The Synoptic Problem

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Liberty University

The Synoptic Problem

A paper submitted to Dr. Charles Powell
In partial fulfillment of the Requirements for
the course NBST 525

Liberty Theological seminary

La Shawn Self

Lynchburg, Virginia
Sunday, August 14, 2011
The books of the Gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John; where written over 2000 years ago. These books excluding the Gospel of John are often called the synoptic Gospels. The term synoptic is derived from the Greek word meaning “seeing together.” These three books are comparable in their recording of the existence and ministry of Jesus. The wording of the synoptic Gospels is similar as well. For example, the account of the healing of the leaper occurs in all three books and the writing is fairly analogous. Although there are similarities there are also many differences in the way the gospels are arranged and the vocabulary. These resemblances and variations in the Gospels form the “Synoptic Problem”. The Synoptic problem is not a problem at all but is a method of looking at the similarities and differences between the gospels. In this paper the Synoptic Problem will be addressed from three different angles: form criticism, source criticism, redaction criticism and literary criticism. [1] Form Criticism

Form criticism is a method of textual criticism, applied especially to the Bible, for tracing the origin and history of certain passages through systematic study of the writings in terms of conventional literary forms, such as parables, proverbs, and love poems. [2] During early the time that the Gospels were written they did not have written copies. The Gospels were generally passed down by word of mouth. From criticism takes a closer look at the gospels being passed down by this method. Rudolph Bultmann was one of the first and most well known form critics. Bultmann believed that the information in the Gospels was embellished or completely made up to meet the needs of the church at that...
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