Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

3817Re: [Synoptic-L] When is a parallel not a parallel? Also, when is a verse not a verse?

Expand Messages
  • Bob Schacht
    Oct 5, 2011
    • 0 Attachment
      At 10:13 AM 10/5/2011, David Inglis wrote:
      >I originally asked the first of these questions on another forum,
      >but as it has relevance to my synoptic stylometric
      >here <https://sites.google.com/site/inglisonmarcion/Home/the-synoptic-problem>
      >, I would like to bring it up on synoptic.

      I don't think there is any standard answer to your question. The
      problem, ISTM, is that the word "parallel" has no precise definition
      in textual criticism, so there is no definitive answer to your question.
      This is essentially a question of the practice of Textual Criticism.
      An easy to read introduction to the subject may be found at

      The idea of "parallels" has been heavily influenced by parallel
      Bibles and harmonies, that list Biblical "parallels" in columns to
      facilitate comparison. In fact, of course, parallels are the very
      stuff out of which synoptic studies are made. As you can imagine, the
      texts arranged in parallel columns range from placing passages that
      are literally identical side by side with passages that have only a
      few key words in common. In other words, the idea of literary
      "parallels" has been the object of so much abuse that it is difficult
      to say what they are.

      The problem is easily illustrated by the "minor agreements," which
      are a special type of "parallel":
      >Specifically, there are 347 instances (by Neirynck's count) where
      >one or more words are added to the Markan text in both Matthew and
      >Luke; these are called the "minor agreements" against Mark. Some 198
      >instances involve one word, 82 involve two words, 35 three, 16 four,
      >and 16 instances involve five or more words in the extant texts of
      >Matthew and Luke as compared to Markan passages.

      So, how many different words are required before it is no longer a
      parallel? Or should we be using percentages instead of raw counts? Or
      to come from the opposite direction, how many words (or what
      percentage of words) do two passages have to have in common before
      they are considered "parallel"? And surely we have to address the
      order of the words as well.
      Pretty soon, the whole idea of trying to precisely define what a
      parallel is, and what it is not, becomes hopeless.

      Again, I refer you to the article above on the Practice of Textual Criticism.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University

      >Mk 13:14a But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation,
      >[spoken of by Daniel the prophet,] standing where it
      >ought not, (let him that readeth understand,)
      >Mt 24:15 When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation,
      >spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy
      >place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)
      >Lk 21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then
      >know that the desolation thereof is nigh.
      >Mk 13:14b then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains:
      >Mk 3:15 And let him that is on the housetop not go down into the
      >house, neither enter therein, to take any thing out of
      >his house:
      >Mk 13:16 And let him that is in the field not turn back again for to
      >take up his garment.
      >Mt 24:16 Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains:
      >Mt 24:17 Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any
      >thing out of his house:
      >Mt 24:18 Neither let him which is in the field return back to take
      >his clothes.
      >Lk 21:21 Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains;
      >and let them which are in the midst of it depart out;
      >and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto.
      >In the above example it is clear that Mk 13:14a and Mt 24:15 are
      >very close parallels. It is also clear that Mk 13:14b,
      >Mt 24:16, and Lk 21:21a are close parallels. However, can Lk 21:20
      >in any way be called a parallel of Mk 13:14a/Mt
      >24:15? It doesn't seem reasonable to me to call it a parallel;
      >instead I see it as a rejection and replacement of Mk
      >13:14a/Mt 24:15. So, as well as asking how other people view Lk
      >21:20 in particular, I would like to ask just how this
      >situation is viewed generally, i.e. how far apart can two pieces of
      >text in the synoptics be and still be regarded as
      >parallels? Is there even any common 'standard,' because if not,
      >doesn't this at least blur the edges of the synoptic
      >sonderguts, double/triple traditions, etc?
      >On a related issue, the above passages provide an example of another
      >synoptic phenomenon that has puzzled me for a
      >while, which is: Why are the verse divisions in the synoptics so
      >inconsistent? For example, why does Mk 13:14 encompass
      >in one verse what is two verses in Mt? My understanding is that
      >Robert Estienne created our modern verse divisions
      >around 1551, but if they were the work or (or at least under the
      >control of) one person, then why are the synoptic
      >verses not always divided up the same way? Does anyone know whether
      >this is a 'hangover' from some characteristic of the
      >Greek mss Estienne was used to seeing at the time, or perhaps
      >something else? If so, is there anything that the verse
      >divisions can tell us with regard to the synoptic problem itself?
      >David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Show all 18 messages in this topic