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Consensus Within NT

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic On: Consensus Within NT From: Bruce Needless to say, no one position on all the NT writings will include everyone, but still, there is such a
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 14, 2005
      To: Synoptic
      On: Consensus Within NT
      From: Bruce

      Needless to say, no one position on all the NT writings will include
      everyone, but still, there is such a thing as a center of gravity of opinion
      within NT scholarship. It would be useful to know where this center was, so
      that in arguing against it at some point (say, the Q matter), one would not
      belabor points already accepted by the majority of critical scholars, and
      could concentrate on points of difference.

      I invite suggestions from the knowledgeable members of this list as to which
      of the many NT Introductions might best represent that center opinion, and
      in sufficient detail that one could, if desired, formulate a
      counter-argument. I don't mean a book acceptable to the majority of Synoptic
      list members, but one which they recognize as defining the NT consensus.

      As one possibility, I instance (for comment, or for a better suggestion) Udo
      Schnelle, The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings (1994, tr
      Fortress 1998).

      Schnelle adopts the Q/Mk hypothesis on the Synoptic Problem, giving short
      schrift to Goulder and not bothering to justify Q itself, which to him is
      secure and real. He regards the genuine Paulines (1 Thess, 1-2 Cor,
      Galatians, Romans, Philippians, Philemon) as the earliest NT writings. Next
      to those come Q, the Synoptics, and Acts. Schnelle accepts the Lukan
      authorship of Acts (Luke/Acts representing for him "the third Christian
      generation"). Then come the Deuteropaulines (Colossians, Ephesians, 2 Thess,
      the Pastorals). In sections unto themselves there follow (#6) Hebrews, (#7)
      the Catholic Letters, (#8) the Johannine writings, in the order 2 John, 3
      John, 1 John, GJohn; and finally (#9) Revelation.

      What I find especially useful about Schnelle is his standard order of
      material for each text discussed. Following a literature survey, we have
      these topics, and always in this sequence: authorship, date and place,
      audience, form, integrity of text, traditions and sources,
      "History-of-religions standpoint," and basic theological ideas. There is a
      concluding section on tendencies of recent research (recent, that is, as of
      1994). One can thus quickly find out his position on each of these issues
      with each text treated.

      I admire this convenience of layout, which is akin to the one I am using for
      a not dissimilar survey of all the classical Chinese texts (a corpus about
      three times as big as the NT). But the present query is the extent to which
      Schnelle represents majority NT opinion. Views of list members will be most
      welcome, and most helpful. Thanks in advance,

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
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