Introduction, Critical Edition and Commentary
Solutions to the Synoptic Problem that argue for Markan priority, but the non-existence of Q as the basis of the double tradition material continue to attract scholars. The best known of these theories, the Farrer-Goulder hypothesis arguing for Luke's direct use of Matthew, has been championed most recently by Mark Goodacre. He reworks some of the previous arguments in favour of that hypothesis as well as offering a number of new arguments. This paper assesses the validity of such arguments and the claim that it is now possible to finally dispense with Q.
Three recent approaches to historical Jesus studies are assessed in this article. First, the use of memory studies as a means of validating the historical authenticity of Gospel traditions. Secondly, claims that Gospel traditions should be understood as primarily reaching the evangelists orally, and that this process provides greater confidence in the historicity of such traditions. Thirdly, the Fourth Gospel is seen in some quarters as an important source in historical Jesus research based upon new paradigms and radical redefinitions of historicity. Contrary to such claims, here it is argued that for a series of different reasons that none of these methods offers any significant advance in accessing the ‘historical Jesus’, as that term is usually understood. This is not to say that the methods are without value. Rather, it is the over-confident application of such approaches to the ‘historical Jesus question’ that is critiqued. This is especially the case when it is claimed that they provide a key methodological break-through, enabling reclamation of more Gospel traditions as being securely founded in the ministry of the historical Jesus.
An Ongoing Conversation with Stan Porter and Hughson T. Ong
At the invitation of the editors, this article interacts with Stan Porter and Hughson Ong’s response to one of my previous articles that appeared in this journal. The original article critiqued the validity of three newer approaches now being applied to historical Jesus research. I am very grateful to Porter and Ong for their discussion and constructive response to that article. In large part, in this article I seek to more fully explain the reasons for the positions stated in the original article, or to clarify points where Porter and Ong have misunderstood my comments or attributed to me positions I do not hold. However, this article extends the earlier discussion by seeking to clarify the nature of the central concerns of historical Jesus research. I am delighted to have received such a detailed response that engages with my earlier work, and I thank Porter and Ong for engaging in this important conversation.