The Synoptic Problem
& John 8:1-11
Part VI: The Lukan Omission

...continued researches

Page Index

Last Updated: Jan 25, 2009

Section 1: - Introduction to The Lukan Omission

Section 2: - The Lukan Omission
Section 3: - Side by Side: 5000 vs. 4000
    Table - Mark 6:30-44 & Mark 8:1-10
    The Problem - 'Two Incident' Theory Flawed

Section 4: - Different Sources: 5000 vs. 4000
    I. Translation Greek - by R. A. Martin (1987)
        Semitic Style or Semitic Sources?
        Semitic-Style Sections in Acts
        Semitic-Style Sections in Luke
        Semitic-Style Sections in Mark and Matthew
        The Implications of Grammatical Evidence

    II. Literary Analysis - by R. M. Fowler (1982)
        One Discipline Leads to Another
        The Results of Redaction Criticism
        Literary Criticism: The Next Level
        The Results of Literary Criticism
        The Value of Literary Criticism
        Conclusion: New Methods and Viewpoints
        The Limits of Literary Criticism

    III. Feeding the 4000 - Cracking Mark's Code
        An Insoluble Mystery...?
        A Creamy Johannine Coating
        Stories from the Marginalized North

Section 5: - The Final Edition of Mark
        The Full Story


The Lukan Omission

In our previous discussion on this, (Synoptics Part I: Mark and Luke), we gave a brief discription of the problem:

"There is one apparent exception to Luke's strategy of reproducing and supplimenting Mark. He appears to omit a large contiguous block of Mark, namely Mark 6:45 - 8:25. This seems strange, for normally Luke is careful to include almost everything in Mark. Of some 678 verses, Luke preserves over 600 of them in one form or another.

It is possible that the copy of Mark that Luke used simply lacked these verses for some reason, or that they were inserted into Mark after Luke wrote.

Normally, Luke is not reluctant to make minor rearrangements and even some small substitutions in Mark's account, but he never leaves out whole stories of importance, and certainly not groups of same.

Some feel that Mark 6:45 - 8:25 in part seems to be an alternate account of the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:33-45 = 8:1-10?), and was included by Mark to prevent its loss, as has happened elsewhere in the Bible (e.g. Isa. 36:1-39:8 = 2nd Kings 18:13-20:21, etc.). ( It is interesting to observe that some of the apparent 'Johannine' material in Mark is in this very section. )

Its now time for a closer and more careful look at this remarkable circumstance.

The Lukan Omission

A Closer Look

Not Redundant Material!

Even a brief glance reveals that this omitted section is a group of at least nine separate segments, many that are profound and edifying. Several of these segments can by no means be considered "redundant material". Only one story, the Feeding of the 4000 looks like it might be an alternate version of a previous incident.

The Walking on the Water episode would be most valued by Luke, and the criticisms and warnings regarding the teaching of the Pharisees would have been carefully preserved, had Luke known of their existance, even if he had chosen to edit them for purposes of readability and style.

In any case, there is no evidence that Luke was short of room. On the contrary, Luke's whole purpose was inclusive, and he would have been very much against risking the loss of any authentic Christian testimony or tradition.

This is why the internal evidence from Luke is so strong. On the other hand, there are also some interesting parallels between Mark's material and material Luke included in his large "Third Block" (Luke 10:1 - 18:14, i.e., the so-called 'Q' sayings etc.).

In particular, we have:

Luke 11:37-54 - Dinner with a Pharisee:
Critique & Woe to Pharisees, scribes, lawyers
( - compare to Mark 7:1-23 )
Luke 12:1-3 - Beware the Leaven of the Pharisees: Hypocrisy ( - compare to Mark 8:14-21)
Luke 11:41, 12:22 - Cleanness, Take no care over food ( - compare to Mark 7:6-23)
Luke 12:54-56 - Discern the Time ( - compare to Mark 8:11-13)
Luke 11:29-32 - Sign of Jonah ( - compare to Matthew's version of Mark 8:12, Matt. 16:4).

It is safe to say then, that much of the teaching found in the Lukan Omission Section of Mark is familiar to Luke and in harmony with his material, and they may have common sources. Luke may have independantly translated or reworked this material into his own expansion of Mark's Gospel.

The final editor/author of Mark may or may not have known Luke's work, and it may not have actually made much difference for his own more modest project. There seems to be a reasonable amount of flexibility in the composition and arrangement of early Gospels.

