(Part II will appear in the next issue.)
Is Matthew, our first canonical Gospel, a genuine and authentic production of an apostle? The answer to this question is at stake in the debate on the validity of the Mark-hypothesis. The question of Matthew’s authenticity is tied to the question whether it was known and used by Mark, or Mark was used by its writer. It is therefore of importance to decide whether Mark came first, as the Mark-hypothesis holds, or whether Matthew was written first.
The writer of “More Light on the Synoptics” (CHRISTIANITY TODAY, March 2 issue) tries to prove the Mark-hypothesis. He claims that Mark was written first and was used and adapted by the writer of our Matthew. His attempted proof of the priority of Mark is the most important part of his article. Therefore we will consider it first. We meet here a kind of argument often given for the Mark-theory. We are firmly convinced that it is not, and indeed in the nature of the case can never become, a valid proof. After pulling the attempted proof to the ground four distinct times by four separate handles, we will explain why, in our opinion, no one should accept the same article’s special pleading for Matthew’s genuineness and authenticity. And lastly, we have a point to clarify. Some readers of CHRISTIANITY TODAY concluded that the present writer argued (“New Light on the Synoptic Gospels”) for totally independent origination of our first three Gospels. But this was not so.
The Internal Evidence
First let us recall the case for the priority of Mark given in “More Light.” “Weighty internal evidence pointing to the priority of Mark, however, exists not only in the linguistic minutiae of the Gospels but even more impressively in the selection and arrangement ...1
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