptic sayings (apparently from Q), but also by having appended to it three parables of Judgement, Mt.xxv.  To some extent analogous is the way in which the Sermon on the Mount, far the longest and most important block of non-Marcan matter, is connected with the Marcan framework.  It is inserted in such a way as to lead up, and thus give point, to the Marcan saying,

And they were astonished at his teaching:
for he taught them as one having authority,
and not as the scribes.
Cf. Mk.i.22; Mt.vii.29.  

That the Sermon on the Mount is itself an agglomeration of materials originally separate will be shown later (p. 249 ff.). Luke's method is quite different and much simpler.  There are half-a-dozen or so odd verses scattered up and down the Gospel in regard to which it is disputable whether or not they are derived from Mark.  Apart from these, we find that, until we reach the Last Supper (Lk.x.14), Marcan and non-Marcan material alternates in great blocks.  The sections, Lk.i.1-iv.30 (in the main); vi.20-viii.3; ix.51-xviii.14, and xix.1-27 are non-Marcan. The intervening sections, iv.31-vi.19; viii.4-ix.50; xviii.15-43; xix.28-x.13, are from Mark, with three short interpolations from a non-Marcan source.  From x.14 onwards the sources, as is inevitable if two parallel accounts of the Passion were to be combined, are more closely inter­woven.  This alternation suggests the inference that the non-Marcan materials, though probably ultimately derived from more than one source, had already been combined into a single written document before the author of the Third Gospel used them.  The further inference that this combined non-Marcan document was regarded by Luke as his main source and supplied the framework into which he fitted extracts of Mark is worked out in Chap. VIII. of this volume.

The net result of the facts and considerations briefly summarised under the foregoing five heads is to set it beyond dispute that Matthew and Luke made use of a source which in content, in order, and in actual wording must have been practically identical with Mark. Can we go a step farther and say simply that their source was Mark?

To the view that their common source was exactly identical with our Mark there are two objections.

  1. If the common source used by Matthew and Luke was identical with our Mark, why did they omit some whole sections of their source?
  2. How are we to account for certain minute agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark in passages which, but for these, we should certainly suppose were derived from Mark?

It has been suggested

  1. that the omissions of material found in Mark would be explicable on the theory that the document used by Matthew and Luke did not contain the omitted items that it was an earlier form of Mark, or " Ur-Marcus," of which our present Gospel is an expanded version;
  2. that if the text of Ur-Marcus differed slightly from that of Mark, the same theory would account for the minute agreements of Matthew and Luke.

Clearly a decision as to the merits of an Ur-Marcus hypo­thesis can only be made after a study of the actual passages omitted by Matthew and Luke respectively, and a careful scrutiny of the so-called "Minor Agreements." But there is one preliminary consideration that ought not to be overlooked.

In estimating the probability of Matthew or Luke pur­posely omitting any whole section of their source, we should remember that they did not regard themselves merely as scribes (professedly reproducing exactly the MS. in front of them), but as independent authors making use, like all historians, of earlier authorities, and selecting from these what seemed to them to be most important. Moreover, for practical reasons they probably did not wish their work to exceed the compass of a single papyrus roll. If so, space would be an object. As it is, both Matthew and Luke would have needed rolls of fully thirty feet long; and about twenty-five feet seems to have been regarded as the convenient length [Cf. Oxford Studies, p. 25 ff.]. And, when compression of some kind is necessary, slight reasons may decide in favour of rejection. Very often we can surmise reasons of an apologetic nature why the Evangelists may have thought some things less worthwhile reporting. But, even when we can detect no particular motive, we cannot assume that there was none; for we cannot possibly know, either all the circumstances of churches, or all the personal idiosyncrasies of writers so far removed from our own time.

matthew's omissions

Matthew's supposed omissions from Mark shrink on ex­amination to very small dimensions. Matthew reproduces the substance of all but 55 verses of Mark: of these 24 occur in Luke, a fact that creates a strong presumption that these at any rate were in the original source. But Mk.iv.21-24, and i.33-37, which account for 9 of the 55 verses, are really cases, not of omission, but of substitution; for in other contexts Matthew has sayings equivalent to, and usually more elaborate than, those which he here omits [See footnote, p. 196.]. It is usually said that Matthew's omissions include three miracles of healing a Demoniac (Mk.i.23 ff.), a Dumb man (vii.32 ff), and a Blind (viii.22 ff.). In the first of these the demon, as if by way of protest, "rent" the patient before coming out, and in the other two the cure is a gradual process with the use of a medicament like spittle instead of by a mere fiat. Such details obviously would make these three healings less miraculous, less "evidential" of supernatural power, and, therefore, from an apologetic point of view, less worth recording, than others.

But is it correct to say that Matthew has "omitted" these three incidents? In his account of the Gadarene Demoniacs (viii.29) he modifies the words of the demoniac so as to combine the cry, as given in his immediate source (Mk.v.7), with that of the demoniac as given in the apparently omitted section (Mk.i.24). This proves that Mk.i.24 stood in the copy of Mark he used. Moreover, Matthew makes the demoniacs two in number, instead of one as in Mark. Taken together, these phenomena suggest that Matthew considers himself to be, not omitting one, but, as it were, telescoping two healings of demoniacs which he found in Mark. Again, Mark's cure of the dumb man is not "omitted," for Matthew substitutes in the same context as Mark a general statement that Jesus healed various sick persons, including dumb and blind, and calls attention to the impression produced on the multitude in words that appear to be suggested by the omitted section in Mark (cf. Mt.xv.31 = Mk.vii.37). Also he inserts in another context (Mt.ix.32-33) a healing of a dumb man. Here we have an example of the importance of textual criticism for the Synoptic Problem; verse 34, which says that Jesus was accused of healing by the prince of devils, is omitted by D, a, k, Syr. S., and is a textual assimilation to the almost verbally identical passage in Lk.xiv.15; it is a "Western non-interpolation" with more than ordinarily good MS. support.  Read without this verse, the story in Mt.ix.32-33 looks like an abbreviated version of Mk.vii.32 ff. (with the "offending" details excised), transferred after Matthew's manner to another context.  In that case one would be inclined to think that Matthew originally intended the healing of two blind men which he inserts immediately before this (Mt.ix.27-31) as another telescoping of two Marcan miracles into one (i.e. Mk.viii.22 ff. and Mk.x.46 ff.), for the detail "touched their eyes," ix.29, may well have come from Mk.viii.23, the other apparently omitted miracle.  When, however, in copying Mark he actually reached the story of Bartimaeus, Mk.x.46 ff, he preferred to retell it in its original context, but forgot to delete it in the earlier part of the Gospel.

