[Synoptic-L] Gospel Interpretation
- The composition of the synoptic gospels fascinate me
so I follow the synoptic-l discussions with great
pleasure. While I am still working out my own source
hypothesis (apparently not too dissimilar to the one
proposed in 1980 by Gordon D. Fee, "A Text-Critical
Look at the Synoptic Problem," NT vol. XXII (1980),
12-28), and I do have some details to discuss but I am
also very interested in the broader questions:
Can anyone help refer me to any material dealing with
how different source hypotheses will affect the actual
interpretation of the gospels? If one were to put
together a teaching course on the synoptic problem,
for instance, such a course would hopefully deal with
how different suppositions of each source hypothesis
changes the overall interpretation of each synoptic
gospel. Or is this also a matter of dispute?
At times I find it quite difficult to pinpoint just
what significant differences of interpretation are
made by a different source hypothesis. It seems that
each evangelist is in every scenario is utilizing
sources of some kind and that each is relatively
conservative in reissuing his material (in his
portrait/deeds/words of Jesus) and that what each
evangelist has achieved through the compilation and
(re)composition of his sources usually overrides what
was thought to be the significance of ones supposed
source hypothesis by reason of the evangelists new
arrangement being exactly that a new
characteristic of the dependent evangelist! In other
words, how might the direction of dependence alter the
interpretation of passages? Are there any significant
examples where it actually makes a big difference?
One difference which comes to mind is that an
evangelist using a previous gospel as a source might
suggest a degree of criticism. But then again it might
also reflect that the source gospel is granted more
acceptance and recognition than, say, completely
ignoring it would have. Thus those who advocate Lukes
knowledge of Matthew, for example, maintain a degree
of criticism for Luke of Matthews gospel almost as
though Luke wished to replace Matthew with something
more accurate. But if one wished to replace one gospel
with another would one include and overwrite as much
of the original material as possible (not entirely
done by Luke) or would one simply supply something
completely different (e.g. Johns Gospel?)? Is it more
flattering for the sources to be used than ignored?
I wonder whether perhaps those source hypotheses
claiming complete independence between all three
synoptics (do such exist?) would not necessarily lead
an interpreter any further astray than would an
incorrect theory of direct dependence? But how would
we ever know? Will a better source hypothesis lead us
to better interpretations of each synoptic gospel? Is
a better interpretation really just personal taste?
Is there any consensus on this aspect? Is it better
to interpret the gospels through a strictly defined
source theory than to interpret them hesitantly with a
indefinite source theory?
Im wondering what the different redactional portraits
do provide/offer as important for interpreting an
entire gospel or even a smaller passage (I am familiar
with some of the caricatures of Marks
unintelligible procedure which was thought by some
Markan priorists who tried to imagine Marks
dependence on Matthew and Luke but these imaginings
seem merely polemical and thus largely unhelpful).
Perhaps the major source hypotheses are not really
contradictory when it comes to interpretation?
Timothy M. Lewis
Timothy M. Lewis
Cranbourne, VIC 3977
Currently enrolled in Master of Theology at Whitley College,
Melbourne College of Divinity, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
http://greetings.yahoo.com.au - Yahoo! Greetings
Send your love online with Yahoo! Greetings - FREE!
Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
List Owner: Synoptic-L-Owner@...