The Synoptic Problem ("One Eye")

The high levels of commonality between the first three Gospels have lead scholars to believe that there was a lost source which they call the Q document (from the German word "Quelle" "source"). Scholars believe that Matthew and Luke each had a copy of Mark and the Q document as their primary sources. Analysis of the 230 verses common to Matthew and Luke which are believed to make up this lost Q document reveal that it was mostly a list of sayings and parables of Jesus and not a narrative history of events in Jesus' life. The discovery of the Gospel of Thomas in the Nag Hammadi Library and Oxyrhynchus Papyrus 654 (which may be a fragment of the same) show that such lists of sayings did exist in the church from early times.

Gospel              Matthew         Mark          Luke

Total Verses        1070            677           1150
Unique Tradition     330 (1/3)       70 (1/10)     520 (1/2)
Twofold Tradition    170 (Mk)       170 (Mt)       230 (Mt)
                     230 (Lk)        50 (Lk)        50 (Mk)
Threefold Tradition  350            350            350
Two+Three Tradition  520 (5/7 Mk)   520 (1/2 Mt)   580 (1/2 Mt)
                     580 (1/2 Lk)   400 (1/3 Lk)   400 (4/7 Mk)

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