The Synoptic Problem Revisited: Some New Suggestions About The Composition Of Mark 4:1-34 -- By: David Wenham

Journal: Tyndale Bulletin
Volume: TYNBUL 23:1 (NA 1972)
Article: The Synoptic Problem Revisited: Some New Suggestions About The Composition Of Mark 4:1-34
Author: David Wenham

The Synoptic Problem Revisited:
Some New Suggestions About The Composition Of Mark 4:1-34

David Wenham


*Delivered at Tyndale House, Cambridge, 6 July 1971.

This lecture is entitled The Synoptic Problem Revisited: Some New Suggestions about the Composition of Mark 4:1–34; and like its title the lecture falls into two parts. The second part is devoted to a rather rapid study of Mark 4 and the parallel passages in Matthew and Luke, in which I set out in outline an argument for regarding the Matthean form of the tradition as the oldest form. But as the force of this argument is unlikely to be fully appreciated by those convinced on general grounds that Marcan priority is an unshakably sure result of criticism, in the first half of the paper I make some general remarks about the Synoptic Problem. After remarking first on the continuing importance of source criticism in the present age of Redaktionsgeschichte and then warning against the danger of accepting supposedly assured results uncritically, I go on to refer to the view that the Two Document Hypothesis became accepted around the end of the last century partly at least because it was a theory that fitted the theological prejudices of the time. After that I consider some of the arguments that have been used in favour of the Two Document Hypothesis, most of them only briefly, but two of the more substantial ones rather more fully. Having set out in what is inevitably a very cursory form this general argument for regarding the Synoptic problem as a question that needs further consideration, I turn in the second half of the lecture to Mark chapter 4 and discuss a number of things in the chapter which are left unexplained by the Two Document Hypothesis, but which are explicable if the Matthean form of the tradition is regarded as

the most primitive. Such in outline is the course that the lecture takes.

A. The Synoptic Problem Still An Open Question

1. Introduction

The past fifty years have seen important changes of emphasis in Gospel studies. Critics generally have shifted their attention, from source criticism to form criticism and more recently still from form criticism to redaction criticism. So, as this paper is an invitation to look again at the Synoptic Problem, the source critical question par excellence, it is appropriate to begin by pointing out that, although the source critical questions may be out of fashion at the moment, they have not become any the less important with the ...

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