Saturday, May 29, 2010

Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!!

The latest NTS has an article from our own Stephen Carlson, "The Accommodations of Joseph and Mary in Bethlehem: kataluma in Luke 2:7."

Amongst Stephen's weaponry is his knack for beginning papers with a hook. Here's a preview:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

RBL Review of Mounce, 3d ed.

The Review of Biblical Literature has a detailed book review by Laurence M. Vance of William D. Mounce, Basics of Biblical Greek: Grammar (3d ed., 2010).

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bauer apud Martyn on Ascertaining Intention

There has been much discussion over the role of authorial intention in exegesis. I will not rehearse it here, but I've found a quotation from Walter Bauer and conveyed by Lou Martyn in his Galatians commentary (AB 33A, p. 42) that gets it right (IMHO):
On the way toward ascertaining the intention of an early Christian author, the interpreter is to ask how the author's document was understood by those who first read or heard it.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Richard Bauckham will come to Duke

... to give next year's Clark lectures, according to his website.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Why people don't like the Synoptic Problem

Yesterday Mark Goodacre suggested three reasons why people don't like the Synoptic Problem:

(1) People find it dull because it is taught badly. In fact, the Synoptic Problem is often not taught at all. In so far as New Testament introductions and introductory courses teach it, they focus on one particular solution (the Two-Source theory) and then they refract all the data through that theory. Simply setting out a solution deprives students of all the interest in the process of history, all the enjoyment in puzzling out the literary enigma.

(2) People find it dull because they do not actually study it. The only way to engage in serious study of the Synoptic Problem is to get down and dirty with the Synopsis, and to spend enjoyable time working with the texts, ideally doing some colouring. It's one of the guilty secrets of the guild that too many scholars simply do not do the work with the texts that they should, preferring instead to keep wading through the pile of largely mediocre pieces of secondary literature.

(3) People find it dull because they think that there is an obvious solution (the Two-Source Theory). Alternatives are thought to be unpersuasive and not worth attention. To an extent,
Mike's post bears this out -- he engages only the Two-Source Theory and the Griesbach Theory. I think that this is a shame given the strong case that can be made for the Farrer Theory, engagement with which can make the Synoptic Problem interesting again.

This all rings true for me. I first became interested in the Synoptic Problem when I had the chance to spend time coloring an old synopsis and saw for myself - though I had already been told by teachers and friends - that the data did not fit as neatly into the schema of the Two-Source theory as I had supposed.

Has anyone else had this experience?