Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer have co-edited another volume recently, The Synoptic Problem: Four Views (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016), with contributors Craig A. Evans, Mark Goodacre, David Barrett Peabody, and Rainer Riesner representing the four views: the Two-Source Hypothesis, the Farrer Hypothesis, the Two-Gospel Hypothesis, and the Orality and Memory Hypothesis, respectively. The introductory chapter frames the discussion with a comprehensive, yet not overly exhaustive, summary of the major issues and arguments of the various views. Each contributor, then, has a chapter to explicate the major arguments of their view, and then has a subsequent chapter responding to each of the other views in their response essay. The book closes with a summary and synthesis of each contributor’s main arguments.
For those who are new to the discussion, the Two-Source Hypothesis, or a variation of it, has been the predominant view among most Gospel scholars for some time, but for reasons given by the other contributors in this volume, we can see some of the dissatisfaction with it. In light of this, there have been some recent (and some not so recent) attempts by scholars, such as Samuel Byrskog, Kenneth Bailey, Birger Gerhardsson, Richard Bauckham, and others, to propose a more or less oral source for Gospel origins. In fact, the three co-contributors to this blog have been working on an oral tradition hypothesis (we’re calling the project The Origins of the Gospels, consisting of a total of three volumes: introductory material, synopsis, and commentary) to further the discussion. We think that an independent, some sort of oral tradition source for the origins of the Gospels (we appropriately include the Gospel of John in the discussion), is the best explanation for how the Gospels came to be written.
For now, someone wanting to get acquainted with a good overall picture of the Synoptic Problem and the major views, this book is essential.
— David I. Yoon
Table of Contents
- The Synoptic Problem: An Introduction to Its Key Terms, Concepts, Figures, and Hypotheses – Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer
- The Two Source Hypothesis – Craig A. Evans
- The Farrer Hypothesis – Mark Goodacre
- The Two Gospel Hypothesis – David Barrett Peabody
- The Orality and Memory Hypothesis – Rainer Riesner
- Two Source Hypothesis Response – Craig A. Evans
- Farrer Hypothesis Response – Mark Goodacre
- Two Gospel Hypothesis Response – David Barrett Peabody
- Orality and Memory Hypothesis Response – Rainer Riesner
- What Have We Learned regarding the Synoptic Problem, and What Do We Still Need to Learn? –Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer