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4982RE: [Synoptic-L] Definition of "middle term"

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    Nov 23, 2013

      David’s question is very reasonable; I have had trouble with that usage also. It is often seen, but rarely defined, and to my eye, its implications are misleading.


      In logic, the middle term connects the major and minor premises. In arithmetic, the middle term in a proportion is B, such that A:B = B:C


      None of this relates remotely to the probable synoptic position of Mark. I consider that “middle term” is a usage inherited from the invalid past, along with the term “Triple Tradition,” which presumes a literary independence which no reasonable person will now wish to affirm.


      A diagram with Mark at the top, and lines drawn to both Matthew and Luke, on the next level below, does not invite or justify the term “middle term.” “Common source” would be a lot more like it.


      I think the best thing to do with this whole vocabulary set is simply to disuse it.


      Respectfully so recommended,




      E Bruce Brooks

      Warring States Project

      University of Massachusetts at Amherst


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