The rebuke of John for forbidding those who cast out devils in Christ's name but do not follow with the disciples (Mk.ix.38 ff.) is a passage which would so readily lend itself to being quoted in favour of the Gnostics who were already, when Matthew wrote, beginning to demoralise the Church, that its omission can occasion no surprise. [Cf. Matthew's significant addition to Mark, "By reason of the spread of antinomianism (ἀνομία) the love of the many shall wax cold," xxiv.12. N.B. also Matthew elsewhere records a condemnation of some who profess to cast out devils in Christ's name, Mt.vii.22.] Again, the attempt of our Lord's relatives to arrest Him (Mk.iii.21) and the incident of the young man with a linen cloth in Gethsemane (xiv.51 f.) are both cases where it is harder to explain why Mark thought it worthwhile to record than why Matthew (and Luke also) omitted. Both Matthew and Luke also omit the parable of the Seed growing secretly. In favour of its originality in the text of Mark is the fact that, with the Mustard Seed, it forms one of those pairs of twin parables illustrating different aspects of the same idea which are a notable feature of the tradition of our Lord's teaching (cf. p. 189 f.). I think one must seriously con­sider the possibility that this had accidentally dropped out of the copy of Mark used by one or both of the other Evangelists owing to HOMOIOTELEUTON.  The eye of the scribe might very easily pass from the first to the third of the three successive paragraphs, each of which open with the words καὶλεγεν (Mk.iv.21, 26, 30). If there are 48 examples in the Gospels of omission through homoioteleuton in א alone [For the whole N.T. the number is 115. Cf. Scrivener's collation of א, p. xv.], it would be odd if there were none in the first copy of Mark that went to Antioch. Or again, either Matthew or Luke may have omitted it because he preferred to reproduce the Mustard Seed along with the Leaven (its twin parable in Q), and having already a pair to illustrate the idea of the Kingdom as a gradual growth, thought a third with the same moral superfluous. Since Matthew's personal predilections are all on the side of the more catastrophic apocalyptic conception of the Kingdom; and since Luke, as we shall see, inclines to prefer his non-Marcan source (which gives the pair in another context), this may seem to some a more probable explanation. But it is quite possible that the omission of the parable by Matthew may be due to one of these causes, and its omission by Luke to the other; both, at any rate, are causes that we can verify as operating elsewhere. In fact the only omission by Matthew for which it is hard to find a satisfactory explanation is the story of the Widow's Mite, Mk..41-44. But here considerations of style almost guarantee the section as original in Mark. In four verses we find no less than four examples of the most characteristic features of Mark's style—a "context supplement," [On the significance of this and the following expression the student is referred to Hawkins' Hor. Syn. pp. 125, 139; cf. also pp. 34, 132.] a "duplicate expression," the idiom ὅ ἐστι, and the Latinism κοδράντης all of which we may note Luke is careful to revise away.

luke's great omission

It would seem, then, that there is no sufficient reason for supposing that any substantial passage in our present text of Mark was lacking in that known to Matthew. When, however, we turn to Luke, the case is more debateable. Luke frequently omits a section of Mark, but substitutes for it in a different context another version of the same saying or incident—apparently derived from the source which, as will appear in Chap. VIII., he on the whole preferred to Mark. Obviously where this has occurred, though we cannot prove that the omitted passages stood in his copy of Mark, there is not a shadow of a reason for supposing that they did not. The real problem arises from Luke's one "great omission" totalling some 74 consecutive verses ( [If vii.16 is genuine (om. B א L 28) the number is 75.]. Apart from this, his omissions are few, short, and easily accounted for. But the absence from Luke of the equivalent of is, prima facie, evidence that at any rate the greater part of this section was absent from his copy of Mark, although it was indubitably present in that used by Matthew.

Internal evidence also is, up to a point, favourable to the theory that the section is a later insertion into the text of Mark, provided we suppose the opening and concluding paragraphs of it to be original. In Jesus sends the disciples on ahead by boat to Bethsaida, while He Himself stays behind to dismiss the crowd. He rejoins them, walking on the water during the storm, vi.51; but the arrival at Bethsaida, the destination for which they set out, is not mentioned till viii.22.  That is to say, the omission, not of the whole section omitted by Luke, but of vi.53-viii.21, viz. all of it except the first and last paragraphs, would make, superficially at any rate, a more coherent story. Curiously enough, some critics who wish thus to connect the start for and arrival at Bethsaida have failed to notice that the Walking on the Water, which tells how Jesus rejoined the disciples, is needed to make the narrative cohere.

On the hypothesis that the original Mark omitted, not the whole section, but vi.53-viii.21, it could be argued that there are three paragraphs in the inserted section, which might very plausibly be regarded as parallel versions or "doublets" of matter occurring in the uninterpolated edition.
These are

  1. the Feeding of the Four Thousand, viii.1 ff., cf. Feeding of the Five Thousand, vi.30 ff.;
  2. the gradual cure of a deaf man by means of spittle, vii.31 ff., cf. the similar use of spittle to cure a blind man, viii.22 ff.;
  3. a voyage across the lake, immediately following a feeding of a multitude, in which the failure of the disciples to understand about the loaves is specially emphasised,, cf. viii.17.

Further, if only the Walking on the Water and the gradual Cure of the Blind Man, which are the first and last paragraphs of the "great omission," had stood in Luke's copy of Mark, it would not be hard to explain his electing not to reproduce them. The gradual cure by means of spittle may have seemed to him a miracle lacking in impressiveness, while the story of the Walking on the Water might appear to play into the hands of the Docetae, who asserted that Christ's human body was a phantom, and were already beginning to cause trouble in the Church before the end of the first century.

Lastly, the retirement of Jesus into a mountain alone after the Feeding of the Five Thousand (, and the Walking on the Water must have stood in the copy of Mark used by John. For John's version of this has (p. 410) con­spicuous agreements with Mark against Matthew. Again, if, as many think, the healing of a blind man with spittle, Jn.ix.6-7, implies a knowledge of the similar story, Mk.vii.32-34, this too must have stood in John's copy of Mark. Thus, though John's copy cannot have lacked the whole of Luke's "great omission," it may have omitted all but the first and last paragraphs.

Nevertheless, to the attractive hypothesis that the original Mark lacked the section vi.53-viii.21, there are two very formidable objections.

  1. There are some remarkable facts to which Sir John Hawkins [Oxford Studies, p. 64 ff.] first drew attention.  By a careful tabulation of minute linguistic peculiarities he has shown that in style and vocabulary the section resembles Mark in no less than eleven striking points in which Mark's usage differs conspicuously from that of Matthew and Luke, and, indeed, from all other New Testament writers. In fact, the style and vocabulary of this section are, if anything, more Marcan than Mark. Sir John's argument, being cumulative in character and dependent on a statistical comparison of minute details, cannot be summarised without weakening its force; but to my mind it is all but unanswerable.
  2. The difficulty in the way of supposing that the passage was absent from the original text of Mark is enormously enhanced by the fact that it was present in that used by Matthew. For, once postulate two editions of Mark—a shorter edition known to Luke and a later longer edition known to Matthew and the question of the lost end of the Gospel cannot be excluded from consideration. It is incredible that the editor of a second edition, whether it was Mark himself or some other, who was prepared to take upon himself to add as much as a couple of chapters in the middle, should have left the Gospel without an end supposing the first edition had already lost it. But if the first edition had not already lost its end, how explain Luke's desertion of Mark's narrative at Mk.xvi.8, viz. at the exact point at which later on an accidental injury was to cause a mutilation? There are, moreover, further reasons (cf. p. 338 ff.) for supposing that Matthew and Luke both used a text of Mark, which, like ours, ended at xvi.8. It is very remarkable that any edition should have circulated which broke off short without giving an account of the Resurrection Appearances; but that a second and greatly enlarged edition should have been published without an ending is quite incredible.

