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What is Synoptic?

What is Synoptic?


School: Concordia University
Department: OTHER
Course: Introduction to New Testament
Term: Fall 2019
Tags: matthew, source, hypothesis, and MARK
Cost: 25
Name: THEO 203, Notes Week 3
Description: These notes cover week 3 of THEO 203, Intro to the New Testament.
Uploaded: 09/19/2019
5 Pages 7 Views 9 Unlocks

THEO 203 Week 3.1 

What is Synoptic?

 Mark, Matthew and Luke are synoptic gospels

 Synoptic comes from the greek word sunoptikos, which means seeing the whole  together; they are stories

 The three stories are:

 Similar (i.e. temptation, baptism, entry into Jerusalem, etc)

 In a similar order (i.e. Temple cleansing after Jerusalem entry)

 Some editorial comments are similar (i.e. Mk 13:14 & Mt 24:15)

 Similar vocabulary 

The sources hypothesis 


Mk = Mark

Mt = Matthew

Lk = Luke

Q = Q

M = Special Matthew

L = Special Luke

 The first widely accepted hypothesis was the two source hypothesis : Mark and Q  Explanation of Mk: The three synoptic gospels have similarities. Scholars have decided  that Mark must be the oldest gospel, because:  

i. It is shorter. Thus, it must be earlier than the two others, because usually scribes added material. They rarely took material away.  

What is the meaning of Son of God?

ii. Most of what is in Mt and Lk is also in Mk, thus, they conclude that Mk must be the  main source of Mt and Lk.

 Explanation of Q: Q is a fictional gospel which does not exist. It was created to explain the  content which is in Mt and Lk, but not in Mk, the primary source. It was invented, there is  no original physical document that is what we call Q.

 On the opposite, we know Luke and Matthew are ‘’real’’, because they contain content  which is unique to them. Q’s content is all taken from other known sources.

 The second widely accepted hypothesis was derived from the previous hypothesis and is the   four source hypothesis: Mark, Q, Special Matthew and Special Luke We also discuss several other topics like linguistics 101 uw madison

 This hypothesis accepts the same two sources as before, but adds two sources: M and L.  These sources explain the material that are unique to Matthew (M) and unique to Luke (L)

Who is John the Baptist?

 In the triple tradition, where the three synoptic gospels are mainly considered because of  their similarities, one source is considered: Mark because according to the hypothesis Luke  and Matthew come from Mark.

*Triple tradition = one source

 In the double tradition, where only Luke and Matthew are considered, one source is  considered: Q because according to the hypothesis what is unique to both these gospels (that is, absent from Mark but present in both) come from Q. If you want to learn more check out art history exam 2

*Double tradition = one source Don't forget about the age old question of dawn neill cal poly

Answers from the quiz

o How many sources in the triple tradition? One

o Which gospels have common material in the double tradition? Luke and  Matthew

o Which gospels have common material in the triple tradition? Luke,  

Matthew and Mark

o How many sources are there in the double tradition? One - Q

o Which texts are the synoptic gospels? Matthew, Mark, Luke

*We don’t actually know who wrote the gospels. 2nd century Greeks attributed the texts to  authors because something that is anonymous does not have as much  weight/authority.

Mark: Jesus the Apocalyptic Preacher 

 Mark is the only text which opens with the term “gospel” (only text which calls itself a gospel  

– e.g. Matthew starts with “the book”)

 Gospel means good news

 Son of God is contested; a scribe might have added “Son of God” after Jesus Christ, because  

it had more impact.

 The author of Mark pretends that Jesus is the realization of old prophecies (quotes the Old  Testament, quote can be attributed to two prophets – Malachi 3:1a and Isaiah 40:3)

 John the Baptist – He proclaims a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins in the  desert (in the water of the Jordan), but claims that “the one who is more powerful than I” is  Don't forget about the age old question of What does cyanobacteria do to humans?

coming, and he will baptize the people with the Holy Spirit

 John is unusual, because usually people go the Temple to repent, so John becomes a  religious competitor to religious authorities who like people coming to the Temple because  

it gives them money

 Usually, when someone is baptized, they recognize that they are inferior to the person  baptizing them. Thus, because John baptized Jesus, scholars believe that Jesus (the man) was

a follower of John the Baptist, and eventually broke off from him and started his own minister.   That was a problem for early Christians who did not want to see Jesus as inferior to  

anyone, this might be why words such as “the one who is more powerful than I” have been added to gospels. Also, sometimes, John the Baptist completely disappears, in later  Don't forget about the age old question of 735mmhg to atm


 The baptism was a problem for early Christians, because how can God (how  

they saw Jesus) be baptized?

