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 VIII


Home | Synopsis | diagram – the synoptic sources | Luke's disuse of Mark | the composite document (Q + L) | the reconstruction of Proto-Luke | authorship & tendency | additional note | list of MSS | (pages 199-222)


Luke's disuse of Mark

Hawkins showed that in the great Central Section of Luke, ix.51-xviii.14, and also in the section vi.20-viii.3, which he called respectively the GREAT and the LESSER INTERPOLATIONS, Luke deserts Mark. The material in these blocks is derived either from Q or from a source peculiar to Luke, which may be styled L. The section xix.1-27 is a third block of similar character.

Once, however, we grasp the full implication of the fact that Q as well as Mark contained an account of John's Preaching, the Baptism and the Temptation, it becomes evident that the section Lk.iii.1-iv.30 constitutes yet another example of Luke's DISUSE of Mark. Again, Luke's account of the Resurrection Appearances is wholly, his account of the Passion mainly, derived from a non-Marcan source. But, if the Gospel began and ended with non-Marcan material, is not "interpolation" the wrong word to use of the other non-Marcan passages mentioned above? The distribution of Marcan and non-Marcan sections suggests rather the hypothesis that the non-Marcan material formed the framework into which extracts from Mark were "interpolated" by the editor of the Gospel.

the composite document (Q + L)

Our hypothesis implies that the editor of the Gospel found Q, not in its original form, but embodied in a much larger document (Q + L), which was in fact a complete Gospel, somewhat longer than Mark. Summary statement of facts, which tell in favour of this hypothesis. It would appear that, though Luke valued Mark highly, he regarded the document Q + L as his primary authority; when this and Mark contained alternative versions of the same incident or saying, he usually preferred that of Q + L. This document Q + L may be styled "Proto-Luke."

the reconstruction of proto-Luke

Certain passages in Luke, besides the five considerable sections discussed above, were probably derived from Proto-Luke. Some of these can be identified with practical certainty, others are more doubtful.

authorship and tendency

The existence of Proto-Luke a scientific hypothesis which, up to a point, is capable of verification; its authorship a matter of conjecture.

The "tendency" of Proto-Luke seems to be identical with that of the author of the third Gospel and of the Acts, and that whether we consider the first or the second part of the Acts. This suggests the view that Luke himself may have been the person who originally combined Q and L, and then, at some subsequent date, produced an enlarged edition of his earlier work by incorporating large extracts from Mark and prefixing an account of the Infancy.

Whatever view be held as to authorship, Proto-Luke appears to be a document independent of Mark and approximately of the same date—a conclusion of considerable moment to the historian.



[The main argument of this chapter appeared in an article in the Hibbert Journal for October 1921, certain extracts from which (with the kind permission of the Editor) are reprinted here along with much fresh material.]

Luke's disuse of Mark

IN the study of the Synoptic Problem, next in importance to the fundamental discovery of the use of Mark by Matthew and Luke, I would place the conclusion that Q and Mark overlapped. This conclusion, we have seen, is in no way dependent on the exact content we give to the symbol Q. The essential fact stands that the source (or sources) of the non-Marcan material common to Matthew and Luke whatever its (or their) exact nature or extent, or in whatever form or forms it lay before them respectively contained certain items which also appear in Mark but in a different version.

Closely related to this is a further conclusion, partly anticipated by previous writers, but most completely demonstrated by Sir John Hawkins, in an essay in the Oxford Studies, "Three Limitations to St. Luke's Use of St. Mark's Gospel." Sir John there pointed out that, whereas over a large part of his Gospel Luke is clearly reproducing the story of Mark, not only in substance and in order, but with the closest verbal agreements, there are two large tracts, viz. - viii.3 and Lk.ix.51-xviii.14, in which he makes no use of Mark at all, or, at most, derives from him a few odd verses. He further shows that in yet another great tract of the Gospel, the section beginning with the Last Supper (Lk.x.14) and ending with the discovery of the Empty Tomb (Lk.xxiv.12), the relation of the Lucan to the Marcan story in regard to substance, order, and verbal parallelism is entirely different from that in the other sections where Luke appears to be using Mark.

I propose in this chapter to take up the investigation at the point at which Sir John laid it down, and I hope to establish a conclusion which may not only advance one step further the solution of the interesting critical problem of the literary relations of the first three Gospels, but which has also, if I mistake not, an important bearing on the question of the historical evidence for the Life of Christ.

In the Passion narrative Luke recounts several important incidents not mentioned at all by Mark; but there are, on the reckoning of Sir J. Hawkins, some 123 verses of Luke which in substance have a parallel in Mark. But whereas elsewhere in the Gospel where such parallelism exists 53% of Luke's words are found in Mark, in this section the percentage falls to 27. And since in some 20 out of the 123 verses in question the resemblance of Luke to Mark, both in the structure of sentences and in verbal similarities, is very close, the average for the remainder is much less than this 27%. Besides this there are no less than twelve variations in the order in which incidents are recorded by Mark and Luke. Lastly, whereas the additions which Matthew makes to Mark are clearly detachable from the context, those made by Luke are not; they are woven into the structure of the narrative [Cf. Oxford Studies, pp. 78-80.] in such a way that they cannot be removed without reducing the story to confusion. The conclusion to which these facts point, Sir John himself hesitates to draw. It is that Luke is in the main reproducing an account of the Passion parallel to, but independent of, Mark, and enriching it with occasional insertions from Mark. But various other authorities have drawn the conclusion. The most elaborate attempt to work it out in detail is perhaps that of the American scholar, Mr. A. M. Perry. [A. M. Perry, The Sources of Luke's Passion Narrative (University of Chicago), 1920. As long ago as 1891 P. Feine, Eine vorkanonische Ueberlieferung des Lukas, elaborated a theory that implied something of the sort.]

