Synoptic Gospels

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Synoptic Gospels

(sĭnŏp`tĭk) [Gr. synopsis=view together], the first three GospelsGospel
[M.E.,=good news; evangel from Gr.,= good news], a written account of the life of Jesus. Though the Gospels of the New Testament are all anonymous, since the 2d cent. they have been named Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
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 (MatthewMatthew, Gospel according to,
1st book of the New Testament. Scholars conjecture that it was written for the church at Antioch toward the end of the 1st cent. Traditonally regarded as the earliest Gospel, it is now generally accepted that it postdates the Gospel of St.
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, MarkMark, Gospel according to,
2d book of the New Testament. The shortest of the four Gospels and probably the earliest, it is usually thought to have been composed shortly before the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. Tradition claims St. Mark as the author and St.
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, and LukeLuke, Gospel according to Saint,
third book of the New Testament. It was composed in the second half of the 1st cent. Since the 2d cent. it and the Acts of the Apostles have been ascribed to St. Luke; Acts is sometimes considered a sequel to the Gospel.
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), considered as a unit. They bear greater similarity to each other than any of them does to JohnJohn, Gospel according to Saint,
fourth book of the New Testament. This account of Jesus' life is clearly set off from the other three Gospels (see Synoptic Gospels), although it is probable that John knew and used both Mark and Luke as sources.
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, which differs from them also in purpose. The question of the relations between the three is called the Synoptic problem. Most Protestant and some Roman Catholic scholars agree that Matthew and Luke were written later than Mark, which they followed closely. Matthew then divided Mark into five portions and used them in order, separating them by other material. Luke divided the book only in two, nine chapters being inserted between. Mark, however, only accounts for half of the other two Gospels. Matthew and Luke each have about 100 verses in common, most of them sayings (notably the BeatitudesBeatitudes
[Lat.,=blessing], in the Gospel of St. Matthew, eight blessings uttered by Jesus at the opening of the Sermon on the Mount. Some, counting verses differently, say there are nine. In a parallel passage in the Gospel of St.
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); to explain this agreement, scholars assume that there was a primitive document, which they call Q. It consisted largely of sayings of Jesus and was circulated in forms varying from place to place. Matthew and Luke are said to have used different versions of Q. This leaves a good third each in Matthew and Luke that cannot be explained by a common origin; there is no one widely accepted theory on the source or sources for these portions. The traditional Roman Catholic view is that Matthew (in an Aramaic version) preceded Mark and Luke, but that Matthew's Greek translation of his Aramaic Gospel may have come after Mark and Luke.

Bibliography

See R. K. Bultmann, The History of the Synoptic Tradition (tr. rev. ed. 1968); R. C. Briggs, Interpreting the Gospels (1969).

References in periodicals archive ?
In Jesus' day, the realities of an uncertain dependence upon agriculture were reported to be unavoidable: "The Synoptic Gospels devote much attention to the processes of planting seed, harvesting fruit, grinding grain, eating bread.
Flusser's analysis of the synoptic gospels, however, did not lead him to embrace the theory of Markan priority; rather, he wanted to suggest that "the Synoptic Gospels are based upon one or more non-extant early documents composed by Jesus' disciples and the early church in Jerusalem.
The synoptic gospels convey the actual life and teachings of Jesus, but not by means of modern historiography.
but is instead "Why did Huxley believe all three Synoptic Gospels were dependent upon a single Ur-Marcus?
Robinson's assertions that a "new look" at the fourth gospel would soon replace the old orthodoxy, including the then-established dictum that John used the synoptic gospels as his source.
In each case the writers proceed exegetically and very clearly through Paul's letters, the Synoptic Gospels, later New Testament sources, and early Christian authors.
Ruprecht gives us well-documented studies based on primary and secondary sources of Sophocles, Hegel, and the Synoptic Gospels.
In five chapters (two on Jesus, one on Paul, one on the Synoptic Gospels, and one on the Johannine community), Loader focuses his readers' attention on clusters of texts that he sees as representative of leading themes in the NT.
They describe his commentary on Genesis, the Mosaic harmony and Joshua, Job, the Psalms, the Prophets, the Synoptic gospels, John, Acts, the Pauline epistles, and Hebrews and the Catholic epistles.
Predictably, Cullmann treats prayer in the Synoptic Gospels (the Our Father gets the lion's share of attention), in the Pauline corpus, in John and the Johannine letters, and in the other NT writings.
Each of the Synoptic Gospels reports Jesus' pronouncement about the parousia: "this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place (Mt 24:34; parallels in Mk 13:30, Lk 21:32).
Though he focuses on John, he frequently cross-references to the emotions of Jesus in the Synoptic Gospels, indeed surveys them first in order to provide a backdrop against which the emotions of the Johannine Jesus can be compared or contrasted.