I listened to a dynamite podcast on the weekend by J. Warner Wallace. I like his longer-form, less polished podcasts better than the newer, slicker 30-minute ones. This time, the podcast had heavy metal intro / ending music and it was an hour and a half long!
In this blast from the past, J. Warner examines the Gospel of Mark for signs of Peter’s influence. Papias, the early church bishop, claimed Mark’s Gospel was written as he sat at the feet of Peter in Rome. According to Papias, Mark scribed Peter’s sermons and created the narrative we now have in our Bible. In this audio podcast, J. Warner applies Forensic Statement Analysis to Mark’s text to see if Peter’s fingerprints are present.
You can also read a post on some of what is in the podcast, if you don’t want to listen to the podcast.
Here is the part I thought was most interesting:
The Omissions of the Gospel Are Consistent With Peter’s Influence
There are many details in the Gospel of Mark consistent with Peter’s special input and influence, including omissions related to events involving Peter. How can Mark be a memoir of Peter if, in fact, the book contains so many omissions of events involving Peter specifically? It’s important to evaluate the entire catalogue of omissions pertaining to Peter to understand the answer here. The vast majority of these omissions involve incidents in which Peter did or said something rash or embarrassing. It’s not surprising these details were omitted by the author who wanted to protect Peter’s standing in the Christian community. Mark was quite discreet in his retelling of the narrative (other Gospel writers who were present at the time do, however, provide details of Peters ‘indiscretions’ in their own accounts). Here are some examples of Petrine Omissions grounded in an effort to minimize embarrassment to Peter (see Cold-Case Christianity for a more detailed explanation of the events summarized here):
Peter’s shame at the “Miraculous Catch”
(Mark 1:16-120 compared to Luke 5:1-11)
Peter’s foolish statement at the crowded healing
(Mark 5:21-34 compared to Luke 8:42-48)
Peter’s lack of understanding related to the parable
(Mark 7:14-19 compared to Matthew 15:10-18 and Acts 10:9-16)
Peter’s lack of faith on the lake
(Mark 6:45 compared to Matthew 14:22-33)
Peter’s rash statement to Jesus
(Mark 8:31-33 compared to Matthew 16:21-23)
Peter’s statement related to money
(Mark 10:23-31 compared to Matthew 19:23-30)
Jesus’ prediction of Peter’s denial
(Mark 14:27-31 compared to Luke 22:31-34 and John 13:34-38)
Peter’s behavior at the foot-washing
(Mark 14:22-26 compared to John 13:2-9)
Peter’s denial and Jesus’ direct stare
(Mark 14:66-72 compared to Luke 22:54-62)
There are a number of places in the Gospel of Mark where details related specifically to the words and actions of Peter have been omitted in what appears to be an effort to protect Peter from embarrassment. This doesn’t mean Peter failed to talk about these things. He may very well have included them in his sermons and teachings. But Mark, his scribe and close friend, simply chose to omit these details related to Peter, either at Peter’s request or on his own initiative.
Mark doesn’t want to annoy his source, Peter, by calling him out for being foolish at times.
This is highly recommended. There’s another blog post from Cold Case Christianity here, on the same topic.