The So-Called Triple, Double, and Single Traditions in the Synoptic Gospels
Chapter 1: The synoptic problem and recently adopted solutions to it 19
19 Chapter 1: The synoptic problem and recently adopted solutions to it The synoptic problem consists in difficulty of finding a satisfactory explanation of the origin of the particular pattern of literary similarities and differences among the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, which are traditionally called the ‘Synoptic Gospels’. Many solutions to this problem have been proposed throughout history. A comprehensive survey of the solutions that were adopted by New Testament scholars in the last few decades should highlight not only the complexity of the issue but also the ways in which the research on the synoptic problem is corre- lated with other literary, historical, and theological investigations. 1.1 Synoptic features of the first three canonical Gospels and problems with their adequate interpretation Despite all the differences among the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, there are several close similarities among them that cannot be adequately ex- plained by the hypothesis of common indebtedness of the Synoptic Gospels solely to early Christian oral traditions. First, there are numerous instances of high verbal agreement among these Gospels in quite long textual units (e.g. Mt 22:23-33; Mk 12:18-27; Lk 20:27-40). Second, there are numerous passages in which the order of narrative units, which are traditionally called ‘pericopes’, is almost the same in all three Synoptic Gospels (e.g. Mt 16:13-18:5; Mk 8:27- 9:41; Lk 9:18-50). Third, there are narrator’s comments that are added to the narrated gospel story and addressed to the reader of...
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