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Synopsis of the Four Gospels Hardcover – 1985

4.5 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 361 pages
  • Publisher: United Bible Societies; 1st Revised edition (1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826705006
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826705006
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,222 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By FrKurt Messick HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 29, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This synopsis edition of the four canonical gospels follows the text of the Revised Standard Version, one of the more accepted versions of the Bible in the scholarship of the last generation of Biblical scholars. It presents the four canonical gospels in parallel format, following the text from the beginning, and going more or less in chronological order (there are places where the combination of texts is ambiguous at best).
Kurt Aland, the editor of this text, is also one of the major editors of note of the Greek New Testament - most authoritative versions of the Greek New Testament have Aland's work in it somewhere, if not as the chief editor, then certainly as an influence. Aland used the Greek New Testament (Nestle-Aland 26th Edition) as the basis for revising the text here, although the bulk of the text comes from the RSV. This text is an English-only version - there is an edition that couples the English version with the Greek.
One of the most useful features of this text, as opposed to other synopses, is that it includes all four gospels, rather than just the three synoptic gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Synoptic is a word that can be readily understood by taking it apart into pieces - syn-, as in synonym, meaning roughly 'the same', and optic, as in the optic nerve, meaning roughly 'to see' or even 'eye' - synoptic can mean 'seeing with the same eye.' Yet, those who read the three synoptics know that, even though they parallel, they are far from exact matches. The gospel of John has a different eye on the gospel topic altogether - including it in a text such as this shows where parallels can be drawn, and highlights the unique quality of John, as well as the unique attributes of the synoptics.
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Format: Hardcover
just to clarify some of the other reviews, please note that this book is the "ENGLISH-ONLY TEXT", and it does not have the Greek features that some of the reviewers claim that it has. There is a greek/english version as well, and THAT is what they refer to.
:-)
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Presumably, anyone looking for a synoptic parallel knows what what it's for, but in case not, a brief description might be useful. This book lines up the various pericopes from each gospel in parallel columns, so that their rendition in each can be compared. This allows readers better to discern small, subtle differences among them, and to determine more easily, for instance, who used what source, redaction, theology, and so forth...for instance, Q material is readily apparent when you see that Matthew and Luke contain identical material that isn't present in Mark, and to see this, you don't have to flip back and forth from one gospel to another, because they're all lined up for you, side by side.
One confusing thing about this book is that there is notational nomenclature our the kazoo, which isn't very well explained. For instance, you will notice that the Gospel names at the head of each column is occasionally bolded. Sometimes all of them are. Sometimes they're bracketed. I couldn't find anything in the book to explain this. Had my seminar prof. not explained them, I'd still be in the dark.
That said, the text is well referenced. This isn't a "study" guide, so it isn't glossed, but it is footnoted with plenty of relevant citations. Dubious text--or text that is widely accepted as having been added by later copyists--is footnoted...for instance, the "sweat like blood" verse in Luke's rendition of the Gethsemane pericope.
For anyone embarking on a serious of analysis of the synoptic gospels (and John), this book is a great tool.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This volume represents the best effort by NT scholar Kurt Aland to arrange in chronological order the events recorded in the Gospels. Though this would in the hands of any scholar involve some degree of interpretation, the order here is largely based on that of the Gospel of Mark, which is generally thought to have provided much of the chronology for the writers of Matthew and Luke.

If one wants to gain the best possible understanding of the gospels as a whole and of the uniqueness of each individual gospel, a tool such as this is invaluable. One could search out parallel passages in each gospel in one's own Bible, but it is much easier to use a tool such as this. Sometimes the differences are minor, sometimes more substantial. Reading through the gospels in this edition will also highlight how different Luke, with its emphasis on the poor and constant critique of the wealthy, is from Matthew and Mark, or John from the other three.

The translation used is the Revised Standard Version, which is widely acknowledged to be one of the most accurate. Many fundamentalists dislike it because of the way it translates some portions of the Old Testament that in the KJV had been translated in a way to prefigure the New Testament, but even fundamentalists have not questioned the accuracy of the NT translation. Footnotes allude to some variants among the Greek manuscripts, while end material includes a helpful outline of the contents of the four gospels and an index of gospel passages.

A word about the English only versus the Greek-English. If you are a very serious student of the NT with facility in Greek, you should get the twin language version. My own Greek is very rusty and I found the very large Greek-English edition to be unwieldy and hard to use.
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