Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels - Part I

Introduction to the Synoptic Gospels - Part I

How are the Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke interrelated? Did Matthew and Luke both use a written source 'Q' and Mark, when composing their Gospels? Did they each have their own sources as well? 

Course code: TH0028

Professor: Anthony Giambrone


This course introduces students to the first three Gospels in the New Testament Canon. As a foundational course in the first cycle of theological study, closely bound to the course on the Fourth Gospel, the class will first treat introductory issues, including the nature of Gospel literature, the Synoptic Problem, and the historicity and fourfold collection of the Gospels. Next, a rapid reading of Matthew, Mark, and Luke will be offered, highlighting characteristic elements of structure and theology and meant to foster appreciation for the simultaneous diversity and unity of the Gospels’ revelation. Attention will be given here also to the Acts of the Apostles as the companion volume to Luke. Finally, as a theological study of “the principal witness to the life and teaching of the Incarnate Word” (DV 18), the course will conclude with a synthetic section organized around the mysteries of the life of Christ.

Course Goals

  1. Encounter a representative range of key exegetical figures and modes of Gospel scholarship.
  2. Appreciate fundamental issues in the interpretation of Matthew, Mark, and Luke (and Acts).
  3. Recognize theological motifs characteristic of each synoptic Gospel.
  4. Understand major aspects of the life and teaching of the Lord.
  5. Attain basic literacy in the study of Gospel revelation and acquire the skills necessary to teach and preach these texts soundly to a lay audience.
  6. Exercise theological judgment in interpreting select Gospel passages.

Table of Contents

Part I. The Gospel of Jesus Christ

  • 2. Good News: Kerygma and Genre
  • 3. Authors and Audience
  • 4. Synoptic Problem
  • 5. Synoptic Problem II
  • 6. The Quest
  • 7. Historicity
  • 8. Remembering Christ
  • 9. Tremendum
  • 10. Fourfold Harmony