> Rikk and David, could you expand on the evidence for
> first century editorial activity in manuscripts of the kind that made their
> way into the NT? That is, what was the purpose of such editorial activity,
> who was the intended audience (the editor/owner? the Lector? Catechism
> teachers? Working priests within the orbit of a bishop's influence? Local
> congregations?), etc. Do we actually have evidence of a two-stage process
> involving edited document --> copied document incorporating editorial
I don't know about editorial instructions. In fact I don't know about
editors at all. On the very rare occasion, we find an inserted paragraph or
the classic cases of the woman caught in adultery and the ending of Mark.
But this is hardly what most people mean when they think of editorial
activity. The actual evidence we have suggests a conservative copying
tradition and nothing like the wholesale additions, deletions,
interpolations, that the "Bentley editorial approach" assumed.
> Of course, the Synoptic Gospels can be used in this regard, in that if we
> assume Markan Priority, we can see the editorial work of Matthew and Luke,
> but today we regard these as three gospels, not as one gospel with
> editorial variants.
I think using the term editor in this regard is to stretch the word beyond
reasonable limits. Better I think to speak of one author using another as a
source (as per Downing). BTW anyone read Jimmy Dunn's JESUS REMEMBERED?
I've just started. I think it would be very helpful in filtering out some of
the more creative flights of fancy sometimes aired on this list about gospel
> I am interested in a fuller discussion of ancient editors. One of the
> contrasts that I find striking is the editorial liberties Matthew and Luke
> seem to have taken with Mark and Q, in contrast with the editorial
> conservatism a hundred years later, when the differences among manuscripts
> seem much diminished.
I had dinner with a number of younger NT scholars at SBL this year. It was
intriguing that all of them were pretty much agreed that the Synoptic
Problem far from being closer to solution was now hopelessly mired, and for
some not even worth the effort. I suppose introducing the possibility of
oral tradition has made things far more complex. I've often wondered what it
would mean if something like what Acts suggests took place. I.e. that it was
Greek-speaking Jewish Christians who very early on passed on their own
collections of Jesus' teachings in Greek. If so, what are the chances that
some of the differences we note are less intentional alterations from a
written source than happenstance due to oral transmission?
In any case, it suggests to me that the responsible path is to be far more
circumspect in our assumptions here especially that everything can be
explained on a literary basis.
Dr. Rikk E. Watts (Cantab) Ph. (604) 224 3245
Associate Professor of NT Fax. (604) 224 3097
5800 University Boulevard, Vancouver, V6T 2E4