Review at A Living Sacrifice

Why Four Gospels?There’s a nice, and exceptionally readable, review of Why Four Gospels? at A Living Sacrifice. I don’t usually comment on our blog reviewers, because bloggers must be free to review as they see fit, but in this case I make an exception. I’m not talking about the review being positive (which it is), but about it being exceptionally readable. It’s just plain good writing.

(Crossposted from Energion Publications)

Brian Fulthorp Reviews Why Four Gospels

His conclusion:

I heartily recommend this book to any person lay or scholar who is interested in Gospel and or Synoptic studies – if you are for Markan priority I think it is even more important you read this book – why?  Because too often Markan priority people make comments like the quote I gave above from Stein and to save yourself from embarrassment read this book – it’ll at the very least make you a more informed Markan priorists.

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What Order Does Dave Black Teach for the Gospels

Here’s an extract from the postscript that will answer that question:

In this book we sought to build a picture of the historical origins of the Gospels based on the tradition preserved for us in the patristic writings. In particular, we were concerned with the attempt in the early church to explain the distinctive nature of the Gospel according to Mark. Two significant points have emerged from our study. First, Mark’s Gospel is best seen as the result of the cooperation between Peter and Paul to ensure that the unity of the early church was not impaired as a result of the publication of the Gospel of Luke alongside the Gospel of Matthew. In other words, the Gospel of Mark was never intended to be a rival of Matthew and Like, for its purpose was a very limited one, namely to provide the approbation necessary for Luke to find general acceptance in all the churches, both east and west. Second, the Gospel of Mark is best understood as Peter’s declaration that Luke is faithful to the apostolic tradition. The Gospel of Mark is therefore to be seen as the necessary link between the Gospels of Matthew and Luke. This fact alone explains the supposed contradiction between Clement’s assertion that Matthew and Luke were written before Mark and the canonical order Matthew-Mark-Luke, for it is possible for Mark to be regarded as both second and third – third in order of actual composition, and second in order of authority as the work of Peter.

The Purpose of Luke

9:55 AM Why the Gospel of Luke?

Through hindsight we can determine the assignment that Luke received from Paul by comparing the Gospels of Luke and Matthew and by noting Luke’s deviations. In the first place, Luke carefully followed the main structure of Matthew throughout and generally adhered to the order of its various sections and anecdotes, though he also made highly interesting changes. For example, his story of the birth of Jesus is totally different from Matthew’s, which (as we have noted) was almost entirely apologetic in tone and content. Luke, however, provided a straightforward narrative that stems either directly or indirectly from Mary herself. When Luke came to Jesus’ Galilean ministry he added certain details to each of the stories from Matthew’s Gospel that he decided to adopt. Indeed, in one way or another he absorbed nearly everything that Matthew had written, and yet managed to add a good deal of extra material. Luke did this by omitting a number of duplicate stories (e.g., the famous Lukan omission of Matt. 14:22–16:12) and by inserting into the heart of the Matthean text at the end of the Galilean ministry (cf. Matt. 19:1–2) a section of no less than nine long chapters, Luke’s central section (9:51–18:14), comprising (1) the excerpts that he had extracted from Matthew’s five great discourses in order to lighten the content of his own version of them and (2) additional sayings and parables that Luke had collected. (It is perhaps worth noting here that Luke’s central section roughly corresponds to the conjectural document known as Q, which many modern scholars consider to be one of the sources of Matthew and Luke.)

From Why Four Gospels?

(From Dave Black Online. Used by permission. David Alan Black is author of Energion titles The Jesus Paradigm, Christian Archy, and Why Four Gospels?.)