The section contains
the Sermon on the Plain,
the Centurion's Servant,
the Widow of Nain,
John's Message,
the Anointing,
the parable in the house of the Pharisee,
and a brief mention of a preaching tour with the names of the ministering women. Clearly Luke is not indebted to Mark for any of this; on the contrary, it is fairly clear that the reason why in the account of the last week at Jerusalem he omits the Anointing at Bethany recorded by Mark is that he has previously related this somewhat different story of an Anointing in Galilee.

The section Lk.ix.51-xviii.14 is the centre and core of the Third Gospel.
It occupies 25 out of the 80 pages of Luke in the Greek Testament before me, and it contains most of the parables and narrative peculiar to Luke as well as about half of the material in Luke, which can plausibly be assigned to Q. It is often spoken of as "The Peraean section." This is a misnomer. Mark represents our Lord's last journey to Jerusalem as having been through Peraea on the east of Jordan, but there is absolutely no hint of this in Luke. On the contrary, the way in which allusions to Samaria and Samaritans are introduced in this section suggests that he conceived of the journey as being through Samaria. [Of course the most direct route from Galilee to Jerusalem would be through Samaria. The roundabout route on the east of Jordan was preferred by Galilean pilgrims on account of the religious hostility of the Samaritans. If, as the Fourth Gospel represents, our Lord visited Jerusalem more than once. He may, at different times, have used both routes.] But the geographical notices are of the vaguest. Some scholars have spoken of this section of the Gospel as "the travel document." This is, from the critical standpoint, an even more dangerously misleading title, as it implies that this section once existed as a separate document. The only safe name by which one can call it is the CENTRAL SECTION a title that states a fact but begs no questions.

Sir John Hawkins shows that in this Central Section Luke makes no use, or practically no use, of Mark. It includes versions of the Beelzebub Controversy and the parable of the Mustard Seed, but these are from Q. It includes the Great Commandment in a version which has some few points of agreement with Matthew against Mark and may therefore be from Q, but which is at any rate strikingly different from Mark's in particular in placing the Great Commandment itself in the mouth of the scribe and not of our Lord. It includes also seven short sayings, which form "doublets" with sayings found elsewhere in Luke in contexts derived from Mark. [For details and full discussion cf. Oxford Studies, pp. 35-41.]

In at least five of these the version of the saying found in the context of Luke derived from Mark is very much closer to the Marcan form than is the version found in Luke's Central Section. An author may always think one or two particular sayings so important as to be worth repeating, but where such repetition occurs several times the "doublets" are presumptive evidence of the use of parallel sources. There are also nine say­ings of one verse each having a general resemblance to sayings also found in Mark and in Matthew. In several of these the versions in Matthew and Luke agree together against Mark in a way which suggests that Luke's version is really derived from Q; in all there are notable divergences between the Lucan and Marcan versions. The conclusion to be drawn from these facts is that, while there is no reason to believe that Luke would have religiously avoided introducing an odd saying or a word or two from Mark in his Central Section, yet as a matter of fact he has done so, if at all, to an extent that is practically negligible.

Sir John named the two sections ( and ix.51-xviii.14), in regard to which he proved Luke's "disuse of Mark," respectively THE LESSER INTERPOLATION and THE GREAT INTERPOLATION. Each of them, as we have seen, contains material, which, as it occurs also in Matthew, we may assign to Q, mixed up with material peculiar to Luke. This latter material it will be convenient to speak of as L. But there is a third section (Lk.xix.1-27), differing from these only in the matter of length, to which by parity of nomenclature there might be given the name "the third interpolation." It contains the story of Zacchaeus, which is L, and the parable of the Pounds. Harnack and others, from the close resemblance of this last to Matthew's parable of the Talents, are inclined to assign this parable to Q. In that case THE THIRD INTERPOLATION is also a mixture of Q and L material, though that is not a point to which much significance attaches.

But, and here I come to a point fundamental to my argument, there is yet another considerable section in Luke (Lk.iii.1-iv.30), compiled like these out of Q and L material. It comprises an account of John's Preaching, the Baptism, the Genealogy, the Temptation, and the Rejection at Nazareth. In this section, just as in the "great interpolation," there are indeed a few points of contact with Mark; but closer examination makes it evident that the majority of these passages are not likely to have been actually derived from Mark. For it is certain that Q, as well as Mark, had an account of John's Preaching, the Baptism and the Temptation (cf. p. 186 ff.), and that Luke is in the main reproducing that of Q; also it is clear that Luke's account of the Rejection of Nazareth is quite different from Mark's. Once these facts are grasped, we must ask whether the "disuse of the Marcan source," which was demonstrated by Hawkins in regard to the "interpolations," may not be a principle which is equally applicable to the section iii.1-iv.30.

