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AS NT The Synoptic Problem

Introduction to the relationship between the synoptic gospels
by

Mark Cooper

on 2 October 2012

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Transcript of AS NT The Synoptic Problem

An understanding of the relationship between Mark, Matthew & Luke's gospel
Key Word: Synoptic, meaning to 'see with one eye' The Synoptic Problem Matthew, Mark & Luke look at the life and teachings of Jesus from the same point of view
Although distinctive they share information that is common to all three
Where Matthew, Mark & Luke agree in wording and structure this is known as the 'Triple Tradition'
Where Matthew and Luke agree in wording and structure against Mark this is known as the 'Double Tradition'. This is usually referred to as 'Q' tradition. 'Q' standing for the German Quelle meaning source
Where stories are found only in Matthew this is known as 'M' tradition
Where stories are found only in Luke this is know as 'L' tradition
Scholars try to hypothesise the relationship between them and this is known as the Synoptic Problem Commonality & Relationship The majority of scholars will say that Mark was the first gospel to be written between 60-65AD
This is known as the Priority of Mark
Matthew and Luke were written around the same time between 75-80AD Who wrote first? There are a number of reasons why scholars think that Mark was the first gospel and Matthew and Luke used it as a basis (source) for their own. The key scholars are: Lachmann, Holtzmann & Weiss. They think Mark was first because..... The Priority of Mark Grieshbach Hypothesis: This suggest that Matthew's gospel came first, followed by Luke and then Mark. Mark created a condensed gospel based on both Matthew and Luke. This hypothesis has been followed by other scholars such as Butler, Chapman and Farmer.

Primative Aramaic Source: This hypothesis suggests that all three synoptic gospels drew from a common Aramaic source

Fragmentary 'fluid' interrelationship: This is hypothesis is suggested by John Robinson Alternatives to the Priority of Mark Mark is the shortest gospel. It is easier to explain why Matthew and Luke extended Mark, rather than saying Mark shortened the others Key episodes and teachings found in Matthew and Luke are not found in Mark e.g. The Lord's Prayer, Sermon on the Mount, Sermon on the Plain. It is difficult to explain why Mark left these out. Matthew and Luke have tided up Mark's poor Greek. Matthew has corrected Mark's
Aramaic, Eloi to Eli. They have also removed redundant phrases in Mark such as 'At evening, when the sun had set' (we know in the evening the sun sets). They have eliminated unnecessary repetition in Mark. They have removed picturesque but unessential detail e.g. the cushion on which Jesus was sleeping Mark 4:38. Matthew and Luke have softened Mark's critical observations about Jesus e.g. his harshness to the disciples (Mark 4:38), his inability to heal (Matthew and Luke suggest he chose not to heal. They have removed references of Jesus' human emotions, Mark 3:5, Mark 10:14. The disciples are also shown in a more positive light. There would be no reason to keep Mark in the canon of scripture if he had abbreviated Matthew and Luke. Whereas if he was the first it would make sense to keep the earliest gospel within the canon Matthew and Luke follow the same order of events as Mark. When they depart from this order they also diverge from each other. They have additional material that adds to Mark's account but this rarely agrees in the same order of events. Mark has 661 verses, out of these Matthew uses 606 and Luke uses 320. This suggests that there is a relationship between Mark and the other two gospels. Matthew and Luke agree more with Mark in parallel sections than they do with each other. Luke and Matthew 42%, Matthew and Mark 80% and Luke and Mark 66%. 'Q' is the abbreviation for Quelle, the German for source. The existence of 'Q' is hypothetical. There is no evidence for this document, that scholars think both Matthew and Luke used as a source. It might be that it was an oral source, which may explain why there is no evidence
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