Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The Six Presentations

Despite some obvious weaknessess in my essay "Solving the Synoptic Problem for Students?" (e.g. my referring to the statistics of Theodore R. Rosche), it's still worth having a look at my "Survey of Evaluation" (summarising results of Part A). These are found in a table with the Appendices at the end. It is clear from the evaluation results that the six presentations I evaluated were all inadequate--none of them even achieved a score of 50%. The presentations of the synoptic problem I chose to evaluate were ones which I found that students were generally being referred back to generally in the other literature:

(1) Joseph A. Fitzmyer's classic presentation, "The Priority of Mark and The 'Q' Source in Luke," (1970);
(2) Werner George Kummel's classic intro to the synoptic problem from his, Introduction to the New Testament (trans. 1975), 38-80;
(3) Robert Stein's classic book from 1987, The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction;
(4) Christopher M. Tuckett's entry for the Anchor Bible Dictionary (vol 6, 1992), 263-270;
(5) David L. Dungan's book, A History of the Synoptic Problem (Anchor Bible Reference Library, 1999);
(6) and two chapters from John S. Kloppenborg's, Excavating Q (chapter 1 and chapter 6).

Students were not really being invited into the discussion with these works. The questions that students might ask were not being answered by these presentations. I suggest that the best introduction to the synoptic problem for students would need to be one written in conjunction with students (or in response to student questions). For this reason, it would have been interesting to see how well Mark Goodacre's, The Synoptic Problem: A Way through the Maze (2001) would fare based on the criteria I used (it arrived at my college library a few days before I handed in the essay) or even Sander's and Davies' Studying the Synoptic Gospels (1989) which I found difficult to access (I've only just managed to order one for an affordable price--soon to arrive).

Not for student participation?
At least that would appear to be the assumption and/or effect of reading most introductory books on the synoptic problem. However I was pleased to see one student struggling with their own questions here which is one perfectly good way of participating from a student perspective. There simply aren't many forums or groups designed for student participation. I had lots of questions but no where to submit them. I firstly tried writing a letter to David Dungan without any success. The first few questions I sent to synoptic list (e.g. here and here) went ignored (the newer 2005+ list is here), and I simply couldn't find who else was really interested in source theory who I could engage with. A fellow student from college was slightly interested (perhaps because I kept badgering him with my ideas) and together we managed to go once through the so-called Q material (Mt-Lk double tradition) in Greek to begin testing how much of it seemed like oral tradition. I then wanted to compare our analysis to the triple tradition material which we both agreed came from Mk. I wanted to compare the kind of agreement and variation we found. He did not wish to continue with it and I have yet to do it. I am more a group work person for some things--I just have yet to find someone else who has similar questions and who wants to get together (in person) and plough through it together (it doesn't help that I live in Cranbourne!)

No comments: