Item description for The Gospel of Jesus: The Pastoral Relevance of the Synoptic Problem by William R. Farmer...
Overview William Farmer has devoted much of his career to addressing the question of the relationship among the three Synoptic Gospels--Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In particular, Farmer has challenged the Two Source Hypothesis, which says that Mark is the earliest Gospel, and that Matthew and Luke used Mark and another document, called "Q," as the two primary sources for their own Gospels. Instead, Farmer argues that Matthew was the Earliest Gospel, that Luke used Matthew and other traditions known to him, and that Mark used both Matthew and Luke in compiling a shorter, more ecumenical account of Jesus' career. This competing theory is called the Two Gospel Hypothesis.
William Farmer has devoted much of his career to addressing the question of the relationship among the three Synoptic Gospels--Matthew, Mark, and Luke. In particular, Farmer has challenged the Two Source Hypothesis, which says that Mark is the earliest Gospel, and that Matthew and Luke used Mark and another document, called "Q," as the two primary sources for their own Gospels. Instead, Farmer argues that Matthew was the Earliest Gospel, that Luke used Matthew and other traditions known to him, and that Mark used both Matthew and Luke in compiling a shorter, more ecumenical account of Jesus' career. This competing theory is called the Two Gospel Hypothesis.
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Studio: Westminster John Knox Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 8.98" Width: 5.97" Height: 0.81" Weight: 0.77 lbs.
Release Date Aug 1, 1994
Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN 0664255140 ISBN13 9780664255145
Availability 125 units. Availability accurate as of May 24, 2017 11:47.
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More About William R. Farmer
William R. Farmer is Professor of New Testament at the University of Dallas and co-editor of Jesus and the Suffering Servant: Isaiah 53 and Christian Origins (Trinity 1998).
William R. Farmer has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about The Gospel of Jesus: The Pastoral Relevance of the Synoptic Problem?
The actual implications of a scholarly theory Dec 22, 2008
Since the 19th century, no scholarly theory in the realm of biblical studies has been more accepted than the "two-source" hypothesis. This is the hypothesis that posits that the Gospels of Matthew and Luke used the Gospel of Mark and a conjectured documents dubbed "Q" (from the German word for source - "Quelle") as their sources for their Gospels.
The idea that the synoptic gospels are dependent upon one another in some way is no new theory. Since the time of Augustine, Bible scholars have been trying to explain the clear dependence they have upon one another. The author of the Gospel of Luke explicitly claims that he has used other sources to compile his Gospel (Luke 1:1-4). For the first 1800 years of church history, the most commonly-held belief was that Matthew was written first, then Luke (who used Matthew), and then Mark who used those two accounts to write his own Gospel (this theory was later called the "two-gospel hypothesis"). But there was very little interest in the issue. In the 19th century, however, the issue of "sources" came to the forefront, and scholars poured over the Gospels in particular to try to divine the relationships between them. The theory that won the day was the two-source hypothesis, and this created a great interest in scholarly circles on this "new" document called "Q," which consisted almost entirely of sayings of Jesus, with no narrative of Christ's death or resurrection.
The implications of this theory have been profound. Many scholars have taken the existence of Q as certain, and have theorized about entire first century communities who looked to Jesus as a sage teacher, but not a redeemer or a risen Lord. Even assuming the existence of Q, there are many problems with these theories (see Larry Hurtado's "Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity" for a detailed study of this specific issue). But of course, although to many scholars the issue is settled, there is still the question: was there really this document that we call "Q"?
One scholar in particular has been like a lonely voice in the wilderness crying out against the entire two-source hypothesis - William Farmer. In the 1960's he published a book called "The Synoptic Problem" which attempted to debunk the entire two-source hypothesis. He held to the more traditional two-Gospel hypothesis, but backed it by modern scholarly argument, not just appeals to tradition. His arguments were solid and backed by much research, but in general, had little effect on the academic community. The two-source hypothesis was too engrained in scholarly circles, and it would require people to shift their thinking too radically to accept it. So the two-source hypothesis continues as the most accepted theory today. But there have been more and more dissenters from the academic orthodoxy since Farmer's initial foray into this issue.
In "The Gospel of Jesus: The Pastoral Relevance of the Synoptic Problem," Farmer looks at the issue from a different angle. What are the "real-world" implications of the two-source hypothesis? If it is true, what does that mean in regards to the most commonly held beliefs of Christianity? As Farmer asks, if the existence of "Q" and a community behind it are true, why is it that the first Christians acted in such a way as they did? If Jesus was viewed as simply a sage teacher, why did his first followers risk their lives to spread a message of redemption through him? He also studies the implications of the two-source hypothesis on the Lord's Prayer, Justification, God's commitment to the poor, and other related issues. Although many who preach "Q" as dogma believe it to be a superior form of Christianity, Farmer shows that there are some unsettling and surprising implications if it is true. Finally, he studies the ideological drive behind those who most strongly advocate the two-source hypothesis. Was this hypothesis the result of objective, non-biased study, or was it born of preconceived ideological beliefs?
I would recommend this book for anyone interested in these issues. It is written at a level that the general reader can follow and understand, and it raises many valid questions that should be asked by all interested parties - not just the scholars, but anyone who follows the subject of the Gospels, Jesus Christ.