Saturday, May 24, 2008
Paul and the Synoptics: What Kind of Relationship?
After talking to my co-blogger Joel Willitts by email, I am intrigued about the possible relationship of Paul to the Synoptic Gospels. This is something I intend to get to pursue further one day (but until then it would make a great Ph.D thesis for some brave soul). Usually, Paul's relationship to the Synoptic Gospels goes something like this:
1. Mark: Pro-Pauline in so far as Mark has a a theology of the cross, believes in the inclusion of the Gentiles, and shares Paul's critique of Jesus' family and the circle of twelve apostles (e.g. Mk. 1.15, 7.19, 24, 10.45, 13.10; see Joel Marcus).
2. Matthew: Anti-Pauline in as much as Matthew gives a strenuous affirmation of a law-obedient Jesus and affirms the authority of Peter (e.g. Mt. 5.17-20, 16.16; see David Sim).
3. Luke: Post-Pauline to the extent that Luke clearly venerated Paul but feels no need to slavishly follow him (e.g. Luke has far more on resurrection/exalation than the cross and basically omits reference to justification in apostolic preaching; see Martin Hengel).
Truth be told this is all a bit simplistic. I know James Crossley would certainly have something to say about the validity of (1) and I myself, with Joel Willitts, would contest (2) and I think even (3) needs a fair bit of nuancing. Of course, if one wants to really boggle one's mind, then a comparison/contrast of Paul and John would stretch the mind as it would be rather like juxtaposing two intergalactic eco-systems.