Side by Side:
5000 vs. 4000

Two Stories, or Two Versions?

Here are the two stories in Mark placed side by side:

Feeding the 5000
Mark 6:31-46
Feeding the 4000
Mark 8:1-10
31 And he said unto them, "Come you yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest awhile." For there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat. 32 And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. 33 And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran on foot out of all the cities, and came before them, and came together unto him.

34 And Jesus, when he came out, saw many people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. 35 And when the day was now ending, his disciples came unto him, and said, "This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: 36 Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat." 37 He answered and said unto them, "Give you them to eat." And they say unto him, "Shall we go and buy two hundred pennyworth of bread, and give them to eat?" 38 He said unto them, "How many loaves have you? go and see." And when they knew, they said, "Five, and two fishes." 1 In those days the multitude being very great, and having nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said unto them, 2 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now been with me three days, and have nothing to eat: 3 And if I send them away fasting to their own houses, they will faint by the way: for some of them came from far."

4 And his disciples answered him, "From where can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the desert?" 5 And he asked them, "How many loaves have you?" And they said, "Seven."
39 And he commanded them to make all sit down by groups upon the green grass. 40 And they sat down in ranks, by hundreds, and by fifties. 41 And when he had taken the five loaves and the two fishes, he looked up to heaven, and blessed, and broke the loaves, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and the two fishes divided he among them all. 6 And he commanded the people to sit down on the ground: and he took the seven loaves, and gave thanks, and broke them, and gave them to his disciples to set before them; and they did set them before the people. 7 And they had a few small fishes: and he blessed, and commanded to set them also before them.
42 And they did all eat, and were filled. 43 And they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments, and of the fishes. 44 And they that did eat of the loaves were about five thousand men.

45 And immediately he made his disciples to get into the ship, and to go to the other side before unto Bethsaida, while he sent away the people. 46 And when he had sent them away, he departed into a mountain to pray.
8 So they did eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken fragments that were left seven baskets. 9 And they that had eaten were about four thousand:

and he sent them away. 10 And immediately he entered into a ship with his disciples, and came into the parts of Dalmanutha.

The Problem between the Two Stories

At first one might think that the accounts are different enough to have referred to two different events in Jesus' ministry. The basic problem with this, is Mark 8:4:

And his disciples answered him, "From where can a man satisfy these men with bread here in the desert?"

Here the disciples, (the twelve apostles, witnesses to many miracles), talk as if the first Feeding of the 5,000 simply never happened. How can even the most dense disciples not immediately guess another miraculous feeding is about to take place, given what just transpired only days before? Naturally the problem isn't solved by assuming the two episodes happened in reverse order, since Mark 6:37 again makes it plain the disciples haven't a clue about the impending miracle.

Two Versions, One Incident

The obvious solution, especially in the light of so many similarities in the stories and their accompanying narrative bridges, is that these are two different versions or recollections of one and the same event.

Although Matthew knows of two Miraculous Feedings, he is simply following our existing version of Mark here, and his independance of witness can be discounted in this case.

Different Sources:
5000 vs. 4000

Linguistic Evidence

The ability to identify 'Translation Greek' was finally put on a solid scientific footing by an exhaustive collation and analysis by Raymond A. Martin, with his publication of
Syntax Criticism of the Synoptic Gospels, (1987)
Studies in the Bible and Early Christianity Vol. 10 pp. 28-31.

Martin first shows that changes in the Semitic style of passages from section to section are not a result of conscious imitation by NT writers like Luke, Mark and Matthew, but really do reflect changes in the source materials each author uses. That is, some sections betray clear and decisive features of 'translation Greek'.

Semitic Style or Semitic Sources?

'...Thus there remain only two possible explanations for the erratic frequency of these 17 syntactical features in Acts 1-15 -- either Semitic Sources lie behind those sections where Semitic frequencies occur, or the writer is deliberately and consciously imitating there a Semitic Style which differs from his own natural style.

As noted earlier, in recent times it has been most common to explain the writer's Semitic style in Acts 1-15 and the Gospel of Luke (particularly in Luke 1 and 2) in this way, namely as a consciously-Semitizing Septuagintal Style -- the writer's conscious effort to provide for his narrative the local color most suited to it, thereby revealing his great artistic skill.

