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Re: [Synoptic-L] Anyone reading the conference papers? I want to discuss age of reconstructed Mk

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  • Peter M. Head
    Here is the relevant portion of the slightly less rough draft. Basically on these terms I agree with Tim, but with the nuance that we treat all three somewhat
    Message 1 of 8 , Apr 11, 2008
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      Here is the relevant portion of the slightly less
      rough draft. Basically on these terms I agree
      with Tim, but with the nuance that we treat all
      three somewhat individually. (And this has
      relevance to examining proposals for treating the
      minor agreements on the basis of non-harmonised
      readings in early versions of Mark, for example).

      I have already mentioned something
      of the new materials discovered and published in
      the first half of the twentieth century. In some
      ways, the century of the papyri has passed the
      synoptic problem by without making any
      particularly significant impact. While Matthew is
      well served in terms of the number of early
      fragments on papyrus from the late second and
      early third century (P104 = POxy 4404; P64+67;
      P103 = POxy 4403; P77 = POxy 2683&4405), not very
      much text is extant in these four witnesses.
      Indeed, judging by extant manuscripts up to the
      fourth century Matthew (along with John) was one
      of the most popular texts, extant in up to
      seventeen manuscripts, but most of these are only
      a portion of a single leaf, and in three cases
      (which includes P45) fragmentary portions of two
      leaves remain. Of course any evidence is
      important, and the extant fragments can tell us
      something about the relative popularity of the
      gospels (at least in Egypt), about the formats
      and contents of codices etc., but for the text of
      Matthew as a whole we remain dependent on the fourth century uncials.
      This is even more the case for Mark.
      One of the striking results from the last hundred
      years has been the lack of fulfilment of the
      looked for event which Turner mentioned – the
      hope that earlier manuscripts of Mark would
      emerge from the period before the major uncials.
      Indeed, with respect to the text of Mark our
      knowledge has barely moved in a hundred years. In
      the period before the uncials we have only a
      single manuscript: P45, a mid-third century
      codex, originally containing the four gospels and
      Acts, but now extant in only 155 verses, or
      approximately one quarter of Mark.[1] Even then
      this includes the maximal figure, since most of
      the Mark pages are considerably damaged. It is
      notable that if we take Oxyrhynchus material
      alone we have 13 copies of Matthew; 14 copies of
      John; 2 copies of Luke and none of Mark.[2]
      Unlike the other gospels then, we have no access
      to evidence of Mark before or outside of its
      inclusion into this (and then later) four gospel
      codices (unlike the other gospels). In fact the
      absence of Mark’s Gospel becomes a datum of
      significance which is both significant in its own
      right and also cries out for explanation
      (assuming, as I think we must, that this is not
      simply a random kind of variation).
      Only for Luke do we have early papyri with
      extensive amounts of text (esp. P75, but also P4
      and P45: 7 leaves; 5 mss in total for II-IV); and
      even more so for John (P66, P75: twenty mss in total from II-IV).
      Clearly it is a vital concern of NT textual
      criticism to study this early material (as well
      as the early patristic citations) in order to
      understand the transmission of the text back into
      the second century, but the fact remains that our
      knowledge of the text of Matthew and more
      especially Mark in the second - third centuries is extremely limited.

      [1] 4.36-40; 5.15-26; 5.38-6.3, 16-25, 36-50;
      7.3-15; 7.25-8.1, 10-26; 8.34-9.9, 18-31; 11.27-12.1, 5-8, 13-19, 24-28.
      [2] Matthew (13 copies), Luke (2 copies), John
      (14 copies), Acts (3 copies), Romans (4 copies),
      1 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1-2
      Thessalonians, Hebrews (3 copies), James (3
      copies), 1 John, Jude, and Revelation (3 copies).

      At 09:41 11/04/2008, Tim.Lewis wrote:
      >No, I was not suggesting that the Gospel of Mark
      >postdated either Matthew or Luke. I was asking
      >if, having better and/or earlier witnesses to
      >the texts of Matthew and Luke, whether our
      >reconstructed/critical text of Mark (NA27) more
      >likely reflected a later text than what we have
      >been able to do for Matthew & Luke. I.e. whether
      >our reconstruction of Mark gets us, say, a
      >reasonable mid-3rd century resemblance, while
      >our recontructions of Mt & Lk push us half a
      >century or so earlier? Has anyone made use of
      >such an argument before? Perhaps this is more so
      >a text critical question which would better suit a different E-list?
      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: E Bruce Brooks
      >To: synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      >Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 6:11 PM
      >Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Anyone reading the
      >conference papers? I want to discuss age of reconstructed Mk
      >To: Synoptic
      >In Response To: Tim Lewis
      >On: Reconstructed Gospels
      >From: Bruce
      >TIM: In answer to Bruce's second question (what is meant by "reconstructed
      >gospels?"): yes, it refers to text critics' best attempts at reproducing the
      >alleged 'earliest' texts (i.e. autographs of Mark, Matthew & Luke) i.e.
      >BRUCE: OK. If I rephrase the question this way:
      >"what is the relative age of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, as we know them via
      >Nestle-Aland 27?"
      >am I asking the same question? Otherwise, I think one is simply asking for
      >the publication date of NA27. I would proposed to answer it thus:
      >"The order of the final compositional versions of these texts is Mark,
      >Matthew, Luke."
      >Whether right or wrong in fact, does this qualify, in form, as an answer to
      >the question?
      >Tim's original question was: "Isn't our reconstructed text of Mark later
      >than that for Matthew and/or Luke?" I still find that perplexing. The signs
      >in the text (as known via the most up-to-date text criticism) seem still to
      >point to the conclusion that Mark is earlier than both Matthew and Luke.
      >Peter Head (mentioned by Stephen Carlson in his reply, not by Tim) on p259
      >of his book has this: "Our first and perhaps most obvious conclusion is that
      >*the traditional Christological argument for Markan priority is fatally
      >flawed and unable to support on its own the priority of Mark in relation to
      >Matthew*" [his italics, my capitalization]. It might then seem that he
      >claims to have refuted Markan Priority. Not at all. His second and third
      >conclusions are:
      >[2] "*the data we have surveyed provide little encouragement for modern
      >defenders of the Griesbach hypothesis.*" [ditto]
      >[3] "*the Christological argument, if transformed in such a way as to focus
      >on the positive redactional interests of the Evangelists, provides powerful
      >support for Markan priority.*" [ditto]
      >Peter's Oxford paper (cited by Stephen) seems minus its conclusion, but much
      >of what is extant does discuss the effect of text criticism on Synoptic
      >theory, particularly the fact that certain text critical decisions affect
      >the number of "minor agreements" to be dealt with by that theory. That is,
      >some MA are referred, by some text critics, to subsequent scribal
      >corruption, and not to the respective supposed originals (or better,
      >archetypes). I don't get the impression that Peter thinks that the MA vanish
      >as an issue, but we should let him speak for himself, presumably in the form
      >of a more complete draft. (Perhaps he already has; I notice that Oxford has
      >not freshened this portion of its web side since the middle of March).
      >E Bruce Brooks
      >Warring States Project
      >University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
      Peter M. Head, PhD
      Sir Kirby Laing Senior Lecturer in New Testament
      Tyndale House
      36 Selwyn Gardens
      Cambridge CB3 9BA
      01223 566601
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