The precise weight to be attached to these two objections will be estimated differently by different people. But at least they are serious enough to compel us to ask whether Luke's "great omission" can be explained by any other hypothesis than the absence of this material from his source. Now it is a fact that plausible reasons can be produced why most of the contents of this particular section of Mark would not have appealed to Luke. Motives which might have induced him to omit each separate item are put forward by Sir John Hawkins
[Oxford Studies, p. 67 ff.]
; moreover, if, as I argue in Chap. VIII., Luke regarded Mark, not as his main authority, but as a supplementary source, the hypothesis of intentional omission cannot be ruled out.

My own mind has of late been attracted by a third alternative, that Luke used a mutilated copy of Mark. 
The case for this I state, but merely as a tentative suggestion.

There are four features in Luke's narrative that cry out for an explanation.

  1. Why does he place the Feeding of the Five Thousand at a "village
    eading κώμην for πόλιν with D Θ, discussed in Appendix I.] called Bethsaida," ix.10, when Mark, his source, expressly says that it was in a "desert place"?
  2. Why does he omit the place-name Caesarea Philippi as the scene of Peter's Confession (ix.18)?
  3. Why does he say that Jesus was "praying alone" on that occasion, while Mark distinctly says that the incident occurred "in the way"?
  4. How is the reading of B in Lk.ix.18, which on transcriptional grounds looks the more original, to be accounted for? B is supported by 157 f. Goth, and three other cursives in reading συνήντησαν (f. occurrerunt) for συνήσαν "they met" for "they were with."

All these questions receive a completely satisfactory answer if we suppose that Luke's copy of Mark included merely the beginning of the "great omission," as far as the words αὐτὸς λόκος; in vi.47, and then went straight on to ἐπηρώτα τοὺς μαθητὰς, viii.27. Now, if a piece is torn out of the middle of a roll the mutilation is not likely to begin and end exactly with a paragraph which opens a new section; an accidental loss is far more likely to cut across the middle of a sentence at both ends. Let us for the moment assume just such a mutilation. Luke's MS. of Mark would have run as follows (words in italics are specially significant; asterisks indicate where the break in the papyrus occurred):

And straightway he constrained his disciples to enter into the boat, and to go before him unto the other side unto Bethsaida, while he himself sendeth the multitude away. And after he had taken leave of them, he departed into the mountain to pray. And when even was come, the boat was in the midst of the sea, and he alone...
and in the way he asked his disciples, saying unto them, Who do men say that I am?
( ... viii.27b).

Granted such a text, what would Luke make of the story?
What he actually does (in the B text) is to write, immediately after the account of the Feeding of the Multitude,

And it came to pass,
as he was praying alone,
the disciples met him:
and he asked them, saying,
Who do the multitudes say that I am?

And he inserts the place-name Bethsaida into the opening sentence of the Feeding of the Multitude, though in other respects he closely follows Mark's version of the story. A study of the passage shows that this procedure is of the most natural and reasonable kind.

  1. From the mutilated text before him he might infer that Bethsaida was only a short way off, so that the disciples would be able to land and come back to meet our Lord by road, after He had dismissed the multitude. It would follow that both the Feeding of the Five Thousand and Peter's Confession took place near Bethsaida. That being so, if the story is to be clear to the reader, the proper place to insert the name is obviously before the Feeding of the Five Thousand, not in between the two incidents. Luke, therefore, inserts the name Bethsaida in the most appropriate place, ix.10.
  2. Luke's omission of the name Caesarea Philippi has been quoted as evidence of his indifference to geographical detail. But the whole case for this indifference rests on his supposed omission of the geographical details contained in this section of Mark. And if the mutilation in his MS. of Mark included the half of verse viii.27, then Bethsaida was the only place-name he had in his source; and he does the best he can with that.
  3. The incident of Jesus "praying" and being "alone" is not an "editorial addition" directly contradicting Mark, but a reproduction of what in Luke's text of Mark was the immediate introduction to Peter's Confession.
  4. The reading of B (συνήντησεν = occurrerunt = "go to meet") is, as so often, shown to be original.
    [Probably the original reading was ἤντησαν = "met." συνῆσαν = "were with," the reading of most MSS., is a very early scribe's emendation. Someone then tried to correct an ancestor of B by this text and wrote συν over the ἠν, but the next copyist combined the two.  Prof. Burkitt has pointed out a similar reading of B. In Lk.xix.37 D has πάντων (neut.), א πασῶν δυναμέων; B (supported curiously enough by 579) has πάντων δυναμέων, a false concord explicable if πάντων  was original, δυναμέων an addition from the margin.]
    It translates Mark's ἐν τῇδῷ in the only meaning that could be given to it, if it followed just after

If Luke wrote at some distance from Rome, no difficulty is presented by the hypothesis that the only copy of Mark, which had reached him, was a mutilated one. Speculation, however, as to how the mutilation occurred is not very profitable. A papyrus roll was a very fragile thing, and the number of accidents that could happen to it was very large. All I submit is that, in view of such a possibility and of the difficulties of supposing the section was not in the original copy of Mark, its absence from Luke constitutes quite insufficient ground for postulating an Ur-Marcus.

But if the theory of an older and shorter edition of Mark is not needed to explain Luke's Great Omission, it is certainly not called for to explain his shorter omissions. Several of them only amount to one or two verses, and there are obvious reasons why Luke should have left out the others. Three passages, for instance (ix.28-29, x.35-41, xiv.26-28), reflect some discredit on the Apostles, and Luke always "spares the Twelve" omitting the rebuke "Retro Satanas" (Mk.ix.33), and excusing the slumber in Gethsemane as due to sorrow (Lk.x.45), and only recording one of the three lapses. The dancing of Salome ( has little value for edification. The pith of the long discussion on Divorce (x.1-12) is given in the last two verses, for which Luke has an equivalent in another context (Lk.xvi.18). The Cursing of the Fig Tree (xi.12-14, 20-22) might seem a harsh act for the Great Healer; besides, Luke has the parable of the Fig Tree (Lk.i.6 ff.), which may be the origin of the story, and at any rate contains all the moral that can be drawn from it. Mark ix.43-47 may already, for all we know, have been seized upon by certain over-zealous believers as an exhortation to self-mutilation of the kind which others justified from Mt.xix.12. Finally, some of the omitted passages must have stood in Luke's copy of Mark, for Luke reproduces some verses which in Mark are intimately connected with others which he omits. Thus Lk.ix.36 is an abbreviation of Mk.ix.9, but in Mark this verse forms the introduction to the four verses that follow.

These facts must be considered in the light of the evidence to be submitted in the next chapter that Luke regarded his non-Marcan source as primary, and conceived himself as producing a new and enlarged edition of that work, incorporating what seemed most important in Mark. In that case passages of Mark not included in Luke must be regarded, not so much as "omissions" as "non-insertions," and the absence of any particular passage from Luke creates no presumption that it was absent from the copy of Mark that he used.

minor agreements of matthew and luke

Accordingly it is clear that the only real difficulty in accepting out of hand the conclusion that the document used by Matthew and Luke was identical with Mark lies in the occurrence of agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark consisting either in minor omissions or in some minute alterations in a turn of expression. A full discussion of this subject is attempted in Chap. XI. But for the benefit of the reader who is not conversant with the Greek language, I will briefly sum up the conclusions there reached.

