Griesbachian samolians saved!

Here is your chance to pick up, at a substantial savings, two books that lay out the Two Gospel Hypothesis, formerly known as the Griesbach Hypothesis. This is the solution to the Synoptic Problem that posits Matthew as the first gospel, which Luke then uses, and Mark as a later conflation/epitome of those two. Dove Booksellers is offering these books at a 63% discount each!

The first is Beyond the Q Impasse: Luke’s Use of Matthew, edited by Allan J. McNicol, with David L. Dungan and David B. Peabody. The price is only 12.99.

The second book is One Gospel from Two: Mark’s Use of Matthew and Luke, edited by David B. Peabody, with Lamar Cope and Allan J. McNicol. The price is only 18.50.

There are only a limited number of copies available. So, if you’re interested in a solution to the Synoptic Problem that is both a.) logical, and b.) traditional, and the Two Source Hypothesis (with Q and all the other imaginary documents involved) isn’t cutting it for you, then you should have these books. Buying both volumes at these prices means you can get both of them for less than the regular price of either volume. Nice!

Happy shopping!


  1. Thanks for the notice, Kevin. Your (b) is debatable in the light of Stephen Carlson’s NTS article on Clement’s supposed witness to the Griesbach order. And of course there is another way of coping if Q is not cutting it for you! 🙂

    1. Thanks for that Mark! I have never read any of the Greek Fathers supposing anything but that Matthew was first, and know of no Latins to contradict this, and this is consistent throughout the Eastern Church. This is key. For all the fulminations to the contrary, and any discussion of patristic evidence regarding the order of Luke and Mark, Matthean priority is the universal tradition of the Church, period. The rest follows logically from that point. It certainly excludes Marcan priority from consideration as remotely traditional.

      To interact with Stephen’s article (which is also online), particularly with the patristic evidence, is necessary. Note 6 is perhaps the most important in this regard:

      For example, Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 3.1.1, in Greek at Eus., Hist. eccl. 5.8.2; Origen at Eus., Hist. eccl. 6.25.3-6; and Augustine, De cons. evang. 3.1.2. Efforts to demonstrate that Irenaeus and Origen did not intend to present a chronological order but a “theological” order (e.g., Farmer 1983: 9-14) are undermined by the explicit chronological indicators in the texts and uncorroborated by contemporary evidence of that theological order and its dominance. For example, Bruce M. Metzger noted that the Matthew, Mark, Luke, John order was “made popular by Eusebius and Jerome,” but that as many as eight other orders have been attested among the manuscripts. Metzger 1987: 296.

      In Irenaeus AH 3.1.1 (=Eus HE 5.8.2), the lineup is in fact equivocal, and not objectively chronological. The order of Mark (companion of Peter) and Luke (companion of Paul) here are determined by the immediately preceding given order of “Peter and Paul,” no doubt based on their ecclesiastical standing, as the order “Paul and Peter” simply doesn’t appear in patristic writers. The wording on Luke is not explicit enough to claim that it is even to be considered, as is the case for Mark, “after the leaving of Peter and Paul”: καὶ
      Λουκᾶς δέ, ὁ ἀκόλουθος Παύλου, τὸ ὑπ’ ἐκείνου κηρυσσόμενον εὐαγγέλιον ἐν βίβλῳ κατέθετο. Origen in Eus HE 6.25.3-6 is not arranging the books in chronological order, but is explicitly describing their origins in the order in which we still commonly find them in our Bibles. If someone would require that this is chronologically ordered, then they will need to posit that Origen’s entire listing of Old Testament books immediately preceding is likewise chronologically ordered. But that would be absurd. It’s a misreading via an exclusionary reading of a partial passage (or “proof-texting”) of Origen which causes the problem of the supposed contradiction with his teacher Clement, not the quotation from Origen itself. We should understand Origen’s statement as “The first [of the Gospels in canonical order] was written by Matthew…” and so on, as Eusebius makes explicit that Origen was doing: “keeping the Ecclesiatical list/canon” (τὸν ἐκκλησιαστικὸν φυλάττων κανόνα). Stephen writes, “Clement’s statement has puzzled commentators over the years” (¶20). This confusion appears to have been a result of misreading the evidence more than any real contradiction in the writings themselves.

      And this is a key example of why it’s much more important to spend time and effort on the primary sources rather than the secondary. Misunderstandings will otherwise occur and be perpetuated. The secondary literature bewails a contradiction of its own creation, a not uncommon occurrence. But reading Eusebius closely, there is no contradiction, and we find ourselves, instead, asking another unanswered question: where did this canonical order Matthew-Mark-Luke-John originate that was so early as to have been common to both Irenaeus and Origen? Way back east and way back when is the general answer, but specifics are only to be guessed at.

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