Here is another post which came to me but which was obviously meant for the
list. I will respond to it as I am able.
----- Original Message -----
From: "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...>
To: "Kym Smith" <khs@...>
Sent: Friday, May 18, 2007 11:30 PM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Are we serious?
> To: Synoptic-L
> On: Are We Serious?
> From: Bruce
> The silence on this list is definitely its most noticeable trait. My own
> silence in response to Kym Smith's proposal of some months ago, to be
> rather than silent for a moment, was due to the fact that I found that
> proposal rhetorically overelaborate and aetiologically unconvincing, and I
> did not see Synoptic understanding as likely to be increased by discussing
> it. How other people felt, I do not know, since they have not said.
> There may also be a larger issue than the attractiveness of that
> theory. My sense of the NT field at large is that it no longer regards the
> Synoptic Problem as very important; some major figures in the field have
> told me so directly. The failure of the former SBL Synoptic study group,
> some time back, to reach any conclusion after years of highly visible
> discussions, may have suggested to SBL and to the rest of the field that
> nothing further was to be gained by pushing pennies into that particular
> gumball machine.
> So then we come to the reason for the lack of agreement. My own suspicion
> that there are two reasons. First, the problem as it is usually stated
> not reflect the nature of the texts involved. Thus the problem cannot be
> solved as stated, and work on it tends to reach a technical impasse. My
> research at present is directed to clarifying the nature of the texts
> of them are stratified, which changes the rules of the game as it is
> played), and to working toward an eventual solution of something that
> perhaps cannot any longer be called the Synoptic Problem. I have recently
> been in the habit of thinking of it as the Gospel Problem. (And yes, I
> agree that John has to be dealt in, not to mention Acts and a good deal
> more, including some noncanonical materials).
> I think that the other reason is the basic faith/reason dichotomy in the
> field. Nearly everyone who has acquired the tools to study these matters
> a professional way is likely to also have a very high personal stake in
> doctrinal implications of any Synoptic solution. The Synoptic Problem as
> usually stated, even if (as I think) it is not *precisely* solvable in
> form, is *sufficiently* solvable that a majority opinion does begin to
> emerge, and the doctrinal implications of that majority opinion do begin
> be apparent. The trend of those implications seems to be distinctly
> unfavorable to certain clauses of the Nicene Creed. This is the sort of
> situation that is almost guaranteed to produce a stalemate, unless indeed
> is to produce a split. It looks to me like as though we are in the middle
> just such a stalemate.
> In that situation, a tacit agreement to leave the thing alone, and go on
> other things, is a not unnatural response. I conclude that the field is
> behaving in a very natural way.
> Jim West thinks that "the journey rather than the destination" is the
> I would here be inclined to agree with what I take to be the implication
> Kym Smith's question. I don't see any journey as in progress along that
> particular road, either on this list or in Biblical circles generally. The
> bridge is down, and the detour sign is in place.
> Thomas, anyone?
> E Bruce Brooks
> Warring States Project
> University of Massachusetts at Amherst