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Re: sad news

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    I wrote the following intellectual obituary of Boismard for my blog: Mark Goodacre at the NT Gateway Weblog mentioned the passing of Marie-Emile Boismard. This
    Message 1 of 3 , May 4, 2004
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      I wrote the following intellectual obituary of Boismard for my blog:

      Mark Goodacre at the NT Gateway Weblog mentioned the passing of Marie-Emile
      Boismard. This giant of synoptic source criticism will be sorely missed.

      Boismard was a provocative critic who has delved into the synoptic problem
      and the question of Acts, with an intense text-critical interest that is
      often lacking in many 20th century source critics. For some reason, textual
      critics are more willing to postulate a lost ancestor than source critics (I
      have my ideas why), and Boismard was no exception. His text-critical approach
      has led him to postulate a whole series of hypothetical ancestral documents,
      variously identified as pre-Luke and proto-Luke, pre-Mark, etc., for
      explaining the richness of the synoptic data. Needless to say, with the
      exception of some of his immediate colleagues, his specific ideas have not
      been generally adopted. Although I too cannot accept everything he has
      postulated, I do feel that there may indeed lie a few unnoticed pearls of
      wisdom in his scholarship, particularly regarding the relationship between
      Matthew and Mark (which I fear might not be so straightforward as to be one
      of direct dependence), and for that reason it would be beneficial to
      continue studying what Boismard has published.

      Although Boismard wrote mainly in French (the one saving grace of my high
      school age decision to study French instead of German!), some of his work
      has been translated into English. The most notable of these includes: "The
      Two-Source Theory as an Impasse," NTS 26 (1979): 1-17. The basic statement
      of his position can be found in his statement of the case at the 1984
      Jerusalem Symposium: "Théorie des niveaux multiples" [Multiple-Stage Theory]
      in Dungan, ed., The Interrelations of the Gospels (BETL 90; Leuven, 1990),
      231-243

      Unfortunately, due to the complexity of his theories, German and
      English-language scholarship never really knew quite what to make of
      Boismard's ideas or how to respond to them, and he has been too commonly
      dismissed for being "too complicated" than truly engaged. A notable
      exception to this is John S. Kloppenborg-Verbin, Excavating Q: The History
      and Setting of the Sayings Gospel (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2000), 43-50,
      which contains one of the most extensive and perceptive engagements with
      Boismard in English-language scholarship. (It is precisely because
      Kloppenborg had devoted so much space to Boismard instead of to Goulder that
      I feel that Christopher Tuckett's defence of Q remains the strongest to
      date, but perhaps Kloppenborg and Tuckett should be viewed as complementary,
      not as substitutes, since Tuckett defends Q against simpler solutions and
      Kloppenborg against more complicated ones.)

      I'm sure that Boismard has touched more people lives than those of source
      critics, but I do know that his contributions to synoptic source criticism
      have left it for the better. Who will carry Boismard's torch will remain to
      be seen, but I hope that the long line of French Roman Catholic source
      critics of unquestionable intelligence and brilliance (Vaganay, Benoit,
      etc.) will not come to an end with the passing of Boismard.

      Stephen Carlson
      --
      Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
      Weblog: http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/hypotyposeis/blogger.html
      "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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