Which Gospel do you THINK was written first?

Matthew
42% (10 votes)
Mark
38% (9 votes)
Luke
0% (0 votes)
John
4% (1 vote)
A lost source (Q)
0% (0 votes)
No way to even make a guess
17% (4 votes)
Other
0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 24
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There are 13 Comments

Ed Vasicek's picture

I believe that the job of every early Christian was verbatim memorization of Jesus' teachings and miracles, and that the Gospel writers edited them, added in details, and added other material from their first hand experience with Jesus or those who were with him (e.g., Mark seems to have received much of his material from Peter, Luke interviewed people, etc.).  Because these portions were memorized tractates, this accounts for many similarities and negates the need for a proposed Q document.

For over 100 years, most scholars assumed Mark to be the oldest, yet a minority argues for Matthew.  What are your views, and what insights might you share?

"The Midrash Detective"

TylerR's picture

Editor

Who is going to vote for Q . . . !?

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Wayne Wilson's picture

Of course we can't know, but I think if there was literary dependence between the synoptic authors, a strong case can be made that Mark drew from Matthew and Luke rather than being a source for them.  I used to lean heavily that way, then I read Eta Linnemann and she rather successfully blows up the idea that any of the Gospel writers used each other.  So now I safely say I have no idea.  (But I voted for Matthew!)

 

 

 

Jim's picture

I gather this would be late in the 2nd century ... .

 

http://www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/arch/irenaeus/advhaer3.txt

Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in
their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and
laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the
disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing
what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul,
recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the
disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself
publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.

But I voted for Mark

Dave Gilbert's picture

I voted for John because he was "the disciple whom Jesus loved" and it's possible the Lord used him first to write, but I have no proof. However, they're all inspired, so it doesn't matter to me...they all drew from the Holy Spirit, not each other.

Pastork's picture

Despite the fact that, since the advent of Higher Criticism, most scholars for a long time came to believe that the Gospel of Mark had been written first, the traditional view that Matthew was written first is making a comeback. An excellent book on the subject is John Whenham's Redating Matthew, Mark and Luke: A Fresh Assault on the Synoptic Problem, and I have heard that David Alan Black's Why Four Gospels? is very good as well.

I personally hold to the traditional view.

TylerR's picture

Editor

If anybody is interested in a book-length treatment comparison of the views of Gospel composition, check out Three Views on the Origins of the Synoptic Gospels, ed. Robert Thomas.

Views addressed are (1) All Gospels flowed from Mark and Q, (2) from Matthew and Luke, and (3) the Gospels were written independently of one another.

I favor the independence view, and think it essentially denigrates Biblical inspiration to suggest other Gospel writers copied and altered from another account to form their own Gospels.

If you have access to a journal archive, F. David Farnell (Masters Seminary Journal) has written on the independence view extensively; he was also the "independence view" contributer to this book. You can grab an article of his for free instead of reading the book.

Tyler is a pastor in Olympia, WA and an Investigations Manager with a Washington State agency. He's the author of the book What's It Mean to Be a Baptist?

Ed Vasicek's picture

I favor Mark as earliest simply because it is so short.  However, if Matthew was, in fact, written in Hebrew (as some interpret Irenaeus to say), then Mark may have been the second Gospel but the first in Greek.

"The Midrash Detective"

x_delete_jhowell's picture

So, if Matthew was written in Hebrew first, we better dig a little deeper and try to find the original HEBREW manuscript. Smile

 

 

Pastork's picture

Ed, 

I thought it was Papias who wrote about a collections of logia that Matthew had written in Hebrew and that we have quotes of his early writings in Irenaus (and Eusebius). At any rate, the assertions of Papias do not necessarily apply to the Gospel of Matthew itself, but may apply to a separate work. I suspect that Matthew kept a notebook of Jesus' teachings and that this is what Papias had in mind, but that Matthew wrote the Gospel that bears his name in Greek. In fact, there is really no good, clear reason to assume anything other than this.

Anyway, I like the way the poll is going thus far. Go, Matthew, Go!

Keith

Ed Vasicek's picture

Pastork wrote:

Ed, 

I thought it was Papias who wrote about a collections of logia that Matthew had written in Hebrew and that we have quotes of his early writings in Irenaus (and Eusebius). At any rate, the assertions of Papias do not necessarily apply to the Gospel of Matthew itself, but may apply to a separate work. 

Could be! Many hold the view you suggest.  My view is that Jesus spoke Mishnaic Hebrew (a mixture of Hebrew and Aramaic) and that his rare use of straight Aramaic are quoted thusly (in other words, they stood out).  So, if Jesus spoke Mishanic Hebrew or Aramaic, the Greek is already a translation (albeit an inspired one).  But Matthew may have originally written in Greek.

"The Midrash Detective"

Pastork's picture

Ed,

I am glad to see you agree that Hebrew was actually being spoken at the time in Palestine. This view has slowly begun to gain more prominence of late, and all I can say is, "It's about time!"

Frankly, however, I see no reason to assume that Jesus didn't speak Greek a great deal of the time, and that, therefore, most of what we have of His teaching is not a translation. In my past studies -- I recall writing a paper on the issue once -- I came to the conclusion that the average Palestinian Jew was trilingual, speaking Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic (although I am sure some spoke other languages as well). But my paper was focused especially on John's use of ‛Εβραϊστί (Hebraïstí ) and argued that Hebrew was actually still a spoken language in the 1st century A.D. -- and it is about 20 years old. If you want to read a pretty good recent paper (2009) defending the notion that Jesus may very well have spoken and taught in Greek, Aaron Tresham's article entitled The Languages Spoken By Jesus is worth consulting. In my view, this perpsective makes the most sense of the available evidence.

Keith