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Finding the Core of the Historical Jesus



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The Prophet

Ed. note: These are the sayings attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Mark, but which also have parallels in either Q or the Gospel of Thomas. It is my contention that these constitute an early version of a sayings gospel (akin to Q or Thomas) that the author of Mark had at his disposal when he put the gospel together for the first time. I have removed the exposition before or after each saying, taking the position that such exposition was created by Mark to provide a narrative setting for the sayings (much as the author of the Gospel of Matthew created the setting of the Sermon on the Mount). The text of this collection is taken from the World English Bible, though I have obviously edited it heavily (mostly removing text). I have left in the note links from the W.E.B. where possible. As far as the words of the sayings, I have put them in bold font and color-coded them according to the weighted averages of the Jesus Seminar. Also, at the start of each saying or complex, I indicate which gospels are parallels. Mk = The Gospel of Mark; Q= The Sayings Gospel Q; and T = The Gospel of Thomas.

Back to The Three Jesuses of the Gospel of Mark

(2,21) (Mk, T) No one sews a piece of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, or else the patch shrinks and the new tears away from the old, and a worse hole is made. (2,22) No one puts new wine into old wineskins, or else the new wine will burst the skins, and the wine pours out, and the skins will be destroyed; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins.

(3,23) (Mk, Q) How can Satan cast out Satan? (3,24) If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. (3,25) If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. (3,26) If Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he can't stand, but has an end.

(3,27) (Mk, Q, T) But no one can enter into the house of the strong man to plunder, unless he first binds the strong man; and then he will plunder his house.

(3,28) (Mk, Q, T) Most certainly I tell you, all sins of the descendants of man will be forgiven, including their blasphemies with which they may blaspheme; (3,29) but whoever may blaspheme against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin.

(3,34) (Mk, T) Behold, my mother and my brothers! (3,35) For whoever does the will of God, the same is my brother, and my sister, and mother.

(4,1) (Mk, T) Listen! Behold, the farmer went out to sow, (4,4) and it happened, as he sowed, some seed fell by the road, and the birds* came and devoured it. (4,5) Others fell on the rocky ground, where it had little soil, and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil. (4,6) When the sun had risen, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. (4,7) Others fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. (4,8) Others fell into the good ground, and yielded fruit, growing up and increasing. Some brought forth thirty times, some sixty times, and some one hundred times as much.

(4,21) (Mk, Q, T) Is the lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Isn't it put on a stand?

(4,22) (Mk, Q, T) For there is nothing hidden, except that it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it should come to light.

(4,24) (Mk, Q) Take heed what you hear. With whatever measure you measure, it will be measured to you, and more will be given to you who hear.

(4,25) (Mk, Q, T) For whoever has, to him will more be given, and he who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away from him.

(4,26) (Mk, T) The Kingdom of God is as if a man should cast seed on the earth, (4,27) and should sleep and rise night and day, and the seed should spring up and grow, he doesn't know how. (4,28) For the earth bears fruit: first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. (4,29) But when the fruit is ripe, immediately he puts forth the sickle, because the harvest has come.

(4,30) (Mk, Q, T) How will we liken the Kingdom of God? Or with what parable will we illustrate it? (4,31) It's like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, though it is less than all the seeds that are on the earth, (4,32) yet when it is sown, grows up, and becomes greater than all the herbs, and puts out great branches, so that the birds of the sky can lodge under its shadow.

(6,4) (Mk, T) A prophet is not without honor, except in his own country, and among his own relatives, and in his own house.

(6,8) (Mk, Q) He commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, except a staff only: no bread, no wallet, no money in their purse, (6,9) but to wear sandals, and not put on two tunics. (Ed. note: This is not indicated as a saying in Mark, but paraphrases what the Prophet said to his disciples.)

(6,10) (Mk, Q) Wherever you enter into a house, stay there until you depart from there.

(6,11) (Mk, Q) Whoever will not receive you nor hear you, as you depart from there, shake off the dust that is under your feet for a testimony against them. Assuredly, I tell you, it will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

(7,14) (Mk, T) Hear me, all of you, and understand. (7,15) There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man.

(8,12) (Mk, Q) Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.

(8,34) (Mk, Q, T) Whoever wants to come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

(8,35) (Mk, Q) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it; and whoever will lose his life for my sake and the sake of the Good News will save it.

(8,38) (Mk, Q) For whoever will be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man also will be ashamed of him, when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels."

(9,40) (Mk, Q) For whoever is not against us is on our side.

(9,42) (Mk, Q) Whoever will cause one of these little ones who believe in me to stumble, it would be better for him if he was thrown into the sea with a millstone hung around his neck.

(9,50) (Mk, Q) Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, with what will you season it?

(10,10) (Mk, Q) Whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery against her. (10,12) If a woman herself divorces her husband, and marries another, she commits adultery.

(10,23) (Mk) How difficult it is for those who have riches to enter into the Kingdom of God!

(10,25) (Mk) It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.

(10,31) (Mk, Q, T) But many who are first will be last; and the last first.

(11,22) (Mk, Q, T) Have faith in God. (11,23) For most certainly I tell you, whoever may tell this mountain, 'Be taken up and cast into the sea,' and doesn't doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says is happening; he shall have whatever he says.

(11,25) (Mk, Q) Whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone; so that your Father, who is in heaven, may also forgive you your transgressions.

(12,1) (Mk, T) A man planted a vineyard, put a hedge around it, dug a pit for the winepress, built a tower, rented it out to a farmer, and went into another country. (12,2) When it was time, he sent a servant to the farmer to get from the farmer his share of the fruit of the vineyard. (12,3) They took him, beat him, and sent him away empty. (12,4) Again, he sent another servant to them; and they threw stones at him, wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully treated. (12,5) Again he sent another; and they killed him; and many others, beating some, and killing some. (12,6) Therefore still having one, his beloved son, he sent him last to them, saying, 'They will respect my son.' (12,7) But those farmers said among themselves, 'This is the heir. Come, let's kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.' (12,8) They took him, killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard. (12,9) What therefore will the lord of the vineyard do? He will come and destroy the farmers, and will give the vineyard to others.

(12,17) (Mk, T, Egerton) Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's.

(12,38) (Mk, Q) Beware of the scribes, who like to walk in long robes, and to get greetings in the marketplaces, (12,39) and the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts.



[1] back to 4:4 TR adds "of the air"

[2] back to 4:21 literally, a modion, a dry measuring basket containing about a peck (about 9 litres)

[3] back to 8:12 The word translated "generation" here (genea) could also be translated "people," "race," or "family."