The synoptics or synoptic gospels (from Greek (συνόψις syn-opsis ), to look together / look together) are called the three evangelists Mark , Matthew and Luke or their gospels, the Gospel of Mark , the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament . They describe and interpret the life and teaching of Jesus from a comparable perspective. That is why in 1776 Johann Jakob Griesbach had the texts printed in columns next to each other for the first time for a better comparison, producing a so-called synopsis . The first three Gospels are therefore called synoptic .
The Gospel of John indeed agrees broadly with the content and structure of the three synoptic gospels agree also, but the three Synoptic Gospels have far more in common with respect to language and common text material.
Explanatory models for the synoptic connection
A central theme in biblical and exegetical research into the three synoptic gospels is the so-called synoptic problem . This means the question of how the similarities and differences of the first three Gospels in terms of wording, sequence and choice of material can be explained. There have been various hypotheses about this since the end of the 18th century:
The original gospel hypothesis assumes that all three synoptics used an Aramaic or Hebrew "Nazarene Gospel" that is now lost.
The fragment hypothesis or the Diegesen hypothesis postulates a large number of independent individual records and collections of texts, some of which had several, but some of which only had one evangelist.
The traditional hypothesis means that there was a class of "evangelists" who passed on the gospel with its individual stories in a fixed, memorized cycle as traveling preachers. The synoptics processed this given material independently of one another.
Today, different usage hypotheses are predominant that postulate a direct dependency between the synoptics.
- The most common hypothesis is the two-source theory . Accordingly, the Gospel of Mark was written first. Also, I have there is a second source, which have included mainly sayings of Jesus and thus as Q Source is called. Matthew and Luke would have used Markus and Q as well as other traditions of their own, so-called special goods , as sources. Both the Logienquelle Q and the sources of the special good are purely hypothetical; they are not available as independent texts.
- The two gospel theory (“two gospel hypothesis”), often referred to as the Griesbach hypothesis, can be based on patristic evidence, in particular on Papias of Hierapolis . The most important representatives of this hypothesis were: Johann Jakob Griesbach and David Friedrich Strauss . In a revised form, as the "Neo-Griesbach theory", it was mainly represented by William R. Farmer (1964). Today it is widespread in the Anglo-Saxon area. She sees the Gospel of Matthew as the oldest gospel. The Gospel of Luke is literarily dependent on it. The Gospel of Mark is then a summary of the other two.
- The Farrer Hypothesis was developed by Austin Farrer . The main academic representatives are Michael Goulder and Mark Goodacre . Nowadays it is mainly represented in the USA. After her, Mark was first written and used by Matthew; Lukas resorted to both.
- Alfred Schweiger: The New Testament. Origin - canon - tradition . Pp. 1–11 
- Kurt Aland (Ed.): Synopsis Quattuor Evangeliorum, German Bible Society, ISBN 978-3438051301 . Text edition with the Greek text of the 27th edition of the NT Graece by Nestle-Aland.
- Walter Schmithals : Gospels, synoptic . In: Theological Real Encyclopedia . Volume 10, 1982, pp. 570-626.
- Otto Knoch (Ed.): Complete Synopsis of the Gospels . Katholisches Bibelwerk, Stuttgart 1988, ISBN 3-920609-28-X .
- Ferdinand R. Prostmeier : Small introduction to the synoptic gospels . Herder, Freiburg a. a. 2006. ISBN 978-3-451-29056-5 .