Original Research - Special Collection: Foundation subjects, Old and New Testament Studies

Is rewritten Bible/Scripture the solution to the Synoptic Problem?

Gert J. Malan
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 70, No 1 | a2101 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v70i1.2101 | © 2014 Gert J. Malan | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 November 2013 | Published: 28 May 2014

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Gert J. Malan, Reformed Theological College, University of Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

New Testament scholars have for centuries posited different solutions to the Synoptic Problem. Recently a new solution was proposed. Mogens Müller applies Geza Vermes’s term rewritten Bible to the canonical gospels. Accepting Markan priority, he views Matthew as rewritten Mark, Luke as rewritten Matthew, and John as additional source. This article examines Müller’s hypothesis by first investigating the history of the controversial term rewritten Bible/Scripture and its recent application to the New Testament Gospels. Müller’s hypothesis is then compared to other solutions to the Synoptic Problem, such as the Augustine, Griesbach, and Farrer-Goulder Hypotheses. The Two Document Hypothesis is discussed and Müller’s 2nd century Luke theory is compared to Burton Mack’s almost similar stance and tested with the argument of synoptic intertextuality in view of the possible but improbable early second century date for Matthew. Lastly, the relationship between the synoptic Gospels is viewed in terms of literary intertextuality. Müller suggests proclamation as motivation for the Gospels’ deliberate intertextual character. This notion is combined with the concept of intertextuality to suggest a more suitable explanation for the relationship between die Gospels, namely intertextual kerugma. This broad concept includes any form of intertextuality in terms of text and context regarding the author and readers. It suitably replaces rewritten Bible, both in reference to genre and textual (exegetical) strategy.

Keywords

Synoptic gospels; synoptic problem; Two documents hypothesis; rewritten Bible; rewritten Scripture

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