Problems?
What are some of the potential problems with the analysis?

First, what can we state with mathematical certainty? We can state, with a high degree of certainty, that the vocabulary of some categories, is more related to other individual categories than it is related to the overall vocabulary in the synoptics.

What we can not say for certain, is that these relationships are due only to difference in the styles of the authors. The genre, i.e. sayings vs. narrative, and the context may also influence vocabulary. While this is an issue that could separate the sayings categories, and perhaps, sondergut Luke and Matthew, from the more narrative categories, it is not an issue within the narrative categories. In the narrative sections the categories are intermingled and cover the same subjects. So, the evidence for Markian priority is not effected by this potential problem. The fact that sayings categories may be seperated from narrative categories, by this effect, needs to be taken into account, however. I have tried to do that on the interpretation page.

There is also the possibility that an author could cause relationships in the categories by his selections while copying. For example, categories 121 and 221 could have some similarity if they both contained words Luke had the option of copying, but chose to reject. Some careful consideration, however, should show us that this effect should be small, compared to the effect the author of a category can introduce himself. For example, on the 2SH, Luke can only effect the frequency of words in categories 121 and 221, by subtraction, that is he copies them, so that they do not appear in categories 121 and 221. However, Mark has more control over the content of categories 121 and 221, he can effect these categories both by addition and by subtraction. To put this differently, on the 2SH, Luke can not make a word appear in categories 121 and 221, if Mark did not write that word in the first place. So we should not expect similarities and differences introduced by the selections of a subsequent author, to greatly effect our results, and we should prefer to attribute differences between categories to differences in the original authorship.

Finally, we are dependant on categorization choices made by the authors of the HHB Synoptic Concordance.

They assume the 2SH in their analysis. This has little or no impact, except for how the "Mark/Q overlaps" are categorized. Here things arguably should be categorized differently at times. For example, the authors might categorize a sentence in the Mark/Q overlap as "202" and "020" indicating it is from both Q and Mark, but arguably it should be classified as "222".

While these possible objections to the study must be taken into account, I still believe we can draw some  conclusions from it. I believe this study offers additional support for the Farrer Hypothesis and the 3 Source Hypothesis, but does not exclude the 2 Source Hypothesis. Additionally, strong support is given for Markian priority, and, it is more difficult to argue that Luke did not use Matthew at all.
Back to synoptic main page