Journal Review: Do the Synoptics Depend on Each Other?


by Prasha Maharjan

The gospels Matthew, Mark, and Luke are the Synoptic Gospels that share lots in common in their literary relationships and at the same time have numerous differences. The differences and resemblances among these Gospels is the Synoptic problem. The author’s purpose of writing this article as he states is “to examine the theories which have been proposed in an attempt to arrive at an acceptable solution to the question of literary dependence in the Synoptic Gospels” (Dyer, 1). John 14:25-26 says,

All this I have spoken while still with you. But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

But to the critical scholars who have had difficulties believing the Holy Spirit’s inspiration to help them write the Gospels, the author has made a remarkable effort to disprove their theories of the Synoptic problem. This subject was important to the author because he did not doubt the divine inspiration that guided the Gospels’ writers.

By way of explanation, author Charles Dyer provides a summary of Guthrie’s four aspects of the problem. The first problem is the similarity of arrangement in which the three gospels harmonize in their general outlines. The second is the similarity between the style and wording wherein two or three of the Gospels show similarity in their accounts. The third arises in the presence of accounts only in two gospels mainly in Matthew and Luke but not in Mark. The last problem is in the divergences in accounting the same material but at different settings.

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