  1. Such agreements are only significant in contexts where there is no reason to suppose that the passage also stood in Q.
  2. Most commonly these agree­ments result from Matthew and Luke changing a historic present in Mark into an imperfect or aorist tense, in their sub­stituting a participle for a finite verb with "and," or in using a different conjunction or preposition from Mark. In every instance the change is, from the stylistic or grammatical point of view, an improvement. And as both Matthew and Luke continually make this kind of improvement independently, it is not surprising that both sometimes concur in doing so in the same place.
  3. If the agreement consists in an omission it is almost invariably of the unnecessary or unimportant words, which are characteristic of Mark's somewhat verbose style. Matthew and Luke both compress Mark; it would be hard to find three consecutive verses in the whole of his Gospel of which either Matthew or Luke have not omitted some words, apparently with this object. Since, then, both Matthew and Luke independently compress Mark by the omission of un­necessary words or sentences, and since in any sentence only certain words can be spared, they could not avoid frequently concurring in the selection of words to be dispensed with. Under such circumstances, coincidence in omission calls for no explanation.

There are, however, three instances where the agreement of Matthew and Luke against Mark amounts to five consecutive words; and there are perhaps thirty of an agreement in one or two words. These agreements are all of a kind which, if there were fewer of them, could easily be attributed to accidental coincidence. But there are just too many of them to make this at all a plausible explanation.

But though some explanation is required, a study of the phenomena reveals the fact that the hypothesis of an Ur-Marcus is of no service to us whatever for that purpose. The essential point that emerges is that in the great majority of cases where Matthew and Luke agree against Mark, the existing text of Mark seems the more primitive and original. If, then, the document used by Matthew and Luke was not identical with our Mark, so far from being an earlier form of Mark, it must have been a later and more polished recension, all copies of which have since disappeared. This is the explanation of the phenomena which was adopted by Dr. Sanday in the Oxford Studies (pp. 21 ff.) and is, I believe, accepted by the majority of authorities as the most probable. It involves no a priori difficulties. There would have been several copies of Mark at Rome at a very early date; and it is quite likely that one copyist would have felt free to emend the style a little. From this copy those used by Matthew and Luke may have been made, while the unrevised copies, being in the majority, may yet have determined the text that has come down to us.

Personally, however, I am inclined to seek a different explanation of that residue of the agreements between Matthew and Luke which cannot naturally be ascribed to occasional coincidence in the type of improvement in Mark which they constantly make independently. The Synopses of the Gospels in Greek most widely used by scholars give the text either of Tischendorf or of Westcott and Hort which are based on the text of Alexandria as preserved in B א. But in nearly every case where a minute agreement of Matthew and Luke against Mark is found in B א it is absent in one or more of the other early local texts; though, on the other hand, these other texts frequently show such agreements in passages where they do not occur in B, while quite a different set of agreements is found in MSS. which give the Byzantine text. Indeed, even as between א and B there is a difference in this respect; there are agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark in the B text, which are not in א, and vice versa. A careful study of the MS. evidence distinctly favours the view that all those minute agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark, which cannot be attributed to coincidence, were absent from the original text of the Gospels, but have crept in later as a result of "assimilation" between the texts of the different Gospels. Detailed evidence for this conclusion is sub­mitted in Chapter XI.; and, if it is correct, the one objection to the view that the document used by Matthew and Luke was identically our Mark completely disappears. If, however, that evidence be deemed inconclusive, then Dr. Sanday's hypothesis best explains the facts. But in any case, as I have already urged, they offer no support to the hypothesis of an Ur-Marcus.

the document Q

Although Matthew embodies about eleven-twelfths of Mark he compresses so much that the Marcan material only amounts to about half of the total contents of his Gospel. It is remarkable that the additional matter consists preponderantly of parable and discourse.
[Narratives peculiar to Matthew, apart from generalised statements of healing like xv.30 and xxi.14, are as follows: the Infancy, i.-ii.; Peter walking on the water, xiv.28 ff.; the coin in the fish's mouth, xvii.24 ff.; various small additions to Mark's story of the Passion (i.e. xxvi.52-54; xxvii.3-10, 19, 24-25, 51b-53, 62-60); the Resurrection Appearances. The two miracles, ix.27-34, are possibly intended to be the same as two recorded by Mark, which otherwise Matthew has omitted. Cf. p. 170.]
Of Luke rather less than one-third appears to be derived from Mark, though owing to the greater length of his Gospel 1149 verses as compared with 661 and to some compression of Mark's style, this one-third of Luke includes the substance of slightly more than half of Mark. Luke's additional matter includes both more narrative and more parables than Matthew's, but not quite as much discourse. The discourse occurs in shorter sections, and is not to the same extent as in Matthew collected into large blocks.

We notice that, of this large mass of material that must have been derived from elsewhere than Mark, a certain amount, approximately 200 verses, appears in both Matthew and Luke. This matter, which they have in common, includes most of John the Baptist's Preaching, the details of the Temptation, the Sermon on the Mount, the Healing of the Centurion's Servant, John's Message,

Art thou he that should come,

Be not anxious for the morrow,

and many more of the most notable sayings in the Gospels.
But there are two facts of a puzzling nature.

  1. The common material occurs in quite different contexts and is arranged (cf. p. 273 ff.) in a different order in the two Gospels.
  2. The degree of resemblance between the parallel passages varies considerably. For example, the two versions of John the Baptist's denunciation, "Generation of vipers ..." (Mt.iii.7-10 = Lk.iii.7-9), agree in 97% of the words used; but the two versions of the Beatitudes present contrasts as striking as their resemblances.

How are we to account for this common matter? The obvious suggestion that Luke knew Matthew's Gospel (or vice versa) and derived from it some of his materials breaks down for two reasons.

  1. Sir John Hawkins once showed me a Greek Testament in which he had indicated on the left-hand margin of Mark the exact point in the Marcan outline at which Matthew has inserted each of the sayings in question, with, of course, the reference to chapter and verse, to identify it; on the right-hand margin he had similarly indicated the point where Luke inserts matter also found in Matthew. It then appeared that, sub­sequent to the Temptation story, there is not a single case in which Matthew and Luke agree in inserting the same saying at the same point in the Marcan outline. If then Luke derived this material from Matthew, he must have gone through both Matthew and Mark so as to discriminate with meticulous precision between Marcan and non-Marcan material; he must then have proceeded with the utmost care to tear every little piece of non-Marcan material he desired to use from the context of Mark in which it appeared in Matthew in spite of the fact that contexts in Matthew are always exceedingly appropriate in order to re-insert it into a different context of Mark having no special appropriateness. A theory that would make an author capable of such a proceeding would only be tenable if, on other grounds, we had reason to believe he was a crank.
  2. Sometimes it is Matthew, sometimes it is Luke, who gives a saying in what is clearly the more original form. This is explicable if both are drawing from the same source, each making slight modifications of his own; it is not so if either is dependent on the other.

