Differences in passages from Matthew and Mark

lease read the following instructions:

(1) Our first discussion for this module will be open from now until Wednesday.

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(2) You are in a small group with four other class members. Your group has been given one of the five following passages from Matthew, passages that Matthew pulled from one of his sources, Mark. When your discussion group title will have the passage you are assigned to.

  • The Baptism of Jesus: Matthew 3:13-17 and Mark 1:9-11
  • The Temptation: Matthew 4:1-11 and Mark 1:12-13
  • The First Preaching in Galilee: Matthew 4:12-17 and Mark 1:14-15
  • Peter’s Confession: Matthew 16:13-23 and Mark 8:27-33
  • Matthew’s Ending: Matthew 28:11-18 and Mark’s shorter ending of the empty tomb


(3) Share the differences you find between the two passages from Matthew and Mark. Find even the smallest detail. Then share why you think Matthew made the choices he made. This is the heart of redaction criticism. The author is not ignorant. The author is sharing small details in order to impact his overall story. Here are some things to think about (you need not answer all of these):

  • Where is the passage in Matthew’s narrative? Where in Mark’s? Why did Matthew choose to place it where it is?
  • Does Matthew add anything? Why?
  • Does Matthew leave anything out? Why?
  • What about word choice? Does Matthew phase anything differently? Why?
  • What about the surrounding passages? How does Matthew’s version fit in with what comes before and after it? How does Mark’s version fit in with what comes before and after it?

(4) In order to receive full credit (20 points), I expect at least three posts by each member. If you feel like the group has already identified all the differences, there is still plenty to discuss and theorize over why Matthew made his choices.

So I suggest that you proceed this way:

-Post your first post noting the differences.

-Then post two more posts speculating why we may have these differences, both with your own initial posts and others. Other comments are welcome too.

(5) Be prepared to summarize what your small group has found for the group you will be placed in on Wednesday.

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