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What is redaction criticism and how far has it successfully rehabilitated the Markan writer as the genuine 'author' of the gospel?
Tuckett, Christopher. Reading the New Testament, 'Redaction Criticism'. SPCK, London 1987. The way a story is told can tell us much about the storyteller. One story can be presented in many radically different ways.
A method which has dominated studies of the gospels in the past few decades. Initially redaction was taken as the ways in which the writer has made alterations to his tradition. Synoptic gospels- based on the assumption that Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source, we can see how Matthew and Luke have 'redacted' by looking at their alteration of their source (Mark)
Selection of materials, choice of words, use of punctuation.Form critics saw evangelists as 'scissors and paste' editors who assembled stories of the tradition into one story.Post Second World War scholarship began to see the evangelists as more than mere 'editors'.-
Pg. 117, 'by putting the material together in the way they had, the evangelists had at times modified their traditions' 'and their adaptations were sometimes very revealing of an underlying theology in the work of the individual Gospel writers.'
'this work of adapting the traditions that were available to an evangelist has come to be known as 'redaction'' 'and the whole method of analysing the way in which the evangelists have creatively used their traditions is known as 'redaction criticism''
E.g. Mark 8.29, 'You are the Christ' Matthew says instead 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God' (Matt. 16.16) The added words conveying something about Matthew's Christology
Not just to be seen with added words, also with arrangement of material.-
This can be demonstrated by Luke's rearrangement of material which brings the story of Jesus' rejection in Nazareth forward Makes this account act as a summary of the narrative to come Pg. 118, 'the summary of Jesus' preaching is no longer 'the Kingdom of God is at hand' (Mark
1.15), but 'Today this scripture has been fulfilled' (Luke 4.21)'
Matthew's arrangement might also tell us something about him as an evangelist, arranging into 5 chunks of teaching
all the teaching material. This demonstrates the importance Matthew felt of Jesus's teaching. Redaction criticism looks at how writers have altered their sources to understand the particular emphasis each evangelist wishes to stress. Redaction criticism applied to the synoptic gospels; relatively straightforward as it is assumed Mark is main source of Luke and Matthew who used an additional source Q. It is worth noting that much of the redaction criticism on the gospels depends on a certain solution to the Synoptic problem. Pg. 119, 'if he sources of Matthew and Luke were different from those suggested by the 2DH, then the pattern of Matthew's/Luke's redactional activity would also be correspondingly different.' Redaction criticism applied to Mark is more problematic as we do not have Mark's sources to enable deduction of Mark's redactional activity. Redaction critics have thus attempted to look at the evangelist's linking together of various traditions'in the conclusions which round sections off, in the generalizing summaries which come in the story (e.g. Mark 3.11- 12), in the order and arrangement of the material'
Mark often speaks of Jesus's 'teaching' in the links between different passages in the Gospel, which might be something the evangelist wishes to emphasise. (might question this given the little attention given to teaching in content of the gospel) Mark also often sandwiches stories (e.g. 'cleansing' of the temple and cursing of fig-tree), seems Mark wants the stories interpret one another. Thus, in Mark's gospel it is probable that the 'cleansing' of the temple is to be seen as the final cursing of the temple. Redaction criticism has contributed much to the study of the gospels, however we must be careful so as not to go too far with redaction theories-
We cannot attribute all of the composition to the evangelists themselves o Their creativity would have been less had there been 'prior collections of traditions already before the word of the Gospel writers' pg. 120. For example, Matthew's/Luke's arrangement might be as much stemming from Q than from the authors of the gospels themselves.
We might also criticise redaction criticism for the results it obtains, all it shows us is way that an author has altered the sources used.
Counter- often redaction critics argue that more is shown, namely the theology of the author However can be simply equate the changes made with the theology of the author? It seems not, as redaction criticism only looks at changes and not at what has been kept the same.An evangelist might not alter certain of his sources because he agrees vehemently with it; this would tell us something about his theology, yet redaction criticism looks simply at changes
Pg. 121 'such a method may well end up with a thoroughly distorted picture of the evangelist's theology' An example of this- Conzelmann's work on the Gospel of Luke- argued Luke was concerned with eschatology and altered sources to apologize for the delay of the parousia, thus modifying 'expectation in hi sources of an imminent parousia event by a belief in salvation history where the end had been receded into the indefinite future.' It certainly is true that Luke tones down reference to a soon approaching parousia event e.g. Mark 14.62 vs. Luke 22.69, however there are still times in Luke in which expectation of the end imminently is retained.E.g. Luke 3.7-9 Luke 10.9 Counter- Conzelmann, these are preservations from his tradition not aspects of his redaction.
While this is true given that the term redaction refers only to changes introduced, but can we maintain that, just as these texts do not contribute to Luke's redaction they correspondingly contribute nothing to his theology?
To discover his theology we must consider not only the changes but also what has remained unaltered. Results of redaction criticism thus limited Thus there has been a move from the older form of redaction criticism ('emendation criticism') towards what is sometimes referred to as 'rhetorical criticism'/ 'literary criticism', looks at whole text not just changes Has led to great insights, examples from looking at Mark's gospel:--
The 2 feeding stories in Mark, two very similar stories (Mark 6.30 - 44, Mark 8.1 - 10), why repeat?
In both there is a large crowd, the disciples turn to Jesus and ask what they should do, and Jesus subsequently feeds all. The first account has the disciples asking scornfully 'shall we go and buy two hundred denarii worth of bread?' 6.37 In the second they ask 'how can one feed these men with bread here in the desert?' 8.4 Source criticism would ask which question is the original and which is the duplication At the literary level we can approach it differently
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