The Synoptic Problem Essay

1351 words - 5 pages

The Synoptic Problem

The synoptic problem is that of considering which of the 3 synoptic
gospels. Matthew, Mark and Luke was written first and perhaps which
gospel was written aided via the other and/or which writer used the
questionable Q source.

It is believed that there is a literary connection between the gospels
as there is an obvious verbal agreement that suggests some kind of
interdependence between them all. It is believed that these
similarities have arisen because

i. All the gospel writers were inspired by the power of the holy
spirit

ii. They are all an account of the Jesus. Therefore as they are all
about the same person there will be similarities between their
writings if they are historically accurate.

iii. They all share a common oral tradition

Looking at the content of the gospels in turn it is obvious that there
are links between the gospels. If you have faith then it is quite
easy to believe that these accounts are supposed to be the word or god
and through him they would write similar accounts. And this would
provide as evidence for their links. However, if you do not believe
in god the second point can be an accurate answer to the gospels
interdependence. As reporting on the same events people are always
going to have ties. Just as different people are touched by different
thing, this is an example of the similarities and differences. For
example, if one of the gospel writers was touched by one particular
work of Jesus they are more likely to record it in more detail. Just
as others might not have felt any connection with it and skipped it
absolutely. Also, as it is believed that the gospels were not
recorded during the eye-witness period of Jesus’ life it is likely
that they are all from the same source and therefore tell a similar
story due to linking original accounts.

The literary connection can be seen in the Baptism story. Mark has 5
verses, Matthew 15 and Luke 17. And also the Peter Disowns Jesus Mark
has 7 verses, Matthew 7 and Luke 9. The fact that these stories are
in each gospel suggests some kind of clear connection between them
all.

Streeter believed that the order of the gospels was Mark first then
Matthew then lastly Luke. He also believed that all the gospels
shared a common source which he called Q. This Markan priority theory
overtook the Matheau priority in the 19th century. It was suggested
that Mark portrayed Jesus to be too human. That mark showed him
‘faults and all’ and when the church was first compiled it was seen to
be the case that Matthew was put first as the most important gospel
with the most verses and therefore as they saw it; the most historical
content. It is believed that as Mark is the priority gospel and that
Matthew and Luke took Marks account and then expanded on it to write
...

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