 Question: Why was Jesus baptized? If the purpose of the baptism is to wash away  sins, what sins did Jesus have?

THEO 203 Week 3.2 

Mark, cont’d 

 The voice from God when Jesus gets baptized is a quote from the OT - Isaiah 42:1 or Psalm  2:7

 Psalm 2:7 directed at David - Writer in Luke applies it to Jesus, that would mean David was  God’s son

 What does son of God mean? In ancient times kings were designed as such, it speaks of a  function/role 

 Equivalent to the expression Christ, which means anointed (messiah also means anointed)  In ANE (Ancient Near East), God sent prophets with holy oil to meet the chosen one to pour  this oil on that individual - The messiah is actually a king 

 Jesus is the son of God in the sense of a king who was anointed by God to  represent him on earth : SON OF GOD HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DIVINITY (does  not mean Jesus was not divine; but son of God isn’t the proof)*

 The gospel of Mark itself (the most archaic versions) presents some problems at the end: it  ends with the fear and confusion of the women after discovering that Jesus’ body is not there  anymore; there is no reappearance of Jesus Don't forget about the age old question of glg 121 miami university


 1st gospel in the NT, but wasn’t written the first (80-85 common era)

 The writer of Matthew is clearly very familiar with the Hebrew Bible; he quotes a lot from  that

 Scholars don’t agree with the structure of Matthew, some say

 Five main parts: ‘’Now when Jesus had finished saying these things’’ (7:28, 11:1, 13:53,  19:1, 26,1)

 Two main parts: ‘’From that time Jesus began’’ (4:17, 16:21)

 Theological features of that gospel:

 It is a theology of accomplishment - accomplishment of things that were predicted by  ancient prophets in the Old Testament (he quotes them)

 The quotes do not really match the initial quotes though, the prophets were not talking about Jesus, it is the author of the gospel creating the link, appropriating the stories  and applying them to Jesus (Mt 1:22-23, 2:15, 2:17-18, 2:23, 4:14-16, 8:17, 12:17-21,  21:4-5, 27:9-10)  

 This is what we call a retrospective reading of the Hebrew Bible (this is what most  people do nowadays, they go back and apply the readings to today)

 Jesus the New Moses (Mt 1:18 — 2:28, 5:1—7:29, 17:1-9, 26:28, 28:16-20)   Jesus gives a new law to his own people, like Moses did in Exodus

 Jesus is the New Israel (Mt 2:15, 3:13-17, 4:1-11)  

 Jesus, like the Hebrews, went into the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, he was  tempted by the devil but prevailed where Israel failed (they did not have faith in God in the desert)

 Kingdom of Heaven 

 Jesus is an eschatological teacher (eschatology = the doctrine of the end time; where  God will establish his kingdom on earth, people need to repent before)  

 Many people read Mt 24 as a prophecy of the end of the world, but this isn’t really what Jesus is talking about; he is actually commenting on the Temple. He is saying that the  Temple will be destroyed.

 Then, he is talking about the end of the age, not of the world. The “end of the world” is  the end of their world, the end of the impact of Judaism on their society, the end of  what they know.  

 The temple was actually destroyed in a conflict of that time; the author of Matthew  writes after this episode. This is about what people from that time lived, it is not applicable to today.

 Poetic apocalyptic language is found in Isaiah 13:10 (against the King of Babylon) and  Ezekiel 32:7 (against Pharaoh) as well; those two instances talk about political issues. It is the same in the New Testament

Answers to the quiz

o The kingdom of God represents the reign of God

o The writers of the NT established their theology of accomplishment by a  process of retrospective reading

o The expression Son of God in the NT refers to the title which speaks of Jesus’  role as God’s representative

o The “end of the age” in Matthew 24 refers to the end of the Jewish age

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