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

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 084:333 (Jan 1927)
Article: The Synoptic Problem
Author: J. F. Springer

The Synoptic Problem


The Doublets in Matthew

J. F. Springer

NEW YORK A DOUBLET consists of a pair of passages either of which is a repetition of the other. It is not necessary that the passages be exact duplicates. There are numerous doublets in the First and Third Gospels, as we now have these documents in critical editions. The Second Gospel in quite modern recensions presents, however, only a very few duplications. The doublets now found in the Synoptic documents consist usually of portions from discourse of the Saviour.

Doublets Brought Forward Many Years Ago

It has been imagined that the presence of doublets in two of the Gospels is indicative of their compositeness; and that the comparative absence of the phenomenon in Mark signifies that this Gospel is probably “not composite, at least in the sense that the two others are.”

If, indeed, the presence of doublets in Matthew means that this Gospel is a derivative from more than one source, then, when we take into account the additional circumstance that in quite a proportion of cases one part of the doublet is found in Mark and the other is not so found, it seems only fair to draw the conclusion that one of the sources primary to Matthew is this very Gospel of Mark. In view of this logical situation, it becomes my duty as an opponent of the hypothesis of the dependence of the First Gospel upon the Second to investigate the soundness of the proposition that the Matthaean doublets signify a plurality of sources back of the document in which they are found.

I propose, then, to establish the thesis that the doublets in Matthew—that is, those which require explanation— are probably due to a cause implying nothing as to com-

positeness. That is to say, I claim that the troublesome Matthaean doublets have arisen out of early interpolations made through agencies independent of the writer of the document.

This matter of doublets may be illustrated by a notable instance. I cite Mt. 5:29–30 and Mt. 18:8–9. The reader is referred to the third of a series of Matthaean doublets, whose Greek (WH) text is given in full later on in this present instalment. He will also find the text of Mk. 9:43, 45, 47, a portion of discourse which parallels the second part of the doublet.

A comparison of the Matthaean passages will show that while there are differences nevertheless ...

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