Markan Priority and Q


Markan priority is the hypothesis that the Gospel of Mark was the first written of the three Synoptic Gospels, and that the two other synoptic evangelists, Matthew and Luke, used Mark’s Gospel as one of their sources.

Synoptic Problem - Markan Priority

Markan priority

The theory of Markan priority is today accepted by the majority of New Testament scholars who also hold that Matthew and Luke used a lost source of Jesus’s sayings called Q.

Their conclusion is largely based upon an analysis of the language and content relationship between the various books.

A minority of modern scholars accept Markan priority but reject Q. An even smaller number of scholars have proposed that there was a Hebrew version of the Gospel before it was transcribed into Greek which necessitates Lukan Priority.

The Augustinian hypothesis (which suggests that the Gospel of Matthew was written first; the Gospel of Mark was written using Matthew as a source; then the Gospel of Luke was written using both Mark and Matthew) is for Matthean priority.

The Augustinian hypothesis solution to the Syn...

The Augustinian Hypothesis where Matthew is given priority. Lukan priority would reverse Matthew and Luke

It can also be argued that a simultaneous priority of Matthew and Mark is necessary under the Mosaic requirement that:

“at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.” (Deuteronomy 19:5b)

The Q source is a hypothetical written source for the Gospel of Matthew and Gospel of Luke.

Q (short for the German Quelle meaning source) is defined as the common material found in Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark.

This ancient text supposedly contained the logia or quotations from Jesus.

The Two-source Hypothesis to the synoptic problem

The Two-source Hypothesis

The widely accepted and most common view of Q is that it was a written document, not an oral tradition, composed in Greek; almost all of its contents appear in Matthew, in Luke, or in both; and that Luke more often preserves the original order of the text than Matthew.

In the two-source hypothesis, Matthew and Luke both used Mark and Q as sources. Some scholars have postulated that Q is actually a plurality of sources, some written and some oral. Others have attempted to determine the stages in which Q was composed.

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1 thought on “Markan Priority and Q

  1. Pingback: A Source-Critical Analysis of the Parable of the Mustard Seed « GraecoMuse

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