The Gospel of Thomas is the noncanonical Gospel par excellence, the "fifth Gospel" that promises scholars new sayings of Jesus and the hope of new insight into Christian origins. But scholars remain divided over whether or not Thomas represents an early, independent witness to the Jesus tradition or whether it is secondary, showing knowledge of the Synoptic Gospels. In Thomas and the Gospels, Mark Goodacre makes a detailed and compelling case that the author of the Gospel of Thomas is familiar with the Synoptic Gospels. He shows that the arguments for independence are inadequate and that the degree of agreement between Thomas and the Synoptics is far too great to be mediated by oral tradition. He points out that Thomas features tell-tale signs of Matthew's and Luke's redaction and that the Gospel should be dated in the early to middle second century, when its author sought to lend an authoritative Synoptic-sounding legitimacy to the voice of his enigmatic Jesus.
For over a century Gospel scholarship has accepted a hypothetical document called Q as one of the major sources of the Synoptic Gospels. In recent times, it has even been transformed from a sayings source to a Gospel in its own right. But, says Mark Goodacre in The Case Against Q, the majority acceptance of Q cannot function as an argument for its existence. From time to time dissenting voices have spoken against such widespread acceptance of Q as a Gospel. Scholars have pointed out, for instance, that Luke's knowledge of Matthew and Mark would enable one to dispense with Q. Yet, such voices often have gone unheeded due to the lack of a clear, balanced, and scholarly treatment of the case against Q. So, in The Case Against Q Goodacre offers a careful and detailed critique of the Q hypothesis, examining the most important arguments of Q's proponents. He then offers new arguments and fresh reflections reaffirming Markan Priority as the key to successful Synoptic scholarship. With this book, Goodacre provides a more plausible picture of Synoptic relationships than has previously been available, as he reconstructs Synoptic interrelationships and Christian origins. Mark Goodacre is Lecturer in New Testament in the Department of Theology at the University of Birmingham (England) and the author of The Synoptic Problem: A Way Through the Maze.
Goulder and the Gospels is the first comprehensive response to the radical challenge Michael Goulder has posed for New Testament scholarship. Goulder dispenses with all hypothetical sources-Q, M and L and postulates highly creative evangelists who write in the light of the liturgy. In this penetrating critique, Goodacre provides a critical overview of Goulder's work, focusing on several key areas, the vocabulary of Q, the language of the Minor Agreements, the creativity of Luke and the lectionary theory. He does not simply assess the plausibility of Goulder's ideas but also develops new ways to test them. The theories are sometimes found to be wanting, but at the same time Goulder is reaffirmed as one of the most important and stimulating Biblical scholars of this generation.
James Robinson’s narrative of how the Nag Hammadi codices were discovered is popular and compelling, a piece of ﬁne investigative journalism that includes intrigue and blood vengeance. But there are several different, conflicting versions of the story, including two-person (1977), seven-person (1979) and eight-person (1981) versions. Disagreements include the name of the person who ﬁrst found the jar. Martin Krause and Rodolphe Kasser both questioned these stories in 1984, and their scepticism is corroborated by the Channel 4 (UK) series, The Gnostics (1987), which features Muhammad ‘Ali himself, in his only known appearance in front of camera, offering his account of the discovery. Several major points of divergence from the earlier reports raise questions about the reliability of ‘Ali’s testimony. It may be safest to conclude that the earlier account of the discovery offered by Jean Doresse in 1958 is more reliable than the later, more detailed, more vivid versions that are so frequently retold.