Mark Goodacre on Doctor Who and New Testament Canons

Mark Goodacre brings his expertise in New Testament and his expertise in Doctor Who together in a Two Minute Timelord podcast. Click through to have a listen!

I would be interested to know what listeners think of Mark’s points.

An interesting point to consider is that this podcast is by definition not canonical, and so, just as with the New Testament, any answer to the question “what is in the Doctor Who canon?” is by definition itself extracanonical.

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  • goodacre

    Thanks, James. I love the fact that you illustrate it with the alternative 9th doctor, one of my favourite quasi- or pseudo- canonical pieces!

    • I had a hard time choosing between him and Peter Cushing! 😉

      Thanks for this great podcast. I hope you will bring your NT work and love of Doctor Who into intersection more regularly in the future!

      • goodacre

        Well, I’m really grateful to Chip for encouraging me to sit down for this chat. I must admit that the discussion of canon is *so* replete with exciting possibilities that I may have to return to this discussion again!

  • Peter Kirk

    I would disagree. I can imagine a future episode of Dr Who in which the “real” Doctor turns up at the BBC studio where the program is made and meets the scriptwriters (whether or not playing themselves) and starts discussing the genuineness of past episodes, past Doctors etc. Could be some interesting plot twists there. The point is that this canon of Dr Who, although we can already partially define it and discuss its boundaries, is not yet closed, and so the episode I am imagining could be part of that canon while also giving a partial answer to the question of what is canonical.

    Similarly, whether or not one thinks it is genuinely Petrine, 2 Peter 3:15-16 is relevant to the issue of what is the canonical New Testament, in that (arguably) it informs us about what was considered canonical “scripture” at a very early date. And, for better or for worse, 2 Peter is part of what is now accepted as the New Testament canon. So it is at least potentially an answer within the canon to the question of what is in the canon, and this potential cannot be defined away.

    This would be even more clear in an imaginary canon which included a clear statement like “anything written by one of the twelve apostles is canonical scripture”. There would still be issues about which writings met this definition, and especially whether this specific statement came from an apostle. But that does not detract from the logical point that a canon can be defined within itself.

    • 2 Peter does not give us a detailed list for a table of contents. But even if it had, some authority outside of that collection would still have had to decide to accept its list. And so I am not persuaded that a canon can ever be defined from within a canon.