Archive for the 'synoptic problem' Category
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 4th May 2011
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The status of the canon has undergone a drastic shift in modernity. The precise boundaries of the canon, and the relation of canonical writings to nonbiblical tradition, remained matters of confessional dispute after the Reformation. Yet, precritical Christian theology was largely agreed that Christian faith and practice are governed by a set of inspired texts whose antiquity, orthodoxy, and wide usage entitle them to be recognized as prophetic and apostolic Scripture. With the rise of the critical history of Christianity in the eighteenth century, a different account of the status of the canon and the lengthy processes of canonization came to prominence.
On this critical account, canonization is not so much an aspect of the providential ordering of the history of the church, but a set of contingent human undertakings. The effect of this is the “naturalization” of the canon, so that it comes to be regarded as an arbitrary or accidental feature of the Christian religion, to be explained, not transcendentally, but simply in terms of the immanent processes of religious history. This means that the texts of the canon cease to be viewed as categorically different from other noncanonical texts. It means, further, that canonicity is to be defined as the result of an act of choice and authorization on the church’s part, apart from any supposed divine warrants for such an act.
Moreover, the processes of canonization are not viewed as the church’s gradual perception of the inherent status of the biblical texts, but as a product of, and medium for, social and political relations, to be analyzed in terms of the functioning of ideology as a means of social control. Canon, like “orthodoxy,” is a product, not recognition. Both in giving an account of the history of early Christianity, and in giving a theological account of the Bible, therefore, canon has been subsumed into the history of religion, and so it has become a concept both more arbitrary and less innocent.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier and N. T. Wright, Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, 98-99 (London; Grand Rapids, MI.: SPCK; Baker Academic, 2005).
While I’m not convinced that we should through out all critical scholarship, it is certainly instructive to see that there is a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) anti-supernatural element in it. Precritical scholarship accepted that canon as the result of providence. Critical scholarship has led many to view the canon as the result of human decisions. One views God as involved in it, the other views Him as not so involved.
What is the issue in it all? Presuppositions. One has a presupposition regarding the providential involvement of God in the church. The other has a presupposition that there is a more human element to the Scriptures and the canon. This is the same issue that we see in the inerrancy debate.
The question is not, “how shall we prove our point” The question is, “What shall we believe about God? Is He involved in this world? Is He even there? Are we to hold to a Deistic view of God and Scripture, or are we to hold to a providential view?”
Are there other options?
What are your thoughts?
Tags: Bible, Canon, christian theology, Christianity, Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, God, Religion and Spirituality
Posted in Bible, biblical criticism, Fundamentals, gospels, higher criticism, history, Inerrancy, Jesus, liberalism, misc, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Scripture, synoptic problem, textual issues, theology | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 1st April 2011
I wrote my book Why Four Gospels? not so much to argue for Matthean priority as to affirm the complete historicity and apostolicity of the Gospels. Early in my Christian experience I discovered that the Gospels were — and needed to be — central in my understanding not only of the Good News about Jesus Christ but of life itself. Only the cross of Jesus can supply meaning to life, and that is because the cross and the resurrection are an interwoven reality.
via Embellishing Stories » Why Four Gospels?.
Tags: apologetics, gospels, history, resurrection
Posted in apologetics, synoptic problem | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 6th December 2010
I was gratified to read the following.
“Matthew collected the sayings [ta logia] in the Hebrew language [i.e., perhaps Aramaic] and each one interpreted [or translated] them as he was able.” However, since Papias also uses ta logia to include Mark’s narratives, as well as sayings of Jesus, most scholars now conclude that Papias was referring to canonical Matthew and not Q. If so, Papias’s phrase “in the Hebrew language” may either be a reference to the Jewish features of Matthew’s Gospel or a mistake.
Joel B. Green, Scot McKnight and I. Howard Marshall, Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, 646 (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1992).
It’s refreshing to run across the occasional reference to Papias that doesn’t try to use him as proof of the “Q theory”.