Winter in reference to the Semitisms of Luke 1 and 2 has rightly called this explanation by Sparks "artificial". However, the main refutation of the view that this erratic Semitic style (at least with respect to the 17 syntactical criteria of translation Greek) is due to deliberate imitation of the LXX lies in another direction.

Semitic-Style Sections in Acts

Why does the writer of Acts 1-15 choose to use a Semitic style ...only in some sections (some of which are Palestinian in setting and some of which are not Palestinian in setting)?

And why does he not adopt this style in the many other places where the Palestinian background is clear and obvious, since according to Sparks the Palestinian setting determines Luke's conscious Semitic style?

Why for example ... should Luke deliberately adopt a Semitic style for narrating Paul's experiences and the healing of a man crippled from birth at Lystra in Asia Minor (Acts 14:8-20) but use his natural non-Semitic style to describe Peter and John's similar experience with a man lame from birth in Jerusalem (Acts 3:1-10)?

Or why should Luke deliberately adopt a Semitic style to narrate the arrest, imprisonment and trial of Peter and the other apostles in Jerusalem in Acts 5:17-32 but not use it for his arrest, imprisonment and trial of Peter and John in Jerusalem in the previous chapter (Acts 4:5-22)?

Or why should Luke's narration of Peter's vision and his visit to Cornelius be told in his natural, non-Semitic style (Acts 10:1-48) but Peter's retelling of it in Acts 11:5-17 be highly Semitized as indicated by these 17 syntactical features?

Finally, why would the writer use a very Semitic style for Paul's sermon in Antioch of Asia Minor (Acts 13:16b-41) but employ his natural, non-Semitic style for Paul's speech before the mob in Jerusalem, which Luke specifically states was delivered in Aramaic (Acts 22:2-21)? There, if anywhere, he surely ought to seek to give an Aramaic coloring to the Greek!

Semitic-Style Sections in Luke

The same anomalous situation will be seen in Luke's Gospel. If Luke's Semitic style was as Sparks claimed,

"...deliberately devised and cunningly conceived to provide the right background for the action",...

- why, as will be demonstrated in the rest of this study, is the entire Gospel not written in such a style -- for the Gospel material is entirely set in a Palestinian environment?

And why does he tend to lessen these Semitic syntactical frequencies whenever he uses Markan narratives and sayings (as he does nearly 3/4 of the time)? Since all of Mark's material is Palestinian in setting, it is difficult to understand why Luke would make the Markan material he uses less rather than more Semitic.

Further, as will appear subsequently, only about 1/3 of Luke's special material reveals this same Semitic style as does only some of his 'Q' material -- but all of the Q and special material has a Palestinian setting!

Semitic-Style Sections in Mark and Matthew

This same erratic Semitic style with respect to these 17 syntactical features appears in both Mark and Matthew! Is it to be assumed that they, like Luke, are so skilled as to be able to consiously to imitate the style of the Greek O.T. so as to give appropriate color to their Gospels? And, if so, why do they, like Luke, also do it in some stories and sayings and not others?

One interesting example must suffice for now. Why should Mark adopt a very Semitic style for his narration of the Feeding of the 4000 (Mark 8:1-10) and a very non-Semitic style for his narration of the Feeding of the 5000 (Mark 6:30-44)?

Or, why should Matthew (Matt. 15:32-30) change Mark's narration of the Feeding of the 4000 and eliminate much of this Semitic style, which Matthew uses elsewhere both in his 'Q' and in his 'Special' materials? (cf. ch.1 below for details).

Whatever the explanation for the different kinds of Semitisms found in the Gospels and Acts 1-15, as far as the 17 syntactical criteria of Syntax Criticism are concerned, it is much more probable that where these 17 syntactical features appear with Semitic frequencies, they provide evidence that the writer is, in these instances, dependent upon Semtic sources. '

- Martin, Syntax Criticism...
(underlines & emphasis by author)

The Implications of Grammatical Evidence

The syntactical evidence clearly shows that the second story (Feeding of the 4000) is translation-Greek, and originally belonged to a source-document, probably written in Syriac or Palestinian Aramaic.

But next we must penetrate the mystery further, to see how and why this section was included in Mark, and what the result is for interpretation of the material.

Literary Criticism:
5000 vs. 4000

Corroborating Analysis

An Exerpt from:
Using Literary Criticism on the Gospels (1982)
Christian Century May 26, 1982, p. 626 fwd. by Robert M. Fowler

One Discipline Leads to Another

It is also the perception of many scholars that the results of source, form and, especially, redaction criticism impel one to move on to literary criticism. I found out for myself, in an unforeseen manner, that redaction criticism mutates into genuine literary criticism -- a discovery made in the course of writing my dissertation (now published as Loaves and Fishes: The Function of the Feeding Stories in the Gospel of Mark [Scholars Press, 1981]).

