Enter the email address you signed up with and we’ll email you a reset link. Synoptic Problem Intro de dissertation by Stephen C.
Originally conceived in Germany by Ch. Weisse in 1838, the 2SH came to dominate German protestant scholarship after the fall of the Tübingen school with H. Holtzmann’s endorsement of a related variant in 1863. Any viable solution to the synoptic problem has to account, at a minimum, for the two main textual features of the synoptic gospels, called the triple tradition and the double tradition. The triple tradition refers to the subject matter jointly related by Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Sometimes, the 2SH is more precisely called the two-document hypothesis to emphasize that the two sources are distinct documents or the Mark-Q hypothesis to identify those two documentary sources. After a few false starts, the modern argument for the 2SH has settled into a two-step analysis.
First, an explanation for the triple tradition, Markan priority, is is established and then arguments for the relative independence of Matthew and Luke are made, which result in hypothesizing a common source, Q. Among the best-argued cases for the 2SH in contemporary scholarship include Stein 1987 and Tuckett 1992. The Priority of Mark Under Markan priority, the triple tradition is derived from a narrative source that resembles Mark and that both Matthew and Luke used. In the present form of the 2SH, that source is Mark 1:1-16:8. The contemporary argument for the priority of Mark is cumulative.
It rests not on the strength of any one argument but on the cumulation of many arguments. Jesus’s sayings that served as a source to the double tradition in Matthew and Luke. The existence of Q follows from the conclusion that Luke and Matthew are independent in the double tradition. Therefore, the liteary connection in the double tradition must be explained by an indirect relationship, namely, through use of a common source or sources. Arguments from Content and Argument Proponents of Q argue that neither Matthew nor Luke used the other due to the large degree of disuse of the other’s non-Markan material in triple tradition and of the other’s non-Markan, non-sayings material. Cutting Edge Q Studies Much recent work has gone in studying the theology, community, and the compositional history of Q. For example, some scholars have concluded that Q was composed in stages.
The minor agreements pose a special dilemma for the 2SH, because they are suggestive of a literary connection between Matthew and Luke outside of either Mark or Q, calling into question the relative independence of Matthew and Luke. The problem is that the modern argument for Q requires Matthew and Luke to be independent, so the 3SH raises more questions than it solves, namely, how to establish Q is Luke is dependent on Matthew. Therefore, the minor agreements, if taken seriously, force a choice between accepting pure Markan priority on one hand or the existence of Q on the other hand, but not both simultaneously as the 2SH requires. The 2SH’s response to the issue of the minor agreement is to weaken their significance by attributing various causes for them. Streeter devoted a chapter on this issue in his magnum opus on the synoptic problem with an analysis that is largely maintained today.
Coincidence Most of the minor agreements are attributed to the independent, coincidental redaction of Mark by Matthew and Luke. Streeter stated that “the majority of these agreements do not require any explanation at all” because they are the natural result of Matthew’s and Luke’s production of their own gospels. Overlaps with Q or Oral Tradition Streeter attributed some agreements of Matthew and Luke against Mark to their common of use of Q in those passages that Mark and Q overlapped. Matthew and Luke preferred their form of oral tradition over Mark. Textual Corruption Streeter argued that, in a few cases, the best manuscript copies of the gospels do not reflect the original text in a manner that produces with Matthew and Luke agree against Mark.
External Evidence To the limited extent that the early Christians have discussed the origins of the gospels, none of them has clearly indicated the existence of Q or the priority of Mark. Rather, the priority of Matthew is the most consistent testimony in the first few centuries of Christianity. Problems with Q While many of those who do not subscribe to Q also subscribe to Matthean priority, there is also an increasing group of scholars who would dispense with Q within the framework of Markan priority under the Farrer Theory. Their argument, mainly involving the minor agreements, may be found at Mark Goodacre’s Case Against Q.
Serious study of the synoptic problem began in the late eighteenth century during the Enlightenment. The most prominent source critic in the early period was J. Around this time, early critics began to formulate the separate theses that would later join to form the 2SH. For the double tradition, however, Storr was undecided about whether Luke used Matthew, virtually anticipating the Farrer Hypothesis, or whether Matthew’s translator used Luke. Hebrew documents, denominated with Hebrew letters. Marsh’s theory has an important contact with the 2SH, namely, the postulation of a Q-like hypothetical sayings source, Beth, that is largely responsible for the double tradition.
Marsh should not deserve credit as the originator of the 2SH. A modern variant of Marsh’s theory is P. Storr’s and Marsh’s views passed out of favor and left no direct effect on the course of the synoptic problem. By the 1830s, when the consensus was coalescing around the Griesbach hypothesis, especially in the work of the Tübingen school, two scholars, F. Schleiermacher and Karl Lachmann, laid the groundwork for what would become the two fundamental tenets of the 2SH. Schleiermacher operated within the perimeters of the Fragmentary Hypothesis, which held that the synoptic gospels were composed from a multiplicity of shorter documents.