Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary


Religion, New Testament PhD

First Advisor

Robert M. Johnston

Second Advisor

W. Larry Richards

Third Advisor

Abraham Terian


Problem . In Gospel studies the term "pericope" has been generally defined as a "unit," but there is no uniformity in the application of the term in either studies of the Gospels, or in harmonies, synopses, and gospel parallels ("comparators"). This present study was undertaken to determine what factors influence editors of comparators in determining the beginnings and ends of pericopes.

Method . A list was compiled of the major comparators of the twentieth century. The text references (e.g., Matt 1:1-17, 1:18-25, etc.) for the pericopes which contained passages from Matthew were entered into a computer for each comparator. The references were collated, sorted in canonical order, and a cross tabulation was generated to indicate which pericopes were found in each comparator. Each pericope was then analyzed to determine the reasons for its beginning and end as possible judgements of the editors of the comparators. The reasons were taken from narrative indicators within the text of Matthew, from evidence taken from the structure of the comparators containing each pericope, and from evidence that might be found in data external to the composition of the comparator (possible audience, ecclesiastical orientation, et al.).

Results . The beginnings and ends of pericopes most often occurred because of changes in narrative elements or other indicators within thetext. A number of the Matthaean pericopes in the comparators were determined by the editor's understanding of the relationship of the gospel material (Synoptic Problem, parallels, etc.). Relatively few beginnings and endings were determined by influences exterior to the harmony, synopsis, or gospel parallel. A structured list of the types of beginnings and endings to pericopes was then developed.

Conclusions . There is no uniformity in Matthew in the determination of a pericope in gospel comparators. A pericope is what the author or editor determines it to be. This lack of standardization also applies to commentaries and studies on the Gospels.

Subject Area

Bible. Matthew--Criticism, interpretation, etc, Bible. Matthew--Word studies


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