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St. Mark’s Gospel
Two Stages of its Making By J. M. C. Crum, Residentiary Canon of Canterbury (1936) (pdf)


If the author was asked what has prompted him to add another to the countless books which handle this and kindred matters, he would say that he believes himself to be offering a. rather simple solution of problems which have long exercised his own and so many other minds.

He believes that the accepted views of the Synoptic Problem can be carried on one step further. As the recognition of the priority of St. Mark has made it possible to. measure the change of thought which has taken place between the writing of St. Mark’s Gospel and the copying of it by St. Matthew and St. Luke, so it is possible to distinguish in “St. Mark” itself two “strata,” between the formation of which there has taken place a change in the Church’s mind and language.

The phenomena to be accounted for are the existence side by side of incompatible elements. Side by side are found there two stories, one of incidents and sayings such as Simon Peter might tell in Rome and Mark record: homely, frank, vivid, giving such memories as would convey an idea of what Jesus of Nazareth had said and been to His first disciples. And the other stratum uses a different vocabulary and tells of a different “Christology,” a story told by metaphor and allegory, setting out the mystical implications, the divine meaning, of the bare facts of what the Lord had said and done and suffered and been.

The author of these essays believes that the two strata can be distinguished, and that the places where one work interrupts the other can (within limits) be determined; so that the reader has got before him, a Mark II who tells mystically a Gospel story of the Church of the Rome of the time of Nero, and within and behind that and separable from that, a Mark I, a Gospel story which goes back to the scenes of the house in Capernaum and the boat in Galilee and the streets in Jerusalem of thirty-five years before.

9th April, 1936.

St. Mark’s Gospel (pdf)

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