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Fw: [Synoptic-L] Are we serious?

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  • Kym Smith
    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. ... From: E Bruce Brooks
    Message 1 of 1 , May 18, 2007
      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
      > frank
      > 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
      > particular
      > 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
      > is
      > that there are two reasons. First, the problem as it is usually stated
      > does
      > 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
      > own
      > research at present is directed to clarifying the nature of the texts
      > (some
      > of them are stratified, which changes the rules of the game as it is
      > usually
      > 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
      > would
      > 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
      > in
      > a professional way is likely to also have a very high personal stake in
      > the
      > doctrinal implications of any Synoptic solution. The Synoptic Problem as
      > usually stated, even if (as I think) it is not *precisely* solvable in
      > that
      > form, is *sufficiently* solvable that a majority opinion does begin to
      > emerge, and the doctrinal implications of that majority opinion do begin
      > to
      > 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
      > it
      > is to produce a split. It looks to me like as though we are in the middle
      > of
      > just such a stalemate.
      > In that situation, a tacit agreement to leave the thing alone, and go on
      > to
      > 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
      > point.
      > I would here be inclined to agree with what I take to be the implication
      > of
      > 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?
      > Bruce
      > E Bruce Brooks
      > Warring States Project
      > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      > http://www.umass.edu/wsp
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