Here we go again.
Robert Kugler and Patrick Hartin, An Introduction to the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009) is the latest in a long line of Bible Introductions to ignore the Farrer Theory, to talk as if the Two-Source Theory is gospel, to suggest that Marcan Priority is the same thing as the Two-Source Theory and to mention only Griesbach offered as an alternative (with a brief mention also of Augustine).
Kugler and Hartin's discussion of the Synoptic Problem is found on pp. 351-5 of their introduction. They have a brief discussion of some data (352) and then they proceed to "Solutions Proposed". Three are offered, first, "St. Augustine's Solution", then "The Griesbach Hypothesis", which is "still supported by a small number of scholars today" and then "The Two-Document Hypothesis", which is given as "the most widely accepted view" and which "helps to explain most of the difficulties in the relationship among the Gospels" (352).
The authors then provide a series of "five stages": (1) oral traditions, (2) written compilations (including Q), (3) Mark, (4) Matthew, (5) Luke-Acts. They conclude with a section headed "The Two-Document Hypothesis Illustrated".
No arguments for the existence of Q are offered but several reasons are given for Marcan Priority (353-4), with the implication that this entails acceptance of Q. Surprisingly, the passages offered as illustrations of the Two-Document Hypothesis include some famous examples of difficulties for the Two-Source Hypothesis, including Matthew's and Luke's major agreements against Mark 1.2-13, with special attention given to the Mal. 3.1 quotation in Mark 1.2.
One of the difficulties they face in using the Mark 1 material to illustrate the Two-Source Theory is self-contradiction. Thus they begin with the statement, "A passage occurring in all three Synoptic Gospels is referred to as the triple tradition" (354). They continue with the Mark 1 / Matthew 3-4 / Luke 3-4 material, noting parallels between Matthew and Luke that are not in Mark and adding, "This is known as the double tradition".
Oversimplification leads to difficulties at other points, for example:
The Q document contains practically no narrative. Instead it presents a series of Jesus' sayings (very similar to the Gospel of Thomas which was discovered in 1945). These sayings are recorded chiefly in the sermons in Matthew and the journey of Jesus to Jerusalem in Luke (353).Familiarity with the reconstructed text of Q actually shows that it contains a good amount of narrative and that the contrast with the Gospel of Thomas is striking. It is true that a lot of the double tradition is found in Matthew's sermons, but an awful lot of it occurs outside of them (Matt. 3-4, 8, 11, 23, etc.). Quite a lot occurs outside of Luke's journey section too (Luke 3-4, 6-7).
I do understand, of course, the constraints of the New Testament introduction, but I can't help feeling a disappointment not only that the Farrer Theory is once again ignored but also that data is is not described with the kind of precision that would help students to begin to see the Synoptic Problem accurately. The authors do not provide additional reading or links to works that would help them to fill out their knowledge in this area and to assess competing claims.
Sometimes I think that I am a bit too noisy on this subject, writing books, articles, websites, podcasting, blogging. "There's Goodacre going on about Q again!" But clearly, as far as these authors are concerned, I am as quiet as a mouse. In a funny sort of way, it's quite reassuring -- I'm clearly not as irritating as I sometimes worry I might be!