By J. F. Springer, New York
Small Matthaean Additions Or Markan Omissions
The broad fact that Matthew is a document of some 18,000 words, and Mark one of 11,000 words signifies, upon the hypothesis of a dependent First Gospel, that the compiler must have added a relatively great mass of material and, upon the assumption of a dependent Second Gospel, that the secondary writer must have omitted a similar amount of matter. Something like 7,000 words were added by the Matthaean writer or else were omitted by the Markan. In fact, 7,000 words is too low an estimate. Matthew does not contain the whole of the Markan material by some 3,500 words. If this work is really a compilation based on Mark, then we are to assume that the compiler added something like 10,500 words of material. And, if Mark is a writing secondary to Matthew, then the writer omitted something like 10,500 words of matter found in his exemplar.
Viewed in a large way, neither this great addition by a Matthaean compiler nor alternatively this great omission by a Markan secondary writer is difficult to understand, when we reflect that in the one case the material added admirably supplements the matter supplied by the exemplar, rounding out a complete document with a well defined purpose, and that in the other case, the omissions consist of text devoted almost entirely to matters outside of a clear purpose discernible in the document as it stands. That is to say, the presence in Matthew of such non-Markan material as the Genealogy and the Infancy Section, the Sermon on the Mount, the discourses of the eleventh chapter, some eight parables,1 and other didactic portions,2 causes no difficulty. Nor, on the other hand, does the absence of this matter, concerned as it is with a narrative preliminary to the history of the Ministry and with discourse material, constitute any substantial obstacle to the view that in Mark we have a compilation based upon Matthew. The purpose of the Second Gospel has already been considered in much detail. See Bibliotheca Sacra, The Synoptic Problem, April, 1925, pp. 225-236 and July, 1925, pp. 328-329. If Mark is, indeed, a document derived from Matthew, then the purpose of the writer is discernible as one having in contemplation the production (1) of an abridgment, (2) of a work limited pretty closely to an account of the miracles and of the final events of the Savior’s Ministry, (3) of a narrative particularly directed to the requirements of Gentiles, and finally (4) of a document which should include a very considerable proportion of new material.
In the discussions which precede, we have taken note of the number and character of whole incidents that are to be assumed either as Matthaean additions or Markan omissions. We have now to consider a mass of details which are to be regarded as fragments added by a compiler of Matthew or else omitted by a compiler of Mark As in preceding inquiries, we shall find that this evidence yields practically nothing of value for the determination of the question whether it is Matthew that is a compilation from Mark or whether it is Mark that is a compilation from Matthew.
The textual matter consists of quite a mass of fragments varying in size from a mere word to a verse or two. It is possible to classify these to a considerable extent. Naturally, they are to be found in Matthew and not in Mark. I proceed to enumerate a series of classes of these Matthaean fragments.
1. Passages whose initial portion is identical with the initial portion of the following context, or whose concluding portion is identical with the concluding portion of the preceding context. These pairs of terminal identities are, of course, instances of the phenomenon technically known as homoioteleuton. When Matthew is viewed as the derivative writing, their presence is to be explained as due to accidental coincidence. On the other hand, when Mark is assumed as the secondary document, they serve to explain the omission of the passages by the compiler.
2. Passages concerned with Jewish or Hebrew matters.
3. Passages in which Peter is favorably featured.
4. Passages more or less necessary to a sufficient presentation.
5. Passages consisting of discourse.
6. Passages of a compendious character having reference to miraculous events.
7. Passages concerned with the chronological or circumstantial connection between incidents.
8. Passages of a miscellaneous character.
There are numerous instances of homoioteleuton in Matthew that are so situated as to afford an excellent explaantion for the omission by a Markan compiler of the corresponding passages. And there will be cases where it will not be unreasonable to suppose that the passage originally was present in Mark, homoioteleuton and all, and that it has disappeared from the Markan text through the inadvertence of a copyist. The following will serve as illustrations.
Mt. 9:17. WH bracket the Greek words represented by this English statement: “but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins.” If the bracketed words are rejected, then the following passage in Mt. 9:17 is a Matthaean addition or a Markan omission: “but they put new wine into fresh wine-skins, and both are preserved.”
