Synoptic sources - a summary
- View SourceFor 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 
Matthew anon extant ca. 90 CE M G K
Luke Edn1 anon  ca. 95 CE L G K M 
( Acts anon  extant ca. 100 CE )
Luke Edn2 anon extant ca. 105 CE L M 
 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).
 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!!
 The scholarly Luke used Matthew as a subsidiary source, knowing that G
and K were older and therefore probably more reliable.
 Acts and both editions of Luke were undoubtedly written by the same
 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
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm