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More from Mark Goodacre on the Synoptic Problem

October 20, 2009

This morning I ran across a post on Mark Goodacre’s blog that identifies some weaknesses in Mark Allan Powell’s handling of the synoptic problem in his new book, Introducing the New Testament. Among his most important criticisms is the book’s failure to mention the Farrer hypothesis or its adherents anywhere in the book. While I disagree with Mark on a number of issues I share his concern that Q has taken on monumental proportions and needs to be tempered (at least during in-class discussions) with the strong proviso that Q is a hypothetical construct and should not be given the same weight as the documentary evidence we do possess.  I also agree with Mark’s estimation of the lack of balance in discussions of the synoptic problem in NT introductions. For most intro courses I use Luke Timothy Johnson’s, The Writings of the New Testament but I always feel compelled to supplement with my own material that presents a spectrum of views (this includes a discussion of the Farrer hypothesis and issues like “fatigue”). Nothing says we have to agree with a position in order to give it a fair hearing.

Brief correction: After Mark’s critique Powell included one reference to the Farrer hypothesis. Good for him.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 5:32 pm

    Thanks for your helpful comments, Chris. Actually, Powell mentions the Farrer theory once in the book — he added one sentence after I provided comments on an earlier draft (mentioned briefly in my post).

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