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Synoptic Gospels

1:1): "1. Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us" (Borg, 1999, p.65-8)
Tatum (1999, p. 36) argues: "...Gospel origins highlight the theological focus peculiar to each Gospel. There appears to be an appropriate correspondence between the portrayal of Jesus in each Gospel and the social setting of that Gospel. Each writer, therefore, has edited information about Jesus so that the story of Jesus addresses the concerns of the intended readers. The Story of Jesus as the Universal Christ in the Gospel of Luke, for example, was appropriate in a way that the story of Jesus as the Teaching Christ in the Gospel of Matthew would not have been. Like us, the Gospel writers tended to make Jesus over in their own likenesses."
The Synoptics vary considerably in length from Mark (the shortest) to Luke (the longest). There are 661 verses, 95 scenes and 80 sayings in Mark; 1068 verses, 117 scenes and 225 sayings in Matthew; as for Luke, it contains 1098 verses, 120 scenes and 182 sayings (Funk et al, 1993, p.45).
There are places where the Synoptic Gospels are closely parallel in their recounting of incidents from the life of Jesus. For example, in the "Parable of the Sower" some words and constructions repeat in two or three Gospels:
(Matthew 13)
3. " A sower went out to sow.
4. And as he sowed, some [seeds] fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them.
5. Other [seeds] fell on rocky ground, where they had not much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil,
6. but when the sun rose they were scorched; and since they had no root they withered away.
7. Other [seeds] fell upon thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them.
8. Other [seeds] fell on fine soil and brought forth grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
9. He who has ears [to hear] let him hear."
(Mark 4)
3."Listen! A sower went out to sow.
4. And as he sowed, some [seed] fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured it.
5. Other [seed] fell on rocky ground, where it had not much soil, and immediately it sprang up, since it had no depth of soil;
6. and when the sun rose it was scorched, and since it had no root it withered away.
7. Other [seed] fell into thorns and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.
8 And other [seeds] fell into fine soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold."
9. And he said, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
(Luke 8)
5. "A sower went out to sow his seed; and as he sowed, some fell along the path, and was trodden under foot, and the birds of the air devoured it.
6. And some fell on the rock; and as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
7. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns grew with it and choked it.
8. And some fell into good soil and grew, and yielded a hundredfold." As he said this, he called out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
At the same time there could be differences in historical details. For example, the story of the healing of the blind man Bartimaeus contains several such differences: in Matthew and Mark, the incident happens as Jesus ...Show more

Summary

INTRODUCTION. The Synoptic Gospels is a term used by modern scholars for the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke of the New Testament in the Bible. They often recount the same stories about Jesus of Nazareth, though sometimes with substantial differences, but mostly following the same sequence and to a remarkable extent using the same words…
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