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The Synoptic_prob - The Synoptic"Problem I Introduction The...

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The Synoptic “Problem:” I. Introduction : The so-called synoptic problem is a literary problem (or puzzle) that has its basis in the remarkable similarity of context, order, and even (in some instances) exact wording that exists between Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This repository of common material is what earned these three the honor of being “the synoptic gospels” (lit. The so-called synoptic problem is a literary problem (or puzzle) that has its basis in the remarkable similarity of context, order, and even (in some instances) exact wording that exists between Matthew, Mark, and Luke. This repository of common material is what earned these three the honor of being “the synoptic gospels” (lit. synopsis = “seeing together”). Yet it is also clear that Matthew, Mark, and Luke differ from one another in rather stark ways, and so the literary puzzle of the formation of the synoptic gospels is bounded on the one hand by their remarkable similarities, and on the other hand by their graphic differences. Perhaps a few numerical comparisons will suffice: there are 661 verses in Mark, of substance 606 of these appear in Matthew, though generally these are shortened and sometimes relocated with respect to context or chronological order. Luke carries the substance of about 350 of Mark’s 661 verses, or about half of it. Leaving Mark out of the picture for the moment, Matthew and Luke have about 235 verses in common and those verses are not present in Mark. So there is a great deal of material common to all three synoptics; and in some instances their agreement is virtually verbatim.
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