Jesus as they (probably) knew Him – The Gospels as Sources

Let’s get the truth out on the historical Jesus. Kidding.

I’ll start now with the first author in the anthology I was writing here about.

Thomas W. Manson was Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and exegesis at Manchester University. He died in 1958 and the text has been published posthumously.

I shall present here the parts which made me most curious to keep on reading.

On the Mark’s Gospel:

“We should, prima facie, expect to find in the Gospel matter that can be called without hesitation ‘Petrine’; other material which may be Petrine; and, again, other which there is no good reason to assign to Peter at all.”

He comments then on C.H. Turner notes who drew attention to the phenomenon of the use by Mark of the first person plural in some places and the third person plural in other. This should lead to the idea that “Mark’s third person plural may be reasonably understood as representing a first person plural of Peter’s discourses”. He uses the first person plural to give a more vivid impression of the testimony for some stories.

Another interesting point is being made about the apparent discontinuity in the story presented by Mark. Manson comments here on B.S. Easton discussion on the subject:

“Easton’s solution is that Mark II.13 – III.6 and XII.13-27 originally formed a single continuous whole; that ‘this account was formed in pre-Markan times and belonged to the tradition of the Palestinian Christian community.’

The last part of the text deals with Papias idea “that Matthew made a collection of oracles, i.e. sayings analogous to those of old prophets.”

He then uses a sentence by Papias where he asserts that Matthew compiled this oracles in Hebrew ‘and every man translated them as he was able’.

The author’s position is that the collection belonged to the Q gospel, while Matthew was written in Greek as a translation of an earlier source (most possibly Q). It follows ‘that Papias had his older tradition about Q, and, misled by the mention of Matthew, supposed it to refer to the gospel current in his day under Matthew’s name.’

The Manson’s text is used in the book as an introduction for the main theme, the historical Jesus, and tries to give some pointers for the sources of the Gospels.

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