I'd like to try an experiment.

In my answer to Did Luke use Josephus as a source? I rely on certain assumptions about when Luke-Acts was written. These assumptions, in turn, are based on my understanding of the relationship between Luke and Matthew and Mark, and on clues from all three gospels that give hints as to the dates they were written.

I started to include all that background information in my answer, but then realized the answer would be far too long to be useful. I'd like to have a handy place to leave additional notes to explain the assumptions behind my answers.

I suppose I could ask a separate question about those assumptions, and answer it myself—I understand that's an acceptable practice here—but I don't personally feel comfortable doing so.

Furthermore I'm not sure such a question would be appropriate. If I asked, "When were Luke and Acts written?" I might get answers ranging from the early 60s to about 135. This would be an opinion question. There's no real consensus among scholars.

Nor is there on this site. Frank Luke answered the same Josephus question also arguing that Acts was written too early to be influenced by Josephus, but using a different date for Luke-Acts. I'm interested in his take on how this affects the synoptic problem, but again I don't think such a question is appropriate on this site. "Frank Luke, what is your take on the synoptic problem?" is a little too localized.

So here's what I've been considering. Since the synoptic problem is a huge and multifacted issue, and since I think there may be others interested in discussing aspects of it, I've created a chat room for this discussion. This would be a place to dig deeper into the reasons behind the various points of view, to see how the different schools of thought handle the evidence. It would also be a jumping off point to provide additional background for answers to specific questions for the site.

Now I may be wrong, and I'm the only one who finds this interesting. If so, the chat room will die and I'll have the result of my experiment. But maybe this chat room will become a resource for the site, to help fill in the background behind answers about the gospels.

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If this approach does take off, you might want to link to it from the relevant tag wikis. –  Gone Quiet Mar 18 '12 at 18:33

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