FOUR GOSPELS • Matthew (Mt.), Mark (Mk.), Luke (Lk.), and John (Jn.) are the four CANONICAL Gospels (Dozens were written) • Mt., Mk., and Lk. are known as the SYNOPTIC (“One Eye”) Gospels • The Synoptics not only have a similar style, but tell many of the SAME stories in the SAME order.
WHY ONLY FOUR? • Some were written centuries after Jesus. • Some mixed pagan folklore w/ the story of Jesus. • Some put other philosophies into the mouth of Jesus. i.e. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus tells women to “become male”. (This means to take on male characteristics like being logical.)
Mt., Mk., Lk. and Jn. were written only 1-2 generations after Jesus and were believed to be written by apostles or their close followers. • Matthew and John were apostles. • Mark was believed to be dictated by Peter. • Luke was a companion of St. Paul.
How are the Synoptics related? • There have been many theories about who copied from whom. • None can be proven, of course.
Some less likely theories… • The Traditional Theory(Augustinian Hypothesis) • The Griesbach Theory(Two-Gospel Hypothesis) • The Farrer/Goulder Theory (positing Markan Priority)
The Four-Source Theory(a.k.a. Two-Document Hypothesis, from B.H. Streeter)
MARK • Mark was the first Gospel written, between 65 and 70 AD. • Probably written in Rome, though Syria, Alexandria, and the Decapolis are possibilities. • Written to mostly Gentiles, new to the faith, facing persecution
CHRISTOLOGY • Christ/Messiah Son of God • Suffering Son of Man
Who are the religious authorities? • Pharisees – teachers (“rabbis”), their goal was to make every Jewish boy literate in Scripture. Some of their theology was similar to Jesus’ (i.e. Resurrection). • They were strict observers of the law/tradition of the elders. • Jesus criticizes their hypocrisy and blindness. • Sadducees – were the priests, connected to the Temple and Sanhedrin, its ruling council. (When the Temple disappeared, so does their power.) • Laws from Bible, not traditions. • Rejected the idea of resurrection, angels, demons.
Other important groups • Zealots – zealous for God’s Law, wanted a violent overthrow of Roman authority. • Essenes – John the Baptist MAY have been one. The Essenes lived in community, separating themselves from “the world”. • Messianic, rejected Temple authority. • Their monastery destroyed in 68 AD, during war w/ Rome. They would have seen this as the final battle between the forces of good and evil.
Herodians –supporters of Herod. They conspire to kill Jesus in Mk. • High Priest, Chief Priests, Priests, and Levites - members of the tribe of Levi who were responsible for the Temple and its sacrifices. • Scribes – trained writers, help interpret Law. • Could be members of various parties, but often against Jesus.
DISCIPLESHIP • Persevere in faith despite suffering; follow Jesus "on the way" to the cross; be ready for his return • Anonymous women (5:25; 7:24; 12:41; 14:3);Jairus (5:21);Bartimaeus (10:46) • “The blood of • martyrs is • the seed of • the Church.”
THE ROAD TO HEAVEN • Whether you persevere in faithdespite persecutions (13:13)
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST • Horrible suffering; tragic death (ch. 14–15) • "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (15:34) • Empty Tomb, outside of Jerusalem (16:1-8)
OTHER THEMES • Messianic secret;main disciples don't understand,but minor characters do believe
MATTHEW • Written in the late 70s/80s. • Possibly written in Galilee or near Antioch in Syria • Written to a Jewish audience, who argue over the Law.
CHRISTOLOGY • Son of David; Son of Abraham; King of the Jews;New Lawgiver & Great Teacher (like Moses);Emmanuel ("God with us") • Teaching his disciples;decrying religious hypocrisy
DISCIPLESHIP • Be righteous; forgive always; live ethically (Golden Rule); fulfill God's commands, esp. in charitable deeds • Peter (16:13-20);children (18:1-5);faithful servants (24:45–25:46)
THE ROAD TO HEAVEN • What you do for "the least" people;Sheep & Goats parable (25:31-46)
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST • Authorities' plots & treachery (ch. 26-27) • "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (15:34)
OTHER THEMES • Fulfillment of Scripture;divisions within the community;final separation of good vs. bad
LUKE • Written in the mid-late 80s. • Likely written in Greece, but maybe Syria or Antioch • Written to a wealthier, urban Gentile Christians, possibly complacent.
CHRISTOLOGY • Great Prophet (in word & deed);Lord (of Israel, and of all nations);Savior (of all, but esp. of the poor) • Healing sick & impaired people;forgiving sinners & debtors
DISCIPLESHIP • Leave everything to follow Jesus; share with poor; accept everyone, esp. outcasts, women, enemies • Mary of Nazareth (1:26–2:51);Good Samaritan (10:25-37);Zacchaeus (19:1-10)
THE ROAD TO HEAVEN • How you use wealth / possessions;parables of Rich & Poor (16:1-31)
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST • Jesus' innocence; forgiveness (ch. 22–23) • "Father, forgive them..." (23:34);"You will be with me in Paradise" (23:43);"Father, into your hands I commend my Spirit" (23:46)
OTHER THEMES • Fulfillment of God's plan;eschatological reversal;tax collectors & sinners favored
JOHN • Written in the 90s. • Written in Galilee or Syria, possibly Ephesus • To a mixed audience of Jews, Gentiles, Samaritans, etc.
CHRISTOLOGY • Eternal Logos; Divine Word made Flesh;Only-begotten Son; sent from Father;Passover Lamb; "I Am" / "Equal to God"
Speaking God's words; doing God's works; revealing his intimate relationship with God
DISCIPLESHIP • See, believe, know, remain in Jesus & God, despite hostility; love one another; be in unity; serve humbly • John [the Baptizer] (ch. 1);man born blind (ch. 9); Martha (11:27);the B.D. (13:23ff); Mary Magdalene (20:1-18)
THE ROAD TO HEAVEN • Whether or not you believe in Jesus(3:16-18; 5:19-24; 12:44-50) • Love one another, as I have loved you
THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST • Jesus' exaltation/glorification (ch. 18–19) • "Woman, behold, your son"; "Behold, your mother" (19:26-27);"I am thirsty" (19:28);"It is finished" (19:30)
OTHER THEMES • “Eternal life" = "life in his name";Paraclete = Holy Spirit; Christian unity;mutual indwelling of God/Jesus/us