THL208 The Synoptic Gospels (8)

This subject investigates the Gospels according to Matthew, Mark and Luke as literary expressions of the development of early Christianity from its roots in Judaism. It explores these three Gospels in their historical, literary, socio-cultural and religious contexts. It assesses these Gospels as sources for understanding Jesus and also probes the puzzle of their interrelations. On a rotating basis, one of these Gospels provides the focus for detailed study of literary, historical and theological issues germane to its interpretation.

Subject Outlines
Current CSU students can view Subject Outlines for recent sessions. Please note that Subject Outlines and assessment tasks are updated each session.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
United Theological College
Online *
Canberra Campus
Term 1 (75)
On Campus
Ming Hua Theological College

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL208. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Assumed Knowledge


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to appraise critically the Synoptic Gospels in relation to similar contemporary writings
  • be able to demonstrate an understanding of the historical, socio-cultural and religious matrices of the Synoptic Gospels
  • be able to discuss critically the formation of the Synoptic Gospels
  • be able to discuss critically scholarly methods of gospel analysis such as form, source, redaction and narrative criticism
  • be able to articulate an understanding of scholarly assessments of the relations between the Synoptic Gospels
  • be able to articulate in a critically informed way key historical, literary and theological issues pertaining to the interpretation of one of the Synoptic Gospels
  • be able to demonstrate critical engagement with both the Gospels and secondary literature
  • be able to demonstrate developing competence in exegesis and interpretation of biblical texts
  • demonstrate self-guided learning, including research, writing and communication skills


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • introduction to the Synoptic Gospels
  • Gospel genre and other gospels
  • the Synoptic Gospels in their historical, socio-cultural and religious contexts
  • the relationship between the historical Jesus and Synoptic portraits of Jesus
  • the Synoptic problem: the relations between the Synoptic Gospels
  • distinctive features of the Synoptic Gospels
  • authorship, date, provenance and patristic traditions regarding one Synoptic Gospel
  • literary structure, key themes and interpretive challenges of one Synoptic Gospel
  • close reading of a key text(s) from one Synoptic Gospel
  • Jesus according to Matthew, Mark or Luke
  • the study of one Synoptic Gospel as a response to its social, cultural and religious milieu

Residential School

This subject contains a 2 day Optional Residential School.

The residential school for this required subject provides an orientation to gospel studies and instruction in exegetical and interpretive method in relation to the synoptic gospels. Students who attend the residential school will also be introduced to library resources and research tools pertinent to the study of the gospels and New Testament study generally.

Activities include lectures, practical guidance to exegesis and library orientation.


Current Students

For any enquiries about subject selection or course structure please contact Student Central or or phone on 1800 275 278.

Prospective Students

For further information about Charles Sturt University, or this course offering, please contact info.csu on 1800 275 278 (free call within Australia) or enquire online.

The information contained in the 2018 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: August 2018. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.