The number of verses in this section of Luke which contain anything at all closely resembling Mark are very few (Lk.iii.3-4; iii.16, 21-22; iv.1-2). The first is the most striking; for Luke agrees with Mark against Matthew (who therefore probably here represents Q) in reading

the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Lk.iii.3)

instead of

repent ye,
for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Mt.iii.2).

Mark's phrase (which occurs also in Acts ii.38) may well in this case have seemed to Luke an improvement on that of Q. On the other hand, the application to John the Baptist (Lk.iii.4) of the prophecy in Isaiah,

The voice of one crying in the wilderness,

was probably a piece of primitive Christian apologetic ante­cedent to all written documents, and therefore probably stood in Q as well as in Mark. The probability is slightly enhanced by the fact that Matthew and Luke concur in giving this quotation alone, without that from Malachi, which Mark prefixes.

If the other passages (Lk.iii.16, 21-22, iv.1-2) are examined two things will be found.

  1. The rest of the Q material that appears in both Matthew and Luke is not self-explanatory without these words; and Q must have included either them or something more or less equivalent.
  2. In every case there are notable verbal agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark, which show that they derived the words which stand in Mark, as well as those which do not, partly, if not wholly, from Q.

The saying

he shall baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire

is the only one in Luke where it is likely that Mark influences him.
In this case it is possible that the contrast, as the saying stood in Q, was between baptism by water and by fire. In Mark it is between baptism by water and by the Spirit. If so, it would appear that neither Matthew nor Luke liked to dispense with either expression, and conflated the two versions. The conflation is such an obvious one that it would be quite likely they should both make it independently. It is remarkable that, whereas Mk.i.14 says that Jesus after the Temptation went into Galilee, Matthew and Luke agree in mentioning that He went first of all to Nazareth (Mt.iv.13, Lk.iv.16). Still more remarkable, they both agree in using the form Nazara which occurs nowhere else in the New Testament. It would look as if Q, which clearly had a word or two of narrative introduction to John's Preaching and the Temptation, had a brief notice of the change of scene in which the name Nazara occurred. This would also explain why in the Lucan version the story of the Rejection at Nazareth is inserted in this context or rather it would justify the insertion, placing as the opening incident of the ministry a story which the author evidently regards as symbolising in little the whole course of Israel's rejection of Christ and His religion. We infer, then, that Lk.iv.14-15, which has hardly any points of verbal agreement with Mark, except in the unavoidable proper names Jesus and Galilee, was derived from Q, not Mark.

Lastly, it is hardly likely that Luke would have ignored Mk.i.6 (camel's hair, locusts and wild honey), and i.13b,

and the angels ministered unto him,

if he had been following Mark as his principal source.
Accordingly, we conclude that the indebtedness of Luke to Mark in the section iii.1-iv.30 is so small that, for practical purposes, the section may fairly be classed with the three previously mentioned as an example of Luke's "disuse" of Mark.

Connect this with another observation.
The account of the Resurrection Appearances, which forms the conclusion of Luke's Gospel, must have come from a non-Marcan source. It cannot have been taken from the lost ending of Mark, for it only records Appearances in Jerusalem, instead of the Appearance in Galilee which Mark's original conclusion evidently recorded. Also it is led up to by an account of the Last Supper and Passion, which, as we have seen, differs so considerably from the Marcan in substance and in the relative order of events, and which resembles Mark so much less than usual in its actual wording, that it looks as if it were derived in the main from an independent source.

At once there leaps to the mind the suggestion, surely "inter­polation" was quite the wrong title to give to any of these non-Marcan blocks. Taken all together they are much larger in extent than the sections derived from Mark. From them comes the beginning, and from them also comes the end, of the Gospel. Suppose, then, they stood all together in a single document this would form something very like a complete Gospel, opening with the Preaching of John and ending with the Resurrection Appearances. But, if so, it is not the non-Marcan sections, it is those derived from Mark, which should be styled the 'interpolations.' We are on the verge of a conclusion of the first importance. At least we are compelled to test the hypothesis that the non-Marcan sections represent a single document, and to Luke this was the framework into which he inserted, at convenient places, extracts from Mark. If so, there is an essential difference in the way in which the authors of the First and of the Third Gospels use Mark. To Matthew, Mark is the primary source and provides the framework into which matter from other sources is inserted. To Luke the non-Marcan source is the more primary authority. To it he prefixes chaps, i. and ii. as an introduction, and into the framework which it provides he fits materials derived from Mark.

the composite document (Q + L)

The hypothesis I propose in no way conflicts with the generally accepted view that Matthew and Luke are ultimately dependent not only on Mark but on Q—meaning by Q a single written source. Most, if not all, of the agreements of Matthew and Luke, where Mark is absent, are, I think, to be referred to Q; but I desire to interpolate a stage between Q and the editor of the Third Gospel. I conceive that what this editor had before him was, not Q in its original form which, I hold, included hardly any narrative and no account of the Passion but Q+L, that is, Q embodied in a larger document, a kind of GOSPEL in fact, which I will call PROTO-LUKE. This Proto-Luke would have been slightly longer than Mark, and about one-third of its total contents consisted of materials derived from Q.

