The Synoptic Problem -- By: J. F. Springer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 081:322 (Apr 1924)
Article: The Synoptic Problem
Author: J. F. Springer

The Synoptic Problem


No Argument for Markan Priority Obtainable from Explanations of the Matthaean Deviations as Departures from the Chronology.

J. F. Springer

Let us proceed to a close study of the effects consequent upon viewing the Matthaean deviations from Mark as departures from the true chronology made because of the desire to conform to some literary or other necessity, or to carry out some purpose or plan. That is, let us examine to what extent the Matthaean deviations may be considered to have arisen from editorial activity applied to the compilation of the First Gospel from some source exhibiting the order of the Second.

1835—Lachmann’s Conjectural Non-Chronological Order Of Discourses

Lachmann appears to have made the first considerable comparative study of the order of events disclosed in the Synoptic Gospels. His paper was published in Latin many years ago. It seeks to establish the view, not that the Gospel of Mark was composed prior to either or both of the others, but that it exhibits the primitive chronology, and that the Matthaean and Lukan deviations from the Markan order resulted from purposive considerations of various kinds.1

While Lachmann is not engaged in an effort to establish the priority of Mark or that of either of the others, nevertheless he does endeavor to set up the Markan order as the primitive one, and to explain the deviations of the others as purposive. In the course of examining his exposition of the Matthaean departures from the Markan succession, we will get before us what this eminent and pioneer investigator of the order of events thought constituted a satisfactory explanation. I propose to follow this by a sufficient consideration of H. J. Holtzmann’s efforts to explain the Matthaean deviations from Mark as departures from the true chronology. Afterwards, it will be in order to examine the reasons given by W. C. Allen in explanation of the view that the digressions of Matthew from Mark arose from editorial considerations influencing a supposed compiler of Matthew who was working with Mark before him. Finally, it will be desirable to investigate the proposals made by B. W. Bacon in an effort to conceive what must have been in the mind of the Matthaean writer if he wrote with Mark as exemplar. The attention is here directed particularly to the arrangement of the incidents in Mt. 8 and 9. Upon concluding our examination of this writer’s views, we shall have before us four representative attempts to explain, from purposive considerations, the Matthaean dev...

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