The Synoptic Gospels - Bibliography



General - must be read sometime by any serious student; the first browsed

A Schweitzer The Quest for the historical Jesus (translated 1954) - classic work, starting-point of modern gospel study

R Bultmann History of the Synoptic Tradition (the basis of form-Criticism, essential to have some knowledge of it)

DR Cartlidge & DL Dungan Documents for the Study of the Gospels (1982) - essential background; become familiar with it

EP Sanders & M Davies Studying the Synoptic Gospels (1989)

buy this - essential reading on all topics

BF Meyer The Aims of Jesus (1979)

an education to read, particularly on Xtology

G Vermes Jesus the Jew (1973)

Jesus' Galilean context - critical, minimalist

GN Stanton The Gospels & Jesus (1989)

intro to many topics, useful for reference

AE Harvey Jesus and the Constraints of History (1982), usually considered a classic on Jesus in his time

EP Sanders Jesus and Judaism (1985) hard-hitting, account of Jesus' legal context

The Historical Figure of Jesus (1994), builds on previous works, excellent background to gospel study

Raymond E. Brown Introduction to the New Testament (1997) - good starting-points

An Introduction to New Testament Christology (1994) - a brilliant summary, perhaps best read as part of revision at end of term



1. Mark What was Mark's purpose in writing a Gospel?

You also need to get even with such matters as the 'Messianic Secret' in Mark, Mark's Christology and Mark's treatment of the disciples. Bear these in mind as you read.

C Tuckett (ed) The Messianic Secret (1983) - a collection of classic essays, with a useful intro, especially the essays by Dunn and Räisänen

F Neirynck Duality in Mark - basic feature of Mk's style

H Räisänen The 'Messianic Secret' in Mark's Gospel (1990) - stiff reading, but final word in a long controversy (or at least read his essay in Tuckett!)

M Hooker The Message of Mark (1983)

E Best Disciples & Discipleship in Mark (1986)

W Telford (ed) The Interpretation of Mark (1995), especially Weeden on the purpose of Mk, Tannehill on the disciples in Mk and Matera on the Prologue

W. Telford The Theology of the Gospel of Mark [NT Theology Series] (1993), chapter 2















2. Matthew What was the origin and intention of Matthew's Gospel?

Examine also Mt's own distinctive literary style and use of imagery, his teaching on the church, and his expectations of its members.

D Senior What are they saying about Matthew (1983)

RT France Matthew Evangelist and Teacher (1989) intro to many aspects of Mt

MD Goulder Midrash & Lection in Mt (1974), chaps 1-5

finger-printing the author, fascinating

GN Stanton (ed) The Interpretation of Mt (1983)

esp. Luz on disciples (1971), Schweizer on Ch (74)

G Bornkamm 'The Stilling of the Storm', in Bornkamm & M Barth,Tradition and Interpretation in Mt (1963) classic early redaktionsgeschichtlich essay on Mt (1948)

GN Stanton 'The Gospel of Mt & Judaism' BJRL 66 (1984), pp.264-284, also in A Gospel for a New People

Leslie Houlden Crossing the Boundaries, ed Stanley E. Porter (1994) on inconsistencies in Mt with regard to Judaism

Ulrich Luz Theology of the Gospel of Mt [NT Theology], 1995

Sim, David C The Gospel of Mt and Christian Judaism, 1998

HW booklet on Mt



3. How does Matthew understand Jesus' attitude to the Jewish Law?

Compare it with Mark's presentation and consider which is likely to be the more historically accurate.

W Telford The Theology of the Gospel of Mark (1999), pp. 164-176

Overman, Andrew Matthew's Gospel and Formative Judaism (1996)

David Sim as above



4. Luke What are the distinctive themes of Lk's Gospel?

The distinctiveness of Lk as a historian, a brilliant story-teller, stress on equality of sexes, on repentance, on universalism, on the dangers of wealth.

J Fitmyer Luke - introduction to commentary mind-blowingly boring but very complete

I Howard Marshall 'Luke and his Gospel' in P. Stuhlmacher, The Gospel and the Gpp (1991)

MD Goulder Luke, a new Paradigm (1989),ch 3 fingerprinting

John Gillman Possessions & the Life of Faith (1992) dull but well worked

R O'Toole The Unity of Lk's Theology (1984) - very useful

R Tannehill Narrative Unity of Lk-Acts (1986)

Charles H Talbert Reading Lk (1990) discursive but worth looking at - good ideas

Joel B. Green Theology of the Gospel of Lk [NT Theology], 1995, for themes of Lk

HW The Lion and the Bull















5. The Third Quest for the Historical Jesus

New Jerome Biblical Commentary (1989), article by JP Meier

G. Vermes Jesus the Jew (1973), The Gospel of Jesus the Jew (1983)

Ben Meyer The Aims of Jesus (1979)

AE Harvey Jesus and the Constraints of History (1982)

EP Sanders Jesus and Judaism (1985), Jewish Law from Jesus to the Mishnah (1990)

Sanders & Davies Studying the Synoptic Gospels, Part 5

NT Wright Who Was Jesus? (1992)

Luke T. Johnson The Real Jesus (1996)



6. The Passion Narratives

M Kelber Passion Narrative in Mk

Donald Senior The Passion of Jesus in the Gospel of Mt/Mk/Lk/Jn

EP Sanders Jesus and Judaism, chaps 2-3 and end of 1

Judaism, practice & belief, p. 472-88 on Sanhedrin

Nils Dahl 'The Passion Narrative in Mt' in GN Stanton, The Interpretation of Matthew (1995)

Raymond E. Brown The Death of the Messiah (1993)

Légasse, Simon The Trial of Jesus



7. The Infancy Narratives

Krister Stendahl 'Quis et Unde' in GN Stanton, The Interpretation of Matthew (1995)

RE Brown Birth of the Messiah (1977) or second edition (1993)

JA Fitzmyer Gospel according to Lk (1985)

Goulder Midrash & Lection in Matthew, pp. 228-242 (disregard the lectionary-stuff)

Luke - A New Paradigm, p. 205-269

H Hendrickx The Infancy Narratives (1975)



8. Parables

CH Dodd The Parables of the Kingdom (1936) - a classic

J Jeremias The Parables of Jesus (1954) - a classic

H Hendrickx The Parables of Jesus (1983) - secondary stuff

J Drury The Parables in the Gospels (1985)

B Gerhardsson 'Illuminating the Kingdom' in HW, Jesus & the Oral Gospel Tradition (1991)

MD Goulder 'Characteristics of the Parables in the Several Gospels' JTS 19 (1968), 51-69