The hypothesis of a Proto-Luke was suggested in the first instance by the observation that in the Third Gospel Marcan and non-Marcan materials are distributed, as it were, in alternate stripes, and that both the beginning and the end of the Gospel belong, not to the Marcan, but to the non-Marcan strain. It is fortified by a consideration of the comparative extent of the material derived from the two sources. If we leave out of account the story of the Passion from the Last Supper onwards, since from this point it is often difficult to be sure what comes from Mark and what from elsewhere, we find that the non-Marcan material between iii.1 and x.14 amounts to at least 671 verses, while the extracts from Mark total only 346, even if we assign all doubtful cases to the Marcan source (Lk.x.14). In the Passion and Resurrection story the non-Marcan elements may be roughly estimated as 135 verses, those probably derived from Mark at perhaps not more than 30.

Luke iii.1 opens with an elaborate chronological statement:

In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius,
when Pontius Pilate was ...
the word of the Lord came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.

This surely reads I owe the observation to a conversation with Sir J. Hawkins as if it was originally written as the opening section of a book. The impression is strengthened by the curious position of the genealogy of our Lord (iii.23). If the last editor of the Gospel had inserted this, we should have expected to find it, like the genealogy in Matthew, somewhere in chaps, i. or ii. in connection with the account of the Birth and Infancy. If, however, it was originally inserted in a book that only began with Lk.iii.1, its position is explained; for it occurs immediately after the first mention of the name Jesus.

A further reason for supposing that Luke found the Q and the L elements in the non-Marcan sections already combined into a single written source is to be derived from a consideration of the way in which he deals with incidents or sayings in Mark, which he rejects in favour of other versions contained either in the Q or in the L elements of that source.

Of the most conspicuous of these,
two, the Beelzebub Con­troversy (Mk.iii.22 ff., cf. Lk.xi.14-23) and the Mustard Seed (Mk.iv.30 ff., cf. Lk.i.18-19), must be assigned to Q;
two, the Rejection at Nazareth ( ff., cf. Lk.iv.16-30) and the Anointing (Mk.xiv.3 ff., cf. Lk.vii.36 ff.), belong to L;
and one, the Great Commandment (Mk..28 ff., cf. Lk.x.25-28), may be from either Q or L. If we look up these passages in Mark in a Synopsis of the Gospels and notice the incidents which immediately precede and follow them, we shall see that Luke reproduces everything else in the neighbourhood from Mark in the original order, but that he simply omits Mark's account of these incidents. The alternative versions that he gives are always given in a completely different context presumably, then, their context in the source from which he took them. Of special significance in this regard is the context in which he places the story of the Anointing. Mark gives an Anointing at Bethany the day before the Last Supper; Luke omits this, but gives an Anointing by a woman that was a sinner in Galilee. That Luke, with his special interest in repentant sinners, should have preferred the version he gives is quite explicable; but his desertion of the Marcan context is unintelligible if the version he substitutes was a floating tradition attached to no particular occasion. His proceeding is quite explicable if the version substituted stood along with the other matter with which Luke connects it in a written document which Luke on the whole preferred to Mark.

In the instances just quoted, the non-Marcan version is a fuller and more interesting version. But there are other cases where the contrary seems true. If we compare the saying in Luke about Salt (Lk.xiv.34) with that in Mark (ix.49-50); or Mark's long discussion of Divorce (Mk.x.2-12) with the single verse in Luke (Lk.xvi.18); or the two versions of the saying contrasting the Rulers of the Gentiles and the Son of Man (Mk.x.42-45, Lk.x.25-27), we shall see that every time Mark's version is the more vigorous and interesting. It would look, then, as if Luke's preference is for the non-Marcan source as a whole, not merely for particular items in it on account of their intrinsic merit.

Luke's preference of his non-Marcan source to Mark, so far at least as the Q element in that source is concerned, may be further shown by a comparison with Matthew. We have already seen that when Mark and Q overlap, Matthew carefully conflates the two; e.g. in the account of John the Baptist, of the Temptation, and of the Beelzebub Controversy, he gives, not only the Q account, but certain details which occur only in Mark (Mt.iii.4 = Mk.i.6; Mt.iv.llb = Mk.i.13b; Mt..31 = Mk.iii.28). Luke, on the other hand, appears either to discard the Marcan version altogether, or to take over only a few words. Again, when Q and Mark overlap, Matthew is in sharp contrast to Luke in preferring the context in which the saying occurs in Mark; the Beelzebub Controversy and the Mustard Seed may be instanced. But perhaps the best illustration of the difference in their method is the conflation by Matthew (x.1 ff.) of the Charge to the Seventy (Lk.x.1-10) with Mark's Charge to the Twelve ( ff.), as contrasted with Luke's presentation of the same material as two distinct episodes.

