In a message dated 7/21/2001 9:24:17 AM Eastern Daylight Time,
<< I wrote:
>> With no access either to eyewitnesses or to an independent biography
>>of Jesus, the second and third gospel writers would have had little
>>reason to reject such a plausible story [of the betrayal by Judas].
Leonard Maluf replied:
> [much snipped] ...
> ... if I could substitute for it a more neutral expression,
>say "presupposition", then I think the criticism stands. Price's envisioned
>scenario of the eventual triumph of the supposed Marcan fabrication in
>question really does imply a primacy of the written word (sola scriptura)
>over any Christian tradition about the last days of Jesus' life that
>does not correspond to historical reality.
I could equally well assert that your statement ending "... probably
does not correspond to historical reality" is also a presupposition,
especially as you supply no justification for your use of the word
"probably". But accusations about presuppositions get the discussion
Of course, mine is in some sense a presupposition as well. But I am not as
terrified of the word or the reality of presuppositions (especially if they
are based on good common sense thinking) as you seem to be. It is scientific
pre... oops. I can't use that word.. to image that all our reasoning must be
utterly presuppositionless. This is sheer fantasy.
<< In any case if I have understood it correctly your position is
completely inconsistent. For why, if the later synoptic writers did not
hold to the 'primacy of the written word' (as you call it), did Mark,
according to your synoptic hypothesis, take 90% of his material from the
written document we call Matthew?>>
It is no problem for me at all that Mark did a considerable amount of coyping
from Matt and Lk. Besides the fact that he was probably not a very competent
writer himself, I don't assume that there was a fundamental difference
between what Matthew (especially) wrote and the preexisting tradition. And so
it was not by way of ignoring tradition, but rather by way of following a
literary model that Mark did his copying. He did, however, have sufficient
competence as a writer to almost completely avoid gross reproduction of
literary structures found in his sources (a good illustration of this is Mk
1:23-27, compared to its Lukan source). This was basic to all Hellenistic
training in the chreia exercises. Mark probably had at least this fundamental
training as a writer of Greek prose.
<< Texts where it might be supposed that a later synoptic writer has used
oral tradition to correct the written testimony of his predecessor are
(I suggest) invariably better explained as the later writer expressing
his stylistic preference or composing something to further his
particular theological interests. If you can think of a contrary example
then I would be happy to discuss it.>>
I don't think I would disagree with your suggestion here. At least nothing
comes to my mind immediately in this regard. I doubt, for example, that
differences between Luke and Matthew are ever to be explained by Luke's use
of oral tradition to correct what he found in Matthew. Maybe someone else,
though, will come up with a good possible instance of a correction made by a
later evangelist on the basis of oral tradition. I don't think your thinking
and mine differ here at all.
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