Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistics



First Advisor



In interdisciplinary studies, the question arises of how best to mesh interrelated disciplines. Here, linguistics (in the complementary disciplines of discourse analysis and perspective) is inter-phased with New Testament scholarship at the literary juncture of the synoptic problem--a problem which is not a theological construct, but which is an anomaly inherent in the very gospel texts. Chapter 1 provides an overview and a short history of the synoptic problem, which is one of the most difficult problems in the history of ideas. The three synoptic texts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) differ from and yet complement one another. What is the nature of the literary relationship which appears to exist among them? For over two centuries higher critical scholars have searched for an acceptable solution. Currently, the dominant Marcan hypothesis is being reassessed by the proponents of Matthean priority. This study proposes a methodology which attempts to satisfactorily account for the obvious textual similarities as well as for the differences which occur between the texts of a single set of synoptic pericopae. The pericopae selected for analysis (Matthew 19:16-22 par. Mark 10:17-22 par. Luke 18:18-23) tell the story of the rich (young) ruler--a story used by Marcan priority proponents to support the validity of their hypothesis. Two theoretical approaches are employed in Chapter 2: Longacrean and van Dijkian. These discourse analyses appear to show essential differences in deep structure between the accounts. Chapter 3 outlines two alternative perspectives through which these accounts are interpreted. These perspective analyses appear to confirm the existence of the deep structure differences outline in Chapter 2 and, in addition, suggest that Matthew is probably best understood as a rabbinic haggadah on Leviticus 19, while Mark-Luke is probably best understood as a call to Christian discipleship. In Chapter 4, the two most probable literary progressions: Matthew altering Mark and Mark altering Matthew, are analyzed. Assuming that the editing was purposive, not random, it is proposed that the motivations for the observed additions, deletions, and emendations arise from a theological confrontation between these two opposing perspectives. That the Matthean account was written first is argued on the basis of these combined analyses; that the literary relationship of these pericopae is one of direct dependence is argued from the consistency of the pattern of the changes.


Language, Literature and linguistics


Linguistics | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington

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