The New Testament

A Historical and Theological Introduction

Materials available for professors by request only


9. The Synoptic Problem

Questions for Research and Discussion

  1. While technically not part of the Synoptic Problem, the fact that John is so different from the Synoptic Gospels is a problem in its own right. How might you explain just how different the Fourth Gospel is to someone who might be skeptical?
  2. If Mark truly is the core of the Synoptic tradition, what value is there in studying Matthew and Luke? Would it not be better just to study the Gospel that inspired them?
  3. Compare and contrast the Griesbach and Augustinian hypotheses. Which of these would be most convincing given the known data, if the theory of Markan priority was shown to be false?
  4. Given that Q is purely a hypothetical source, what do you make of the fact that the theory of Markan priority depends on it to some degree?
  5. How much doubt do the minor agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark cast on the theory of Markan priority? How would you explain them if you wanted to hold to the Four Source theory?