In the Greek text, the last five letters of the final word of the preceding context are identical with the last five letters of the final word of the passage viewed either as an addition or else as an omission. We have, then, upon the hypothesis of a Mark compiled from Matthew, a very good explanation for the omission by the Markan compiler.
Mt. 9:20. In Matthew, we have “touched the border of his garment,” while in Mark (5:27), the corresponding statement is “touched his garment.”
In the Greek, the two passages are identical as to the words, their forms and their order, except that the genitive of “the border” in Matthew is absent from Mark. It is easy, however, to explain the Markan omission of the words, even though we assume that the Second Gospel was written by a compiler who had the First Gospel before him. Next before and next after the Matthaean Greek word rendered “border” occurs in Matthew the neuter article in the genitive. The two articles are identical, and this instance of homoioteleuton explains the Markan omission of “the border.”
It is worthy of note to observe that it is not necessary to assume that the words were omitted by the compiler of Mark. They may have been included by him and have been lost subsequently through the inadvertence of a copyist because of the homoioteleuton in the Markan text. We should then have an explanation of their presence in Luke. That is to say, the Lukan writer obtained them from the Second Gospel, the loss occurring later or in a different line of descent. We thus are able to understand the agreement, in respect to these words, between Matthew and Luke and against Mark.
Mt. 24:30. The entire first half of this verse, with the exception of the two words at the beginning and the word rendered “they shall see,” is absent from Mark. I give the two passages, in English, in parallel columns.
I conceive, under the assumption that Mark was compiled from Matthew, that the compiler first wrote down the Greek words rendered “and then”; that next he turned back to Matthew but that his eye found the second “and then.” We thus get the omission of a large part of the passage through simple homoioteleuton. The Greek for “shall mourn” comes next after this second “and then.” This is a single word and, except for the initial letter, is identical with the Greek word rendered “they shall see.” If now we suppose that the compiler did not at once go on with the writing of the Greek of “shall mourn,” but faltered for a moment and then mistook the Greek word for “they shall see” as the one he ought to write down, we shall complete the explanation for the omission of nearly the whole of the Matthaean passage by the writer engaged upon the Markan compilation.
If we prefer, we may assume that the compiler made a perfect copy of the textual matter, and that some copyist producing Mark from Mark committed the oversights and thus became responsible for the omission.
Mt. 26:72. The Greek word translated “with” is the same as the first Greek word of verse 73, translated “after.” This instance of Matthaean homoioteleuton explains the Markan omission of the words rendered “with an oath, I know not the man.”
Or, the compiler may have kept the words and a copyist of Mark may have omitted them.
In Mt. 27:21–22 and 27:29 occur other examples of homoioteleuton, which we may use as explanations for the omission from Mark of the words translated, “Which of the two will ye that I release unto you? And they said, Barabbas. Pilate saith unto them” [note being taken of the fact that the Markan writer had already (Mk. 15:12) written the governor’s name] and also of the words rendered “and a reed in his right hand” [see Mk. 15:17].
I do not press these and other instances as an argument for the dependence of Mark upon Matthew for two reasons: (1) I am not now engaged in proving Markan dependence, the destruction of the arguments for Matthaean dependence contenting me for the time being; and (2) there are instances of homoioteleuton in Mark which may be used as explanations of Matthaean omissions when we assume the Second Gospel as parent of the First.
In fact, the argument for dependence which may be based upon instances of homoioteleuton is quite defective, whether we attempt to use it to prove Matthaean or Markan dependence, because in either case instances in fair number may be cited in favor of the alternative hypothesis. It would appear, then, that the argument has no scientific value of a compelling character. There is, on the other hand, something to be said in support of the proposition that the phenomenon of homoioteleuton has permissive value. Thus, we may regard an instance of homoioteleuton in one Gospel as explaining the absence of the passage defined by it from another Gospel and consequently as permitting us, if other reasons are sufficiently cogent, to regard the latter document as a derivative of the former.
Jewish And Hebrew Passages
There are numerous short passages found in Matthew but not in Mark which are characterized by their references to Jewish or Hebrew matters.
