It has been noticed GLuke does not incorporate
any material from Mk6:47 to Mk8:27a (except
for one saying: see next Section), a total
verses. It is called the great omission (the "missing block").
This includes, in succession, 'Jesus walks on the water', 'Jesus in the region of Gennesaret', 'clean and unclean', 'the faith of the Syro-Phoenician woman', 'the trip through Sidon and the Decapolis', 'the healing of the deaf and mute man', 'Jesus feeds the four thousand', 'the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod', 'the healing of a blind man at Bethsaida' and 'Jesus & disciples around Cesarea Philippi'.
The next largest block of consecutive verses not included in GLuke is the 13 verses of 'John the Baptist beheaded' (Mk6:17-29). But the execution of John is mentioned in Lk9:7-9, at the same corresponding location, right after 'Jesus sends out the twelve' (Mk6:6a-13, Lk9:1-6) and just before 'the miraculous feeding of the five thousand' (Mk6:30-44, Lk9:10-17). Maybe "Luke" did not want to reproduce GMark long and embellished account of John's execution (Mk6:14-29).
How can we explain such a massive omission in GLuke?
But first, let's deal with our "problem".
2. The yeast of the Pharisees (and "Q"):
"... Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees..." in the missing block reappears in Lk12:1b with some modification:
Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees
Luke's version is very similar of what shows in GMatthew 16:6 & 16:11 "be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees ..." Now, let's see if "Matthew" derived the aforementioned saying from GMark or "Q":
In the missing block, we read:
Mk8:12 "Why does this generation ask for a miraculous sign? I tell you the truth, no sign will be given to it."
At the same corresponding location in GMatthew, we have:
Mt16:4 "A wicked and adulterous generation looks for a miraculous sign, but none will be given it except the sign of Jonah."
This embellished (and corrected!) version drawn from GMark is also occurring as "Q" material in Mt12:39 and echoed in Lk11:29. This proves a similar saying can occur in GMark and also in "Q". Also, it shows "Matthew" replaced Mark's version of a saying by its Q rendition.
So, it should not be surprising "Matthew" used the Q version for a Markan saying in Mt16:6 & Mt6:11. And because Matthew & Luke's wording of the "yeast" saying are very similar, but different of its Markan counterpart, then it is very likely "Luke" got the saying from the Q source. Furthermore, this saying in GLuke (12:1b) is right in front of a series of five other Q sayings (12:2-10): that would greatly increase the probability Luke's yeast saying comes from "Q".
3. Evidence for the existence of the missing block:
Immediately before the missing block:
Mk6:45-46 shows that at the end of the day (Mk6:35) the disciples go to Bethsaida ahead of Jesus Also, Mk6:46 has Jesus praying alone ("And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray.").
Immediately after the missing block:
Mk8:27b shows Jesus with his disciples ("... He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?"").
It seems "Luke" attempted to harmonize Mk6:46 with Mk8:27b, as follows:
Lk9:18 NASB "And it happened that while He was praying alone [as in Mk6:46], the disciples were with Him, and He questioned them, saying, "Who do the people say that I am?" [as in Mk8:27b]"
Let's notice the awkwardness of "... alone, the disciples were with Him". And how could Jesus pray and, at the same time, ask a question to his disciples?
Isn't it obvious "Luke" was looking at:
"And when He had sent them away, He departed to the mountain to pray. He asked His disciples, saying to them, "Who do men say that I am?"" (Mk6:46,8:27b)
Let's ask ourselves the question:
Why did "Luke" try to harmonize Mk6:46 with Mk8:27b and not drop the whole thing, that is start afresh at Lk9:18?
My hypothesis is as follows:
Some members of the community may have noticed the break between Mk6:46 & 8:27b and suspected a deletion. Therefore "Luke" attempted to "demonstrate" there was none, even if it meant dropping the disciples leaving Jesus (Mk6:45-46a)!
4. Counting the words:
Note: all word counts are based on the NKJV (for the following argumentation, dealing with the original Greek is not necessary, because the number (& length) of English words would be in the same proportion as the number (& length) of underlying translated Greek words all along the full text)
The missing block:
Mk6:47-8:27a = 1569 words in consecutive verses not present in GLuke.