The topic of my dissertation was the two stories of a miraculous feeding of a multitude in Mark: the Feeding of the Five Thousand (Mark 6:30-44) and the Feeding of the Four Thousand (Mark 8:1-10). There has been a time-honored consensus, going all the way back to the source critics, that these two stories represent variants of a single traditional story. The Gospel writer included both versions, it is said, almost carelessly. After all, in both versions of the story the disciples seem to have no idea of what Jesus is capable of doing to feed vast crowds. Surely they would not have been so obtuse on the second occasion of a miraculous feeding. Therefore, the standard argument runs, these two stories are actually variants of the same story, each version of which included some mention of the disciples’ initial ignorance of what Jesus is about to do. When the evangelist tells essentially the same story twice, the disciples are accidentally made to look incredibly stupid.

The Results of Redaction Criticism

That is the usual scholarly accounting of the two feeding stories in Mark. Suspecting that rather than explaining the stories, this theory just explained them away, I applied standard redaction critical techniques to them to see if I could detect where Mark was borrowing from tradition and where he was editing that tradition. I found I could not substantiate the supposition that both stories were inherited by the evangelist from the tradition. The shorter and less colorful of the two stories, the Feeding of the Four Thousand (Mark 8:1-10), may well have been inherited from the tradition -- its vocabulary and compositional style are unlike that of most of the Gospel and may betray an origin in a source used by the evangelist. The Feeding of the Five Thousand (Mark 6:30-44), on the other hand, was probably composed entirely by the Gospel writer. The vocabulary and style of this story was absolutely congruent with the vocabulary and style favored by Mark when he is editing his sources. In addition, careful analysis suggests that the older, traditional form of the story served as a model for the evangelist’s own composition.

At this point redaction criticism reaches an impasse. The redaction critic is supposed to find the word or phrase that reveals the editorial activity of the evangelist in shaping the tradition he inherited. But what is one to do when he finds instead that the evangelist has composed an entire story? That is, what is one to do when one finds that Mark was not simply an editor of tradition, but a fine storyteller in his own right? Redaction criticism, with its orientation toward editors and editing, is no longer helpful at this point.

Literary Criticism: The Next Level

If the editor is really an author (who just happens to edit), then we need a critical method that will help us to appreciate and to understand the author as an author and his Gospel as a genuine literary work. Redaction criticism serves us well in our quest to understand the Gospels, but eventually its usefulness wanes, and one must turn to a genuine literary criticism of the Gospels in order to continue the quest.

The Results of Literary Criticism

With regard to the feeding stories in Mark, the interesting literary question is not what the Gospel writer was trying to say when he composed the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand. Altogether, the storyteller chooses to tell us not one but two feeding stories. It is irrelevant that one story is traditional in origin and the other his own composition. Mark, as the author of the Gospel, bears full responsibility for the entire narrative, regardless of how much traditional material he may have incorporated into the story. The literary critic, concerned with interpreting the Gospel as an integral, literary whole, must deal with both feeding stories with equal seriousness. Therefore, even if my thesis that Mark himself composed the story of the Feeding of the Five Thousand were to be conclusively refuted, I would still insist that both stories need to be taken seriously as episodes in Mark’s story about Jesus. From a literary critical perspective, it simply will not do to explain away the tensions arising between the two stories by labeling them variants of pre-Gospel tradition.

One can no longer dodge the admittedly distasteful conclusion that the author intends for the disciples to come off badly in this pair of stories. They look dense because that is the way the author paints them. Indeed, Mark has used rich irony in the feeding stories and throughout the Gospel. When the second feeding incident begins to unfold, it is narrative artistry and not careless editing that makes the disciples say, “How can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?” The reader, remembering the earlier feeding incident, knows very well how Jesus is able to satisfy the needs of the crowd. But the disciples seem oblivious of his power. They skewer themselves on their own words, while the reader watches and learns from their mistakes.

Of course, in a thorough literary critical interpretation of the Gospel, one would expect the portrait of the disciples in the feeding stories to be consistent with the portrait of the disciples elsewhere in the Gospel. This in fact seems to be the case; several scholars have suggested that the theme of the obtuseness and failures of the disciples pervades the Gospel of Mark. Upon further literary study it may prove to be the theme of the Gospel, perhaps replacing the “messianic secret” in the affections of students of Mark’s Gospel.

