Comment to 'Light Of The World, chapter 2'
  • Dan, it is pure, and from the heart.  That is very challenging for this generation.  It is Christians who talk about their walk, and it is unsettling for many.

    May I?

    From your work,

    "Many scholars believe that the Gospel according the Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

    We wouldn't phrase it exactly like that.  

    How does this read?

    "A significant number of scholars will offer that Mark is the oldest of the currently known extant versions of the life of Jesus."

    There are a number of reasons why I suggest this.  I would phase it like this, but it isn't your voice.
    "A significant number of scholars hold that the Gospel of Mark is the oldest known extant documentable version of the story of the life of Jesus."

    1) Dan, "Many scholars believe that the Gospel accordintg to Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

    That is very thin ice. There are actually a number of big monkey scholars who would take serious issue with that statement. The reasons is this.

    Whose "many"? I ask that because "many scholars" also hold that Matthew and Luke shared a "source" document. We call this lost manuscript "Q," which is Q for quella, for source. There are two schools of thought among "Q-ists." One is that it was an actual document. The other, however, is that "Q" was the collective body of oral tradition. Accordingly, if it existed, and it is a great argument, then as a document, would Q have been older than Mark?

    If it were me, I would completely avoid the discussion.  

    "According to the archeological evidence, the general consenses among scholars is that Mark is the oldest known extant written version of the life of Jesus."

    If you throw in the phrase "known extant" your statement is bullet proof.   If you say "... Mark was the first account of the life of Christ," now you have to prove that "something is not there." 

    In the scholarly community of New Testament textual analysis, the word "extant" is a get out of jail free card.  It means "passed from the ages, recorded, and we still have it and can access it."  We only have about 550 "extant books" that have come to us by Greek authors from the ancient world.

    I bring this up because I don't know of a single scholar who would agree with the way you phrased it, not one.
    "Many scholars believe that the Gospel accordintg to Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

    How about, "A significant number of scholars hold that the Gospel according to Mark is the oldest known extant version of the life of Jesus."

    We cannot prove that it was the first.  What we can prove to reasonable minds is that of the extent documents that we do have, Mark arguably is the oldest, and part of the reason for this is actual archeological evidence.  We can now physically place Mark in Egypt in the mid-late to late 1st century.  Not long ago Egyptologists were examining a death mask on a mummy from first century.  It was made from pressed papyri, and when they looked through the layers, proof, out popped a fragment of the Gospel of Mark.  

    We have been arguing that Mark was written in the 1st century for years, but now we actually have a piece of it that by context we can place in the late 1st century.


     

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    • Timothy, I finally got around to changing the text of chapter 2 of my book to "Some scholars believe that the Gospel according the Mark was the first account of the life of Christ to be written."

      I could also say, "Some scholars believe that Mark's Gospel was written before those by Matthew, Luke and John."

      The main reason I brought this up was that I feel a sense of urgency in Mark to get the important facts and issues across quickly and clearly. If there was a "Q" document, I have no way to know about it's tone or sense of urgency. Maybe this is important to me because I feel pressed to say what is on my heart in a concise way as well.

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      • Dan,

        You got it!  

        This one would put you in the ballpark, "Some scholars believe that Mark's Gospel was written before those by Matthew, Luke and John."   That is 100% historically correct and it aligns with archaeological evidence.  That approach works with me because it aligns with a historical Jesus that there is in fact Roman records for.  When speaking with unbelievers, I stress that, yes, there really was a man named Jesus who lived in Judea at the turn of the 1st century.  That is a fact as far as we know.  The approach forces the ears of the unbeliever to accept we as a person, just like them.  That is harder to **** off as a "Christian nut."

        You are doing great and I want to read it once done and will be your first customer if you print it.

        Timothy, Redding




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        • Timothy, I took your advice. Thanks for the interest and the encouragement! It means a lot. I will be posting some additional chapters soon.

          Dan

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