Thus, there are ten formal quotations, made as by the author, which repeat passages from the Old Testament. These are found at the following points: Mt. 1:22–23; 2:15; 2:17–18; 2:23; 4:14–16; 8:17; 12:17–21; 13:55; 21:4–5; 27:9–10. There is a somewhat similar passage at Mt. 3 :3, but it is paralleled in Mark. The omission from the Markan text of the “ten” may readily be explained as due to the Hebraic character of their contents. Of course, if we view these ten passages as interpolations from the margin and as no part of the genuine Greek text, then we need not assume that the compiler of Mark ever saw them.
Other passages which are to be regarded either as Matthaean additions or as Markan omissions and which have more or less to do with Hebraic or Jewish things are given in the form of a list. This list is not to be regarded as necessarily complete.
While there are, perhaps, a very few passages of a Hebraic or Jewish character which are to be regarded either as Matthaean omissions or Markan additions (Mk. 11:10, for example); on the other hand, the number is considerable, as our list attests, which are to be viewed from the exactly opposite point of view. Possibly, they may be explained as additions made by a compiler of Matthew. Certainly, they are to be described as just such omissions as a compiler of Mark would be likely to make.
Peter Favorably Featured
It is not difficult to understand that the Gospel of Mark might, in consequence of Peter’s wishes, omit passages where he is brought favorably into prominence. Perhaps, on the other hand, it is not hard to understand that the Gospel of Matthew might add such accounts. The following short list enumerates the fragmentary portions of text of the kind described that may be viewed as Matthaean additions or as Markan omissions.
Details Necessary To The History
There are a number of places in the narrative of the Second Gospel where the text does not seem to present all the details necessary to a rounded out account. The First Gospel, however, in some or all cases, has complementary matter sufficient to make the history intelligible. We thus get a series of fragmentary passages which are to be regarded as Matthaean additions or Markan omissions.
If they stood alone, we might perhaps think of these passages in Matthew as evidence that this document is a derivative of Mark. That is to say, we might argue that it is easier to view them as additions made by a Matthaean compiler than as omissions of a Markan secondary writer.
However, they do not stand alone. There are similar gaps in the narrative of Matthew that may be filled by material found in Mark.
Some other explanation is to be sought, as least for one of the two Gospels. We must conclude that this line of evidence is of little or no value as a criterion determinative of the question as to which of the two Gospel narratives is the derivative.
Matthaean Fillings Of Markan Gaps
When Mt. 4:18 and Mk. 1:16 are closely compared, it is found that the text of the Second Gospel reveals a word for “casting” but none for “a net,” and that the text of the First Gospel has a suitable word for both. Perhaps it was possible, in the first Christian century, to use the Markan word for “cast” intransitively and to understand it to include such an object as “net” within itself. If we take this view, there is nothing for which to account. But, if we assume that the Markan text, as it stands, exhibits an improper or defective use of the verb, then there is something to explain. Sir J. C. Hawkins, Horae Synopticae, 2d ed. (1909), p. 131, lists the Markan construction, in which an accusative is wanting, amongst “Various unusual words and constructions,” and cites Hab. 1:17 (LXX) as exhibiting the word used with an accusative. An argument that may, conceivably, be derived from the regular Greek of Matthew and the parallel but irregular Greek in Mark is to the effect that the Matthaean construction is reasonably understandable when used by a compiler working with Mark before him, but that this is not the case when the Markan defective construction is conceived as having been employed by a secondary writer who had the correct Greek of Matthew before him. That is to say, we have an argument favoring the dependence of Matthew.
The absence in Mark of a word for “net” may readily be explained, however, as something which came about through the scribal error known as haplography. This class of mistake relates primarily to the writing of a word or phrase once which should be written twice. Thus, in the ninth century uncial K, we have in Mt. 8:31 a single letter instead of a double one in the Greek word rendered “thou cast out.” In the same MS., in Mk. 5:13, the attributive adjective rendered “unclean,” and in the document written next after “spirits,” should be preceded by the definite article. However, the last two letters of “spirits” are indistinguishable from this article. The scribe wrote the letters but once instead of twice, and so committed the error of haplography. Two Greek uncials and a number of ancient versions have in Lk. 8:24 the word for “master” written a single time, whereas it should have been written twice. In John, it is universally the case that we have a doubling of the Greek word rendered “verily”; but two Greek uncials (Ca) have the word but once in Jn. 6:53, and two other Greek uncials (F H) similarly disclose it used singly in Jn. 13:20. As a final example may be cited the single occurrence in the uncial U of the Greek word in Lk. 23:21 rendered “crucify” and of equivalent words in the Old Latin and other early versions, instead of the doubled word testified to by the most of the important documentary witnesses.