A second explanation of the phenomena that has been suggested is that Matthew and Luke had access (in addition to the written Gospel of Mark) to different cycles of oral tradition, or to documents embodying such, and that these cycles, though in the main independent, overlapped to some extent. For those cases where the degree of verbal resemblance between the parallel passages is small I myself believe that some such explanation is a true one. For the more numerous examples where the verbal resemblances are close and striking it is far from convincing.

Accordingly a third hypothesis, that Matthew and Luke made use of a single common document that has since disappeared, has secured, if not quite universal, at any rate an all but universal, assent from New Testament scholars. This hypothetical source is now by general consent referred to as Q, though in older books it is spoken of as THE LOGIA or THE DOUBLE TRADITION.  Seeing that Q, if such a document ever existed, has disappeared, the hypothesis that Matthew and Luke used it cannot be checked and verified as can the hypothesis that they used Mark. But it explains facts for which some explanation is necessary, and it has commended itself to most of those, who have studied the subject minutely in all its bearings, as explaining them in a simpler and more satisfactory way than any alternative suggestion that has so far been put forward. We are justified, then, in assuming the existence of Q, so long as we remember that the assumption is one, which, though highly probable, falls just short of certainty.

But it does not follow, because we accept the view that Q existed, that we can discover exactly which passages in Matthew and Luke were, and which were not, derived from it. Nearly all writers on the Synoptic Problem have attempted to do this. I have done so myself. [Oxford Studies, Essay VI. On the hazards of reconstructing Q there are some valuable warnings in Burkitt's review of Harnack's attempt, J.T.S., Ap. 1907, p. 454 ff. I cannot, however, accept his own suggestion that Q contained an account of the Passion.] But, for reasons which will be developed in Chap. IX., I now feel that most of these attempts to reconstruct Q have set out from false premises.

  1. Critics have underestimated the probability that in many cases slightly differing versions of the same sayings or parables would be in circulation. They have therefore been unduly anxious to extend the bound­aries of Q by including passages, like the Lord's Prayer and the parable of the Lost Sheep, where the parallelism between Matthew and Luke is not exact enough to make derivation from a common written source its most likely explanation. Even if items like these stood in Q, it is probable that one or other of the Evangelists also had before him another version as well. Further study of the facts convinces me that a substantial proportion of the 200 verses in question were probably derived from some other source than Q.
  2. On the other hand, since Matthew and Luke would presumably have treated Q much in the same way as they treated Mark, it is fairly certain that some passages which are preserved by Matthew only or by Luke only are from Q; but I feel less confidence than hereto­fore in the validity of some of the principles by which it has been sought to identify them.
  3. Not enough allowance has been made for the extent to which sayings of a proverbial form circulate in any community.
    One such,

It is more blessed to give than to receive,

which does not appear in any of the Gospels, is quoted by Paul (Acts xx.35). At the present day, at the Bar, in the Medical Profession, in every College in Oxford or Cambridge, professional maxims, or anecdotes and epigrams connected with names well known in the particular society, are handed down by word of mouth. The same thing must have happened in the early Church; and it does not at all follow that a saying of this character, even if it occurs in almost identically the same form in two Gospels, was derived from a written source. Where, however, a number of consecutive sayings occur in two Gospels with approximately the same wording, or where a detached saying is not of a quasi-proverbial character, a documentary source is more probable. Hence, while the phenomena make the hypothesis of the existence of a written source Q practically certain, its exact delimitation is a matter of a far more speculative character.  
A tentative reconstruction is essayed in Chap. X.

The overlapping of Q and Mark

But although it is impossible to determine exactly what was and what was not contained in Q, one fact cannot be disputed there is a certain amount of overlapping between Q and Mark.  This observation holds good in principle even if we think (with Prof. E. de W. Burton [Principles of Literary Criticism and the Synoptic Problem, p. 41 ff. (Chicago, 1904).] that the "Q material" was derived, not from a single document, but from two, or (like the late Mr. A. Wright) that it represents a cycle of tradition and was not derived from a document at all. In other words, whatever the theory we accept as to the character of the source or sources of the non-Marcan matter common to Matthew and Luke, it is clear that certain items were known to Matthew and Luke both in Mark's version and also in another decidedly different. In fact, to put it paradoxically, the overlapping of Mark and Q is more certain than is the existence of Q.

The student will find convincing proof of this, if, in his Synopsis of the Gospels, he will underline in red words found in all three Gospels, in blue those found in Mark and Matthew, in purple those in Mark and Luke, and, say, in yellow words found only in Matthew and Luke, in the accounts of John the Baptist's Preaching, the Baptism and Temptation, the Beelzebub Controversy, the parables of the Mustard Seed and Leaven, and the Mission Charge (, cf. Mt.x.l-16a = Lk.x.1-12). The phenomena revealed are only explicable on the theory that Matthew and Luke had before them a version of these items considerably longer than that of Mark. And it will be noticed that, while Matthew carefully combines the two versions, Luke prefers the non-Marcan, introducing at most a few touches from that of Mark.

This overlapping of Mark and Q, found in the above sections and in a few other short sayings, covers about 50 verses of Mark.
[Most of the relevant passages are printed in parallel columns and discussed in my essay in Oxford Studies, p. 167 ff. There is a valuable discussion in Sources of the Synoptic Gospels, p. 234 ff. (C. S. Patton, Macmillan Co., New York, 1915).]

And, wherever it occurs, we find that Luke tends to preserve the Q version unmixed, while Matthew combines it with that of Mark. This, indeed, only means that Matthew and Luke differ in their treatment of Q in precisely the same way as in their treatment of Mark in both cases Matthew conflates his sources, Luke alternates them. This difference, of which we shall see many examples, affords a valuable principle for distinguishing the Marcan and the Q versions in doubtful cases.

Many critics explain this overlapping of Q and Mark on the theory that Mark knew and made extracts from Q. In favour of this view there is the fact that in many cases where Mark and Q overlap, the Q version is longer and also looks the more original. In fact, as I put it in an Essay in the Oxford Studies, the Marcan often looks like a "mutilated excerpt" from the Q version. [Oxford Studies, p. 171.]   In that case the first difficulty would be to explain the very small amount of matter (not more than 50 verses) which Mark derives from Q. The suggestion I then made was that Mark wrote for a Church in which Q was already in circulation, and intended to supplement rather than to supersede Q, and he therefore only drew from it some brief allusions to certain outstanding points which could not be altogether passed over in a life of Christ. But the net result of the discussion of the question among scholars during the last thirteen years has been to add weight to, rather than to detract from, the difficulty I even then expressed of supposing that Q lay before Mark in a written form.

In Mark's account of the Temptation there is no mention of the fast. Indeed, if we did not unwittingly read into Mark's account what is so familiar to us from the other two Gospels, we should naturally interpret the imperfect tense of the verb in the phrase "the angels ministered to him" as meaning that Jesus was continuously fed by angels, as once Elijah was by ravens. Again, while in Matthew and Luke the emphasis is on the internal content of the various temptations of our Lord to a misuse of His lately realised Messianic powers, in Mark it is on the external fact that "he was with the wild beasts," which is not even mentioned in the other accounts. Mark's representation of this incident is so wholly different from that in Q that, if we were compelled to assume that he could have derived it from no other source, we must say that he had read Q long enough ago to have had time to forget it.

