Many Mostly Right; Some Flatly Wrong

New scientific breakthroughs in scholarship can feel like a game of winners and losers, and it’s never fun to lose. But real scholarship–scholarship based on scientific reality, method, and evidence–is not and can never be a winner take all prize. While the scientific discovery and reconstruction of the First and Third Gospels does completely invalidate some lines of inquiry and schools of thought, it simultaneously provides deep confirmation and reconciliation of many historic and current lines of scholarly inquiry and the rigorous work of scholars in those areas.

The Mostly Right:

  • Q scholars for the last 180 years have been mostly right about the existence and the content of a pre-70 CE Judean Gospel [e.g., Weisse, Robinson, Kloppenborg, Lührmann]
  • Farrer-Goulder proponents have been mostly right about Matthew being a major source of Luke and about the lack of any need to posit an earlier sayings gospel [e.g., Goodacre]
  • Advocates of the existence of an Ur-Lukas or proto-Luke have been mostly right, regardless of whether or not they saw GMarc as significant for its reconstruction. [e.g., Brodie]
  • Scholars who have concluded that GMarc contains much of our earliest synoptic Gospel material have been mostly right [e.g., Klinghardt, Vinzent]
  • Scholars who have concluded that one or more of the synoptic Gospels were heavily edited in the mid-2nd century in response to Marcion have been mostly right [e.g., Tyson, Trobisch, Vinzent]
  • Scholars who have concluded that GMarc is a robust, important, and largely retrievable text have been entirely right in general and mostly right in the specifics of their reconstructions [e.g., Harnack, Roth]
  • Scholars who have concluded that GMarc is an earlier version and major source used in the creation of canonical Luke have been entirely right in general and mostly right in the specifics of their reconstructions [e.g., Schwegler, Baur, Ritschl, Couchard, Knox, Tyson, BeDuhn].
  • Scholars who have pioneered and practiced a robust redaction-critical approach to the Gospels have been entirely right in general and largely right in their reconstructions [e.g., Raymond Brown]
  • Scholars who have brought orality and acoustical theories to the study of ancient texts have been entirely right in general and largely right in their reconstructions [e.g., Assman, Kirk, et al]

The Flatly Wrong

  • Proponents of Mark, Matthew, or Luke being self-consistent, unified first-century compositions created at single moments in time
  • Proponents of GMarc being derived by abridgement or omission from canonical Luke
  • Proponents of GMarc being minuscule and/or impossible to reconstruct
  • Proponents of GMarc being created or significantly edited by Marcion
  • Proponents of GMarc being originally created in the second-century
  • Proponents of an L source