We may, if we like, invoke haplography as an explanation for the omission in Mk. 1:16 of the same word for “net” as that employed in the parallel Matthaean text. That is to say, we may, not improbably, conceive the original Markan text to have read ἀμφιβάλλοντας ἀμφιβλήστρον, and the present text, containing only the first of these words, to be the result of an error similar to simple haplography. The scribe wrote the former word and then omitted the second, thinking he had already copied it. The similarity of the two words would explain his mistake.
We reach the conclusion that it is not at all necessary to explain the Markan text as an improper use of the verb and consequently—if we accept a line of reasoning adopted by some—as an unlikely substitute for the language of Matthew. It is just as reasonable to understand that the Greek text of Mark originally contained also the object of the verbal activity, but that this object was lost by a kind of haplography.
Mt. 12:1 and Mk. 2:23 disclose, upon comparison, that gaps in the Markan account are filled in the Matthaean. In Matthew, we have “were hungry” and also “and to eat.” Did the Matthaean writer add, or did the Markan omit? If we take the view that the former is much more probable, then we have an argument for the dependence of Matthew upon Mark.
Again, Mk. 9:33–38 sets forth the question of who was the greatest and introduces the Savior’s treatment of the matter. The little child is set in the midst and taken up into His arms, but the teaching which follows in verse 37 has little or no direct bearing upon the subject in hand. At the corresponding place in Matthew, we do have teaching that is strictly relevant—particularly, the discourse contained in Mt. 18:4. There is a gap in the Markan text
In the Markan account of the occurrences in Gethsemane, the Savior is described as having returned from prayer the third time, but not as having gone away, for the purpose of praying, subsequently to His second return. This gap does not occur in Matthew. That is to say, Mt. 26:44 may be regarded as an addition made by a Matthaean compiler or as an omission due to a Markan secondary writer.
One more illustration may be cited. In Mt. 26:67–68 and Mk. 14:65, we have parallel accounts of the mockery of the Savior during the night preceding the crucifixion. The Markan narrative seems defective, because of the omission of the Matthaean words “who is he that struck thee?”
Some of the preceding instances may be explained otherwise than by making Matthew dependent upon Mark. That no explanations are known for others is more or less probable. Must we conclude, then, that these case9 are to be taken as evidence that Matthew was compiled from Mark, at which time the compiler rectified the imperfections of the record before him?
We are not entitled to take this view, because Matthew in turn is known to present gaps which may be filled by material to be found in Mark.
Markan Fillings Of Matthaean Gaps
If we compare Mk. 1:30 and Mt. 8:14, we shall find that, while the Matthaean text seems defective, as it stands, because of the occurrence, without a prepositional phrase, of the participle which may be rendered “cast,” the construction thus being out of harmony with what is to be read in Mt. 9:2, the Markan language is sufficiently complete. Peter’s mother-in-law, in Matthew, is “cast,” but cast upon what?
We are told, both in Mt. 9:2 and in Mk. 2:5, that “Jesus seeing their faith” remitted the paralytic’s sins. In Mark, there is abundant evidence showing the faith of those who carried the sick man; but, in Matthew, this is not at all clear, especially when we take into account what the Markan writer says in 2:4.
Accordingly, we seem to have a defective account in Matthew, and are entitled to raise the question as to why, if the Matthaean compiler and the text of Mark before him, he omitted such material, material necessary, it would seem, to give a full explanation for the faith which he himself goes on to mention. And this is a case that can not very well be explained, or so it would appear, by homoioteleuton.