Eusebius (the fourth-century church historian) quotes Papias (bishop of Hierapolis, ca. A.D. 130–35): “So then Matthew recorded the oracles in the Hebrew speech, and each interpreted them to the best of his ability.” Some have argued that the term the oracles (ta logia) denotes strictly the sayings of Jesus, and thus material incorporated into Matthew rather than the Gospel of Matthew itself. But a better expression for “words” or “sayings” would be hoi logoi. It is preferable to take ta logia as a reference to the entire Gospel. If the first part of the statement (“the Hebrew speech” [Hebraidi dialektō]) means that Matthew wrote the Gospel, how is this expression to be interpreted? It is usually taken to mean the Hebrew language. In this case either Matthew wrote a Hebrew or Aramaic Gospel which others then translated (hērmēneusen, rendered “interpreted”) into Greek and other languages, or Papias is mistaken at this point (since our present Gospel of Matthew lacks the marks of translation into Greek). But it is more likely that Papias means the Hebrew style. The Greek dialektos may denote not only “language” but also “discourse, conversation; discussion, debate, argument.” In this case Papias uses dialektos as a literary rather than a linguistic term. As a description of Matthew, dialektos “means a Hebrew way of presenting Jesus’ messiahship.”
Walter A. Elwell, vol. 3, Evangelical Commentary on the Bible, Baker reference library (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1996).
Tags: Bible, Biblical studies, gospels, Mark, Matthew, New Testament, q, quelle, synoptic gospels, synoptic problem, synoptics
Posted in Bible, gospels, New Testament, synoptic problem, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 23rd November 2010
Having learned to appreciate the writings of David Alan Black I was excited about reading Why Four Gospels. I was not disappointed.
Why Four Gospels is a short book with a big punch. Black states that he has learned that less is more. Well, this book certainly demonstrates the point.
Without belaboring the issues at hand, Black gives us the historical origins of the Gospels. While doing so, however, he takes it in hand to show us the truth about the synoptic “problem”. How? By dealing with it historically.
Black contends, and rightly so, that for too long the early church fathers have been neglected in the study of the origins of the gospels. As one who has waded into that study in the past few months, I must agree with him. It is much wiser to take the word of those who were very near the source above the words of those who “create” a history of the gospels.
Without spoiling the book for the potential reader, I shall only say that Black gives historical proof of Matthean priority and gives a very plausible explanation of the order of Luke and Mark.
I highly recommend this book as both a scholarly and concise approach to gospel origins and the synoptic “problem”.
About the author:
Known for his love for New Testament Greek and passion for teaching, Dave Black is a husband, father, professor, author, preacher, lecturer, web journalist, and (above all) a sinner saved by God’s sovereign grace.
Dave is currently Professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina. He has also taught courses at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Lancaster Bible College, Fuller Theological Seminary, Talbot School of Theology, Simon Greenleaf University, Criswell College, Freie Hochschule für Mission (Germany), Tyndale Theological Seminary (Holland), Bibelschule Walzenhausen (Switzerland), IEM Bible College (India), Chong Shin Theological Seminary (Korea), Faith Theological Seminary (Korea), Cosin Theological Seminary (Korea), Evangelical Theological College (Ethiopia), Meserete Kristos College (Ethiopia), and at other institutions. In addition, he has lectured at the Complutensian University in Spain, the Areopagus in Timisoara, Romania, and the Universities of Oxford and Leeds in England.
(From the author’s website.)
This review copy freely provided by Energion with no expectations of a positive review.
Tags: book review, Christianity, David Alan Black, early church fathers, Energion, gospel, gospel of Luke, Gospel of Mark, historical study of the gospels, Jesus, markan priority, matthean priority, New Testament, Peter and Mark's gospel, Synoptic Gospel, synoptic problem
Posted in book reviews, gospels, New Testament, synoptic problem, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 31st July 2010
Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome, and laying the foundations of the Church. After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.
Irenaeus, A.H. 3.1.1
1. Matthew: Matthew also issued a written Gospel among the Hebrews in their own dialect, while Peter and Paul were preaching at Rome…
2. Mark: After their departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, did also hand down to us in writing what had been preached by Peter. (Note that it is while Peter and Paul were in Rome that Matthew wrote, while it is after they departed that Mark wrote.)
3. Luke: Luke also, the companion of Paul, recorded in a book the Gospel preached by him. (This is somewhat ambiguous, because he doesn’t give us a time frame. Luke is probably viewed as third in order due to his being listed in that manner.)