But a similar preference by Luke of the non-Marcan source may be detected in regard to the L as well as the Q element in that source. In the Passion story Luke not only rearranges the Marcan order some twelve times, he also three times substitutes the non-Marcan for the Marcan representation on important points of fact. He speaks of a mocking by Herod, not by the soldiers of Pilate; he makes the trial take place in the morning instead of at night; and, most conspicuous of all, makes Jerusalem rather than Galilee the scene of the Resurrection Appearances.

It would look, then, as if Luke tends to prefer the non-Marcan to the Marcan version, and this whether it be the longer or the shorter, and whether it belongs to that element in the source which we can further analyse as being ultimately derived from Q or from the element which we call L. But such a preference, especially where it is a preference in regard to the order of events, is much more explicable if Q and L were already combined into a single document. For the two in combination would make a book distinctly longer than Mark, and would form a complete Gospel. Such a work might well seem to Luke a more important and valuable authority than Mark. But this would not be true of either Q or L in separation. The conclusion, then, that Q + L lay before the author of the Third Gospel as a single document and that he regarded this as his principal source appears to be inevitable.

This last argument has been impugned on the ground that, while we can observe all cases where Luke has preferred his other source to Mark, we do not know, since Luke's other source or sources are lost, that he may not as often have discarded their version in favour of Mark's. It is, I concede, quite possible that in some cases Luke thought Mark's version superior, and therefore omitted the non-Marcan version. I am not concerned to prove that Luke thought meanly of Mark as an authority had he done that he would not have incorporated two-thirds of it nor yet that he always preferred the non-Marcan version. My point is, firstly, that the frequency of his preference, and especially the fact that it extends to matters of order, is explicable only if the non-Marcan material formed a complete Gospel so considerable as to seem worthy not only of being compared with, but even of being preferred to, Mark. Secondly, for the verifiable reason that Luke derives about twice as much from Proto-Luke as he does from Mark, I beg leave to think that Luke regards this as his principal source; in which case it is probable that he would prefer it to Mark more frequently than vice versa.

Collateral evidence that the Q and L material had been combined before the editor of the Third Gospel used them can be found in the use of the style ὁ κύριος, "the Lord," instead of the simple name Jesus in narrative. This usage is not found at all in Matthew and Mark [In Mt.xxviii.6 it is found in the T.R., but is omitted by B א 33, Θ, Syr. S., e.]; though it is found twice in the spurious conclusion of Mark (xvi.19, 20). It occurs 5 times in John. In Luke it occurs 14 times, or, if we accept the, probably here correct, reading of the T.R. (om. B L T) in x.31, 15 times. But the striking fact is that while it never appears in passages clearly derived by Luke from Mark, the 15 instances are divided between sections derived from Q and from L in numbers roughly proportionate to the extent of matter derived from each of these sources. Seven occurrences are in material clearly from L (vii.13; x.39, 41; i.15; xviii.6; xix.8; x.31); 4 are connected with matter certainly from Q (vii.19; x.1; xi.39; .42); 2 (xvii.5, 6) are connected with a saying, which may be either L or Q. The remaining 2 occur in one verse (x.61),

The Lord turned and looked upon Peter.
And Peter remembered the word of the Lord,
how he said unto him ...

The first half of the verse is peculiar to Luke, the second half may be from Mark. In that case it is the one exception to the rule that the phrase does not occur where Luke is copying Mark, but it is one readily explained by assimilation of the "Jesus" that stood in Mark to "the Lord" in the previous sentence ancient taste rather avoided the practice, dear to the modern reporter, of alluding to the same person in the same context by two different names or descriptions.

A similar but no less significant phenomenon is the use of the title in the Vocative in personal address to Jesus.
Κύριε, "Lord," though common in Matthew (19 times), only occurs once in Mark, and that on the lips of the Syrophenician.
πιστάτα is peculiar to Luke. Luke has κύριε 16 times; 14 of these are in the sections assigned to Proto-Luke, only 2 in those derived from Mark. And there is something notable about each of these two exceptional cases. In the first (Lk.v.12) the addition of κύριε may be suspected as a textual assimilation to Matthew, since it makes a minor agreement of Matthew and Luke against Mark. In the second (Lk.xviii.41) it is substituted for ῥαβουνεί, a more impressive form of ῥαββεί, which is only used once in Mark and once in John. Luke, it may be noted, avoids all Hebrew words; he never uses ῥαββεί. Of the 14 cases of κύριε in non-Marcan passages, 8 are L, 6 are in the midst of, or in the (possibly editorial) introductions to, Q sayings. That is to say, this use of κύριε, if not conspicuously characteristic of both elements of the sources of Proto-Luke, must be due to a hand that combined them before they were further combined with matter derived from Mark. [I have to thank Miss M. J. M'Nab of Edinburgh for kind assistance in collecting some further statistics of linguistic usage. The results obtained, though in general confirmatory of the Proto-Luke hypothesis, were not sufficiently striking to be worth quoting as evidence. This, so far as it goes, favours the view maintained below that Q and L were originally combined by the same editor as the one who subsequently united Q + L with Mark to form our present Gospel.]

