The Gospels as “the Song of the Four Living Creatures”
Where gospel difference is seen as a problem or weakness that calls for elaborate harmonization procedures or critical unmasking, the root cause is a dissatisfaction with canonical pluralism as such and a determination to reduce it to singularity. But that is to overlook the hermeneutical significance of the canon itself, which strives to integrate the voice of the individual witness into an encompassing polyphony. As an ancient tradition suggests in word and image, this evangelical polyphony echoes the song of the four living creatures around the divine throne.
–pp. 615-6 of Francis Watson’s Gospel Writing: A Canonical Perspective (Eerdmans, 2013)
I’m reviewing Watson’s book for an upcoming Bible Study Magazine issue. Watson’s comfort with the co-existence of history and theology–as if one could be devoid of the other in the case of gospel reception–is refreshing.