Burnett Streeter


See Kümmel 327. Please see the symbol key for an explanation of the diagrams in this post series.

In this post:

Werner Kümmmel
Werner Kümmel


  1. Thanks for this interesting series. I haven’t checked up to see what Kümmel says here, but I am not sure if this diagram quite gets B. H. Streeter right. The “M” arrow going to Luke is certainly wrong — he didn’t think that Luke knew M. His “Proto-Luke” (UrLk on your diagram) was actually made up of Q and L. A simplified Streeter diagram would be the classic “Four Source” Theory, Mk, Q, M, L with Mk, Q and M leading to Matthew, and Mk, Q and L leading to Luke.

    1. Thank you very much for your comment, sir. You are, of course, quite right about lines M → Lk and L → UrLk needing to be modified (!). This diagram’s “redactor” apparently failed to do quite as thorough a job on the first try as he wished to do :-|, but these changes have now been made.

      Despite this editorial faux pas, Kümmel summarizes Streeter’s hypothesis similarly:

      B. H. Streeter applied the thesis of the varying geographical origin of the branches of the text tradition also to the sources of the Synoptics and, on the basis of a careful study of the peculiarities of the material transmitted solely by Matthew or Luke, replaced the almost universally accepted two-source theory . . . with a four-document hypothesis which has been widely accepted in the English-speaking world. Streeter assumes that the Gospel of Luke arose from the fusion of the Gospel of Mark with a document he calls “Proto-Luke,” into which the “Sayings-Source” had already been worked, while Matthew enlarged Mark’s Gospel with material from the Sayings-Source and a further special tradition. What distinguishes this hypothesis is not the assumption of further sources of the Synoptic Gospels in addition to Mark and the Sayings-Source (such hypotheses have been advanced in the most varied forms both before and after Streeter’s time), but the ascription of the essential constituent parts of Luke’s Gospel to a narrative source independent of Mark and the consequent conclusion that “as historical authorities” Mark and Proto-Luke “should probably be regarded as on the whole of approximately equal value,” . . . Although Streeter expressly avoids any attempt at an exact determination of which words or narratives belong to the individual sources, it is nevertheless his opinion that “the final result of the critical analysis which has led to our formulating the Four Document Hypothesis is very materially to broaden the basis of evidence for the authentic teaching of Christ” (327).

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