Again, consider that Mk. 10:2 says “for a man” but that Mt. 19:3 has nothing of the kind and in fact puts a defective question, “Is it lawful to put away his wife for every cause?” The pronoun “his” occurs, but there is no antecedent.
Once again, in the parallel accounts of the mockery, to which attention has already been directed, we have in Matthew what appears to be a very defective narrative, because no basis is laid in 26:67 for the question of 26:68. In Mk. 14:65, we have a very adequate basis in the statement, “some began to cover his face.”
In view of what has been set forth on both sides, it would appear to be a very precarious argument to infer that the occurrences of historical discontinuities in one Gospel and the presence of complementary information in the other constitute evidence of any substantial strength for the dependence of the document supplying continuous history. The argument may be pressed for the dependence of Mark as well as for that of Matthew.
That a Matthaean secondary writer should add discourse or that a Markan compiler should omit such material is nothing at which to be surprised as long as we look at things broadly. However, when the First Gospel is made a derivative document and when in consequence it can scarcely be regarded as having an apostolic author back of it, we may find ourselves at some loss to account for a fund of information as extensive as it is necessary to assume it to be. When, on the other hand, the Second Gospel is viewed as a compilation, we are under little or no embarrassment in understanding that the compiler made many large and small omissions. Such omissions are consonant with an intelligent purpose. The works of the Savior constitute the history upon which the Second Gospel is intent. The discourse is a quite subordinate matter. Whether we view this situation as one to which the writer was subject, because of a lack of information, or as one consequent upon his choice, it harmonizes with a suitable purpose on his part. Generally then, the discourse passages, which must be assumed as omissions once we make Mark the derivative document, constitute no difficulty.
It is not to be denied, however, that amongst the Markan omissions are some, especially fragmentary ones, which are not particularly easy to explain. Thus, it is not at all clear why a Markan compiler would elect to omit the word represented in English by “be of good cheer,” which is to be found at two points in the First Gospel and which is to be noted as absent from the corresponding positions in the Second Gospel. See Mt. 9:2=Mk. 2:5; Mt. 9:22=Mk. 5:34.
The fact that, when Mark is made dependent, there are omissions to assume that seem more or less inexplicable is offset by the circumstance that, when Matthew is given the secondary place, there are also didactic omissions hard to justify. In the ninth installment of this investigation, Bibliotheca Sacra, July, 1925, p. 351, is to be found a table of references to words of the Savior which are present in the Second Gospel but are absent from the First. These passages are, for the most part, small and many are very fragmentary. Yet they total some 876 words. It may well be asked, Why did the Matthaean compiler omit so much of the Savior’s discourse?
Compendious References To Miracles
There are in Matthew a half dozen passages in which works of the Savior are referred to but not described in detail. These compendious references are either unparalleled in Mark or else, in one case, very incompletely paralleled. They have been given, in extenso, in the seventh installment of The Synoptic Problem, Bibliotheca Sacra, April, 1925, pp. 214-217. These passages are to be found at the following places: Mt. 4:23–24 (cf. Mk. 1:39); 9:35 (cf. Mk. 6:6); 14:14; 15:30–31; 19:2 (cf. Mk. 10:1); 21:14. The general absence of Markan parallelism may be explained, when Mark is made secondary, as due to a disinclination on the part of the compiler to do other than supply detailed accounts. There are, in Mark, several instances of compendious reference. However, these are parallels of similar cases in Matthew. See Mk. l: 34=Mt. 8:10; Mk. l: 39=Mt. 4:23–24; Mk. 3:10–12=Mt. 12:15–16; Mk. 6:5=Mt. 13:58; Mk. 6:55–56 =Mt. 14:35–36. We have, apparently, but one case where the Markan compiler may be said to have made a compendious reference to miracles upon his own initiative; and in this case (Mk. 6:13), the reference is not to miracles worked by the Savior. We are not to be surprised, in view of these facts, if a Markan compiler omitted a number of compendious references found by him in his exemplar.
1) Mt. 12:38–45; 13:24–30, 36–52; 20:1–16; 21:28–32; 22:1–14.
2) Mt. 10:24–11:1; 18:10–35; 23:8–39; 25:1–46.