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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 082:326 (Apr 1925)
Article: The Synoptic Problem
Author: J. F. Springer

The Synoptic Problem

J. F. Springer


Probability that a Matthaean Compiler would have made Considerable Additions to the Markan Framework of the Ministry Narrative.

We come now to the additions of whole incidents that the Matthaean writer must be conceived as having made, once we have assumed him a compiler working with Mark before him. A rather casual comparison of the two documents is sufficient to show that the First Gospel is a considerably larger book than the Second. In fact, Matthew contains about 18,000 words and Mark about 11,000. It is fairly evident, then, that the Matthaean compiler must have added greatly to the text presented by his exemplar. As he also omitted a good deal, the total textual matter added must have been much in excess of 7,000 words. However, our interest now centers upon added topics and not upon added text. When the two Gospels are compared from this point of view, we find that the Matthaean table of contents does not contain many topics in addition to its acceptances from the Markan table.

If we confine our attention to the Ministry, thus omitting the Genealogy and the Infancy Section from consideration, and exclude the topics treated in that part of Matthew which extends the history beyond the point defined by the present terminus of Mark at 16:8, we learn upon comparison that the First Gospel makes but few additions of whole incidents. I tabulate these.1


The Sermon on the Mount


The centurion’s servant


The two blind men


The mute demoniac

9:32–33 [34]

John’s messengers

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