Religion: New Life for an Old Dispute

A scholar attacks the belief that Mark's Gospel came first

Which Gospel was the first to be written, Matthew, Mark, Luke or John? That question is not only historically intriguing but important for interpreting the life of Jesus and the development of early Christian belief. Traditionally, biblical scholars, especially Roman Catholics, gave pride of place to Matthew, a view that prevailed until Victorian times. Then, in the 19th century, Protestant scholars rallied around Mark as the first Gospel writer, and most Catholics later followed suit. Today the predominant theory of how the Gospels were written holds that Mark served, along with a collection of Jesus' teachings, as a major source for...

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