Leonard Maluf wrote:
> Isn't it a bit self-serving to simply equate a wider acceptance of Markan
> priority with "progress"? I could imagine progress being defined as less
> doctinaire positions on the Synoptic Gospels, and a little more original
> thinking on their inter-relationships.
> The main arguments for Markan priority are illogical, weak, or
> non-conclusive -- no matter how large a flock of sheep lines up to follow
I take it to be "progress" when rational arguments prevail. The arguments
for Markan priority are strong when sensible allowance is made for the human
nature of the synoptic authors.
For example in recent years Mark Goodacre has added the excellent new
argument based on the 'fatigue' of an author copying from an earlier
I can add my own quite different argument. I have measured what I call the
'picturesqueness' of the basic two-level structures of the major NT
documents. For each section my computer program identifies the Greek word
(or in most cases, stem) which is most distinctive of that section, then
calculates the mean distinctiveness for all the sections. Picturesqueness is
the same value with an adjustment to allow for document size.
Acts and Mark are each more distinctive and more picturesque than either
Matthew or Luke. This can readily be explained only on the hypothesis of
Markan priority. For when an author does a lot of copying from written
source(s), his vocabulary is necessarily constrained or diluted by the words
he copies. When he is not so constrained (as in e.g. Acts and Mark) the
resultant document structure will tend to be more picturesque.
A lack of original thinking? Not on our part!
Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm