Synoptic Problem Humor

Found this on my new waste of time, ChristianMemes. I do not know whether to thank them for the funny stuff, or curse them that I just wasted an afternoon looking a silly pictures.

(It’s a big thanks….really.)

6 thoughts on “Synoptic Problem Humor

    • That is not possible, since that would put it about AD 100. You might have meant AD 70. On the other hand, since your blog is called “that’s the joke,” I hesitate to mention it.

      • 70 AD — I always thought AD meant “after death”

        You have schooled me.

        Do you know much about how the gospels (not just the 4 popular ones) were written? Why do they take so long to write them?

  1. There are a couple of threads which contribute to the answer here. Luke and Acts are the same work, and that plot ends AD 60-62. If Luke wrote both books about that time, then they are thirty years after Jesus’ death. If he wrote them another 10-20 years later, then you need to explain why the story ends with Paul in Rome with no resolution to his story (does he die? does Rome free him?)

    If Luke writes in the early 60’s, then you need to account for the similar material shared with Matthew. The “standard” answer is that Matthew and Luke used a sayings gospel (usually called Q, the German word for “source” is Quelle). The minority (but vocal and growing) is that Luke used Matthew. In either case, some collection of Jesus sayings existed prior to 60 which was considered authoritative.

    Some of that shared material turns up in 1 Thess 5 and James, both letters often thought to be among the earliest written, about AD 50 – only 20 years after the death of Jesus. That would imply a sayings collection, accepted as authoritative within two decades of the death of Jesus, used by to distinctly different NT voice (James and Paul).

    As for the “other gospels,” there is a minority view that Thomas pre-dates the canonical gospels, but the vast majority of scholars date that book into the second century. No other collection of Jesus stories / sayings (called gospels in the literature since they are about Jesus) dates to the first century.

    As for the “why” part – on the one hand there is a strong belief in the soon-return of Jesus, making literary works less effective for evangelism than the preached word. As the delay lengthen, people began to write literature about Jesus rather than preach Jesus. Ont he other hand, there are a lot of questions people have about Jesus which develop over the first two hundred years of the current era. As those questions develop, people wrote books to answer them. Simple example: What was Jesus like as a child? Lots of apocryphal stories circulate about Jesus as a kid, some of those get collected and published as books. Rarely (if ever) did people think these were “historical” in any modern sense of the word.

    Hope that helps.

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