4. John: Afterwards, John, the disciple of the Lord, who also had leaned upon His breast, did himself publish a Gospel during his residence at Ephesus in Asia.
Tags: Irenaeus, John, Luke, Mark, markan priority, matthean priority, Matthew, New Testament, New Testament studies, q, quelle, synoptic problem
Posted in Bible, exegesis, gospels, New Testament, synoptic problem, textual issues | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 27th July 2010
H.C. Thiessen, in his NT Intro introduces an interesting point.
If Luke, when writing for Gentiles, used Mark as a source, why did he not use Mark 6:45-8:9 ? This includes the encounter of Jesus with a Gentile woman when He cast a devil out of her daughter. It also includes Jesus’ healing of a man who was a deaf-mute. These things occurred in Tyre and Sidon. These were Gentiles.
Why, if Luke relied so heavily upon Mark, would he leave something so significant out?
Tags: Luke, Mark, New Testament studies, synoptics
Posted in Bible, gospels, New Testament, synoptic problem, textual issues, theology | 5 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 24th July 2010
This is a series to follow.
Over on Re:Fundamentals, Erik is working through a response to the Jesus Seminar.
Tags: historical Jesus, Jesus, Jesus Seminar, New Testament, New Testament studies
Posted in Bible, doctrinal issues, doctrine, exegesis, gospels, liberalism, New Testament, synoptic problem, textual issues, theology, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 7th July 2010
Many take the approach to the “Synoptic Problem” that Mark must have written first and then Matthew and Luke “borrowed” from his Gospel.
The reasoning is that Mark is “reproduced” in Matthew and Luke to such an extent that, if Mark were later, there would have been no reason for him to write a Gospel. After all, what he had to say would have already been written.
According to this reasoning we must ask the following:
1. Why do magazines edit stories to fit their periodicals? After all, it has already been written and is available elsewhere.
2. Why do Reader’s Digest Condensed Books exist? After all, why reproduce what has already been written? It is available elsewhere.
How about this? Matthew had already been written, but was not available in Rome. Thus Mark wrote for the people in Rome.
Tags: gospels, Luke, Mark, Matthew, New Testament, New Testament studies, synoptic gospels, synoptic problem
Posted in Bible, gospels, New Testament, synoptic problem, Uncategorized | 2 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 5th July 2010
If…anyone should feel shocked at the literary ethic – or lack of it – which allowed Matthew and Luke to “crib” from Mark, let him remember that the law of copyright, a consequence of the invention of printing, did not then exist. In antiquity, when books were copied by hand, commercial copyright had no value; and ancient historians felt themselves free to use portions of their predecessors’ work, without the courtesy of quotation marks.
Archibald M. Hunter, Introducing The New Testament (Third Revised Edition) ; Westminster Press
Where does one begin with an assessment of such a statement as this? Can you see a problem here? I hope you can. Ethics did not begin with Gutenberg. Ethics are grounded in the Godhead. Do you recall the LORD saying “Be ye holy, for I am holy”? (1Peter 1:16) I also count it doubtful that most writers would have been pleased to see their works used without some sort of attribution. I do know that the Early Church Fathers who wrote in the generation following the apostles quite often gave the sources of their quotations. I have a feeling that there was a greater ethic present than some would have us believe.
Furthermore, we should certainly expect Christians to adhere to an ethic higher than that of the world around them. Jesus not only established the commandments and law of God, but He introduced an ethic that was far greater than that of the Old Testament. It is not that His morals are higher, or His ethics stronger. It is that Jesus demonstrated that the ethic of holiness is first an ethic of the heart. Yet, when we consider Matthew and Luke “cribbing” from Mark, we cannot but see that they would not only have been thieves in action, but thieves at heart. What does that do to our understanding of Divine Inspiration (2Timothy 3:16-17)? Would God have led them to steal the words of another?
I’m sure much could be said concerning oral tradition and an oral culture. The true question is, what about the ethics of the matter?
If Matthew and Luke were common plagiarists we can be sure that their writings are not the work and Word of God.
Tags: John, Luke, Mark, Matthew, New Testament, New Testament studies, q, synoptic gospels, synoptic problem
Posted in Bible, gospels, liberalism, New Testament, synoptic problem | Comments Off