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Synoptic sources - a summary

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  • Ron Price
    For the record, here is a summary of my findings regarding the contemporary written sources used by the synoptic gospels, with notes in brackets [ ]. The
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 30, 2009
      For the record, here is a summary of my findings regarding the contemporary
      written sources used by the synoptic gospels, with notes in brackets [ ].
      The summary combines results from two investigations. Firstly the Three
      Source Theory taken to its logical conclusion. Secondly the two editions of
      Luke, which is one of many findings derived from analysing the relationship
      between book structures and the posited page format of their archetypes.

      Name Author/ Attestation Date id contemporary
      Editor written sources

      Logia Matthew Papias ca. 45 CE G none

      Mark anon extant ca. 70 CE K G [1]

      Matthew anon extant ca. 90 CE M G K

      Luke Edn1 anon [2] ca. 95 CE L G K M [3]

      ( Acts anon [4] extant ca. 100 CE )

      Luke Edn2 anon extant ca. 105 CE L M [5]


      [1] Mark referred to only around half of the logia sayings, and only around
      a quarter of its material. In this he was influenced by his hero, Paul, who
      had played down the importance of Jesus' sayings (I Cor 2:1-2; II Cor
      5:14-16; Gal 6:14).

      [2] The birth stories and the Parable of the Pounds were additions for the
      extant second 'edition' of Luke. The proof (well, overwhelming evidence in
      my opinion) is vastly too big for this footnote. In essence the argument is
      as follows. Firstly I can show that the internal structure of the extant
      Luke (less Western non-interpolations) matches an archetypal codex of 68
      pages. But there is convincing evidence that the birth stories (1:5 - 2:52,
      equivalent to 7 pages in length) were not in the first edition. But if the
      second (extant) edition was a codex, then the first was almost certainly
      also a codex. 68 - 7 = 61 is not a whole multiple of 4 and therefore 61
      pages cannot represent a codex. The original most likely had 60 pages, in
      which case Luke would have needed a 'filler' after adding the birth stories
      to make up a codex of 68 pages. Is there any pericope of the correct size?
      Indeed there is. It's the Parable of the Pounds. The clinching evidence for
      the Luke-had-two-editions hypothesis is that in the first edition, without
      the Parable of the Pounds, the major section 4:14-19:10 closes with the
      extremely apt "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost". In
      particular, 19:28 is now far more meaningful, for the "this" in "when he had
      said this" originally referred back to 19:10b and not to 19:24-27!!

      [3] The scholarly Luke used Matthew as a subsidiary source, knowing that G
      and K were older and therefore probably more reliable.

      [4] Acts and both editions of Luke were undoubtedly written by the same

      [5] In the end, Luke made substantial use of only around 11% of Matthew's
      gospel, although he was clearly also influenced in detailed wording (most of
      the Minor Agreements), and also in the second edition by the Matthean birth

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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