Is there an oral tradition behind the Gospels?

Michael Barber quotes from a recent work,

Did the evangelist Matthew have access to the gospel of Mark? Perhaps. Would he have consulted that gospel in the process of developing and writing his own gospel? Perhaps. Was his gospel more closely related to the text of Mark than to patterns and experiences of his own performances of the Jesus tradition in the context of concrete social groups in the period (days? weeks? months? years?) before he wrote his gospel? Probably not, though in this scenario Mark may have influenced Matthew’s performative style.* We cannot reasonably assume, without argument, that Matthew’s written sources exerted a greater influence over the written text of his gospel than do his own experiences of the Jesus tradition in oral performance. (p. 30)

The Sacred Page: Rodríguez on Jesus, Oral Tradition, and the Two-Source Hypothesis.

I have some theories on this, but I guess I need to get that book. Make sure you read his post, however.

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2 Replies to “Is there an oral tradition behind the Gospels?”

  1. I don’t think enough is made of the fact that Jesus probably preached the same sermon many times and that many differences between accounts could simply be variations in sermons Jesus gave.

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