(Part II will appear in the next issue)
What is called the “modern” and the “critical” study of the gospels began in earnest about 170 years ago. Through a series of fortunate circumstances the writer has sometimes been led—sometimes impelled—to examine in detail for himself nearly the entire course of development of “critical” or “scientific” gospel study. A thirteen years’ investigation of this little known field yields a very different impression of it than the books and the popularizers give us. Real acquaintance with such work leads also to a markedly different evaluation of it than the current one.
The results of such study would normally find embodiment in monographs, and be put on a library shelf to collect dust. But in the present case the results have an unusual practical value for the Church and for its ministers. We will say no more of this, but will allow the reader to judge of this matter for himself.
Of all the views today regarded as “assured,” “established,” “scientifically validated,” and so forth, probably none has achieved wider acceptance among conservatives and liberals, fundamentalists and modernists, alike, than the Mark-hypothesis. We mean, the view that Mark (in some form) is the earliest gospel, and was used (copied) by the authors (compilers) of Matthew and Luke.
This view I once cordially embraced, quite without at first noticing that it involved several serious consequences. These may be mentioned briefly in passing. Accepting the Mark-hypothesis means: 1. you have exchanged three witnesses for one; 2. Matthew and Luke have become later compilations of questionable character; 3. your one independent witness has no resurrection appearance (because it is so widely considered to end at 16:8); 4. neither ...1
Already a CT subscriber? Log in for full digital access.
Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 60+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more