An alternative to Markan priority - New article



There is a new article that proposes an alternative to Markan Priority. Amazingly, it takes the available data and questions and it shows how they converge into a tightly reasoned case for The Clementine Gospel Tradition
, (TCGT). The early church fathers got it right.

Dennis Barton, the writer of the article, gives several clues that support the idea that Mark’s Gospel was originally an orally preached Gospel by St. Peter that was recorded and published by St. Mark.

All the pieces of the puzzle, just fall into place. For example, this theory explains the anomaly of the second ending in Mark’s Gospel. Why two endings ? Also notice the word “he” in verse 9.[INDENT]Mark 16:7-10
“But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him, as he told you.” 8 And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to any one, for they were afraid.
9 Now when he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went and told those who had been with him, as they mourned and wept.”
[/INDENT]Grammatically, “he” should be a reference to the most previous male in the preceding text. But that doesn’t fit.

How would a preached Gospel differ from a written one?
We would expect several differences. One difference is that a preached Gospel to a live audience is going to produce questions. More information always leads to more questions. So, if it is a preached Gospel where is the expected question and answers ?

Verse 9 begins the “longer ending.” How do we explain the pronoun “he” which does not fit ? Dennis Barton, building on the work of noted scholars, explains that if a questioner at the end of Peter’s preaching had just asked a question using the name “Jesus” then the “he” fits perfectly. The longer ending seems to includes the answers to the questions.

See the other pieces of the puzzle fall perfectly into one cohesive whole.

See the article at :

Or here :

     **[How  the  Gospels  Were  Written]("")           ****- By Dennis Barton – Free Pamplet**



In his 1979 book Handbook to the Gospels, theologian Johannes Wijngaards included the following, from Clement of Alexandria:

“This was the occasion of Mark’s Gospel. When Peter had publicly preached the word in Rome, and had taught the gospel in the Spirit, his numerous hearers are supposed to have asked Mark to write down the things which Peter preached. For he had accompanied Peter for a long time and remembered his words. Mark is said to have agreed to their request, and to have given them the Gospel. When Peter learned of it, he neither forbade it, nor encouraged it.”

For his part, Wijngaards commented:

“That last sentence is interesting. For the early Christians, the memorized learning of the gospel was the most important thing. Peter did not mind Mark writing down such memorized traditions, but he would expect Christians to learn the gospel by heart nonetheless.”

Since early Christians were expected to memorize the gospel message, why would Matthew have to rely on Mark?

Regardless of credentials, I truly wonder why moderns believe that, the farther away in time they are from an event, the more they know about it. The concept of entropy applies.



While the website is being updated you can temporarily read the article at



This is what you call a late reply to a thread…

Does anyone here have any issues with the theory of Markan Priority, or is it just me??

An unanimous early Church father verdict testify that Matthew wrote first.

Church tradition testifies that Matthew wrote first.

Modern liberal scholarship testify that Mark wrote first.

If Mark wrote first then how on earth are we supposed to trust or believe in the writings of Matthew or Luke?

Markan priority = later dating of the gospels = unknown authors of Matthew or Luke.

Surely a later dating of the gospels opens up the doors of heavy criticism. I can only view that Matthew and Luke got hold of the text of Mark, added their exaggerated oral traditions and removed the ‘errors’ within Mark (ie Abiathar or Ahimelech being high priest) and composed their own gospels, to their own unique audiences, without any inspiration, just merely an exaggeration of a story to a bunch of second or third generation Christians.

Does it not say in the Bible that the 12, and only the 12, were to receive divine revelation?With Matthew now not being Matthew one of the 12, he did not receive divine revelation, whoever he was and whenever he wrote and however he obtained his info…

How is this inspired? How is this the word of God? It doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

Markan priority is heading towards the destruction of my faith…

If anyone does read this late repy to this post, any help to getting my faith back would be appreciated


The Director of Religious Education for our parish once explained to me that modern scholars understand the Gospels much better than their writers because the human brain has evolved significantly over 2000 years. :confused:

I just kept my mouth shut, and she never learned what heresies I was teaching in my classes. :smiley:


As you’d know Joe, you’re far from alone in the teaching profession. Well done.


Sure I have a problem with it, I don’t think that Markan priority is true! It begins with the hypothesis that Mark wrote first (unproven), and then Matthew used as sources Mark and this hypothesized document called “Q” (of which there is no manuscript evidence or even mentioning in the Church fathers). It then adds on the assumption that Matthew added onto the shorter narratives in Mark that they share.

However there are numerous cases where Matthew adds info about the shorter narratives shared in Mark. This is evidence against the theory of Markan priority. Just two examples (of many):

Matthew 26:67-68:
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him with their fists; and others slapped Him, and said ‘Prophesy to us, You Christ; who is the one who hit You?’”

