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Finding the Core of the Historical Jesus

 

 

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The Three Jesuses of the Gospel of Mark

It is my contention that the author of the Gospel of Mark (who is unknown to history, but whom I will refer to simply as "Mark" for convenience) did not write the gospel from a single collection of source materials (that is, an almagamation of sayings, acts and passion stories) but rather that he had distinct manuscripts which he combined together, much as the writers of Matthew and Luke had a copy of Mark plus the Sayings Gospel Q as their sources. This is a theory in progress for me, so I am not yet certain whether Mark had two, three, or even four sources to work from, just that there were multiple sources, and that those sources were cohesive in their own rights.

A Disclaimer: I am an "amateur" biblical scholar. I am not university trained, and I hold no degrees in biblical studies or divinity. I don't read or speak any of the ancient languages in which the earliest existing New Testatment manuscripts were written. What I am is a voracious reader of Historical Jesus literature. I have The Five Gospels, and have read it more times than I can count. My theory stems from patterns I noticed in the Scholars' Version of the gospels, and in particular, in the red and pink sayings in those translations.

I base my assertions on the following evidence:

  1. As I read the Gospel of Mark, I notice interruptions to the narrative flow of the wandering miracle worker story.
  2. Those interruptions take the form of sayings, dropped into the narrative.
  3. If those sayings are removed from the narrative, it flows smoothly again.
  4. The miracle worker Jesus and the sayings Jesus make different points about God and the Kingdom of Heaven.
  5. The transition from the wandering miracle worker narrative to the apocalypse/passion narrative is abrupt.

To aid in the prosecution of my argument, I have taken the Gospel of Mark (W.E.B. version) and split it into the three separate documents I describe above. You can read each from the following links:

I like to think of these characters as, in order, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.