Goulder, "Luke: A New Paradigm"

a brief review

Valuable insights

  1. Goulder is at his best when he is dealing with non-aphoristic pericopes.
  2. p.590, "... within a couple of generations the Jewish Christian community would be known as the Ebionim."


  1. In the 1950s, Goulder had been very impressed by the writings of Austin Farrer, and he came to be an enthusiastic supporter of the Farrer Theory which claims that Luke made use of Matthew and there was no early sayings source. But this view was simplistic, and this is evident when Goulder comments on the aphorisms in Luke, especially in the many cases where the great majority of scholars conclude that a word or phrase in the Lukan version of a saying is clearly earlier (more authentic) than that in the corresponding version in Matthew.
  2. Goulder's fourth chapter on Paul claims that the writer of Luke's gospel had been a companion of Paul. The evidence indicates otherwise. [1]
  3. Goulder's fifth chapter claims that there is a detailed link between Luke's gospel and the Jewish calendar. This claim is dubious, and there are few if any other publications which support the link.

Overall Assessment

The first chapter, "A house built on sand", is superb. It was an earlier version of this which led to my interest in solving the synoptic problem. The third chapter, on Luke's special material, is also very good. The commentary which occupies the bulk of the book is very good when it is dealing with the non-aphoristic passages. Thus the book is patchy, but the good parts are well worth reading.


1. U.Schnelle, The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings (ET, London: SCM, 1998) 241-42