Authentic Bible history vs New Age Nonsense: Was Matthew or Mark the first written Gospel?

BibleInspired

For 2000 years Christians have accepted that the four Gospels provide reliable historical facts about the life of Jesus. They also accepted that the ancient historians provided reliable accounts regarding the origins of these Gospels. Borrowing had obviously taken place between the authors of Matthew, Mark and Luke, later known as: ‘The Synoptic Gospels’. Who had borrowed from whom was of little academic interest until 1764 when Henry Owen, an Anglican Vicar, proposed that Mark wrote after Luke.

Although discussed in Germany, conservative scholars rejected the idea because it contradicted Jerome’s sequence of Matthew-Mark-Luke.

But Owen had arrived at his theory by critically examining the wording used by the authors, and this prompted others to also do so. In 1838 Christian Weisse claimed that as Mark’s Gospel was in poor grammatical Greek, compared to the other two, he must have written prior to them.  His reason was that the ‘borrower’ would not deliberately turn good quality Greek into poor quality. The sequence that Mark wrote first became known as the Markan Priority Theory.

Rationalists and other non-believers in the German Universities, supported by the government, championed this theory because all the ancient historians had said that Matthew wrote first. The acceptance of Markan Priority would mean all the early Christian historians were seriously wrong so unreliable.

Also, they could argue, that as most scholars dated Mark as writing about 64 AD, Matthew and Luke must have been written much later. So, these Gospels would have been authored by anonymous individuals who had never met Christ. They would have constructed stories of Christ not based on facts but on their personal faith.

Such a lack of Scriptural reliability would devastate Evangelical Christianity. And the evidence for the historical claim, by the Catholic Church, to having been founded by Christ would be undermined.

Christians answered those promoting Markan Priority [In future here referred to as Markans], by basing their stand on the words of the historians and on the reliability of Jerome’s listing in the order of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. But although they undermined the Markan position, they failed to win the debate convincingly.

On the other side, Markans found it necessary to rely on an alleged historical document they called Q – although there was not the slightest historical evidence that it ever existed. The two sides fought each other to a stand-still.

Then, in 1965, the Second Vatican Council maintained that the historians were correct. It restated that the eyewitness Apostles and their apostolic friends had authored the four gospels. Soon afterwards, research led to a third theory emerging (or re-emerging), which would reconcile modern critical analysis with the historical evidence.

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Dr. Peter Kreeft: Prayer is a matter of life or death, your lifeline to God, to life itself.

Having got that clear and having made prayer your number one priority, having made a definite decision to do it, we must next rearrange our lives around it.

Rearranging your time, preparing time to pray, is like preparing your house to paint. As everyone knows who has done any painting, preparation is three-quarters the work, three-quarters the hassle, and three-quarters the time. The actual painting is a breeze compared with the preparation. The same is true of prayer: the hardest step is preparing a place, a time, a sacred and inviolable part of each day for it.

Prayer is like Thanksgiving dinner. It takes one hour to eat it and ten hours to prepare it. Prayer is like Christmas Day: it took a month of preparation, decoration, and shopping to arrange for that one day. Best of all, prayer is like love.

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A Catholic perspective on the strange gods and alternative religion of the Eco-Pagans

Al Gore: High Priest and False Prophet of the Eco-Pagans

Do I have to buy Sunkist tuna, because it is dolphin friendly, even if Bumblebee tuna is cheaper?  Do I have to campaign for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, or for renewable sources of energy?  How does a Catholic use resources?  There is nothing wrong with using resources; that is what the good Lord put them on the earth for.  However, there are simple and affordable things I can do to use resources well, by practicing good economy in my lifestyle and my choice of recreation.  While it is primarily the responsibility of legislators, social and political leaders, and governments to promote policies that favor the conservation of resources, and stimulate their use in nations still in development, nevertheless there is much that I can do on a personal level.  The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has this to say:

Lifestyles should be oriented according to the principles of sobriety, temperance and self-discipline, both at the personal and social levels. People need to escape from the consumer mentality and promote methods of production that respect the created order, as well as satisfying the basic needs of all (November 12, 2005).

But what about the whales and the trees?  The fact is I do not have direct responsibility towards the humpback whales in the Artic, nor do I need to check before purchasing toothpaste whether the company supports the Amazon rainforest.  The environment and animals are important, but are not ends in themselves.  They are cared for in regard to something else.  However, my responsibility to foster and respect human life is binding, because each and every human being is an end it itself, and may never be used as a means to get something else.  It turns out that the human person, whether ”Greens” like it or not, is the centerpiece of creation.  He alone of all creation has a sense of purpose in his life, and he can recognize and live for this purpose.  He has a God-given dignity that bestows priority with respect to the goods of the earth.  Respect and care for the environment is very good and important, but only when it’s taken care of in the right order: humans first.

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