Finally, the hypothesis that Proto-Luke was Luke's main source explains why Luke omits so much more of the contents of Mark's Gospel than Matthew does; in particular if the view (cf. p. 176 ff.) that Luke used a mutilated copy of Mark be rejected it would account for the so-called "great omission,", which linguistic statistics [Oxford Studies, pp. 61 ff.] show clearly was an original part of Mark. To Luke, Mark was a supplementary source, from which, if pressed for space, he would refrain from extracting material, which seemed to him of sub­ordinate interest.
[Various reasons why most of the matter in this section of Mark would be likely to appeal to Luke as of inferior interest are suggested in Oxford studies, pp. 67-74 and p. 223.]

the reconstruction of proto-luke

Granted the existence of Proto-Luke a kind of half-way house between Collections of Sayings, like Q, and the biographical type of Gospel of which Mark was the originator it is probable that Luke derived from it some other sections of his Gospel besides the four large blocks iii.1-iv.30, vi.20-viii.3, ix.51-xviii.14, xix.1-27, and the greater part of the Passion and Resurrection story. We must almost certainly assign to it the Call of Peter and the Sons of clearly non-Marcan Zebedee (v.1-11), and also the list of the Apostles (vi.14-16), since the names given are not quite the same as in Mark. In that case the brief summary, Lk.iv.14-15, the Rejection of Nazareth, the Call of the Three, the names of the Twelve, no doubt with a word or two of connection, would have formed in Proto-Luke the transition, a very natural and appropriate one, between the Temptation story and the Sermon on the Plain. Unless Luke has omitted something to make room for Marcan material the account of the Galilean ministry in Proto-Luke must have concluded with the residue of the "lesser interpolation," ending Lk.viii.3. The Central Section, though vague in its geographical setting, seems, as already noted, to be conceived of as a slow progress towards Jerusalem, apparently through Samaria. The shorter passage (xix.1-27), dated at Jericho, would follow on naturally [I think it possible xix.28 may have stood in Proto-Luke.].  A little later, in a section otherwise derived from Mark, Luke inserts the Lament over Jerusalem (xix.41-44). But the mention of the Mount of Olives, a note of place with other details not found in Mark, in Lk.xix.37-40 suggests that Proto-Luke may have contained a version of the Triumphal Entry of which these verses are a fragment. The last four verses of the Apocalyptic discourse, xxi.5-36, and possibly some others (e.g. 18) which do not occur in the parallel in Mk.i., may be from this same source.

Some scholars have argued the influence of a source parallel to Mark in some of the minor variants of Luke in other places where his narrative is clearly, in the main, derived from Mark, as for instance in the additions made in Luke's version of the Transfiguration, ix.28-30, and of the reply to the Sadducees about the Resurrection, xx.34-38, or in details such as the mention of Satan (x.3) or of the names Peter and John (x.8). But additions of this kind, as well as, at any rate, the majority of Luke's divergences from Mk.i. in his Apocalyptic chap, xxi., are well within the limits of editorial conjecture or inference from the context. They are not enough to justify the assertion that Proto-Luke contained a parallel version of these sections of Mark, though it is not impossible that this was the case.

The disentanglement of the elements derived from Mark and from Proto-Luke respectively in the section x.14 to the end of the Gospel is in points of detail highly speculative. Luke writes in a literary style, he is not a mere "scissors and paste" compiler of sources. Besides, two independent accounts of a story of which the outstanding episodes are a farewell Supper, a Trial, and a Crucifixion, could not but each contain certain sections in which precisely the same incident was described, and where the words employed, "accuse," "scourge," "crucify," would be determined as much by the necessary vocabulary of the subject matter as by the taste of a writer. But, if the general position that Luke preferred Proto-Luke to Mark is correct, we are entitled to approach the question with the preliminary assumption that everything after Lk.x.14 is derived from Proto-Luke, except those verses which there are special reasons for assigning to Mark on account of their close verbal resemblance to Mark and the possibility of their being detached from the context without spoiling the general sense. This assumption is fortified by the observation of the re­markable variations in order between Mark and Luke, which suggest that Luke is in the main following his non-Marcan source.

Hawkins [Oxford Studies, p. 77.] selects the following passages as closest to Mark in the smaller structure of the sentence as well as in actual wording: Lk.x.18, 22, 42, 46, 47, 52 f., 54b, 61, 71; Lk.xi. 22, 26, 34b, 44 f., 46, 52 f.; Lk.xxiv. 6a. Others which may possibly be derived from Mark are Lk.x.33-34a, 55 f., 59 f., 69: xi.3, 25, 33, 35, 38, 49, 51; also xxiv.6b, clearly an adaptation of Mk.xvi.7. But even of the passages in Hawkins' list two (Lk.x.61; xi.46) are conflated with material from some other source. But, taking Hawkins' list as repre­senting the minimum of what Luke derived from Mark, we note that it includes nearly all the passages which deal with Peter's Denial and the incident of Simon of Cyrene carrying the Cross. I incline to think Luke's non-Marcan source did not contain these incidents. Its account of the actual Crucifixion, and probably also of the Entombment, seems to have been quite brief possibly little more than a bare statement of the facts so that from xi.33 to xxiv.10a Luke reverses his ordinary procedure and makes Mark his main source. [The most thorough attempt I know to unravel Luke's sources is The Sources of Luke's Passion Narrative, A. M. Perry (Chicago, 1920).]

