I think that there are two different kinds of theological commitment that
play different roles in discussion on such topics as the Synoptic Problem.
The first is the theological commitment of the scholar. It is true that
we are all human and at times biased by our theological (or nontheological)
commitments, but a proper application of the historico-critical methodo-
logies can be help greatly in diminishing their impact. This seems to have
been particularly effective in the twentieth century. Another point is
that in my experience the personal beliefs of so many scholars are so
varied that it is hard to see theological commitment now as the main or
even a major reason for the continuing dominance of the Two Source Theory.
I know of conservative evangelicals, religious liberals, and atheists who
support the existence of Q, and I know of the same types who deny Q.
Clearly, theological commitment does not really explain why people believe
the source theories they do.
The second kind is the (alleged) theological commitment of the evangelist.
It does not illegitimate to me to argue what a typical, first-century
Christian would have done (e.g. tend to be more reverential of the
apostles rather less reverential) based on his or her probable theological
commitment. I submit that most arguments nowadays in Synoptic source
criticism involving theological commitment are really of this latter variety
and are not, per se, fallacious. The only difficulty in this line of
reasoning is that we are tending now to recognize the diversity of early
Christianity, even to the point that we understand that there was no such
person as the typical, first-century Christian.
Stephen C. Carlson : Poetry speaks of aspirations,
: and songs chant the words.
: -- Shujing 2.35