Thesis for the degree, Doctor of Philosophy, Murdoch University, 1999
Supervisor: Associate Professor Bill Loader
Dr Ian Donald (David) Mackay
Title of Thesis:
Are traces of dependence on Mark 6-8 and related passages to be found in John 6? A contribution to the debate on Johns relationship with Mark.ABSTRACT
After a short survey of some of the issues connected with the relationship between Mark and John, the debate is traced from an early consensus that John was written to interpret the Synoptics, through a consensus on the independence of John, to a new situation where voices are heard on either side.
A survey of similarities and differences between Mark and John as literary wholes anchors the study in its context, and an excursus on the theological and literary integrity of John 6, coupled with a summary of the debate on its relationship with Mark 6-8, prepares for the comparative exegesis. Criteria by which to assess the similarities and differences between the two texts are set out at this point.
The bulk of the study consists of pericopal exegesis of John 6 with special reference to Mark 6-8 and a few related passages. A verse by verse analysis of each section is followed by an examination of the similarities and differences and an assessment of their implications.
The exegesis indicates that John 6 echoes most of the material between Marks feeding of the 5000 and Petrine confession according to a simple structure shared by both. The differences are all explicable in terms of the Johannine agenda, the way each stage of Johns narrative reflects different details from three or four similar Markan events, and/or the use of Markan strategies for different purposes.
The exegesis implies some literary influence of Mark on John, but with a definite tension in the evidence. Some findings imply a close, detailed relationship, but others a distant, general one.
A hypothesis is suggested to resolve the dilemma: Circumstances called for a new Gospel, and the evangelist produced one with its own perspective on the basis of a previous edition and an independent local tradition, but against a background of memories of Mark. If the Johannine evangelist knew Mark well, perhaps through performing it in community readings, the evidence of close contact would be explained with no compromise to Johns essential independence.
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