Saturday, February 06, 2010

NT Pod 23: What is the Synoptic Problem?

I have now reached the part of the New Testament Introduction class where we look at the Synoptic Problem, naturally one of the most enjoyable elements in any New Testament Introduction course. This term, I am following along my teaching with episodes of the NT Pod. The latest episode is NT Pod 23: What is the Synoptic Problem? I released it on Wednesday and it is the first of three back-to-back episodes on the Synoptic Problem. This one introduces the problem and surveys the data.

The next episode will deal with Marcan Priority and the one after that with the existence of Q. For those who are interested, I am also experimenting, for this topic, with extra, extended versions of the NT Pod which use the audio feed from my lectures on the topic. The first of these is already available, and I will cover it here in a separate post later. The second is ready and will go online this weekend, along with NT Pod 24.

If you'd like to subscribe to the NT Pod, it's available on Duke iTunes U or through your reader or at the NT Pod site.

5 comments:

James said...

Thank you, thank you. I learned a great deal from from both the shorter and the longer podcast.

Most remarkable, I came to see clearly that if one is merely presented with the data--with the three gospels set side by side--and then asked "how do the three relate to each other?" the problem is VERY HARD. Downright daunting, and you can see why any new theory is a commendable accomplishment.

I came to see also that if one goes at the data with a theory in mind, the problem seems to disappear. One sees the data in light of the theory, and everything looks not hard at all but quite EASY. Yes, this is just how and why the parallels and differences are what they are. (Well, there may be a few discrepancies--but they're minor, and one can clean them up afterwards.)

It's easy to read at the synoptics and see Mark-Matthew-Luke most of the time and Matthew and Luke copying from Q (most of) the rest of the time. Indeed, with this theory in mind it's hard not to find the theory explaining everything, confirmed by one passage after another, (again, except for some minor, negligible, discrepancies that can be got to later).

I've always been puzzled by the resistance of the NT profession to what's seemed to me the clearly set out exposure of the feebleness of the Q hypothesis by Sanders and Goodacre. and been inclined to seek some sort of malevolent or corrupt motive to account for the widespread blindness to the glaring truth. I see now there's nothing glaring about it at all, this is hard problem, and when one goes at it with an attractive solution in mind, one is easily confirmed in one's delusions.

I must admit to a hope that many of those in the grip of delusion will tune in to these lectures and podcasts, and that on a Damascus road the scales will fall from their eyes.

Or at the very least that they will take your point and present the problem, not merely a tendentious solution.

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks very much for your encouragement, James.

EK said...

Thank you for this and all your NT Podcasts. They are excellent. Thanks for allowing us to sit in your classroom.

Rich Griese said...

James said...
I've always been puzzled by the resistance of the NT profession to what's seemed to me the clearly set out exposure of the feebleness of the Q hypothesis by Sanders and Goodacre. and been inclined to seek some sort of malevolent or corrupt motive to account for the widespread blindness to the glaring truth. I see now there's nothing glaring about it at all, this is hard problem, and when one goes at it with an attractive solution in mind, one is easily confirmed in one's delusions.

///// James, I have noticed that the religious studies industry professionals tends to avoid a number of the really fundamental core issues, that might drastically affect faith. For example, surprisingly to me, to don't see many articles in the scholarly journals from what I understand on the historicity of Jesus, and other really fundamental questions like.

It has always seemed to me, you would have much more. Instead the professionals seem to write on almost minor subjects, like "professions in the early Christian period". I have come to the conclusion, that as an industry, it is very conservative, and is actually not intentionally, a hand maiden to the supernaturalistic community.

It seems to be better if you are a professional in the industry to not rock the boat too much. You can be a known as a "liberal" in the field, but to remain in the field you cannot move too far outside a somewhat conservative set of assumptions, and areas that you examine. If you stray too far in a "liberal" way, you may find your future job positions in universities are limited.

I have come to find this disappointing, and would much rather see more books and talk about the fundamental issues.

Now I am not saying that there are not radical books. But what I mean is... I would rather see the professional academics in the field authoring some of the more radical books. I can write a book; "Jesus was actually the first rock star", but that book will generally be ignored by the scholarly community, and if the public takes an interested in it, it can always be said, "well, the scholars don't give that idea any credence". If on the other hand, a working academic were to write that book, the industry would have to address the idea.

I would love to see more academics publish on more fundamental issues, instead of taking the "safe" path.

Cheers!
RichGriese.NET

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks, and for the interesting comments.