An icon of Saint Mark the Evangelist
How we know Mark was the earliest Gospel
How did students of the four Gospels determine that the earliest of them is Mark? The answer is fairly simple and the case is overwhelmingly clear. How certain is the conclusion? It is so certain that only a small percentage of scholars hold to any other theory. The large agreement among different interpreters of the Gospels that Mark came first is for a simply reason. That reason is what happens when you lay side by side the three “Synoptic” Gospels: Matthew, Mark, and Luke.
These three Gospels have been called “Synoptic,” a word which means “seeing together,” because they share in common a large amount of material, follow the same basic order, and stand apart from John, whose Gospel is unique among the four.
Long ago people realized you could display the text of the three Synoptic Gospels side by side in columns to form a synopsis or parallel Gospel or a harmony. When you do this you find that a large percentage of Matthew, Mark, and Luke are parallel. They share a large amount of verbatim agreement, though each of the three has unique ways of diverging from each other in small and large matters. Much is the same and some is different.
For a long time, people who have studied the Gospels in synopsis (parallel columns) have referred to “the Synoptic Problem.” That problem is: how do we account for the agreements and differences in the parallel accounts and in the other material in the Gospels? Many of the observations I will share here come from a book that I think is the simplest and best-explained handbook on the topic, by Mark Goodacre, The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze.
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Editor’s note: The rest of the above article may be read: here.
I must refer again to the bold-typed words in the first instalment of this series. For those priests of the 14 words who are knowledgeable about the secular approaches to the New Testament, the implications of those bolded words are enormous. But for white nationalists who are not so educated in this matter, before you continue reading my Mondays’ essay-review of Carrier’s book, I would recommend a little online research to become familiar with the evidence that Mark was the earliest of the four canonical gospels.
This is fundamental, as the other gospels are mere re-writings of the original Mark gospel, where the authors added fictional material of their own to an already fictional talltale.