LOY Excursus: Synoptic Fidelity to the Anthology

& LOY Excursions

How closely does a pericope reproduce the pre-synoptic source that stands behind Matthew, Mark, and Luke?

Updated: 1-October-2020

The purpose of this excursus is to compile in a single location each synoptic pericope’s rate of verbal identity to the wording of the Anthology (Anth.). The percentages presented below reflect how much of the wording in a given pericope agrees precisely with the wording of Anth. The percentages do not, however, tell us how much of Anth. was copied in a given pericope. Thus, if a synoptic evangelist gave a highly condensed version of a pericope that nevertheless adhered closely to the wording of Anth., this would register as having a high fidelity percentage, while the percentage of Anth. that was actually reproduced could be quite low. Conversely, a synoptic evangelist might have copied every single word from Anth. in a given pericope but inserted a great many additional details. In such a case, although all of Anth.’s version of the pericope has been reproduced verbatim, the fidelity will register as quite low because of the secondary accretions. For the purposes of this excursus “fidelity to the Anthology” means how much of a given synoptic pericope “is” Anth.

The pericopae in the table below are ordered according to their placement in the LOY Map.

Pericope Title% Verbal
with Anth.
% Verbal
with Anth.
% Verbal
with Anth.
A Voice Crying20.00
Yohanan the Immerser Demands Repentance86.8495.31
Yohanan the Immerser’s Exhortations87.67
Yohanan the Immerser’s Eschatological Discourse77.5975.8676.62
Yohanan the Immerser’s Execution58.3972.6519.05
Yeshua’s Immersion41.49
Widow’s Son in Nain92.86
Not Everyone Can Be Yeshua’s Disciple89.8675.22
Tower Builder and King Going to War similes74.70
Rich Man Declines the Kingdom of Heaven35.6940.5868.68
Demands of Discipleship31.58 /
30.7773.42 /
Hidden Treasure and Priceless Pearl parables85.19
Call of Levi65.59
42.7288.17 /
Lost Sheep and Lost Coin similes45.4585.11
Yohanan the Immerser’s Question74.6094.12
Yeshua’s Words about Yohanan the Immerser93.62
The Kingdom of Heaven Is Increasing89.2938.89
Mustard Seed and Starter Dough parables53.42
Lord’s Prayer60.6481.08
Praying Like Gentiles91.18
Yeshua’s Discourse on Worry91.9880.12
Persistent Widow parable84.06
Friend in Need simile10096.46
Fathers Give Good Gifts simile95.9272.92
Four Soils parable41.6733.3379.78
Four Soils interpretation29.2936.7166.39
Yeshua, His Mother and Brothers51.6934.6270.37
A Woman’s Misplaced Blessing97.44
Choosing the Twelve38.6720.4345.48
Sending the Twelve: Commissioning70.3744.4457.69 /
Sending the Twelve: “The Harvest is Plentiful”
and “A Flock Among Wolves”
Sending the Twelve: Conduct on the Road40.5424.1476.92 /
Sending the Twelve: Conduct in Town34.5524.5374.10 /
Sending the Twelve: Apostle and Sender100.0068.42
Return of the Twelve62.5092.00 /
Yeshua’s Thanksgiving Hymn83.7897.50
Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven24.3029.7372.00
Blessedness of the Twelve80.0073.68
Darnel Among the Wheat parable61.03
Calamities in Yerushalayim89.53
Woes on Three Villages67.74
Generations That Repented Long Ago10094.55
Innocent Blood45.8382.76
Sign-Seeking Generation39.62 /
Days of the Son of Man61.4067.12
Lesson of Lot’s Wife66.6753.5791.18
Indiscriminate Catastrophe95.2441.38
Carrion Birds77.7827.78
Like Children Complaining90.7776.32
Temples’ Destruction Foretold27.7832.8962.22
Key: / = more than one version of the pericope occurs in a particular Gospel; [] = percentages in brackets reflect our uncertainty regarding the reconstruction of Anth. in a particular pericope

Information on how the data presented in the table above were obtained can be found in the “Redaction Analysis” section of each published LOY segment.

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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton

    Joshua N. Tilton grew up in St. George, a small town on the coast of Maine. For his undergraduate degree he studied at Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where he earned a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies (2002). There he studied Biblical Hebrew and…
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