Watson on Reinterpreting in Parallel (chapter 7, @eerdmansbooks)

Watson’s seventh chapter, Reinterpreting in Parallel, examines the literary trajectory from Mark (and maybe before Mark) to John through Thomas and the afore-not-mentioned Gospel of Peter. Several of his conclusions are going to be rather essential in examining John’s relationship with the Synoptics, specifically Mark. This chapter is filled with example and example of the trajectory we can see develop if we remove the subjective and imposed notion of canonical and noncanonical.

By this, I call into question the Gospel of Peter. At one time, it was considered canonical, or rather, it was considered usable in the liturgical life of the Church at Rhossus. Remember, at one time, someone proto-orthodox used even Thomas.

As many of you know, I  would like to propose John’s purposed dependence upon the Synoptics, specifically Mark (beginning, historical present) and Luke (the internal structure, or the so called Signs Gospel). Watson’s Figure 7.1 examines the parallel accounts of the trial narrative in Mark 15.2–18 and John 18.33–19.16. This examination is one of the most powerful examples of John’s reliance upon Mark.

Anyway, Watson concludes this chapter by saying,

It is only as the texts deemed noncanonical are taken into account that the true significance of the canonical boundary becomes clear (407).

For those interested in mimetic criticism of the Gospels — how one Gospel was preserved in the other, this is a quintessential chapter.


Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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