John's Preaching, the Baptism, and the Temptation obviously form a single section, and a source, which contains the first and third, must have contained the second, which not only connects the other two but is the point round which they hinge. Q, therefore, must have contained an account of the Baptism. But whereas in Mark's version the voice from heaven is

Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased,

in Q it must have read,

Thou art my beloved Son, this day have I begotten thee;

which is the reading of the Western text of Luke, and is undoubtedly right. As has been already pointed out (p. 143), it can be traced back to Justin Martyr; and since it is a reading which not only introduces a discrepancy between the Gospels but also seems to favour what was later regarded as the dangerous heresy that Jesus only became Son of God at His Baptism, its "correction" in the Alexandrian MSS. is easy to explain. But if Luke wrote this, and that with Mark in front of him, it must have been because it stood in his other source.

Again, the picturesque details which Mark (i.6) gives as to John's dress and food look authentic, but there is no reason to suppose they stood in Q. Here, and indeed wherever Mark and Q overlap, Matthew conflates the two versions; Luke prefers that of Q. But if we take Luke as on the whole representing Q, and consider the section John's Preaching, Baptism and Temptation as a whole, the differences between his version and Mark are far more striking than the resemblances. It is only the fact that Matthew combines the two versions, and most people read Matthew first, that has concealed the extent of the contrast so long even from students.

The case for regarding Mark's version of the Beelzebub Controversy as an extract from Q is stronger. But, again, if we realise that Matthew's version is partly derived from Mark, and therefore take Luke's version as on the whole nearer to Q, the verbal resemblances between the two accounts are no more than would be inevitable if they represent two quite independent traditions of the same original incident and discourse. In this case, however, part of the argument that Mark derives from Q depends on the suggestion that the way in which the section appears in Mark is such that it looks as if it were an interpolation. But this contention disappears on closer investigation. The removal of Mk.iii.22-30 does not leave the smooth connection we should expect if it was really an interpolation. On the other hand, if the words "they said" in Mk.iii.21 are interpreted as meaning "people were saying," on disait, the section reads, not like an interpolation, but as a digression intended to explain their action. 'They did so, for report said He was mad, and the scribes had gone so far as to say He was Beelzebub, but He made short work of them.'Mark's phrase is ambiguous and not very good Greek, and, as usually happens with imperfectly educated writers, the digression is clumsily introduced. But it is more likely that our Lord's relatives should have come to apprehend Him, because they had heard a report that He was beside Himself, than that they should have arrived at such a conclusion for themselves. And it is by no means likely that Mark would have told the story at all, if he had meant what he is usually understood to mean.

In all our sources we find the phenomenon of twin-parables [Oxford Studies, p. 173.] illustrating different aspects of the same idea the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl of Great Price (Mt.i.44-46), the Tower Builder and King making War (Lk.xiv.28-32), the New Patch and the New Wine (Mk.ii.21-22), the Lost Sheep and the Lost Coin (Lk.xv.3-10). In the Oxford Studies I argued that the Mustard Seed in Mark was the mutilated half of the Mustard Seed and Leaven, which since they stand together in both Matthew and Luke must have formed such a twin pair in Q. But Mr. E. E. Buckley [Introduction to the Synoptic Problem, p. 147 (Arnold, 1912).] acutely points out that in Mark the Mustard Seed does not stand alone; it is paired with the parable of the Seed growing secretly, which is quite as appropriate a twin as the Leaven to illustrate the idea of the gradual growth of the Kingdom. It would seem, then, that the twin-parable argument really cuts the other way, and suggests that in Mark and Q we have two pairs which have descended along quite independent lines of tradition.

Mt.x.5-16 is clearly a conflation of the Q discourse, given by Luke as the Charge to the Seventy (Lk.x.1-12), with Mark's discourse on the Mission of the Twelve ( Matthew has additional matter both at the beginning and the end which may possibly come from a third source (cf. p. 255), but in the central part of his version of the discourse (Mt.x.9-16a) there is hardly a word which is not to be found either in or in Lk.x.1-12. The five words, on the other hand, common to and Lk.x.1-12 (I do not count καὶ, ἄν and μή, the definite article and personal pronouns, which for this purpose are not significant), "wallet," "enter," "house," "remain," "feet," are such as must occur in any version of this discourse. Assuming, then, that Luke x.1-12 (not being conflate with Mark) represents Q, the differences between Mark and Luke are so great and the resemblances so few that they favour the view that Mark's version is independent, not derived from Q. If Mark did use Q, he must have trusted entirely to memory, and never once referred to the written source.

There remain no other considerable passages where Mark and Q are parallel; for only portions of Mk.iv.21-25 and Mk.ix.42-50 have their equivalents in Q, and that in scattered contexts. The rest are all quite short, consisting of one or two verses. Mostly they belong to the class of proverb-like saying, which, as has been argued above (p. 185), would be likely to be circulated in different forms by word of mouth. To the critic perhaps the most interesting examples are Mk.viii.34, cf. Mt.x.38 = Lk.xiv.27, "take up the cross," and Mk.viii.38, cf. Mt.x.33 = Lk..9, "denies me on earth." A glance at the Synopsis will show that Matthew and Luke give these sayings twice over once in the context parallel to Mark and in a version very close to Mark's, and again in the quite different contexts to which the references are given above, but in a version much less close to Mark's. This shows beyond doubt that Matthew and Luke had versions of the sayings in two distinct sources. The two versions differ to an extent that makes it improbable that Mark's was derived from Q, unless his dependence on Q is held to be already securely established on other grounds.
[Prof. C. H. Dodd points out to me that in three cases (Mk.iii.28, iv.22, vi.8) the variations between the Marcan and the Q versions might be explained as divergent translations of Aramaic: iii.28 בר' נשא singular or collective; iv.22 ד = ἵνα or ὅ; vi.8, where לא for אלא would give instead μὴ αβδόν.]

On the whole, then, the evidence is decidedly against the view that Mark used Q. In that case the general, though not invariable, superiority of the Q version remains to be accounted for. This can only be done if we suppose that Q was a document of very early date and represents a peculiarly authentic tradition.

A modern illustration

Small things that fall within our own experience may often illuminate great things known to us only through books. Says Gibbon, speaking of the insight into military system that he gained from the peaceful manoeuvres of his county militia:

"The captain of the Hampshire grenadiers (the reader may smile) has not been useless to the historian of the Roman Empire."

In a similar spirit it may be worthwhile to quote an experience of my own, which shows the psychological working out in practice of "conflation," "agglomeration," and other kinds of "editorial modification." A prolonged study of ancient documents compels the professional critic to assume such processes, but to the plain man the hypothesis often seems over-ingenious, unverifiable, and unreal.

