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Mark was not a Pauline Gospel: A New Series

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While attending the latest Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting, I noted that two different perspectives were presented on the relationship between the Synoptic Gospels and the Pauline Epistles. In one session devoted to reviewing a recent book on the origins of the Synoptic Gospels, one presenter mostly rejected the idea that the evangelists drew on oral tradition, arguing instead that their primary sources were Paul’s letters and classical literature. In another session around the same time, there was a paper that problematized the notion that Paul and Mark uniquely agreed with each other in promoting a law-free gospel (e.g., contra the “Paul within Judaism” perspective), downplaying Jesus’s Davidic sonship, and emphasizing Jesus’s crucifixion as a saving event. I agree with the second approach. I want to suggest that the Gospels of Mark and Matthew (and the oral and written traditions behind them) offer us a window into Jewish expressions of the Christ movement that were largely uninfluenced by Paul, though the author of the Gospel of Luke and book of Acts built a bridge between the Synoptic tradition and Pauline theology. In this series, I will highlight the differences between Mark and Paul on topics such as Jesus’s Christological identity and vicarious death, the role of the Torah in the Jesus movement, the leadership of the Twelve and the family of Jesus, or the meaning of the term “gospel.” Update: I have listed all of the posts that I have written in this series as well as a brief bibliography for further research:

  1. Christology
  2. Cross
  3. Law
  4. Disciples
  5. Gospel
  6. Implications
  • Adamczewski, Bartosz. The Gospel of Mark: A Hypertextual Commentary. European Studies in Theology, Philosophy and History of Religions 8 (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2014
  • Becker, Eve-Marie, Troels Engberg-Pedersen, and Mogens Müller, editors. Mark and Paul: Comparative Essays Part II: For and Against Pauline Influence on Mark. BZNW 199. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014.
  • Bird, Michael F. “Mark: Interpreter of Peter and Disciple of Paul.” In Paul and the Gospels: Christologies, Conflicts, and Convergences. Edited by Michael F. Bird and Joel Willitts, 31-60. LNTS 411. New York: T&T Clark, 2011.
  • Crossley, James G. “Mark, Paul and the Question of Influences.” In Paul and the Gospels: Christologies, Conflicts, and Convergences. Edited by Michael F. Bird and Joel Willitts, 10-29. LNTS 411. New York: T&T Clark, 2011.
  • Díaz, Mar Pérez i. Mark, a Pauline Theologian. 1st ed. WUNT 2/521. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020.
  • Dykstra, Tom. Mark, Canonizer of Paul: A New Look at Intertextuality in Mark’s Gospel. OCABS, 2012.
  • Ferguson, Cameron Evan. A New Perspective on the Use of Paul in the Gospel of Mark. Routledge Studies in the Early Christian World. New York: Routledge, 2021.
  • Hiestermann, Heinz. Paul and the Synoptic Jesus Tradition. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2017.
  • Kok, Michael J. “Does Mark Narrate the Pauline Kerygma of ‘Christ Crucified’? Challenging an Emerging Consensus on Mark as a Pauline Gospel.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 37 (2014): 139–60.
  • Mader, Heidrun Elisabeth. Markus und Paulus: die beiden ältesten erhaltenen literarischen Werke und theologischen Entwürfe des Urchristentums im Vergleich. BZ 1. Leiden: Brill, 2020.
  • Marcus, Joel. “Mark: Interpreter of Paul.”  New Testament Studies 46 (2000): 473-87.
  • Nelligan, Thomas P. The Quest for Mark’s Sources: An Exploration of the Case for Mark’s Use of First Corinthians. Eugene: Pickwick, 2015.
  • Smith, David Oliver. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and Paul: The Influence of the Epistles on the Synoptic Gospels. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2011.
  • Telford, W. R. The Theology of the Gospel of Mark. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
  • Wendt, Heidi. “Secrecy as Pauline Influence on the Gospel of Mark.” Journal of Biblical Literature 140.3 (2021): 579–600.
  • Wischmeyer, Oda, David C. Sim, and Ian J. Elmer, editors. Paul and Mark: Comparative Essays I Two authors at the Beginnings of Christianity. BZNW 198. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014.
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