Friday, January 08, 2010

John Poirier on New Testament Introduction and the Synoptic Problem

Over on Verily Verily, Rafael discusses Poirier on NT Introductions and the Synoptic Problem, following on from a fine article in the new JSNT, John Poirier, "The Synoptic Problem and the Field of New Testament Introduction", JSNT 32/2, 179–190. The abstract is as follows:
The synoptic problem is an important and visible subfield within NT studies, yet, for some reason, almost every NT introduction written in the past forty or so years has passed on a defective understanding of that subfield. Two problems in particular plague these NT introductions: (1) their discussions of the synoptic problem tend to rely on a logical argument disproven almost sixty years ago, and (2) they tend to misrepresent the current state of the question by marginalizing the Farrer hypothesis, which today is the Two-Source Theory’s leading competitor.
It's an excellent article, based on a paper Poirier gave in the Synoptics section at the SBL Annual Meeting in 2008. As Rafael points out, the article's claims are further born out by the recent publication of Mark Allan Powell, Introducing the New Testament, which I recently discussed in a post on Mark Allan Powell on the Synoptic Problem.


Jason A. Staples said...

This touches on something I've been thinking about a bit of late: what I'll call the "fundamentalism" of our introductory level textbooks and instruction. That is, even when most of the field has moved on from a particular perspective or approach that was dominant fifty to a hundred years ago, it is still retained and focused upon in introductory textbooks.

There seems to be a reluctance at the introductory level to drop or deemphasize what has largely been dropped or deemphasized at the highest levels of scholarship. Often it seems to be a retention of the old giants simply because they were so foundational and influential in their own day—a tendency quite akin to fundamentalism.

Mark Goodacre said...

Interesting comment, Jason. I'd be interested to hear you develop these thoughts in due course.