Category Archives: The Synoptic Problem

The Two Source Hypothesis: Quelle (Q Source) Part I

As any educator can testify to, when the work of two students is so similar (often verbatim), we naturally suspect copying is going on. More often than not, one student copies the work of another and so it then becomes our task to investigate and pinpoint the origins. Less often the case is that both students shared the same source and copied the same section out verbatim. It’s less likely for obvious reasons, what are the chances two students working independently from one another managed to stumble across the same source and then copied the same sections of that source? But it is precisely this, that many scholars think, has happened with Matthew and Luke. The material shared between Matthew and Luke (DT material) that is not found in Mark share the same phenomenon that the TT material has. This double tradition material is almost word-for-word agreement. Here we will investigate the evidence for the solution scholars propose to explain why many of the stories Matthew and Luke share (that are not found in Mark) are so close in wording. Continue reading

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The Synoptic Problem: Part II

Part II

Redactional Fatigue 

In Part I we covered what scholars mean by “The Synoptic Problem” and laid out the data we’re dealing with, namely the Triple Tradition (TT) material, where Markan priority was explained in a little detail. From here on we will be detailing the more intricate and important evidence for Markan priority, i.e. Mark was the first gospel and both Matthew and Luke coped, often verbatim, from Mark. Continue reading

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The Synoptic Problem: Part I

Part I

Markan Priority

The Synoptic Problem, in short, is the attempt to explain the similarities and differences between the gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In many places these three gospels are so close in wording, often verbatim stretches of large portions, that common oral tradition cannot account for three separate authors writing independently from one another. So scholars assume some type of literary dependence between the three. The problem we are trying to solve? Who copied from whom? The term “synoptic” comes from the Greek, σύν (syn ”together”) and ὄψις (opsis ”view”) since they can be viewed side-by-side and compared as they contain many of the same stories in a similar chronology. Continue reading

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