Sophocles and John

From: Brian E. Wilson (
Date: Tue Sep 02 1997 - 04:08:14 EDT

Ward Powers wrote - (snip) -
>When I collected my email this morning I found TWO interesting
>postings which derive from this assumption of Markan Priority, and I
>have decided to enter a gentle demurrer. First, let me quote the two

>Brian E. Wilson wrote (on the theme "Sophocles and John"):
>> One explanation which makes sense of all this is that Luke did not
>>like the construction EGENETO with the finite verb, and omitted some
>>instances of it from his source material, but that he did copy quite a
>>number of instances from the documentary material he used in Luke 1-2
>>out of general respect for his sources.

>What lies behind this comment is the acceptance of the view that Luke
>had Mark in front of him as he wrote, and thus the explanation is
>suggested that "Luke did not like the construction EGENETO with the
>finite verb, and omitted some instances of it from his source material"
>(i.e., in this instance, Mark).

No, Ward! Not at all! For one thing Luke 1-2 is special to Luke, and
could not have been copied from Mark. For another thing, all I wrote is
consistent with both Mark and Luke having copied from common source
material. Your inference is simply not valid. As it happens, I reject
not only Markan Priority but also Markan Dependence, and in fact affirm
that no synoptist copied from any other. Please see my recently-updated
home page on -

And my point about Sophocles and John still stands. It is very easy to
determine the style of Sophocles, since the words Sophocles wrote were
his words. But it is very difficult indeed to determine the style of
the writers of the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, since the
words they wrote may not have been their words, but words taken from
their sources.

I would be very interested to hear the views of others (not excluding
the views of Ward himself) on whether determining the styles of the
gospel-writers is easy, or hard. Am I alone in thinking that it is a
very difficult task indeed? Where do you start, for instance?!


Please visit my up-dated home page on -



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