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In this thorough, critical analysis of the Gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke, the author separates fact from fiction, and shows how contemporary background—Jewish, human, and religious—emerges as the essential recorded basis for knowledge of Jesus. The volume is, in reality, a compendium of criticism in the Synoptic field, and by proceeding straight through the Gospels as they run parallel, noting material that is by-passed and guiding the reader through the detours and digressions made by one or another of the Synoptic writers, it provides a complete analysis of the historical and literary data of the first three Gospels. The Synoptic tradition is broken down here into its primitive units of narration, discourse, dialogue, and editorial matter.
Walter Bundy concludes that the Synoptic writers are not in dependent authors, but transmitters of an older tradition which each writer treats with some measure of individuality and creativity. Thus Mark is primarily a dogmatist and dramatist; Matthew, a church man and catechist; Luke, an apologist and propagandist—each in his own way serving the Christian cause.