Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Religious Studies


S. R. Westerholm


The two-document hypothesis (involving the claim that Mark is a source for Matthew and Luke) has long been regarded by the majority of New Testament scholars as firmly established. Recently its status has been challenged by proponents of the Griesbach hypothesis (by which Matthew is a source for Luke and Mark). Since much gospel research depends on the validity of the two-document hypothesis, resolution is urgently needed.

In 1863 Heinrich Julius Holtzmann argued that an examination of the Old Testament quotations in these three gospels would favour the two-document position. His argument depends on the existence of two groups of quotations in Matthew: those of Septuagintal text-type which Matthew copied from Mark, and those similar to the Hebrew, which Matthew preferred when on his own. My research indicates that these two groups cannot be clearly demarcated. Some quotations peculiar to Matthew are Septuagintal, and on only four occasions do Matthew and Mark both quote the Septuagint verbatim.

Because grouping quotations by text-type proved inconclusive, a second method was used. A detailed comparison was made of the text of quotations which occur in more than one gospel. Then each of the two major positions in turn was assumed, to determine which would best explain the texts of the gospels for each quotation. The two-document position had a decided edge (in those cases where a decision was possible).

In addition to helping to confirm the two-document hypothesis, this research resulted in two significant observations. First, Matthew follows his sources with great care. Second, even when quoting the Old Testament on his own, Matthew seems to rely for the most part on some form of the Septuagint. In combination, these two observations suggest that Matthew may have used a form of the Septuagint which in places was assimilated toward the Hebrew.

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