“Can Two Walk Together Unless They Be Agreed?” Evangelical Theology And Biblical Scholarship -- By: Moisés Silva

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 041:1 (Mar 1998)
Article: “Can Two Walk Together Unless They Be Agreed?” Evangelical Theology And Biblical Scholarship
Author: Moisés Silva

“Can Two Walk Together Unless They Be Agreed?”
Evangelical Theology And Biblical Scholarship

Moisés Silva*

* Moisés Silva, Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982, delivered this presidential address at the 49th annual meeting of the ETS on November 20, 1997, in Santa Clara, CA.

Choosing a topic for this occasion has proven to be a little difficult. On the one hand, this is a scholarly society, so it would seem appropriate to treat a subject that falls within the areas of my specialization as a researcher. On the other hand, one would have to question the wisdom of delivering an after-dinner discourse on linguistic patterns in the Hexaplaric recension of the Greek text of Isaiah, with special reference to the translator’s treatment of Hebrew semantic fields.

After considerable reflection, therefore, I have decided to revisit a theme—or, better, a subtheme—that occupied my attention more than two decades ago when I delivered the Harry F. Worcester Lectures at Westminster Theological Seminary. Originally entitled “History or Theology? Ned B. Stonehouse in the Light of Recent Gospel Criticism,” the lectures were subsequently published as a two-part article in WTJ. My concern tonight is not with redaction criticism as such (although that topic will surface later on) but with a couple of remarks I made in those lectures—remarks that some readers may have thought to be nothing more than passing comments, although in fact they played a fundamental role in my assessment of Stonehouse and his legacy.

For example, when dealing with Stonehouse’s book on The Witness of Matthew and Mark to Christ I pointed out the following characteristic:

Stonehouse refuses to deal with the gospel material in isolation from contemporary critical scholarship. It goes without saying that Dr. Stonehouse was fully abreast of that scholarship. But his approach does not consist in a mere paying of lip service to the scholarly establishment. He tells us, in fact, that he has selected “the most important questions which have been thrust forward in the modern discussion of the gospels.” One must note that Stonehouse did not select these questions as a means of ridiculing the critics; on the contrary, he chose them as the most effective means of clarifying the character of the gospels. The very structure of the book, moreover, reveals his sensitivity to the importance of critical research for a proper understanding of the biblical documents.1

Then at the end of the article,...

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