Rick Richmond wrote:
> Occam's (or Ockham's) razor is a principle attributed
> to the 14th century logician and Franciscan friar;
> William of Occam. Occam was a village in the English
> county of Surrey where he was born.
> Stated succinctly is: that all other things being
> equal the simplest explanation is likely to be the
> correct one.
I know all about it, but it's good to have it stated like this.
> In this situation it cuts like a knife.
No it doesn't. (See below.)
> Three documents contain the same material in substantially
> the same order and sometimes word for word, and two of
> those documents never agree against the third in
> order. A grammar school teacher would conclude ( and
> has by the way) that Matthew and Luke have copied from
> Mark which as William of Occam recommends, is the simplest
> explanation and the most likely to be correct.
That grammar school teacher (whether he's the one named by E. A. Abbott or
someone else) would be wrong. If A and C agree in order only where they
also agree with B, then that does *not* prove (or make it easier to suppose)
that they A and C depend upon B. It is as I stated in my previous post: A
could be first, then B, and then C, in which case (if C doesn't know A
directly) C could only possibly agree with A where A and C both agree with
B. Likewise, C could be first, then B, then A. Or yet again, B could be
first, and used independently by A and C, and the same pattern of agreement
would obtain. (If you don't believe my logic, just work it out on paper.)
The logical fallacy that you're propounding is a famous one: it was
decisively overturned by Butler in 1951, and since then many people have
called attention to it. It is one of the biggest blunders in NT
scholarship, and unfortunately it still has a hold on the field of NT
John C. Poirier
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