The Synoptic Problem: a Way through the Maze is an introduction to the Synoptic problem from a scholarly point of view. (The synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, have places where they match word for word, indicating that they were copying from each other or from another document.The question is who was copying from whom.) It is written at an accessible level, patiently laying out the details and going over examples. The evidence is evaluated from a secular viewpoint using the standards common in the academic field of New Testament studies.
Goodacre agrees with the academic consensus on Mark being the first Gospel but disagrees on the existence of Q, thinking instead that Luke knows Matthew. This gives the reader a great opportunity to see how academic argument takes place. When Goodacre argues on academic grounds against the academic consensus the reader gets a fascinating look inside what evidence is weighed and how a theory’s momentum effects it’s evaluation. It’s also fascinating to see how the very slender evidence we have is used to make solid assertions and the difficulties of speculative assertions being used as givens in latter argument.There are many point where I disagree with Goodacre both in general approach and in specific detail due to my different philosophical positions. However, I very much enjoyed this book and all the things it got me thinking about. I would recommend it to anyone interested in academic disputes about the Bible.
This Review was based on the Kindle edition