The Value of Literary Criticism

The literary criticism of the Gospels, as illustrated by this interpretation of the feeding stories, has much potential to benefit both the academy and the church. I have already indicated the way in which literary criticism furthers the development of approaches used in Gospel studies, while at the same time it represents a major shift in orientation away from the longstanding preoccupation with historical questions. I have suggested that a host of literary questions have long awaited careful consideration, and that now the time has come to give them the attention they deserve. There is much work to be done in this long-neglected vineyard.

But to state even more sharply the challenge that literary criticism presents to both the academy and the church, I would say that our work is to rediscover a sense of the wholeness of each of the Gospels. When we do that, we will begin to hear once again the unmistakable voice of each individual evangelist as he tells us his own version of the story of Jesus, from beginning to end.

Conclusion: New Methods and Viewpoints

The challenge of literary criticism confronts a guild of biblical scholars who have been predisposed to disintegrate the Gospels into supposed component pieces. The church, too, has often stifled the voice of each evangelist, either by disintegrating his Gospel into bite-sized lectionary texts, or by harmonizing the Gospels, melting them together into one variegated lump of Gospel lore.

Few biblical scholars have taken seriously both feeding stories in Mark; similarly, how many sermons have you heard on both stories, as a pair? Such sermonizing would feel awkward for most of us, for that is simply not the way expository preaching is usually done. And yet a literary critical reading of Mark suggests that this pair of stories belongs together, and if we wish to understand what Mark had in mind by writing his Gospel, we had best keep them together. Or to state the challenge of literary criticism yet another way, perhaps we should note that the Gospel writers produced neither volumes of learned exegesis nor sermons. Rather, they told stories; and if we wish to understand what the Gospels say, we should study how stories are told.

- Fowler, Using Literary Criticism on the Gospels

The Limits of Literary Criticism

Just as Fowler found out that Redaction Criticism could only take us so far, we also discover that Literary Criticism as normally practiced also has limits and leaves our task unfinished.

The 'result' that the main point of Mark was to make the Apostles look like idiots, or even that this was an important theme, seems hopelessly flawed. Literary Criticism rightly focussed our attention on the new composition as a whole, but lacked the specific keys and tools to deal with a Gospel.

This is where Christian insight and experience can come in, to break the impasse and lead us to a new understanding.

Feeding the 4000
Cracking Mark's Code

The Meaning of 'Seven'

Independant corroboration of Martin's findings regarding a Semitic Source behind the Feeding of the 4000 (Mark 8:1-10) comes from the following (previously published) observations of R. M. Fowler (We gave an excerpt above.)

Its important to note that Fowler recognizes through literary analysis that Mark as we now have it (including both versions of the Feedings) functions as a single literary work with a legitimate author having his own purpose. Thus the new large section with its seven different stories or segments is not just a 'crude insertion' (i.e. a tampering).

The Gospel of Mark has been altered throughout this section to ensure that the final product functions as a unit properly, and that the section will not be removed again, or interpreted contrary to the intentions of the final author/editor.

To demonstrate this, we only need turn to the independantly added (7th) segment (Mark 8:13-21):

18 "...Having eyes, see you not? and having ears, hear you not? and do you not remember?
19 When I broke the five loaves among five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took you up?

They said unto him, "Twelve."

20 "And when the seven among four thousand, how many baskets full of fragments took you up? "

And they said, "Seven. "

21 And he said unto them, "How is it that you do not understand?"

- (Mark 18-21)

An Insoluble Mystery...

This episode seems almost nonsensical, with an 'over the top' Jesus scolding brain-dead apostles. Worse it serves no theological or didactic purpose, offers no new edifying teaching or content. Can it really be true? And why is it in this 'suspect' Section? Finally, it leaves every reader with a seemingly impenetrable mystery. Whats up with "Seven"?

...Until we realise that the 'disciples' are really the READERS.
The Section containing the Feeding the 5000 is composed of TWELVE segments!
This Section containing the (new) Feeding the 4000 has ...SEVEN segments!

The purpose of this segment is to tell us brain-dead disciples that this Section of Seven segments (baskets) are left-overs, carefully collected:

"Gather the remaining fragments, so that nothing is lost!" (John 6:12!)

