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The synoptic problem And our best theory as to the answer. Text and Traditions Unit 1 Catholic Regional College Melton.

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Presentation on theme: "The synoptic problem And our best theory as to the answer. Text and Traditions Unit 1 Catholic Regional College Melton."— Presentation transcript:

1 The synoptic problem And our best theory as to the answer. Text and Traditions Unit 1 Catholic Regional College Melton.

2 There are four gospels ► There are four gospels: Mark, Matthew, Luke and John. ► For hundreds of years scholars have seen that Mark, Matthew, and Luke are similar to each other; and John is quite different. ► For this reason we call Mark, Matthew, and Luke are called the synoptic gospels. Synoptic mean ‘with one eye’, or roughly seen together.

3 This Synoptics similarities ► This Venn diagram shows how similar the three synoptic gospels are. ► The numbers represent the number of verses.

4 This Synoptics similarities ► Note that almost all of Mark is found in both Matthew and Luke. ► Note also that Luke and Matthew share some 170 verses, that are not found in Mark at all. ► Both Luke and Matthew also have unique material.

5 So why have three synoptic gospels which are so similar? ► The answer to this is the emphasis. ► Each of the gospels were written in different times and places, and for different reasons. ► All of them are proclaiming Jesus Christ, but each of them to a different audience. ► This different audience has a different situation in life, which we use the German term for: sitz im leben.(situation in life).

6 Sitz im leben ► For instance, Mark is thought to have been written in c.65 AD, in Rome. So this is the sitz im leben of the author. We might find out more about the sitz im leben by studying about Rome in the 60s. ► Matthew is though to have been written c.75 AD, maybe in Syria. ► So you can imagine the different problems each community had to deal with.

7 Sitz im leben ► Hence, the sitz im leben of each community is the reason why each of the synoptic gospels has a different emphasis. ► Each gospel is addressing different issues in their respective communities. ► They may use the same event in Jesus’ life to give a different emphasis or moral to the story.

8 Here is an example of the gospels having the same material Compare ► Mark 2:13-17 ► Matthew 9:9-13 ► Luke 5:27-32 ► Note the similarities and slight differences.

9 So what does all this mean?

10 The three stages of the gospel ► We need to go back to the beginning to understand how the gospels came to be. ► In the beginning, we had Jesus Christ preaching the good news (which is what gospel means). This is the first stage which many call the Logos era. ► After Jesus died and rose, and ascended into heaven, the Apostles and disciples preached what Jesus had taught them…This is called the Kerygma (Greek for proclamation).

11 The second stage-Kerygma ► The kerygma is the oral transmission of the gospel. ► Like the written gospels themselves, the kerygma is the word of God and inspired by Holy Spirit. ► It is important to note the kerygma never stopped by preached…it is still preached today by the Catholic Church.

12 Kerygma ► Pope Benedict XVI preaches the word of God. (Kerygma).

13 The third stage ► But towards the second half of the first century, communities of Christians wanted to record the events and deed and words of Christ in written form. ► This was so that they had a permanent record of the events, and to address the sitz im leben of their communities.

14 The third stage ► So, the gospels were written. ► First Mark ► Then Matthew ► Then Luke ► then John Right: an early papyrus fragment of the gospel of Matthew.

15 Here is a table outlining the probable dates of the synoptic gospels Gospel Date (approx) Place Mark 70 AD Rome Matthew 85 AD Syria Luke 80 AD Antioch

16 So now we can return to the synoptic problem… ► But how does this account for the similarities between the three synoptic gospels? Here is the most favoured theory…

17 The Two Source theory. ► We assume the reason all of Mark is found in Luke and Matthew is because they had access to a copy of Mark. ► This is called dependence. Luke and Matthew were dependent on Mark for that material.

18 The two source theory ► But there is also material common to Luke and Matthew, which we don’t find in Mark. Some 170 verses.

19 Q ► We believe that this came from a source which we no longer have today. We call this document Q. ► Q is short for quelle, German for source. ► So now we have two documents which feed into Matthew and Luke… 1) Mark. 2) Q.

20 Here is a diagram to show what we mean.

21 This is called the Two Source Solution ► Trouble is…we still have 500 verses in Luke alone, and 280 verses in Matthew alone. ► So scholars being scholars make a more complex solution. ► We say Matthew and Luke both had access to their own material; which we call M, and L.

22 So now it looks like this…

23 So now we can account for the synoptic problem ► It is important to note that there are other theories, but this is the most popular answer among scholars. ► Q is thought to be a list of sayings of Jesus. ► Q might be a document lost to us, or even an oral tradition or even a person!

24 Fin.

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