Surprisingly, if the details are considered more closely, it appears more likely that in almost all of the cases, John might not have copied from Mark, but rather, Mark copied John. Thus, the facts of the minor similarities and differences suggest not that John depended on Mark, but that Mark depended on John
By Peter L. Hofrichter
I think that John often gets facts ‘surprisingly’ right or plausible. His 46 years for the Temple in building fits very well with Josephus.
However I have problems with the priority of John over Mark. We face an account in which Jesus works within the Jewish context, opposed bitterly by most of the factions - still at least ambiguously ‘in Judaeismo’. In the other account Jesus is prepared in at least some rhetorical moments to call the Judaeans, the most important group among Jews, children of the devil, with the implication that for the Christian group for whom John spoke the difference with Jews was ontological rather than just ideological: a very antagonistic view. I find it hard to think that this second view was primary and then gave way - had to share the Christian space at least - with a less antagonistic version. I find it quite easy to think that the idea that ‘they’re just so different from us’ gained ground as antagonism was (I don’t mean to say whose fault it was) expressed and suffered.
The ‘prophet without honour’ idea, clearly crucial here, seems to me to appear in Mark with dramatic context but in John as if not part of the main story - an aside on the words of the Samaritans - but as if known to the author from a previous text. For me this would be an important reason for assigning priority to Mark.
And despite John’s impressive knowledge it does seem to me that Jewish world of Jesus’ time is receding, as they say, in his rear-view mirror. I don’t see how the idea that the High Priesthood was an annual office, which doesn’t appear in the Synoptics, can be explained otherwise.
The tantalisingly blurry characters who form or lead the pro-Jesus group in Jerusalem - the beloved disciple who can take Mary into his house, the other disciple who is in contact with the High Priest, the beloved Lazarus, Nicodemus - seem to me to belong to a later stage when people no longer remembered that group clearly.
I appreciate Peter Hofrichter's sharing his overall approach to John's composition, and this is why I requested that he make his work available to English speaking audiences. It was a privilege to present for him 20 years ago at the Salzburg Symposium on John and the Synoptics. Here is my paper presented then--arguing for the first time my overall theory of a Bi-Optic Hypothesis.
While I see the Johannine Logos Hymn as a confessional response to the earlier-delivered Johannine narrative (like 1 John 1:1-3), I appreciate Professor Hofrichter's insight that Mark also shows signs of familiarity with some of John's tradition--in particular, the citing of John 2:19--in Mark 14:58 and 15:29. While I see John's first edition as an augmentation (and modest correction) of Mark, a larger theory of interfluentiality is required to account for the fact that details narrated only in John are cited more than once in Mark. This is a literary fact requiring critical consideration.