A Creamy Johannine Coating

This also suggests the section was added after John's Gospel was composed. John's Gospel (and Revelation) can be described as 'obsessed with Sevens'. Christians familiar with that Gospel are already primed to look for simple patterns of seven, since John is divided into seven large sections, each subdivided into seven subsections (pericopes). Beating the reader over the head with "seven" is really an incredibly easy and simple clue to the meaning here for an experienced Christian.

We may divide up the New Section (Mark 6:47 - 8:26) into Seven Segments very simply. An extra protective beginning and ending segment are added, taken from John's Gospel (with modifications) to further discourage removal and blur the borders of the Section with weighty padding. The alternate Feeding story (Feeding of the 4000) has been modified ('4,000', 'seven' baskets) to distinguish it from the standard versions, and serve the compositional needs of the insertion explanation (Mark 8:14-21).

The Lukan Omission
Jesus walks on WaterJohn 6:15-21
(1) 6:53-56Gennesaret Healings Semitic Original
(2) 7:1-23Pharisees Critiqued(Peter/Acts?)
(3) 7:24-30Syro-Phoenician ExorcisedTyreTradition
(4) 7:31-37Deaf/Dumb HealedGalilean Tradition
(5) 8:1-10Feeding (4000)Semitic Original
(6) 8:11-13Pharisees seek sign(John 6:30?)
(7) 8:14-21Beware the Leaven & 'SEVEN'Markan Redactor
Blind man Healed @ Bethsaida*Jn 9:1-12 (& 5:1-47)

Stories from the Marginalized North

Where did the group of stories come from? Its Semitic origin suggests that this section of six segments (minus the key segment) were a part of the Galilean or Samartian traditions contributed by those Christian communities. The embedded place-names, (Tyre, Decapolis, Bethsaida) suggest traditions much older than the final editor/author of Greek Mark. These sections were probably translated from Syriac or Palestinian Aramaic.

On the other hand, the core teaching (the main purpose of the inclusion) on food and 'uncleanness', and racism seem clearly to stem from both Jesus' early Samaritan / Galilean ministry, but also and perhaps more importantly, the popular teachings of Paul and Peter (see Acts etc.).

The Final Edition of Mark

Two Editions of Mark?

Two different versions of a story should not be alarming, since with four Gospels, we have many similar cases. The only unique thing is that two versions here seem to occur in the same Gospel. But this, along with the most primitive inter-textual evidence possible, namely the strange behaviour of Luke indicates that this section may have been added later, after Luke wrote.

If Mark composed his Gospel using recollections of Peter and others, it might not be surprising that two accounts of the same event might end up in a single Gospel, in either a first or a second edition. There is also the secondary evidence regarding a possible second edition with a new ending added (See evidences regarding the Long Ending of Mark, Mark 16:9-20.

The Full Story

Note that what the Redactionists were not able to do, i.e., see the Gospel of Mark as a new Unity, Fowler was able to do using Literary Criticism. But as Fowler was able to observe the limitations of Redaction Criticism, so we are able to observe the limits of Literary Criticism. Fowler was not able to impute the correct motive and purpose of the final Evangelist.

We were able to break through the final barrier using Christian awareness of the Pattern of Sevens from John's Gospel.

The wonderful result is that we can see just how and why the earliest group of Christians added a precious deposit of historical Gospel tradition material to Mark, in order to save it. And we were able to correctly see the operation of the Christian community at work, in cooperation to preserve the key teachings for Christians centuries later.

It soon became impossible to add either Gospels, or even single anecdotes to the quickly completed Collection of Holy Scripture we know as the New Testament. But these early Christians had found a way to save the 'Last Seven Baskets of Fragments' left by Jesus' impact on the Northern communities during His public ministry.

Just like the woman in Luke 7:35-50, the stories of the small Galilean communities would be "told throughout the whole world, for a memorial" to their faith, (Mark 14:9) by their permanent inclusion in the Gospel of Mark.

Once again, the critics have been completely outside the loop. The real and most significant "insertion" of a large portion of material into the New Testament was not John 8:1-11, but rather Mark 6:45- 8:26. But even this insertion can be shown to have been done with the knowledge and consent of the same Christian community who gave us this Gospel in the first place.

The purpose of the '2nd edition' or Final Redaction of Mark was to follow the Commandment of Jesus:

"Gather up the Fragments, so that nothing is lost." (John 6:12)