Number of words prior to the missing block:
Mk1:1-6:46 = 5123
Let's suppose the gospel was written on sheets. Sheets, compared to a scroll, were easier to carry around and, above all, to conceal!
Let's postulate, for the time being, the missing block of GMark was on one sheet only.
The three sheets prior to the missing one:
If we have three sheets before the missing one, each one of those would contain about:
5123 / 3 = 1708.7 words
But then, we have two problems:
a) That's more than the 1569 words of the missing fourth sheet and a very significant difference of 11%.
b) Preserved written sheets in Greek (2nd to 4th century) usually have from 100 words to 400 words per side (one word = 4 characters in average), way below the 800 words per side of the 'one missing sheet' hypothesis.
This solution is therefore not acceptable
and we have to consider the missing block
from GMark was written on several consecutive
But how many?
The best solution is 4 sheets. Here is why:
With four consecutive sheets, we have 1568 / 8 = 196 words per side, well within the aforementioned range of 100 to 400. That's one reason but there is also another (and better) one:
With one sheet having 196 X 2 = 392 words, how many sheets would be in front of the missing block?
Let's calculate: 5123 / 392 = 13.069
Of course, the number of sheets cannot be fractional. So it is 13 sheets; and the 0.069 would stand for only 27 extra words, that is 2 words per sheet. That can be easily explained by a combination of irregularity in copying (character size), translation & short interpolations (as in Mk1:1, 3:14, 6:20, 7:4,15,24, 8:26, etc. according to the NIV Study Bible).
Let's also notice the story of the Syro-Phoenician
woman (Mk7:24-30) would be split up between
two sheets, the second and the third of the
four ones of the missing block, in the middle
of verse 7:27
"But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.""
in account of the following:
- Verses 6:47-7:26 = 766 words
- Verse 7:27 = 28 words
- Verses 7:28-8:27a = 775 words
(note: 2 sheets = 392 X 2 = 784 words)
Because four consecutive sheets are unlikely
to be missing by accident, we have to investigate
a) "Luke" chose not to deal with the content of the so-called missing block, even if it was available.
However I already explained in Section 3 that "Luke" "harmonized" the break caused by the missing block, therefore making this hypothesis very unlikely. And I have more arguments against it later on this page.
b) There were some good reasons why the four sheets would have disappeared, before "Luke" got the copy of GMark, as explained next ...
5. Luke's gospel, Philippi and women:
As I postulated earlier, GLuke (and 'Acts') was written for the Gentile Christians in Philippi. Philippi is the only city in 'Acts' presented
"a Roman colony and the
of that district of Macedonia"
That gives us the first clue about the place of origin of this gospel. And there are a lot more, as I will show now:
a) In Acts, Paul is described to have been
"guided" to Macedonia and Philippi, which
became the first entirely Gentile Christian
Ac16:6-12a "Paul and his companions traveled throughout the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been kept by the Holy Spirit from preaching the word in the province of Asia. When they came to the border of Mysia, they tried to enter Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus would not allow them to. So they passed by Mysia and went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, "Come over to Macedonia and help us." After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them. From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi ..."
In 'Acts', no other city/province is presented as being selected for evangelization by God, the Spirit or Jesus.
b) The area around Philippi (from Thessalonica
to Troas) is described with details (as in
the preceding quote). Even nearby cities
passed through by Paul are named, even if
they were not evangelized then:
Ac17:1 "When they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue."
Out of the three "we" passages in 'Acts',
the first one ends in Philippi (Ac16:10-16),
the second one starts from Philippi:
Ac20:5-6 "These men went on ahead and waited for us at Troas. But we sailed from Philippi after the Feast of Unleavened Bread, and five days later joined the others at Troas, where we stayed seven days."
d) During the second journey, Paul spent only a few weeks in Philippi and one year & a half in Corinth. However, the stay in Philippi is narrated in more verses than the one in Corinth: 28 to 16.
e) According to 'Acts', the "Council at Jerusalem",
(when the "Nazarenes" allowed
conversion without circumcision among the
(Ac15:1-19) ) was right
Paul's visit to Philippi (50C.E). But from
the more trustworthy Galatians letter (2:1-10),
this meeting occurred years later (52C.E.),
Paul's first visit to Macedonia (details
about dating in
Appendix B and
Paul's Third Journey).
