Synoptic Problem

Synoptic Problem

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  • Created on: 03-06-10 13:30

Synoptic Problem

  • Matthew, Mark and Luke have so much in common it is highly likely that they either copied each other, shared material or used another source
  • Mark has 661 Verses
  • 80% of Mark can be found in Matthews 1053 verses
  • 65% of Marks can be found in Luke's 1149 verses
  • Material which is found in all three is called "Triple Tradition"
  • Material which is found in all two and not the other is called "double tradition"
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  • This is a model of the gospel before it's final release
  • Lessing and Eichorn believed that a proto-gospel had been created before the release of the other three gospels, they suggest that it was from the Aramaic Gospel "a full life of Christ"
  • Koester had believed that there was a secret mark and Clement of Alexandria knew about it, he believes it was written before that mark we have now
  • Crossan suggested that there was a short Gospel of Peter in existence that all three used
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Multi-Source Theory

  • Earlier collections of M which were drawn by Mark, Matthew and the Bible
  • Some suggested that M was a source that was compromising of a collection of saying that Matthew and Mark used
  • Some favour it because of its oral tradition, that had been the main method of sending information to each other then
  • This theory suggests a new source for each problem or difficulty with the text
  • However most disagree with this theory and favour inter-dependence e.g. Matthew copying Mark
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Matthew as the first Gospel and Luke used Matthew

  • Dates back to Augustine 4th century, it was widely expected till the mid 20th century
  • Main supporters of this theory were Butler, Deardorf and Wenham
  • Theory suggests that Matthew was written first, Mark had abbreviated from him and Luke then used the material, the problem with this theory had been why did Mark omit so much Mathews Gospel? Greisbach
  • Greisbach explained that Matthew was written first then Luke and finally Mark. Information was largely compromised between Luke and Matthew however Mark ommited Double Tradition


  • Triple Tradition - where Matthew and Luke agreed on some passages and have the same phrasing as Mark omits, but he includes the material
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  • Why do Matthew & Luke contradict each other at times, if one copied the other e.g. Jesus birth, Judas' Death and the genral order
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