Undesigned coincidences inspired by the Holy Spirit
An undesigned coincidence occurs when one account of an event leaves out a bit of information that does not affect the overall picture, but a different account indirectly supplies the missing detail, usually answering some natural question raised by the first.
Blunt supplied this definition in his book, Undesigned Coincidence, and provided examples which he argued demonstrated the veracity of the various books of the Bible. According to Blunt, this verse in Luke 9:36 “And they kept silence and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen” prompts the question “Why did they keep silent?” Blunt further suggests that Mark in 9:9 answered the question “Jesus told them to tell no one.”
Do Blunt’s examples of undesigned coincidence provide a working list of one way indicators? It is certainly something worth investigating further.
I understand the purpose of Undesigned Coincidence to be establishing the veracity of the Bible; I do not understand it to providing one way indicators. Nonetheless, Blunt’s undesigned coincidences may be valuable leads for my one way indicator research.
The definition provided by Blunt seems to suggest that one writer intentionally sought to answer a question prompted by an earlier writer. Yet in reading Undesigned Coincidence, Blunt acknowledged that the second writer may not have known he was answering a question. Hence my title: Undesigned coincidences inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Certainly Josephus did not intend to answer questions suggested by Matthew in 2:22 or Luke in 3:14 or 3:2. But there is no question that Josephus is in fact responding to the effectiveness of the NT as a tool in the recruiting of new members of the Way from the ranks and files of Judaism. However the evidence of dependence suggested by Blunt needs to be supplemented by internal evidence from Josephus.
In four examples supplied by Blunt, Mark and Luke seem to be responding to Matthew yet in one example Matthew is responding to Mark and in two other examples Matthew and Luke seem to be responding to John. In three examples Luke (2) and Matthew (1) seem to be responding to John. These comments indicate that Blunt’s examples need to be supplemented by other evidence.
Blunt’s examples, although inconclusive as to one way indicators may be evidence that one or more gospels were rewritten or revised after initially circulating within the communities of the followers of Jesus. It is such possibilities that make the Synoptic Problem appear to be intractable.
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