In framing our mental picture of Proto-Luke as practically a Gospel, giving a story parallel with Mark's, from the Preaching of John to the Passion and Resurrection, we have noted numerous cases where the two writings give divergent versions of what is clearly the same event, parable, or saying. To complete the picture we must add three cases which should probably be viewed, not so much as different versions of the same incident, but as similar stories told in order to bring out the same kind of moral. Such are the two examples of our Lord's "breaking the Sabbath" by works of healing (Lk.i.10-17, xiv.1-6), to be compared to the two slightly different stories told for a similar purpose by Mark (ii.23-iii.6) or by John (v.1-18); and the command to show themselves to the priest an illustration, in the contrary sense, of our Lord's attitude to the Law in connection with two quite different stories of Cleansing Lepers in Mark and in Luke (Mk.i.44, Lk.xvii.14); or the two occasions on which His claim to forgive sins is challenged (Lk.vii.48-49, cf. Mk.ii.7 = Lk.v.21). Lastly, may not the Mission of the Seventy (Lk.x.1 ff.) and the parable of the Barren Fig Tree (Lk.i.6-9) be parallel versions of Mark's Mission of the Twelve and Cursing of the Fig Tree?

authorship and tendency

We proceed to ask the question, Can we in any way determine the date and authorship of Proto-Luke?

I think we can.
But before putting forward a suggestion on this point I must emphasise that it is put forward only as a suggestion. The existence of Proto-Luke is, I claim, a scientific hypothesis which is, to a considerable extent, capable of verification; and since it was put forward in my article in the Hibbert Journal, it has received the adhesion of not a few New Testament scholars. But the suggestion I make as to its authorship is one that, from the nature of the case, does not admit either of verification or refutation to anything like the same extent.

I suggest that the author of Proto-Luke the person, I mean, who combined together in one document Q and the bulk of the material peculiar to the Third Gospel was no other than LUKE, the companion of Paul. And I suggest that this same Luke some years afterwards expanded his own early work by prefixing the stories of the Infancy and by inserting extracts from Mark no doubt at the same time making certain minor alterations and additions. For reasons summarised in the last chapter of this volume, I hold that the author of the Third Gospel and the Acts was Luke the companion of Paul, who kept the diary which forms the basis of the so-called WE SECTIONS or TRAVEL DOCUMENT in the latter part of Acts. But if Luke wrote the Acts twenty years or so later than the events with which it ends and I cannot personally accept an earlier date there were at least two periods of literary activity in his life. There was the period when, while in attendance on Paul, he wrote the "travel document," and a later period when, years after the Apostle's death, he embodied this early sketch into a larger and maturer history. The suggestion I make is that what is true of the Acts is also true of the Gospel. Luke during the two years he was at Caesarea in the company of Paul made good use of his opportunities of collecting information and made copious notes. [For evidence that in certain respects Luke's account of the Trial of our Lord is superior to Mark's, see H. Danby, J.T.S., Oct. 1919, p. 61 ft On the Trial before Herod, cf. Oxford Studies, p. 229 ff.]  Later on, probably not till after the death of Paul, a copy of Q came his way, and on the basis of this and his own notes he composed Proto-Luke as a Gospel for the use of the Church in the place where he was then living. Still later a copy of Mark came his way, and he then produced the second and enlarged edition of his Gospel that has come down to us.

The main reason for supposing the author of the Third Gospel and the Acts to be the same person as the author of Proto-Luke is that the "tendency," that is, the interest and point of view evinced in the selection of incidents, the emphasis laid on them, and the general presentation of Christianity and its history which we find in the two works, is exactly the same throughout. The special tastes, sympathies, and characteristics of the author are equally conspicuous in the parts of the Gospel derived from Proto-Luke, in those which we must attribute to the editor of the whole, in the first part of Acts, in the "we sections," and in the final editor of Acts.

Thus the author of the "we sections" tells us that he stayed two years in Caesarea, which had once been the capital of the Herod dynasty; a special knowledge of, and interest in, the Herods, is found both in Proto-Luke and in the first part of Acts. He stayed in the house of Philip, the evangelist of Samaria; an interest in Samaria and Samaritans a notable feature of Proto-Luke appears in the selection of materials (whoever made it) in the first part of Acts, and in the final editor by whom, of course, the Preface to the Acts was written.

The desire to represent Christ as the Saviour of the world, accepted by Gentiles but rejected by His own people, is the main theme of the Acts, witness the Preface, the whole development of the history as related with special emphasis on each stage in opening the Gospel to a wider field to a eunuch, to Samaritans, to Cornelius a proselyte, to pagans and the fact that it ends on the last words of Paul,

We go to the Gentiles,
they will hear.

