Re: Q and Papias

On Sat, 29 Oct 1994, Larry Swain wrote:

> early enough as to be entertained as possibly historical.  This solid 
> connection alone would make preservation probable.  b) Your argument 
> would only make sense if elegant style were one of the criteria for 
> preservation.  A modern example would be the difference in writing style 
> and subject of a G. K. Chesterton, which few of my younger patrons have 
> ever heard of, and of a Danielle Steel-no comparison in my mind, but 
> Steel will certainly be read by more of the masses for a longer time than 
> Chesterton.  c) which brings us to an important point.  If we look at 
> Matthew and Luke as being fairly refined works, full of theological and 
> biblical undercurrents and complex formulations, in contrast to the 
> COMPARATIVE simplicity of Mark, and if the majority of the Christians in 
> the first couple of centuries were from the lower classes, as many 
> studies have indicated, then we would presume that the simpler  gospel 
> would prevail in those circles.  d) your argument is open to a similar 
> attack.  If there was a Q and Mark as sources for Matthew and Luke, Q has 
> disappeared from the scene, Mark hasn't.  One would expect from your 
> conclusion that the more "advanced" gospels would be preserved, and Mark 
> should have disappeared as did Q because of its inelegance, lack of all 
> but 4 OT fulfillment references which became increasingly important, its 
> relative "low" Christology and so on.  So why didn't Mark disappear?  

I think you answer your own question as to why Mark survived--it became
connected with the name of Peter.  Had it not, it might not have survived,
but might have gone the way of the voluminous Logia collected by
Papias.  The comparison between Chesterton and Steele is hardly
applicable, not only because of different subject matter but also because
the stylistic differences between the two English authors are not
comparable, I think, to the linguistic differences between Mark and Matthew.
It might also be helpful to keep in mind the popularity of Tatian's
"harmony" of the Gospels, which threatened to replace the originals at one

While I do not consider all the textual problems in Markan priority
solved, it nonetheless seems that explaining a Matthean priority presents
far greater difficulties in numerous areas, and accounting for the
difference in stylistic and linguistic "quality" is but one of these.


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