Towards Solving the Synoptic Problem for African Biblical Exegesis





The Gospels, Synoptic Gospels, Synoptic Problem, African Biblical Exegesis


Doing biblical exegesis, say in Africa, is not easy; selected text must be interpreted to carry the same meaning as the author meant, whiles making it relevant to the new environment the gospel finds itself. The situation becomes challenging when the selected text is part of the range of texts with Synoptic Problem. This problem has lingered on years in biblical studies. Propounded by J. J. Griesbach, the Synoptic Problem is a way of referring to questions and possible explanations about the seeming differences and peculiarities of the Synoptic Gospels—Matthew, Mark and Luke—due to their writing styles (word order, word used, and grammatical variations, or dissimilar tenacities) of telling the gospel story. After reviewing solutions propounded by scholars, it was realised that each had a shortfall, including B. H. Streeter’s Four-Source Theory. For while at one point each tries to address the problem, at the other end they seem to create another challenge; making it difficult for proper biblical exegesis. Improving on B. H. Streeter’s Four-Source Theory, it is proposed that the “Four-Source Theory with Lukan priority over Matthew” be accepted in solving the Synoptic Problem. This is to help African biblical exegetes to conduct exegesis on parallel passages that are different in settings, vocabulary, among others; thereby, enabling them to understand the text in their context as written by the original author.     


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