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Synoptic Problem - Essay Example

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Thus, according to Hayes (20), synoptic problem is not in reality a problem, but a way of referring to questions and possible…
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Synoptic Problem Synoptic problem is a term used to refer to the task of explaining the exact relationships between the first three gospels in the New Testament. Thus, according to Hayes (20), synoptic problem is not in reality a problem, but a way of referring to questions and possible explanations regarding the relationship of the first three gospels. The first gospels, Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are unmistakably similar in both expression and context; thus, they are referred to as the synoptic gospels. Their similarities have caused people to wonder whether the authors had a common source from where they obtained their information for the gospels i.e. in terms of the birth of Jesus, his life, ministry, death and resurrection (Linnemann 43). However, some people claim that since the three gospels are similar, the authors must have used each other’s gospels, or possible another common source.
According to Hayes (20), the similarities in the three gospels are many and close including the material presented, as well as a wording of texts. For this reason, some form of literary dependence has been assumed where some believe that one author copied texts that were previously written by someone else. According to Griesbach hypothesis, the canonical order in which the gospels were written was Matthew, Luke, and Mark. Thus, the gospel of Matthew was written first, and then Luke; hence, Luke used the gospel of Matthew as his source to write his gospel. This hypothesis attempted to explain the unique features of the gospel of Luke and why the gospel was written. Also, this hypothesis states that Mark used both Matthew, as well as Luke as sources for his own gospel.
Luke was a well educated man whose primary language was Greek, but also studied Latin and could speak quite well. For this reason, Luke was able to obtain a copy of Mark’s gospel in Latin, which explains the similarity between Mark’s gospels and Luke’s gospel. However, there are some minor agreements of about 6% between Matthew and Luke that are not found in Mark, which shows that they did not come into Luke’s Gospel through Mark (Linnemann 45).
The Griesbach hypothesis is a solution to the synoptic problem in which the gospel of Matthew was written first, and Luke used it to write his gospel. Luke is said to have dismantled collections of periscopes from Matthew and placed some of them in other contexts. This shows that, since Matthew was the first gospel, Luke borrowed some material from him, which Mark did not use (Hayes 22).
How Luke used Matthew as a source for his own gospel can be explained in two ways. First, since Luke did not know Hebrew quite well, he probably had copies of both Mark’s and Matthew’s gospels, but u used Mark’s gospel more than that of Matthew. This is probably because Matthew’s gospels had been in circulation, in many communities, and he was able to get a copy more easily (Hayes 22). Second, Luke could have obtained a copy of Mark’s gospel but was unable to get Matthew’s copy. Matthew’s gospel had been in circulation for about two decades while Mark’s gospel had been in circulation for one decade before Luke’s gospel (Linnemann 52). Thus, the similarities between Matthew’s and Luke’s gospel could be due to his exposure to Matthew’s Gospel because it had been in circulation for many years.
Works Cited
Linnemann, Eta. Is there a synoptic problem?: rethinking the literary dependence of the first
three gospels, California: Baker Book House, 1992. Print.
Hayes, Doremus . The Synoptic Problem, BiblioBazaar, 2010. Print. Read More
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