Gospel Studies and the Synoptic Problem

Topics: Gospel of John, Gospel of Luke, Gospel Pages: 7 (1901 words) Published: October 16, 2012
Canon and Historical Background

-Material covered prior to the first short exam is still fair game, but the mid-term will focus primarily on material covered after the first short exam.

(Go back through your notes. If I have told you that something will reappear on
exams throughout the semester [e.g., “eclectic text”], study that material.
Otherwise, focus on the lectures after the first short exam.)

Gospel Studies & The Synoptic Problem

-Be able to explain clearly the two most common source theories.

Two Gospel Hypothesis: The hypothesis states that Matthew was written first, while Christianity was still centered in Jerusalem, to calm the hostility between Jews and Christians. After Matthew, Luke was written as a gospel to the Gentiles. But since neither Luke (nor his patron Paul) were eyewitnesses of Jesus, Peter gave public testimonies that validated Luke’s gospel. These public speeches were transcribed into Mark’s gospel and distributed immediately thereafter.

Two Source Hypothesis: States that Mark was written first and was a source for Matthew and Luke, but so was an unknown source, “Q”

-Be able to offer at least one challenge to each of these theories.

Two Gospel Hypothesis:. Theological Issue; the true end at Mark’s gospel is 16:8, other material was written by a later scribe. The stories ending causes so many problems that a scribe had to add something to the end of it. How is it that Matthew and Luke are the sources and the endings are so completely different and bizzare? Uncomfortable ending!

Two Source Hypothesis: It uses a gospel that doesn’t exist.

-If a particular source theory lends itself to a particular kind of
criticism/interpretation, you should know the name of that critical method and be
able to describe it.

-Be able to say something about the way that the beliefs associated with Enlightenment philosophy affected studies of religion generally (and studies of Jesus specifically) in the 19th century.

*Start of the “Life of Jesus” Movement. Focused on Jesus’s teachings, saw him as an ethical teacher and disregarded his miracles that were unexplainable according to science. The idea of idealism comes into play by Hegal; which is the idea that humanity is always improving and that humans are awesome.

-Be able to provide and explain at least three of the criteria used by scholars in the 20th century to determine whether a gospel saying may rightly be attributed to Jesus. (These criteria are often associated with Ernst Käsemann.)

*1) Dissimilarity: if a saying is unlike other teachings in contemporary Judaism and unlike kerygma of the early church, it may be authentic. 2) Consistency: if a saying is consistent with other material thought to be authentic, it may be authentic. 3) Multiple Attestation: if a saying is found in different witness, or other layers of tradition, it may be authentic. 4) Cultural/Linguistic Correlation: if a saying fits Palestinian context of Jesus and especially ifit seems like something an Aramaic speaking Jew would say, it may be authentic

Gospels & Acts

-There will probably be a brief section on the exam related to identification of biblical passages (i.e., you have to identify the book that a quotation is from).

-Before panicking—before thinking that you are being asked to “memorize”
the Gospels and Acts—realize that you have learned themes that are vitally
important for each gospel. Your examiner will either choose passages that we
looked at in class, or passages that reflect one of those individual themes
(or both!).

-SO . . . You will definitely want to review the themes for each gospel discussed in the lectures.

Mark: Theme of Secrecy; Jesus keeps the fact that he is the Son of God a secret until the trials, perhaps to help reshape the Messianic Expectation that he would not suffer and be rejected.

Matthew: Theme of Fulfillment

Luke: “Plan of God” theme. Everything happens...
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