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The study of the synoptic problem in the twentieth century : a critical assessment

The purpose of the present study is to assess the study of the synoptic problem in this century. The questions raised are: does the two-document hypothesis, more correctly, each of the theses of Markan priority and Q, merely stand on the sands, as its opponents claim?; and does any proposed alternative hypothesis account better for the synoptic phenomena than the two-document hypothesis, so that this orthodox view must now give way to it? Chap. I is mainly to answer the first question. To appraise the thesis of Markan priority, we investigate the synoptic phenomena like the agreement and disagreement in content, order and wording, doublets and OT quotations. The conclusions are: (a) they do not necessarily demand Markan priority; and yet (b) they are sufficiently explained on this hypothesis. There seems, on the other hand, no such evidence that requires us to discard Markan priority. Even the minor agreements between Matthew and Luke against Mark are amenable to it. Then we assess the view that a proto-Mark rather than our canonical Mark was used by later evangelists (the hypotheses of Boismard, V. H. Stanton, Hendriks, J. A. T. Robinson and others). The proposed arguments, however, fall short of establishing a distinct proto-Mark. The Q hypothesis remains the most likely solution to explain Matthew's and Luke's double tradition material, unless Luke's direct use of Matthew or the opposite is proved. Any of these latter alternatives (the views of Parrer, Goulder, West and others) can readily explain the phenomenon of the so-called minor agreements but entails difficulties in accounting for drastic differences between Matthew and Luke in various phases. Our evaluation of the proto-Luke hypothesis shows that the evangelist Luke may well have employed a version of Q considerably expanded with special material. In chap. II, "Matthean priority," we deal with the Augustinian hypothesis (Jameson, Chapman and Butler), the Griesbach hypothesis (Parmer, Orchard, Dungan, Longstaff and others) and also three different proto- Matthew hypotheses (Hunt's testimony book, Parker's Jewish Christian Gospel K and Vaganay's Aramaic proto- Matthew M). The given evidences scarcely convince us that any of these is a better substitute for the twodocument hypothesis. As far as the phenomenon of order is concerned, the Griesbach hypothesis works well but this hardly justifies the view that this solution is superior over the two-document hypothesis* Por the former involves far greater difficulties than the latter allegedly has. Chap. Ill is concerned about Lukan priority, which is the least preferable solution. Hone of its proponents (Lockton, Bussmann and Lindsey) has offered a decisive reason for the assumption that our Luke is more primitive than Matthew and Mark, Finally, the thesis of independence of the Synoptics (Leon-Dufour, Gahoury and Rist) is appraised in chap, IV, Although the assumption of independence enables us to reconcile the opposing hypotheses of Markan priority and Matthean priority, it remains less plausible than the two-document hypothesis. For though there is little choice between the independence view and the two-document hypothesis as far as the synoptic dissimilarities are concerned, the latter explains the similarities far easily than the former. Some of the proposed alternatives are not well substantiated by the evidence. Some others may have a merit in solving some difficulty allegedly unsolved by the two-document hypothesis, or seem successful in explaining some aspects of the phenomena, but they hardly provide better explanation for the whole range of data. The alleged difficulties in the two-document hypothesis, on the other hand, are not insuperable. Thus we are led to the final conclusion that the two-document hypothesis remains the best solution of the synoptic problem.
Date January 1981
CreatorsUchida, Kazuhiko
PublisherUniversity of Aberdeen
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation

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