How John Used Mark: Investigating the Methods of the Fourth Evangelist (Part 3)

Part 3: John Displaces and Rewrites the Cleansing of the Temple All four evangelists recount Jesus’ cleansing of the temple at Jerusalem. The Synoptics (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) place the event during the week before the crucifixion, while John sets it near the very start of Jesus’ ministry. In the ancient church, many, if not … Continue reading “How John Used Mark: Investigating the Methods of the Fourth Evangelist (Part 3)”


How John Used Mark: Investigating the Methods of the Fourth Evangelist (Part 2)

Part 2: A Markan Sandwich in John’s Gospel Scholars have long noted that both the gospel of John and Mark interrupt the story of Peter’s denial with Jesus’ hearing before the Sanhedrin (Mark) or Annas (John). Both authors begin with Peter in the courtyard in the predawn hours, pause the story to describe Jesus’ initial … Continue reading “How John Used Mark: Investigating the Methods of the Fourth Evangelist (Part 2)”


How John Used Mark: Investigating the Methods of the Fourth Evangelist (Part 1)

Part 1: Turning Mark Inside Out In a comment to Neil’s post, Discovering the Sources for the First Gospel, 3 — Criteria, from way back in May of 2012, I introduced a way to explain how the Fourth Evangelist may have used the Gospel of Mark. It might not be a novel approach — there is … Continue reading “How John Used Mark: Investigating the Methods of the Fourth Evangelist (Part 1)”


What Is the Purpose of the Nicodemus Stories in John? (Part 2)

Before returning to the Johannine stories containing the words and deeds of Nicodemus, I must digress briefly to discuss the issue of dependence. The Gospel of John contains countless mysteries, many of which can keep a scholar busy for a lifetime. Who actually wrote the gospel? What were his sources? Who is the Beloved Disciple? … Continue reading “What Is the Purpose of the Nicodemus Stories in John? (Part 2)”


What Is the Purpose of the Nicodemus Stories in John? (Part 1)

Longtime Vridar readers may recall a post from 2013 in which I discussed an argument put forth by William Wrede regarding the priority of Mark’s gospel. Wrede noted that when Matthew took over Markan accounts, he sometimes condensed or rewrote his source, which led to oddities in the finished product. It turns out Volkmar and … Continue reading “What Is the Purpose of the Nicodemus Stories in John? (Part 1)”


Spit at a Late Date for the Gospel of Mark?

Last month I posted Another Pointer Towards a Late Date for the Gospel of Mark? but this morning I was reminded of an article I read and posted about some years back that surely calls for a date soon after 70 CE. That article does not address the date per se but it does raise … Continue reading “Spit at a Late Date for the Gospel of Mark?”


The Death of John the Baptist — Sources and Less Obvious Contexts

Here’s another contribution to our quest for the origins of John the Baptist as found in the synoptic gospels. Recent discussions have centred on the account found in Josephus — see Is Josephus’s John the Baptist Passage a Chronologically Dislocated Story of the Death of Hyrcanus II? Greg Doudna’s article behind the post, Another Pointer … Continue reading “The Death of John the Baptist — Sources and Less Obvious Contexts”


The Gospel of Mark’s Jesus as the New Adam

When we began Nanine Charbonnel’s [NC] discussion of the various Old Testament figures being epitomized in Jesus we had only two references to Adam, both in Paul’s writings (Rom 5:17-19 and 1 Cor 15:45-49). (The same post also introduced NC background discussions on the Adam figure per Paul Ricoeur and Philo of Alexandria.) A commenter … Continue reading “The Gospel of Mark’s Jesus as the New Adam”


Another Pointer Towards a Late Date for the Gospel of Mark?

Back in August this year, I introduced a hypothesis that what we read in Josephus’s Antiquities about John “the Baptist” is actually a misplaced episode about the John Hyrcanus II. (See the relevant section linked here in the discussion of the festschrift for Thomas L. Thompson, Biblical Narratives, Archaeology and Historicity: Essays In Honour of … Continue reading “Another Pointer Towards a Late Date for the Gospel of Mark?”


Who Will See “The Kingdom of God Coming with Power” in Mark 9:1?

And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.” — Mark 9:1 We know what follows so we read on to see “the fulfilment” of that saying six days later with Peter, James and John … Continue reading “Who Will See “The Kingdom of God Coming with Power” in Mark 9:1?”


What Caused the Jewish War of 66-74 CE?

Forget any notion of an anti-Roman “nationalism” yearning to be free from Rome. Forget messianic hopes and a desire to be ruled by God alone. . Steve Mason proposes in A History of the Jewish War, A.D. 66-74 causes much more common to wars more generally: The Judaean-Roman conflict broke out … not from anti-Roman … Continue reading “What Caused the Jewish War of 66-74 CE?”


Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger (A Fresh Look at Secret Mark)

A document I have not posted about yet is Secret Mark [link to earlychristianwritings.com] or the Secret Gospel of Mark [link to Wikipedia]. (The most controversial aspect of the passage and the letter accompanying it is the possible hint of a homoerotic Jesus.) The briefest introduction to the fragment is at the Gnostic Society Library, … Continue reading “Tinker Tailor Soldier Forger (A Fresh Look at Secret Mark)”


The Symbolic Characters in the Gospels #2: John the Baptist and the Twelve Disciples

Continuing the series on Nanine Charbonnel’s Jésus-Christ, sublime figure de paper . . . . –o– John the Baptist Maybe I’m just naturally resistant to new ideas but I found myself having some difficulty with Nanine Charbonnel’s [NC] opening stage of her discussion about John the Baptist. (Recall we have been looking at plausibility of gospel … Continue reading “The Symbolic Characters in the Gospels #2: John the Baptist and the Twelve Disciples”


A Semitic Original for the Gospels of Mark and Matthew?

I don’t know if the Gospel of Mark did begin its life as a Hebrew text but in the light of the previous post it is necessary to share some of the reasons a few scholars (or at least Jean Carmignac : see also Wayback Machine) have thought it did. Chapter three of The Birth … Continue reading “A Semitic Original for the Gospels of Mark and Matthew?”