Saturday, September 15, 2007
Bible Study? I gotcher Bible Study Right Here
the other day I was reading an item on Swiss Miss's excellent blog, St. Monica's Kneeler. She mentioned she was doing a bible study class with Fr. Echert of EWTN. I commented in passing that since they were concentrating on Matthew, she might even want to do a read through of Mark, as it came first. She said that Fr. Echert specifically took exception to the notion of Mark being written prior to Matthew.
I was surprised, given that even with Catholic scholars today, the weight of opinion is that Mark came first. I then double checked my sources, The New Jerome Bible Commentary, edited by Raymond Brown, and others, and also An Introduction to the New Testament. I also checked with a priest friend and he concurred that in Catholic circles the opinion is "Mark first."
Then I looked up to see where Fr. Echert has studied, because to understand your teachers, you should look and see who their teachers were. According to EWTN he has his Licentiate [Master's Degree] from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and also did further study in Jerusalem. Then I found a page on the Pontifical Biblical Institute's website that had the material an aspiring candidate should have BEFORE he/she is accepted as a student.
One of the items noted:
"Dating of the writings of the New Testament (cf. Jerusalem Bible)"
Naturally, the Jerusalem Bible is one I don't have. So I hiked it over to Barnes and Noble to see what they would say regards dating of Mark and Matthew. Yep. Even they go with "Mark first."
I think Fr. Echert was a little naughty in not telling his students that he was holding an opinion that was definitely in the minority.
Kind of lucky I wasn't there! [Instructors either hate me or love me.]
At any rate, I'm glad the subject came up, because I found the "know this stuff before you even darken our door" page quite fascinating. Probably every Catholic should know the items listed.