It seems to me that any historical methodology goes beyond texts to the
socio-political and cultural anthropology of the characters in the text.
The first third of the 1st century was a very dynamic period forged by the
previous two centuries that saw the Maccabean Revolt, the Hasmoneans, the
rule of Rome and the Herodian client kings. The literature of this period,
Daniel and the Enochian corpus, formed the foundation from which Jesus
preached and though there is much he does not mention, we know that much of
it underlay his "son of Man" and Kingdom Movement. Example...That Jesus was
familiar with Daniel and Enoch is not, IMO, an argument from Silence. The
same, I think, would hold true for the cultural winds blowing around the
hagiographers...provided, of course, we could place them in time and place.
San Antonio, TX
----- Original Message -----
From: "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...>
To: <email@example.com>; <maluflen@...>
Cc: "GPG" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2008 10:17 PM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Luke's Agenda
> To: Synoptic
> Cc: GPG
> In Response To: Leonard
> On: Luke's Agenda (Methodology)
> From: Bruce
> The discussion was about arguments ex silentio; what to do when a text
> not mention something.
> Leonard: Are we not filling the silence with something of our own devising
> when we say that a given author did not know something because (s)he did
> evidence knowledge of that thing in a given writing? We would also be
> filling the silence with something of our own devising by saying that the
> author did know something that he did not write in a given text.
> Bruce: No, we aren't. We are declining to draw a conclusion contrary to
> evidence, and that's all. The absence of a thing from a text doesn't prove
> absence of that thing from the knowledge of the writer of the text, but as
> evidence, it certainly does what it can to incline us in that direction.
> should hesitate to overrule it. Reticence is part of sound method, maybe
> core of sound method. The counterpart of the Hippocratic Oath: First of
> do no harm. The Rankean version might have been, First of all, don't
> [As for Ranke's own maxims, see inter alia
> Leonard: The proper conclusion, it seems to me, is to affirm that on the
> basis of the silence we cannot tell whether the person did or did not know
> Bruce: On the basis of text silence, we are forbidden to conclude that the
> text author knew the thing. The silence, as far as it goes, is evidence in
> the other direction. (To repeat: If the thing did not exist at a
> time, the silence of the texts is the only evidence which that fact is
> capable of leaving in the record). That, to me, remains the root of the
> matter. If other texts of the period are equally silent on the same thing,
> that implication is reinforced. The complement of this principle is:
> Leonard: In certain cases, however, it remains historically responsible to
> surmise on other, general historical grounds (without ever being able to
> demonstrate this conclusively) that the person in question did know
> Bruce: In certain cases other evidence permits us to conclude (not merely
> surmise) that the author knew something, because that other evidence, say
> another epistle of Paul, shows that he did. The silence of one text (or
> emptiness of one archaeological site) cannot stand against the fulness of
> contemporary text (or tomb). As for surmises, that's a grayer area.
> need to be labeled as such, and argued as such.
> Leonard: I would have argued on such grounds, e.g., that Paul knew of the
> Eucharist, even in the absence of 1 Cor 10 and 11. I would not only have
> been right in this case, but! also would not have failed in good
> method (I think).
> Bruce: Depends on what the other evidence would be. It not being here
> displayed, I pass on this particular claim.
> But could I, not so much problematize, as complicate, the concept
> "Eucharist?" There are massive tomes in various languages (eg Lietzmann)
> proving that the Eucharist did not have the same form in all areas of the
> Mediterranean world. There is much to-do about the cup/bread sequence, not
> only in the texts that may or may not allude to or echo Lord's Supper
> practices, but also in the direct evidence for practice. It is not only
> the Lord's Supper itself was added to the repertoire of the early
> at a certain period, but that it grew and mutated from one period, and one
> geographical area, to the next. The explanation at Jn 6:30f is far
> in theory, over anything in the trajectorially earlier Gospels.
> So also, the Lord's Prayer in Luke is probably closer to the actual early
> recited form of that prayer than is the seemingly expanded and explicated
> Matthean version. But both forms are real. Luke's looks like the usage of
> his own community. Matthew's looks like an elaboration of it, but one
> also had, or presently acquired, its community of actual usage, including
> many people today. So here are two stages in the evolution of a liturgical
> form. For that matter, I seem to see an echo of something yet simpler, of
> the same kind, in Mark. It is not enough to say, OK, Matthew and Luke knew
> the LP, so we know that it existed for them. And then stop. The "it" is
> fallacious. The LP in Mt is not the same as the LP in Lk. The concept of a
> single entity called LP is inadequate, and conclusions drawn on the basis
> that inadequate concept do less than justice to the historical reality.
> historical reality tends to be that things change. Panta rhei.
> I will stop there for this evening.
> E Bruce Brooks
> Warring States Project
> University of Massachusetts at Amherst
> Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links