It seems "Luke" "arranged" for Paul to have the blessing of the "Nazarenes" before going to Macedonia & Philippi.
From the New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology:
"The account of Acts is notable for some technical terms which are verified by inscriptions: archons ("authorities") and strategoi ("magistrates"; 16:19-20), hrabdouchoi ("officers"; Lat. lictors; 16:35)"
16:19-20 and 16:35 are part of the narration of Paul's visit to Philippi.
"A Roman colony":
Only in Luke's gospel:
a) Jesus is NOT flogged, mocked and beaten up by Roman soldiers.
Note: in the gospel (and also repeated in John's one written later), Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor, declares:
Lk23:4b "I find no basis for a charge against this man [Jesus]"
b) A (Roman) centurion built the synagogue in Capernaum:
Lk7:2-5 "There a centurion's servant, whom his master valued highly, was sick and about to die. The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant. When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, "This man deserves to have you do this, because he loves our nation and has built our synagogue."
Let's compare this with the parallel passage from GMatthew:
Mt8:5b-6 "a centurion came to him, asking for help. "Lord," he said, "my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering."
a) Paul declares himself to be a Roman citizen (but never in his letters). The first time he does that is in Philippi (Ac16:37).
b) A Roman centurion is the first Gentile convert (Ac10:1-48,11:1-17) and the event is stretched over a total of 65 verses.
The Gentile Christian community in Philippi had been started by Paul among influential women:
Ac16:13-15 "... We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul's message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us."
Php4:2-3a "I [Paul] plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to agree with each other in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you, loyal yokefellow, help these women who have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel ..."
And while probably facing an onslaught of Judaization (Php3:2-6), the descendants of these women were still clinging to leadership roles when GLuke was written. Certainly this gospel goes so much out of its way to be appealing to women (especially middle-class influential ones), featuring many of them, that it can be postulated the author was likely a woman:
a) Lk16:18 "Whoever divorces his wife and marries
another commits adultery; and whoever marries
her who is divorced from her husband commits
Divorced women who remarry are not said to commit adultery! This is not the case in Mark's version:
Mk10:12 "And if a woman divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery."
"You will be betrayed even by parents and
brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. And you will be hated by all for My name's
But not a hair of your head shall be lost
[last sentence only in GLuke!]."
Let's compare this with:
1Co11:6b " ... if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut or shaved off, she should cover her head."
In case of persecution (resulting in death for some), "Luke" was concerned about hair being lost!
In a story appearing only in GLuke:
Lk2:48 "When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son [boy Jesus], why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.""
Here, Mary is doing the talking, not only for herself, but also in behalf of her husband, an unthinkable behavior for a Jewish woman then:
Josephus 'Against Apion', II, 25 "for, says the Scripture, "A [Jewish] woman is inferior to her husband in all things.""
Also, let's note that the first two chapters of the gospel "stars" a remarkably emancipated Mary (with Elizabeth in an important supporting role!), conversing very calmly with an angel (1:26-38), not objecting to become pregnant without a husband to show for, deciding to travel on her own (1:39 "At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea ..."), etc.
Not Jewish at all, but very much in the tradition of Roman/Macedonian women of good standing!
Also in the same vein:
Lk2:33-34a Darby "And his father and mother wondered at the things which were said concerning him. And Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary his mother ..."
Even with Joseph besides Mary, the later one is addressed! By the way, Simeon's declaration is generalistic and not specific to Mary (or motherhood) (Lk34b-35).
Note: Lk2:51b "And he went down with them and came to Nazareth, and he was in subjection to them. And his mother kept all these things in her heart." (once again, only Mary is of interest!)
"She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening
to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord,
don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.""
Only in GLuke is this (non-theological) charming story advocating it is better for a woman to listen to the "word" (or just plainly relax) rather than doing house work. And Jesus says it himself!
