Synoptic Problem

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Synoptic Problem

Synoptic Problem

History Of The Investigation Into The Relationship Between the Synoptic Gospels

The origin of the concept, per se, stems from much earlier: As early as the 4th century, these three books were "seen together with the same eyes", starting with the Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, who had devised a method that enabled scholars to find parallel texts. In the 5th century, Augustine of Hippo developed what was later known as the Augustinian hypothesis, which proposed why these three gospels were so similar. In this view, the gospels were written in order of presentation, but that Mark was Matthew's "lackey and abbreviator" and that Luke drew from both sources.[1]

This view went unchallenged until the late 18th century, when Anton Büsching posited that Luke came first, and Mark conflated Luke and Matthew. In 1774 Johann Jakob Griesbach published his landmark parallel study, calling it a Synopsis. Over the subsequent years, he developed what became known as the Griesbach hypothesis, and now called the two-gospel hypothesis, or simply "2GH". This hypothesis maintains the primacy of Matthew, but proposes that Luke is directly based on it, while Mark is based on both (see illustration).

Since then, other hypotheses have been proffered in order to deal with the synoptic problem. These hypotheses include the Ur-Gospel hypothesis (1778), the two-source hypothesis (1838, 1863), Farrer hypothesis (1955), the Lindsey hypothesis (1963), Jerusalem School hypothesis (1973), and the Logia Translation hypothesis (1998). The widely accepted modern scholastic understandings (the two-source and four-source hypotheses) agree that Mark's Gospel was the first written, and published in Rome in the early 70s AD (see Gospel of Mark). This Gospel was independently available, along with other verbal traditions, to Matthew and Luke, both of whom wrote in the 80's or 90's. [2]

Yet other material is common to Luke and Matthew that is absent from Mark. The name given to this material is Q document, abbreviated to Q. The question of the origin of the remainder of the content of each of the latter two synoptic Gospels remains an open one, yet the name commonly given to sources unique to these authors is L for Luke, or M for Matthew. In the culture at the time, it was very common for communities to preserve and pass on important stories and evidence by word of mouth from person to person.[3]

General similarities and differences between Gospels

Christians love Paul. They enjoy books like 1 John, Psalms, and Isaiah. But if you look around town on any given Sunday, the Gospels are preached far less regularly. Why is this? Part of this is because the Gospels (aside from parts of John and the Sermon on the Mount) don't easily fall into a three point sermon. The storytelling aspect of the Gospels makes them more difficult to quickly pull out important points, requiring the reader to read through the whole Gospel to grasp what the writer was trying to convey. Additionally, the narrative includes strange occurrences, mysterious teachings, and parables that are not always easy to explain (for ...
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