In 1920 I undertook, in collaboration with a friend, to prepare for publication a sketch of the personality and teaching of Sadhu Sundar Singh, commonly known as "the Indian St. Francis." [The Sadhu: A Study in Mysticism and Practical Religion, by B. H. Streeter and A. J. Appasamy (Macmillan, 1921).] The Sadhu had left England, and any extensive correspondence with him seemed impracticable. Hence we had to rely upon a collection of printed and manuscript material, and on the recollections of our own personal intercourse with him and that of some other friends. That is to say, we were dependent on written documents supplemented by a certain amount of "oral tradition."

Our materials included two brief "lives" written in India, which to some extent overlapped. We had also three different collections of addresses, given by him in India, Ceylon, and Great Britain respectively, and various newspaper reports. Seeing that the Sadhu is in the habit of freely repeating the same story or parable on different occasions, the phenomenon of parallel versions of the same material frequently occurred. Thus the problem we had to solve was essentially that of combining into a single whole materials derived from a number of disconnected, independent, but to a large extent overlapping, sources. It was not, however, till the book was in proof that I realised that circumstances had forced us to devise ways of dealing with our materials having the closest analogy to those which criticism suggests were habitually employed by editors in antiquity.

  1. Our first step was to single out the central ideas and leading topics to which the Sadhu most frequently recurred; our next, to sort out roughly the materials from various sources under headings corresponding to these main ideas. Then we carefully rearranged and fitted together the sayings and parables collected under each several head in such a way as to present, in the Sadhu's own words, a coherent, connected, and as far as possible complete, account of his teaching on that particular topic. Thus almost every discourse in the book is an "agglomeration," containing material drawn from two or three different sources.
  2. The frequent occurrence in our sources of two and some­times three versions of the same story or saying presented us with a problem we could not avoid facing. The solution that seemed obvious was to select what seemed the freshest and most original version. But wherever an otherwise inferior version contained a detail or a phrase which, from our knowledge of Indian conditions or our interpretation of the character and philosophy of the man, seemed to us specially interesting or authentic, we worked this detail or phrase into the substance of the selected version. In other words, we "conflated" two, and occasionally even three, parallel accounts.
  3. For a variety of reasons, one of which was the desire not to swell the size of the book in view of the high cost of production, we decided not to reproduce the whole of our materials. Inevitably, in considering what to jettison, we were guided by our own feeling, or by the opinion of friends, as to which sections were the less interesting, valuable, or characteristic, and decided to omit these.
  4. Since the Sadhu's knowledge of English was limited, we considered ourselves free to amend the grammar and style wherever it seemed desirable, so long as we did not alter the sense.

Modern devices like an introduction, footnotes, and inverted commas enabled us to take our readers into our confidence as to our method, and to give references to original sources where anything depended on it. An ancient author was not expected to do this, and for purely mechanical reasons it would have been impossibly cumbrous with the ancient form of book. But the point I wish to bring out is how a personal experience has caused me to realise that given a multiplicity of sources some such editorial methods are forced upon an author who wishes to present the reader with a biographical portrait rather than a chaotic mass of disconnected obiter dicta.

To hint at a comparison, though it be only in regard to the mere mechanism of editing, between a work of one's own and a book of the Bible will seem, I fear, to some readers, to border on indecency. I conceive, however, that it is worthwhile to incur the risk of such a criticism in order to be able more firmly to substantiate a proposition on which I laid some stress in the Oxford Studies. It is really important for the ordinary man to realise that the use by the authors of our Gospels of editorial methods like "conflation" and "agglomeration" of sources does not necessarily impair, indeed under the circumstances it may well have been the best way to secure, an effective presentation of the total impression of our Lord's teaching. On this subject I venture to repeat some words I wrote thirteen years ago. [Oxford Studies, p. 226.]

"Insomuch as the loss of a single syllable which might throw a ray of light on any act or word of our Lord is to be regretted, we must regret that Q, and possibly some other early writings used by Matthew and Luke, have not been preserved unaltered and entire. Yet perhaps the loss is less than we may think. Who does not feel that St. Mark, the oldest of the Gospels we still have, is the one we could best spare? Without him we should miss the exacter details of a scene or two, a touch or two of human limitations in the Master, or of human infirmity in the Twelve, but it is not from him that we get the portrait of the Master that has been the inspiration of Christendom. A mechanical snapshot is for the realist a more reliable and correct copy of the original than a portrait by Rembrandt, but it cannot give the same impression of the personality behind. The presence of a great man, the magic of his voice, the march of his argument, have a mesmeric influence on those who hear, which is lost in the bare transcript of fragmentary sayings and isolated acts such as we find in Mark or Q. Later on, two great, though perhaps unconscious, artists, trained in the move­ment begun by the Master and saturated by His Spirit, retell the tale, idealise—if you will—the picture, but in so doing make us to realise something of the majesty and tenderness which men knew in Galilee.

"An instance will make this clear.
The realist may object that the Sermon on the Mount is not the sermon there delivered, but a mosaic of the more striking fragments of perhaps twenty discourses, and may approve rather of St. Mark or Q because there we have the fragments frankly as fragments. But on the hill or by the lake they were not listened to as scattered frag­ments but in the illuminating context, and behind the words was ever the speaker's presence.

'The multitude marvelled as they heard,'

says Mark in passages where Matthew's story leaves us cold. We turn to the arresting cadence of the Sermon on the Mount and it is no longer the multitude but we that marvel."


(A) Omissions from Mark

(N.B.—These lists do not include odd verses that add nothing material to the sense.)
[The lists of passages here given differ occasionally from the similar lists in my article on the Synoptic Problem in Peake's Commentary on the Bible.]

  1. The passages of Mark which are absent from both Matthew and Luke are: i.1; ii.27 ; iii.20-21; iv.26-29; vii.3-4 ; vii.32-37; viii.22-26; ix.29; ix.48-49; i.33-37; [But Matthew has similar matter, Mt.xxiv.42, xxv.13-15;   of. also .38-40, xix.12.] xiv.51-52; total, 31 verses.
  2. The passages of Mark which are absent from Matthew but present in Luke are: i.23-28; i.35-38; iv.21-24; [But Matthew has matter similar to Mk.iv.21, 22, 24 elsewhere, i.e. Mt.v.15, x.26, vii.2, and has already (Mt.i.9) given Mk.i.4 in the form in which it occurs in Mk.iv.9. Matthew places Mk.iv.25 a little earlier, Mt.i.12.] vi.30; ix.38-41; .40-44; total, 24 verses.
  3. The passages of Mark which, though present in Matthew, have no equivalent in Luke are: i.5-6; iv.33-34; vi.17-29; ix.10-13; ix.28-29; ix.43-47; x.1-10; x.35-41; xi.12-14, 20-22; xi.24; i.10, 18, 27, 32; xiv.26-28; [But for xiv.30 Luke in another context has an equivalent, Lk.x.34.] xv.3-5; total, 61 verses.
    To which must be added the long continuous passage of 74 verses, vi.45-viii.26, commonly spoken of as Luke's GREAT OMISSION.  As, however, the two miracles of gradual healing (vii.32-37 and viii.22-26) which Matthew also omits occur in this section of Mark, we must beware of counting these 11 verses twice over in estimating the total omissions by Luke from Mark. Thus the total of Luke's complete omissions will then amount to 155 verses.
  4. The passages of Mark—excluding the Passion story (i.e. Mk.xiv.17 ff. = Lk.x.14 ff.)—which do not appear in Luke in the same context as in Mark, but for which there is substituted a different version in another context, are: Mk.i.16-20, cf. Lk.v.1-11; iii.22-27, cf. Lk.xi.14-23; iii.28-30, cf. Lk..10 ; iv.30-32, cf. Lk.i.18-19; vi.1-6, cf. Lk.iv.16-30; viii.15, cf. Lk..1; ix.42, cf. Lk.xvii.2; ix.50, cf. Lk.xiv.34; x.11-12, cf. Lk.xvi.18; x.31, cf. Lk.i.30; x.42-45, cf. Lk.x.25-27; xi.23, cf. Lk.xvii.6; xi.25, cf. Lk.xi.4; .28-34, cf. Lk.x.25-28; i.15-16, cf. Lk.xvii.31; i.21-23, cf. Lk.xvii.23; xiv.3-9, cf. Lk.vii.36-50; [xv.16-20, cf. Lk.xi.11]; total, 58 verses. The Passion story in Mk.xiv.17-xvi. 8 contains 100 verses; at least 20 (perhaps over 30) of these appear in Luke, cf. p. 222. In the main Luke follows a non-Marcan source, but in many passages it is not possible to differentiate the two.

