NEW: The Two Notebook Hypothesis

Brian E. Wilson (
Thu, 8 Aug 1996 18:17:14 +0100



Please visit the web-site, , to find out
about the new "Two Notebook Hypothesis".

To entice you, here's a mini-FAQ...

What is the Two Notebook Hypothesis (2NH)?
The Two Notebook Hypothesis is a new possible solution to the Synoptic
Problem and is defined by the following statements...
- Notebook 1 was a set of disjointed notes in Greek compiled to
teach Jesus tradition to Christians.
- Notebook 2 was also disjointed notes and was produced by revising
Notebook 1. Much of the wording and order of the material copied
from Notebook 1 was retained, but changes to its wording and
order were made in some places.
- Each synoptist independently selected and edited material from
copies of the two Notebooks, and aimed to produce his book of
Jesus tradition to be read as a continuous story.
It's hard to show the corresponding diagram in this posting, but easy
to construct it as follows. At the top, N1 has four arrows coming out
of it to N2, Mt, Mk and Lk. Notebook 2 has three arrows leaving it
for Mt, Mk and LK. Thus, Mt, Mk and Lk don't connect to each other,
but each have two arrows arriving; one from each Notebook.

What does the 2NH achieve?
The 2NH fits all the well-known synoptic patterns very well, and in
this it is unique. It offers a new understanding of how and why the
Gospels were written.

Why haven't I heard about the 2NH before?
It's new.

Has the 2NH been published?
Yes. It was recently presented at the 1996 SBL International Meeting
in Dublin. Also, a paper on the subject is soon to appear in the
Expository Times.

Does this mean the other hypotheses are wrong?
No. Remarkably, if the 2NH is accepted, it turns out that the most
popular alternative theories are all reconciled. Much has been written
which assumes one or other previous hypothesis was the whole truth,
but acceptance of the 2NH does not require all this thinking to be
thrown away.

Isn't the 2NH too complicated to be realistic?
No. It is the simplest hypothesis which explains all seven well-known
synoptic patterns. Also, it fits in very well with some pieces of
external evidence.

Where can I find out more about the 2NH?
The best way is to use the World-Wide-Web and visit the "2NH Homepage"
at Otherwise, please e-mail me at and I will try to help.

I am keen to receive any feedback about the 2NH - the more critical the
better. Thank you for your interest.

Brian E. Wilson.

Brian E. Wilson
10 York Close, Godmanchester, Huntingdon, CAMBS, PE18 8EB, UK
Tel: +44 1480 385043