Similarly the editor of Luke (or Proto-Luke) carries on some lines further the quotation from Isaiah which he found in Mark or Q in order to reach the words

all flesh shall see the salvation of God;

he traces the genealogy of Christ, not (like Matthew) to Abraham the father of Israel, but to Adam the father of all men; he records as the Master's final commission (xxiv.47) the command to go to the Gentiles; most significant of all, he narrates, as if it were the first act of our Lord's ministry, the Rejection of Nazareth (though he knew it was not the first, since he alludes to previous miracles in Capernaum), because it seemed to him to sum up the history of the Christian message the prophet has honour, but not in his own country; and just as Elijah and Elisha had been sent, not to the widows or the lepers of Israel, but to her of Zarepta and to Naaman the Syrian, so it had been with the Christ Himself.

Again, what to the historian is one of the weak points of Luke, his preferring the more to the less miraculous of the two versions of a story laid before him, is characteristic both of the editor and his sources. Thus Luke or Proto-Luke adds to the account of the descent at the Baptism of the Spirit as a dove the words "in bodily form," ruling out the possibility of its being a vision. Proto-Luke contains, and Luke prefers to Mark's version of the Call of Peter, another that includes a miraculous draught of fishes. The last editor of Acts never seems to have reflected that the story of speaking with other tongues at Pentecost might have been only a magnified account of that ecstatic "speaking with tongues" which was quite common in the early Church. The author of the "we sections" sees a resurrection in the recovery of Eutychus, even while he records Paul's own remark to the effect that he was not dead, and apparently never asked whether the serpent which clung to Paul at Malta was really poisonous, or, if so, had actually bitten him.

Again, there is throughout the Lucan writing an atmosphere of extraordinary tenderness, somehow made quite compatible with the sternest call to righteousness, sacrifice, and effort an atmosphere which can be felt rather than demonstrated—

and finding expression in a unique sympathy for the poor, for women, for sinners, and for all whom men despise. But this attitude can be felt equally in the Infancy stories, in Proto-Luke, and in the Acts; it is also what determines many of those omissions from Mark [E.g. the Cursing of the Fig Tree. The Syrophenician Woman, with its reference to Gentiles as dogs and the implication that the Lord hesitated to heal such, is in Luke's "great omission." On Luke's "tendency," see Oxford Studies, p. 222 ff.] which can only be due to the final editor of the Gospel. Now, of course, it can be argued that this "tendency" may be explained as that of a particular church or school of thought rather than of an individual. It may. But for myself, I cannot resist the impression that the "atmosphere" I have vainly tried to recall has a subtle individuality, which reflects, not a Church tradition, but a personality of a very exceptional kind.

Dr. Headlam [The Life and Teaching of Jesus Christ, p. 20 f. (Murray, 1923).], in reference to my article in the Hibbert Journal, demurs to the idea of two editions of the Gospel, but suggests two stages in its composition before it was put into circulation. I have no particular objection to this modification of the Proto-Luke hypothesis. It is extremely difficult to define what would have constituted "publication" in an illicit society like the early Church. If Proto-Luke was composed in some provincial town, very few copies would get abroad. But if after it had been enlarged by the author a copy came to Rome and was approved by that Church, this edition would very rapidly get known elsewhere. All I am concerned to argue is that Proto-Luke was, and was originally intended as, a complete Gospel; but it is quite likely that it was only meant for what in modern phrase would be called "private circulation."

But whether the compiler of Proto-Luke was Luke or not, the historical importance of the identification of a source of the Third Gospel entirely independent of Mark is obvious. All recent discussion of the historical evidence for the Life of Christ has been based on the assumption that we have only two primary authorities, Mark and Q; and, since Q is all but confined to discourse, Mark alone is left as a primary authority for the Life. If, however, the conclusions of this chapter are sound we must recognise in Proto-Luke the existence of another authority comparable to Mark. It is true that Proto-Luke is of later date than Q, but in all probability so is Mark. The essential point is that Proto-Luke is independent of Mark. Where the two are parallel it would seem that Proto-Luke is sometimes inferior in historical value (e.g. in the details of the Call of Peter), sometimes superior (e.g. the addition of an account of the trial before Herod). Neither Mark nor Proto-Luke are infallible; but as historical authorities they should probably be regarded as on the whole of approximately equal value. But, if so, this means that far more weight will have to be given by the historian in the future to the Third Gospel, and in particular to those portions of it which are peculiar to itself.


Appended is a list of passages most probably assigned to Proto-Luke:
Lk.iii.1-iv.30; iv.14-15; v.1-11; vi.14-16; vi.20-viii.3; ix.51-xviii.14; xix.1-27; xix.37-44; xxi.18, 34-36; x.14 to end of the Gospel, except for the verses derived from Mark the identification of which is very problematical.

The following are probably from Mark:
x.18, 22, 42, 46 f., 52-62,1 71; xi.3, 22, 25 f., 33-34b, 38, 44-46, 52 f.; xxiv.6.

The following may be derived from Mark, or represent Proto-Luke partially assimilated to the Marcan parallel: x.69; xi.35, 49, 51; xxiv.1-3, 9 f.

[But x.62 is probably not genuine, being an assimilation to Matthew, om. Old Lat. Similarly xxiv.6a, and the words ἀπὸ τοῦ μνημείου xxiv. 9, are omitted by D Old Lat. It is notable that all three omissions reduce the extent of Luke's debt to Mark.]