(B) The non-Marcan Parallels in Matthew and Luke

N.B.—Where Mark and Q overlap the reference to Mark is given within round brackets.   Where the version in Matthew is probably in the main not derived from Q the reference is within square brackets.

Luke Matthew Luke Matthew

iii.7-9, 16-17

= iii.7-10, 11-12 (cf. Mk.i.7-8).


= vi.25-33.


= iv.1-11 (cf. Mk.i.12-13).


= vi.19-21.


= v.[3-4, 6], 11-12.


= xxiv.43-51.

vi.27-33, 35-36

= [v.44, 39-40, 42; vii.12; v.46-47, 45, 48].


= x.34-36.

vi.37-38, 39-40, 41-42.

= vii.1-2, [xv.14; x.24-25]; vii.3-5.


= xvi.2-3 (om. B א 13 &c. Orig.).


= vii.16-18, 20; . 33-35.


= [v.25-26].


= [vii.21].


= i.31-32 (cf. Mk.iv.30-32).


= vii.24-27.


= i.33.


= viii.5-10, 13.


= [vii.13-14].

vii.18-20,22-28, 31-35.

= xi.2-11, 16-19.


= vii.22-23.


= viii.19-22.


= viii.11-12.


= ix.37-38.


= xi.37-39.


= x.16, 10a, 11-13, 10b, 7-8, 14-15 (cf.

xiv.11 = Lk. xviii. 14b.

= xi.12.


= xi.21-24.


= x.37-38  (cf. Mk. viii.34).


= xi.25-27.


= v.13(cf.Mk.ix.50).


= i.16-17.


= [xviii.12-14].


= [vi.9-13].


= vi.24.


= vii.7-11.


= xi.12-13.


= .22-27 (cf. Mk. iii.22-27).


= v.18.


= .43-45.


= v.32 (cf. Mk.x.11-12).


= .38-42 (cf. Mk.viii.12).


= xviii.6-7 (cf. Mk. ix.42).


= v.15 (cf. Mk.iv.21).


= [xviii.15, 21-22].


= vi.22-23.


= xvii.20 (cf. Mk.xi. 22-23).

xi.39-44, 46-48.

= xi.[25-26], 23, 6-7a, [27], 4, 29-31  (cf. Mk..38-40).


= xxiv.26-27 (cf. Mk.i.21).


= xi.34-36, 13.


= xxiv.37-39.


= x.26-33 (cf. Mk.iv.22,   hidden, and Mk.viii.38, ashamed).


= xxiv.40-41.


= .32 (nearer than Mk.iii.28-29).


= xxiv.28.



= [xix.28b].

To this list may be added the parables:
xix.1-27 (Pounds) =  [xxv.14-30] (cf.Mk.i.34) (Talents).

And the still more diverse
xiv. 15-24. (Great Supper) = [x. 1-10] (Marriage Feast).

(C) Passages peculiar to Matthew

i.-ii.; iii.14-15; iv.13-16, 23-25; v.1-2, 4-5, 7-10, 13a, 14, 16-17, 19-24, 27-28, 31-39a, 41, 43; vi.1-8, 10b, 13b, 16-18, 34; vii.6, 12b, 15, 19, 28a; viii.1, 5a, 17; ix.13a, 26-36; x.2a, 5b-8, 16b, 23, 25b, 36, 41; xi.1, 14, 20, 28-30; .5-7, 11-12a (cf. Lk.xiv.5), 17-23, 36-37, 45c; i.14-15, 18, 24-30, 35-53; xiv.28-31; xv.12-13, 23-25, 30-31; xvi.2b-3, llb-12, 17-19, 22b; xvii.6-7, 13, 24-27; xviii.3-4, 10, 14, 16-20, 23-35; xix.1a, 9-12, 28a; xx.1-16; xxi.4-5, 10-11, 14, 15b-16, 28-32 (cf. Lk.vii.29-30), 43; x.1-14, 33-34, 40; xi.1-3, 5, 7b-10, 15-22, 24, 28, 32-33; xxiv.10-12, 20, 30a; xxv.1-13, 31-46; xxvi.1, 44, 50, 52-54; xxvii.3-10, 19, 24-25, 36, 43, 51b-53, 62-66; xxviii.2-4, 11-20.

(D) Passages peculiar to Luke

[This list may be supplemented, for the very small Lucan additions, by that in Hawkins' Hor. Syn.2, p. 194 ff.]

i.-ii.; iii.1-2, 5-6, 10-14, 23-38 (cf. Mt.i.1-17); iv.13, 15; v.39; vi.24-26, 34; vii.3-6a, 11-17, 21, 29-30, 40-50; viii.1-3; ix.31-32, 43, 51-56, 61-62; x.1, 16 (cf. Mt.x.40), 17-20, 29-42; xi.1, 5-8, 12, 16, 27-28, 36-38, 40-41, 45, 53-54; .13-21, 32-33a, 35-38 (cf. Mt.xxv.1-13), 41, 47-50, 52, 54-57 (cf. Mt.xvi.2-3); i. 1-5, 6-9 (cf. Mk.xi.12-14), 10-17, 22-23, 25-27 (cf. Mt.xxv.11-12), 31-33; xiv.1-14, 15-24 (cf. Mt.x.2-10), 28-33; xv.1-2, 7-32 ; xvi.1-12, 14-15, 19-31; xvii.7-22, 25-29, 32; xviii.l-13a, 34; xix.1-10, 11-27 (cf. Mt.xxv.14-30), 39-44; xx.34-35a, 36b, 38b; xxi.19-20, 22, 24, 26a, 28, 34-38; x.15-18, 28-30a, 31-32, 35-38, 43-44, 48-49, 51, 53b, 61a, 68, 70; xi.2, 4-12, 13-19 (cf. Mk.xv.6-9), 27-32, 34a, 36, 39-43, 46b, 48, 51a, 53b-54, 56b; xxiv.10-53.