In this passage found only in GLuke, feminine sensuality is overwhelming:
Lk7:44b-47a "You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven [even if she does not say a word!]--for she loved much."
And even if Jesus does not appear to have been fond of his mother, "Luke" found a way to remind the readers about her:
Lk11:27 "As Jesus was saying these things, a woman in the crowd called out, "Blessed is the mother who gave you birth and nursed you.""
Note: "Luke" wrote "womb(s)" nine times (Mk=0, Mt=1, Jn=1).
"The Twelve were with him, and
also some women
who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases:
Mary (called Magdalene) from whom seven demons
had come out; Joanna the wife of Cuza, the manager of Herod's
household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them
out of their own means."
Let's compare this with the parallel passage in Mark's gospel:
Mk15:40b-41a "Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women had followed him and cared for his needs."
The role of the women followers is enhanced. It is specified they are many, and one of them, Joanna, being socially very high.
In a passage which appears only in GLuke, Jesus is very compassionate for a widow who lost her mean of support:
Lk7:12-15 "... a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother; and she was a widow. ... When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep." Then He came and touched the open coffin, ... And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise." So he who was dead sat up and began to speak. And He presented him to his mother."
More, in Lk13:10-13 (& only here in the gospels), a woman is seemingly victim of osteoporosis and cured by Jesus.
i) Lk24:6-11 Darby "[The angels in the empty tomb saying to the
women] He is not here, but is risen: remember how
he spoke to you [and the disciples! (9:22)], being yet in Galilee,
saying, The Son of man must be delivered
up into the hands of sinners, and be crucified,
and rise the third day.
And they remembered his words;
and, returning from the sepulchre, related all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
Now it was Mary of Magdala, and Johanna,
and Mary the [mother] of James, and the others
with them, who told these things to the apostles.
And their words appeared in their eyes as
an idle tale, and they disbelieved them."
The women remember Jesus' words and believe in the resurrection, but the disciples (all men) do not!
j) Influential women are also indicated in
'Acts' (written by the same author). Let's
notice the two passages where the women are mentioned before
Ac13:50a "But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city"
Ac17:4 "Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women."
Ac17:12 "Many of the Jews believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men."
But then, if GLuke (and 'Acts') was written
for Gentile "Pauline" Christians
led by prominent women, the following story,
found in the middle of the missing block,
would have been devastating:
Mk7:26-29 "The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
But Jesus said to her, "Let the children [of Israel, the Jews] be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs.
[the Gentiles, here represented by a Syro-Phoenician Greek (speaking) woman]"
And she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs." Then He said to her, "For this [very humiliating] saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter.""
That was likely against what the Philippian Christians had been hearing from their local leaders. It was also contrary to the preaching of Paul (whom the author vehemently defended in 'Acts'), who had claimed many times that Jews and Gentiles were equal "in the Lord":
Ro2:10-11 "but glory, honor and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism."
Ro10:12-13 "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile --the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.""
And Mk7:27-28 was in line with what the local Christians of the time may have heard from some "Judaizers" or Jewish Christians (who were certainly not fond of prominent women!). In conclusion, if the local believers would know about this particular passage, many doubts were bound to surface and even a splitting of the Christian community could occur.
6. Could "Luke" have not included any part of the missing block?
Certainly other elements in the great omission can be considered embarrassing. It may be assumed the author did not want to include them also:
a) The disciples not having noticed the miraculous
feeding of the five thousand (Mk8:4):
Mk8:2-4 "I have compassion on the multitude, because they have now continued with Me three days and have nothing to eat. And if I send them away hungry to their own houses, they will faint on the way; for some of them have come from afar." Then His disciples answered Him,
[who were at the scene of the alleged miraculous feeding of the five thousand]
` "How can one satisfy these people with bread here in the wilderness?""
b) The disciples not understanding the two
miraculous feedings (Mk8:17-21):
The dialogue in Mk8:17-21, rather obscure for obvious reasons, relates to the disciples who remembered only having picked up some basketfuls of "fragments".
Mk8:17-21 "But Jesus, being aware of it, said to them, "Why do you reason because you have no bread? Do you not yet perceive nor understand? Is your heart still hardened? Having eyes, do you not see? And having ears, do you not hear? And do you not remember?
