Closely Related:
- What are the arguments in favor of Markan priority?
- What are the arguments in favor of Matthean Priority?

What are the objections against Marcan Priority?

Wikipedia, Marcan Priority - Most scholars since the late nineteenth century have accepted the concept of Marcan priority. It forms the foundation for the widely accepted two-source theory, although a number of scholars support different forms of Marcan priority or reject it altogether.

I am only asking for objections regarding Marcan Priority, not for information on Matthean Priority/Augustinian Hypothesis, (Wikipedia) or Lukan Priority, Wikipedia theories.

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    IMHO This question should not be closed because it is clearly about hermeneutics even if it does not reference any one single passage. The "closely related" questions have long been accepted on the same basis. – Dick Harfield Apr 20 '17 at 21:48
  • Agreed. This falls squarely under the Historical context of a specific text genre of questions. – James Shewey Apr 20 '17 at 22:28
  • Seeing as the two most dominant theories are Markan or Matthean priority, almost all the arguments against one are arguments for the other. Can you edit this in such a way that it is clearly not a duplicate of the question asking for the arguments in favour of Matthean priority? – curiousdannii Apr 21 '17 at 4:25
  • The arguments in support of Mark being based on Matthew would be very different from those arguing each gospel was completely independent, so I think this is too broad. – curiousdannii Apr 21 '17 at 7:31
  • @curiousdannii - agreed that this could be potentially 'too broad' in terms of the length required for a full answer (arguments against concepts are typically as long as the list of arguments for them plus arguments for every alternative theory), however I'm aligned with Dick that this is fully on-topic. Logically it seems inappropriate to close this just because there are a lot of potential answers - it's still a clear hermeneutical question which helps to balance out the natural biases of its 'Closely Related' questions. (+1) – Steve Taylor Apr 24 '17 at 7:30

An argument against Markan priority is the belief that the four New Testament gospels were originally written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John respectively. That being the case, it is inconceivable that Matthew, a disciple of Jesus, would have relied on a book universally agreed not to have been written by an eyewitness to the life and mission of Jesus. Against this is that there is no evidence that the gospels, which are unsigned, were ever attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John until the second century.

One of the earliest attempts to assign authorship to the gospels seems to have been made by Papias early in the second century, when he attributed two gospels to Matthew and Mark respectively. He assumed that Matthew wrote his gospel in either Hebrew or Aramaic ("the Hebrew language"), which if true would rule out Markan priority. However, there is nothing extant that points to there ever having been a Hebrew or Aramaic autograph of Matthew, and linguists say that the Greek manuscripts do not appear to be translations.

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  • DickHarfield - A.) +1 for the indirect reference to Acts 1:21-22, and the requirement for an eyewitness. (I will suggest an edit). B.) That being said, regardless of actual authorship - is there any evidence - in the text - that the author of Mark wasn't actually an eye-witness? C.) "That Matthew wrote his gospel in either Hebrew or Aramaic .... no [evidence] of ... Aramaic autograph" - But, are there evidences of Greek autographs? D.) Are the Curetonian / Sinaitic Syriac manuscripts conclusively less authoritative than the Greek - ruling out a Syriac Matthew autograph? – elika kohen Apr 20 '17 at 22:39
  • Hi @elikakohen If I answered your questions in my answer, I think I would end up arguing for Markan priority, which would be out of scope. I'll just stick with showing reasons against Markan priority, with minimal information to show I do not agree. – Dick Harfield Apr 21 '17 at 0:03
  • BTW Even if the author of Mark had been a witness to all these events (forty years before he wrote of them), it would make no difference to the paradox of Matthew, a disciple, having relied on someone else's work. – Dick Harfield Apr 21 '17 at 0:10
  • A.) The reason I asked, "regardless of actual authorship" - is there evidence that the author, (regardless if it was Mark), wasn't an eyewitness?, is because : If the text indicates that "Mark" wasn't written by an eyewitness, then that argument against Marcan Priority would be stronger. (Which is in scope of the question). B.) Because of the different Marks - I am asking to consider that the identity of the author may be unknown. C.) If there is no evidence of Greek autographs, then no evidence of Aramaic autographs doesn't seem that meaningful. (Also in scope.) – elika kohen Apr 21 '17 at 0:29

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