Thursday, March 03, 2011

Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem

The book New Studies in the Synoptic Problem. Oxford Conference, April 2008. Essays in Honour of Christopher M. Tuckett (eds P. Foster; A. Gregory; J.S. Kloppenborg & J. Verheyden; BETL 239; Leuven: Peeters, 2011) has now been published (at Euro 85 for a 961 page book which is not bad IMO). (For an earlier post on the conference see here, and also Dan Batovici's article ‘The Oxford Conference on the Synoptic ProblemCurrents in Biblical Research 7.2 (2009) 245-71 which is helpfully online).

My chapter, on 'Textual Criticism and the Synoptic Problem', can be found here. Other chapters of direct relevance to TC include Judy Lieu on 'Marcion and the Synoptic Problem' and Scott Brown on 'The Secret Gospel of Mark and the Synoptic Problem'. But all of them are interesting if you are interested in the Synoptic Problem (and who wouldn't be!).


  1. I prefer to call it the "Synoptic Blessing." We were blessed to have three books. Imagine how poor we would be if the NT started with the books Luke, John, Acts...

    But thanks for posting this. Looks like great reading.

  2. Peter, isn't that 'The Longer Gospel of Mark and the SP'?

  3. Christians should not be surprised that authors of some of the books in the New Testament "plagiarized" the writings of other New Testament authors, ie, the authors of Matthew and Luke copying huge chunks of Mark, often word for word, into their own gospels.

    This habit is not new in the Bible. There is evidence that Old Testament writers did the exact same thing. An example: the entire chapters of II Kings 19 and Isaiah 37 are almost word for word identical!

    If the Bible is the inspired Word of God, why would God have the author of one inspired book of the Bible copy almost word for word large sections, sometimes entire chapters, from another inspired book of the Bible? Is that how divine inspiration works?

    So should we simply accept this "word for word copying" as the will of the Almighty, accepting it blindly by faith, continuing to insist that God wrote the Bible, or should we consider the overwhelming evidence that the books of the Bible are human works of literature, no more divinely inspired than any other work of fallible human authors?