THE GOSPELS

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There are 4 Gospels:

1. Matthew (70-85 AD)

2. Mark (64-70 AD)

3. Luke (75-85 AD)

4. John (80-95 AD)

*The dates above reflect the majority view among today's leading scholars. However, it is my contention that the correct dating for the Gospels is Matthew (50s AD), Luke (50s-Early 60s AD), Mark (Mid-to-Late 60s AD), and John (40s - 60s+ AD). (See: Redating the New Testament by John A.T. Robinson for more on why this earlier dating is more accurate than today's scholarly consensus.)  

THE SYNOPTIC PROBLEM

What is the Synoptic Problem?

 

Three of the four Gospels — Matthew, Mark, and Luke — share an undeniable literary connection, and because of this connection they are classified together as the  “Synoptic” Gospels (thus leaving out the Gospel of John which is markedly different). The word synoptic can be broken down etymologically into syn which means “together” and optic which refers to “sight.” That is to say, synoptic means “seen together.” These three Gospels are “seen together” so to speak, because of the clear interdependence of their language. These three Gospels share near verbatim passages, in a remarkably similar order, and it is difficult to know what to make of this clear overlap. Here in lies the problem. Where one Gospel appears to be copying from another, that one seems to be in turn copying from the third, which in turn seems to be copying from the first. In other words, the Synoptic Problem is trying to figure out how to unravel this mystery of textual interdependence in order to deduce who is the source for whom, and where these teachings of Jesus originate.