09 February 2011

Just What Kind of Authors Where the Gospel Writers?

Some recent thoughts:

To what extent do we allow the Evangelists to be “authors”, creatively constructing narratives in their own individual ways to reflect their own theological and social environment and agendas? For surely they were, to an extent, creative geniuses, as none of the first three gospels are direct copies of the other, but rather individualized/customized and, perhaps, personalized accounts of the message and mission of Jesus. But where do we draw the line? When do we know we are going too far in giving the gospel writers, especially Matthew and Luke, free license to freely create or alter sayings material that some consider to be borrowed from external sources and tradition? What about the other direction. To what extent were the Gospel writers compliers, epitomizers, collectors and copyists?

Our opinions on solutions to the Synoptic Problem are directly impacted by which side we fall on. Is there a middle ground, a balance we can find between pure artistic authorship and mere creative copying? Can we even answer these questions? Is positing an answer to any of these issues too much a step into the “cloud of unknowing” that is often pure conjecture? Are there other categories and methods of authorship in the ancient world that are not being discussed in how authors researched and composed their materials?

No comments:

Post a Comment