When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?" They said to Him, "Twelve."
"Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?" And they said, "Seven."
So He said to them, "How is it you do not understand?""
But the author had no scruples into abandoning parts of GMark which were embarrassing such as:
a) The cursing of the fig tree (Mk11:12-14)
b) Mk9:10 "So they [the disciples] kept this word to themselves, questioning what the rising from the dead meant."
c) Mk3:21 "When his family heard about this, they went to take charge of him, for they said, "He is out of his mind.""
d) Jesus' alleged prophecy about his disciples disowning him and dispersing (Mk14:27)
e) Mk16:8 "Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid."
Therefore, the exclusion of the aforementioned passages could be explained by "Luke" unwillingness to deal with them.
However, many stories in the missing block were not objectionable, such as 'Jesus walking on the water' (Mk6:47-52), 'the trip in the region of Gennesaret', 'healing the sick' (Mk6:53-56), mention of 'a trip through the city of Sidon and the Decapolis' (Mk7:31) ("Luke" would have relished having Jesus going through Gentile territory), 'healing of a deaf and mute man' (Mk7:32-37), 'healing of a blind man' (Mk8:22-26) and 'Jesus & disciples around Cesarea Philippi' (Mk8:27a). But none of them appears in GLuke. Why?
7. "Luke" did not know about the content of the missing block:
A) Food laws
Ac10:11-16 "Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals
[including animals both clean and unclean (camels, rabbits and pigs) for a Jew]
` of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
[suggesting that the time consuming blood draining may not be necessary, contrary to Ac21:25]
` But Peter said, "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."
[Peter seems unaware of Jesus' teaching in Mk7:17-20]
` And a voice spoke to him again the second time, "What God has cleansed you must not call common." This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again."
There, Peter is not even reminded about Jesus' teaching which appears in the great omission:
Mk7:17-19 "When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?""
Why did "Luke" abstain to "quote" Jesus when the gospel was written, but rather, possibly years later in 'Acts', invoked a dubious apparition to Peter in order to explain Christians were not bound by Jewish food laws? Or why did "Luke" not mention in 'Acts' the previous alleged Jesus' teaching?
"Luke" was probably unaware of Mk7:17-19 altogether.
But the author certainly did not try to avoid
reference of some alleged non-Jewish Jesus'
teachings aimed at Gentile Christians such
as the Sabbath laws:
Luke reproduced the two Sabbath passages from GMark:
Mk2:23-28 > Lk6:1-5 and Mk3:1-6 > Lk6:6-11
and added up two more, which introduce the idea that some type of work can be done at that time:
- A crippled woman healed on the Sabbath (Lk13:10-17):
Lk13:15-17a "The Lord then answered him and said, "Hypocrite! Does not each one of you on the Sabbath loose his ox or donkey from the stall, and lead it away to water it? So ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has bound; think of it; for eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath? And when He said these things, all His adversaries were put to shame; ..."
- The man suffering from dropsy:
Lk14:1-6 "Now it happened, as He went into the house of one of the rulers of the Pharisees to eat bread on the Sabbath, that they watched Him closely. And behold, there was a certain man before Him who had dropsy. And Jesus, answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying, "Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath?" But they kept silent. And He took him and healed him, and let him go. Then He answered them, saying, "Which of you, having a donkey or an ox that has fallen into a pit, will not immediately pull him out on the Sabbath day?" And they could not answer Him regarding these things."
Note: ""Which of you ... Sabbath day"" may be from "Q" (Mt12:11)
Lk24:37-43 "They [the disciples] were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. ... "Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." ... They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence."
"Luke" used the Greek 'pneuma' (spirit) for "ghost", rather than the more appropriate word 'phantasma' (phantom/apparition/spectre). Spirits are normally invisible and therefore 'pneuma' looks incorrect in Lk24:37-43, according to the context.
However the Greek 'phantasma' is used twice in the NT, Mt14:26 and Mk6:49 (part of the Markan missing block), in the passage 'walking on water'.
Mk6:49-50a "And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled."
