I guess I am a product of postmodernism in that I tend to think that there are many things that we just don't know and might never know. But I'm not sure that this is proving helpful in writing my thesis.
I remember my exegesis oral exam last year. The passage under discussion was from the gospel of Matthew. I came into it fresh from a Greek exegesis course on this particular book at UKZN. We had a brief discussion (the orals are done in groups of students and examiners) on the date of writing in which many views were shared. We moved on and then one of the examiners fired at me 'What other book was written at about this time? Jenny, you should know' and through the haze of trying to follow what I had found a very wandering discussion my mind went into spin mode. 'When did she think Matthew was written? Prof Draper at UKZN holds strongly to a second century date. No, that's not what she is thinking. More people consider a date soon after 60AD - there was lots written then. What does she want from me?' She was in fast-fire mode and moved on before I could even begin to gather my thoughts. The answer was 'Galatians', which I can understand, and can now guess that she believes in an early date for Matthew!
Now I am reading the dogmatic words, 'Matthew - produced c.80 CE in Damascus - cites . . .'
I struggle to speak with such certainty. I suspect that there are benefits to my willingness to allow options, but I'm not going to change the world in this way.