Wait, why would Jesus not know who just hit him?

Mark 14:65:
“Some began to spit at Him, and to blindfold Him, and to beat Him with their fists, and to say to Him, ‘Prophesy!’ And the officers received Him with slaps in the face.”

Mark adds material to make it clear.

The second one will also serve as evidence that Matthew wrote the gospel attributed to him:

Matthew 10:2-4

“Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.”

Mark 3:16-19

“And He appointed the twelve; Simon (to whom He gave the name Peter), and James, the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James (to whom He gave the name Boanerges, which means, “Sons of Thunder”); and Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddeus, and Simon the Zealot; and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.”

Notice how Mark removes the odious appellation of “the Tax collector” from Matthew and switches their names. This is evidence of a humble man telling his own tale: he puts another name first, and he doesn’t shirk from giving his former profession, which was greatly hated among the Jews.

Nevertheless, supposing Markan priority were true, since Mark is based on the testimony of Peter, the prince of the Apostles, (which of course is disputed by modern liberal scholars, but there is evidence and many other modern conservative scholars who refute them IMO), I don’t think it would be out of line for Matthew to use Mark. Why not use something that was already written down if it is reliable? This seems quite frankly more probably than supposing the existence of an imaginary document.

Markan priority assumes theological embellishment by Matthew on Mark, which is considered by liberal scholars to be more theologically primitive - I dispute that but it would take a long post to do so.

Once again, why not take the unanimous testimony of the Church fathers and tradition if you can poke holes in Markan priority and its twin-doctrine of the existence of this magical Q document?


Your first point I addressed above.

I don’t believe that Markan priority entails “later dating of the gospels”, at least to what may be concerning you. There is a very detailed book called “Redating the New Testament” by John A. T. Robinson, a liberal scholar and Anglican bishop, which made the case that no book in the New Testament comes from after AD 70 and the destruction of the temple. He started the book as a joke, but the more he researched, the more plausible it became. The significance of the Temple in Jewish life would make it absurd to have missed any mention if these books came from after AD 70. In the book, he doesn’t really take a position on Markan priority.

AFAIK, no scholar has refuted him, they just ignore him, as he contradicts their naturalistic assumptions that they hold so dear:

Although Robinson was a liberal theologian, he challenged the work of like-minded colleagues in the field of exegetical criticism. Specifically, Robinson examined the reliability of the New Testament as he believed that it had been the subject of very little original research during the 20th century. He also wrote that past scholarship was based on a “tyranny of unexamined assumptions” and an “almost wilful blindness”.[17]

Robinson concluded that much of the New Testament was written before AD 64, partly based on his judgement that there is little textual evidence that the New Testament reflects knowledge of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in AD 70. In relation to the four gospels’ dates of authorship, Robinson placed Matthew as being written sometime between AD 40 and the AD 60s, Mark sometime between AD 45 and AD 60, Luke sometime during the AD 50s and 60s and John sometime between AD 40 and AD 65 or later.[18][19] Robinson also argued that the letter of James was penned by a brother of Jesus Christ within twenty years of Jesus’ death; that Paul authored all the books attributed to him; and that the “John” who wrote the fourth Gospel was the apostle John. Robinson also suggested that the results of his investigations implied a need to rewrite many theologies of the New Testament.[20][21][22]

One thing I think you’re mistaken on is that even if some of the New Testament books authors are not who they are traditionally held to be, I don’t think Catholic interpretation of the Bible really hinges upon that. This is a point made by Frank Sheed in “Theology and Sanity”, where he points out that we believe the Bible, as St. Augustine said, on the authority of the Catholic Church, not in anything perspicuous in the text itself to our reading. I think a careful reading of Dei Verbum will show Catholic interpretation of the Bible as the Word of God is not based upon their being authored by their traditional authors (even though they are, IMO).

I don’t know where you are referring to in the bible about only the 12 receiving divine interpretation. However, I would like to have you read the Catholic definition of faith from the Catechism that I wonder if you are sharing when you have these doubts:

157 Faith is certain. It is more certain than all human knowledge because it is founded on the very word of God who cannot lie. To be sure, revealed truths can seem obscure to human reason and experience, but "the certainty that the divine light gives is greater than that which the light of natural reason gives."31 "Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt."32

31 St. Thomas Aquinas, STh II-II,171,5,obj.3.
32 John Henry Cardinal Newman, Apologia pro vita sua (London: Longman, 1878) 239.

See how faith is certain. I like to read skeptical literature a lot. It doesn’t affect my faith, because as Cardinal Newman said, a difficulty doesn’t lead to a doubt. Every skeptical claim I have encountered and researched I have found a convincing answer for, so I see no reason why that won’t continue.


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