The location is different, but otherwise the context is similar with Lk24:37-43: the disciples think they see a phantom rather than a "flesh and bones" (not expecting Jesus then) and they are troubled. So, assuming "Luke" knew about Mk6:49-50 (or/and Mt14:26), why did she use the unsuited 'pneuma' instead of 'phantasma'?
"Luke" probably knew a chunk of GMark was missing, but, in all likelihood, did not know anything about its content.
A reconstruction of what happened may be
a) At the time (82-93C.E.), the traditional leadership of women in the Christian community of Philippi was probably undermined by some prominent members. These ones were more prone to accept Jewish Christian doctrines and doubted the teaching & credentials of the late Paul.
b) A copy of Mark's gospel was obtained by a prominent woman Christian leader. Others knew about the existence of the gospel and its acquisition: they wanted to read it. Consequently, this lady decided to get rid of the missing block, mainly because of the very damaging Syro-Phoenician Greek woman's story.
c) Afterwards, another prominent Christian lady, from the same copy, wrote Luke's gospel.
Note: if in the (far-fetched, in my view) hypothesis that "Luke" was working from GMatthew, with Mt14:24-16:13a as the missing block, then because of Mt15:14,16:3,6b,11b, a copy of "Q" would still be required. Also the 'missing block' goes against other hypotheses such as "Luke" having both Mark & Matthew's gospels, because Mt14:24-16:13a (1304 words=>NKJV, that's 265 words less than for Mk6:47-8:27a) also had to fit exactly within contiguous sheets! The odds of that happening are practically null.
One more thing:
GLuke does not show (oral or written) "traditions" which correspond to parts of the missing Markan block. None of those appears in other sections of the gospel (despite the claims in Lk1:2-3). It seems very few of these "traditions" were around then & there (and one has to wonder from where the Lukan material came!). However, there is some similarity in what follows:
In the missing block, Mk7:2 has the "disciples eating food with hands that were "unclean", that is unwashed." In Lk11:38, it is Jesus who "did not wash before the meal".
In both gospels, that gives the opportunity for Jesus to attack verbally the Pharisees, but the diatribes are completely different. "Luke" seems to use a Pharisee's observation to introduce (mostly) "Q" material against them (and next, against experts of the law). "Mark" went on the subject of food after criticizing both Pharisees & teachers of the law (who initially make the observation).
Maybe "Luke" had a reliable source about Jesus' habit, or, more likely, assumed it was the same as observed from his (rural) followers, the latter leaders of the church of Jerusalem.
9. Why four sheets?
The "controversial" Syro-Phoenician
Greek woman's story being split between the
ending of sheet 2 and the beginning of sheet
3 of the four-sheets missing block would
explain the removal of these two sheets.
But why would the first sheet and last (fourth)
one be removed also?
The first sheet would be ending somewhere in verse 7:7, because Mk6:47-7:6 = 382 words and Mk6:47-7:7 = 397 words ('392 words' falls in between).
The last sheet would be beginning within verse 8:8, because Mk6:47-8:7 = 1164 words and Mk6:47-8:8 = 1180 words ('1176 words' (that is '392 X 3') falls in between).
Let's go back to the first sheet. What would happen if it was not removed?
The passage about 'clean and unclean' (7:1-23) would be interrupted right within a quote from 'Isaiah', and with the question from the Pharisees unanswered!
And what about the fourth sheet being still available for reading?
This sheet would have started abruptly in the last part of 'Jesus feeds the four thousand' (8:1-10)!
In conclusion, removing two sheets only (2nd and 3rd) would have made very obvious the copy of GMark was not unabridged; and with two stories clearly incomplete & broken ('clean and unclean' and 'Jesus feeds the four thousand'), the first one missing the ending & the second one its beginning, there would be very strong suspicion of 'censorship' and interference.
Certainly the break caused by the removal of the four sheets could be noticed, but it was much better (by a huge lot!) than the one resulting from the elimination of the two middle sheets only.
A bit of trivia: the copy of (incomplete) GMark (1:1-6:46,8:27b-16:8), which "Luke" would have worked with, had thirty-three to thirty-four sheets. Add four sheets for the initial one with the missing block.