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Again, in considering the evidence for the age of the Synoptic Gospels, that which is derived from external sources is only a part, and not perhaps the more important part, of the whole. It points backwards indeed, and we shall see with what amount of force and range. But there is still an interval within which only approximate conclusions are possible.

The times and places at which our three synoptic gospels were written have been, through the labours of the Tubingen critics, determined almost to a certainty.

As I hope some day to have an opportunity of discussing the whole question of the origin and composition of the Synoptic Gospels, I shall not go into this at present: but in the mean time it should be remembered that all these further questions lie in the background, and that in tracing the formation of the Canon of the Gospels the whole of the evidence for miracles even from this ab extra point of view is very far from being exhausted.

The exact contents and character of that Gospel are not quite so clear, and its relation to the Synoptic Gospels, and especially to our third Synoptic, which bears the name of St. Luke, is the point that we have to determine. The Church writers, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Epiphanius, without exception, describe Marcion's Gospel as a mutilated or amputated version of St. Luke.

It is only known to us through his antagonists, who generally assert that the Gospel used by him was the third Synoptic, changed and adapted to suit his heretical views. Paley says, "This rash and wild controversialist published a recension or chastised edition of St.

The distinction between the first three, or synoptic gospels, and the fourth, the later age of the fourth, and the method of composition of the first three, from earlier documents and from oral tradition, are all clearly laid down by him.

It is unlikely that these passages, which are wanting in all our extant Gospels, should have had any other source than our third Synoptic. We have to add to these another class of peculiarities which occur in places where the synoptic parallel has been preserved. Thus in the Sermon on the Mount we find the following: Matt. vii. 21. Clem. Hom. viii. 7. Luke, vi. 46.

The thesis is that Jehovah has personally led his people, and that when they have been faithful to him they have prospered, but when they have disobeyed calamity has overtaken, them. These three prophetic histories correspond strikingly to the three synoptic Gospels: Mark, Luke and Matthew.

One more class of apparent quotations from our Synoptic Gospels must now be considered, viz., the citations in Justin of the moral teaching or precepts of Christ. The author of "Supernatural Religion" gives very considerable extracts from these chapters, which I shall give in his own translation:

The result of this concentration of attention on the value of synoptic criticism for the life of Jesus and of the neglect of the editorial subjectivity of the evangelists has been a general tendency to overlook the value of the gospels as the record of the opinion of the generation which produced them.

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