The two books under review here are remarkably similar, although (it would appear) entirely independent of each other. Further, I must say right at the start that, in many respects (perhaps the most important respect), I am entirely in agreement with many of their conclusions, and their manner of reaching those conclusions. So maybe this ‘critical’ review is not critical enough!
Both authors are English; and both books come across (to me) as very ‘English’: the argument is cautious, fully acknowledging caveats, never overstating the case, etc.-
The prime issue addressed in both is the relationship between Thomas and the Synoptics.-
Both argue for a broadly similar conclusion – that Thomas is dependent (whether directly or indirectly: see below) on at least Matthew and Luke.-
Both reach this conclusion via an almost identical methodology: seeking to identify possible elements of Synoptic redactional activity in Thomas as an indication of Thomas’ dependence.-
Some (but not all) of the evidence cited is common, e.g. Th 5 / / Luke 8:17; Th 14 / / Matt 15:11; Th 31 / / Luke 4:24. (However, other examples do not overlap.)-
Both are reticent about relying too much on theories about Q (perhaps surprisingly, Goodacre less than Gathercole).-
Both see Thomas as potentially mystifying, not necessarily aiming at clarity, but demanding hermeneutical effort on the part of the reader.-
Both emphasise the importance of taking seriously the evidence of the Greek fragments, and indeed both at different points use the Greek evidence closely.-
Both offer powerful critiques of the older form-critical ‘norms’, or ‘laws’, about the development of the tradition, both effectively denying that such rigid ‘laws’ have any validity at all.-
Both address in detail the more general arguments of others defending Thomas’ independence, e.g. on order, the apparent lack of ‘much’ agreement with the Synoptics, the possibility of assimilation in the textual transmission, etc.-
Both also offer good arguments referring to the possibility of being misled by the phenomenon of the Synoptic Gospels about what level of agreement might be expected in a case of dependence. (The Synoptics may be highly unusual in the high level of agreement (in wording and order) they display.)-
Both emphasise the danger of polarising the debate prematurely, of simply claiming that one's own theory has ‘won the day’ and ignoring others who disagree. Certainly both authors here take on, and engage with (in my view very fairly) the views of others who disagree.