Back in June I notified y’all that the good folks at Eerdmans had sent along a copy of Francis Watson’s Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (amazon.com) for review. I’m pleased as punch they did, and have finished reading it. Profuse thanks, Eerdmans, for the opportunity.
You know how every few years there is a book that you read, and while you’re reading it you are consumed by it and think, “wow.” It makes that short list of books you keep in your head that have been formative, that you recommend to folks for all sorts of reasons. For me, that list includes books like:
- Richard Bauckham’s Jesus and the Eyewitnesses
- Oskar Skarsaune & Reidar Hvalvik’s Jewish Believers in Jesus
- Peter Lampe’s From Paul to Valentinus: Christians at Rome in the First Two Centuries
My list now includes Watson’s Gospel Writing. It is that good. Several reviews have already appeared in the blogosphere (Joel Watts; Jim West; and others, use Google’s Blog Search to find them all); do check them out. Eerdmans also have a good post from the author himself, Francis Watson, about the book.
In that earlier post I wrote back in June, I provided a Table of Contents for the book. Here it is again, below. For the review, my plan is to focus on Part Two, since that is where my primary interest is. Specifically, I will be focusing on chapters 6 and 7 and Watson’s work on relationship between the canonical gospels and fragments of noncanonical gospels that have been found. I may write one post, I may write a few; I’m not yet sure.
Table of Contents
- Part One: The Eclipse of the Fourfold Gospel
- 1. Augustine’s Ambitious Legacy
- 2. Dismantling the Canon: Lessing/Reimarus
- Part Two: Reframing Gospel Origins
- 3. The Coincidences of Q
- 4. Luke the Interpreter
- 5. Thomas versus Q
- 6. Interpreting a Johannine Source (Jn, GEger)
- 7. Reinterpreting in Parallel (Jn, GTh, GPet)
- Part Three: The Canonical Construct
- 8. The East: Limiting Plurality
- 9. The West: Towards Consensus
- 10. Origen: Canonical Hermeneutics
- 11. Image, Symbol, Liturgy
- In lieu of a Conclusion: Seven Theses on Jesus and the Canonical Gospel