John and the Synoptics

John and the Synoptics April 8, 2017

Elizabeth Corsar blogged about the fact that the relationship between the Gospel of John and the Synoptic Gospels is still not resolved after all these years. When I shared the post on Facebook, someone suggested that John and the Synoptics would be a great band name, and that Corsar’s blog preview image would work as the album cover. Here it is:


I think her post subtitle could also be an album title. What do you think? Should I or someone else start a band called “John and the Synoptics”? Has someone already beaten us to it?

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  • Joseph Shaw

    Why is this still a question? It’s all there, right in the text. Matthew and John were fellow apostles, and travelled together with Jesus. Mark and Luke were later traveling companions of the apostles. That’s their relationship. The first two wrote completely independent eyewitness accounts. The second two based their accounts on the eyewitness accounts of their companions, the apostles, until you get to Acts, where Luke became an eyewitness himself.

    Don’t these scholars read their Bibles?

    • LastManOnEarth

      I’m curious to know if you are serious. Are you unaware of NT and early church scholarship [e.g. that authorship of the 4 canonical Gospels were not attributed to their traditional authors until the 2nd century] or are you simply rejecting it in favor of the traditional story?

      • Joseph Shaw

        Actually, I’m being completely facetious. That’s my little parody of a typical Christian fundamentalist view of the gospels.

        • LastManOnEarth

          Poe’s Law strikes again!

          • Joseph Shaw

            I keep forgetting that you can’t see me smile as I type.

  • TPeters

    LastManonEarlth: how you know that none of the canonical Gospels were attributed to their traditional authors until the 2nd century? What is your evidence for this?

    To be clear: I don’t think any of the Gospels were written by eyewitnesses, but that’s a separate issue from when the Gospels were attributed to their traditional authors. My position is that we don’t know when those attributions were made. As far as I know, GMk could have been attributed to Mark from the day the ink dried on the first manuscript. I’m curious how you know this isn’t the case.

    • TPeters

      Sorry. The post above should have appeared as a response to LastManOnEarth’s post below.

    • Joseph Shaw

      You’re right, we don’t know.

      But scholars still look at textual clues and propose likely theories concerning the texts and their transmission. Matthew Ferguson lays out the case that scholars make for the later attribution of the gospels here:

      You’re still right; we can’t know if this is the case; but then there is very little about early Christianity that we can know with complete certainty.

  • Nick G

    someone suggested that John and the Synoptics would be a great band name

    Nah – the Synoptics would be playing a completely different tune from John, and even among themselves, there would be some pretty noticeable discords!

  • Gary

    “Should I or someone else start a band called “John and the Synoptics”?”
    Maybe “James and the Brothers of Another Mother”. Kind of like a throwback to “Peter, Paul, and Mary”.

    • Gary

      The drummer has to be Thomas, who recently replaced John, since the other band members were jealous of John. A little too much beloved by the women in the audience.