[Excavating-Q] Response to Stephen Carlson
- First of all, I would like to thank Stephen (if I may) for his kind words on
ExQ. I did spend a lot of time on chap. 6 on the history of the SynProb,
most freezing in the basement of the Ecole biblique one winter along with
other polar inmates.
I would also like to wish Michael Goulder, who had a bad fall yesterday, a
very speedy and complete recovery.
Stephen Carlson inquires about a comment that I had made in THE SHAPE OF Q
to the effect that "Evidence of design and deliberate structure serves not
only to expose the distinctive theology of Q; it turns out to be relevant to
a yet more basic issue, that of the very existence of Q. . . . For it is
exceedingly unlikely that a subset of materials mechanically abstracted from
two Gospels would display an inherent genre and structure unless in fact
that subset substantially represented a discrete and independent document."
He wonders, rightly, why I made rather less of this type of argument in ExQ.
Let me begin by saying that in the construction of chap. 1, on the Synoptic
Problem, I was most concerned to treat the Synoptic Problem with care and
pare down the argument to its logical essentials. Thus I distinguished
between two types of data and arguments: (1) the phenomona of the patterns
of agreements and disagreements among the synoptics, both in wording and in
sequence, and the *logically possible* inferences that these permit
(essentially: the medial position of Mark); and (2) the editorial
plausiblity of one direction of dependence over another. The first types of
argument are logically much stronger than the second, but permit several
mutually exclusive solutions. The second set of arguments are what Synoptic
Problem arguements are less conclusive, since what it plausible to one
critic is not so to another.
The comments made in SHAPE I regard as a third, corroborative type of
obsveration, not a strong primary argument. To have a synoptic solution
result in the positing of a set of materials that in fact has thematic unity
or an identifiable genre or whatever is the kind of result that corroborates
(but does not prove) the solution. It is the sort of result that one would
like to have -- rather like Fortna's Signs' Gospel in fact displaying a
stylistic unity when tested against Ruckstuhl's and Schweizer's stylistic
criteria, when his (Fortna's) source delineation did not in fact employ
stylistic criteria in order to effect the source division.
I might have made some observations at the end of chap. 1along the lines you
suggest, but they would have been framed only as secondary and
corroborative. I did comment in chap. 2 (in the section dealing with
Bergemann, pp. 66-72) that the double tradition in fact displays structure
and thematic unities that tell against it being a collection of small
documents, and as you rightly note, more briefly on pp. 163-4.
I have made rather more of this argument in the forthcoming response to
Michael Goulder's SELF CONTRADICTION (in JBL sometime before the next
millenium), but you're quite right to suggest that I could have said more
explictly either at the end of the SynProb chapter, or pp. 118-122 where I
discuss major structural features in Q, or at the end of chap. 2. (second
This is the _Excavating Q_ Seminar (Oct. 23-Nov. 10 2000).
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