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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mk 5:1-20

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic In Response To: Stephen Carlson On: Preliminary Solutions From: Bruce I had earlier reaffirmed, in response to a comment by Mark Matson, my
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 23, 2009
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      To: Synoptic
      In Response To: Stephen Carlson
      On: Preliminary Solutions
      From: Bruce

      I had earlier reaffirmed, in response to a comment by Mark Matson, my
      previous suggestion that one may validly work on part of the Synoptic
      Problem, rather than on all of it at once, and that the result of that work
      may in principle be useful.

      To Mark's comment, not taking into account my response, Stephen had said in
      support:

      STEPHEN: "I believe this approach Leonard has objected to has been dubbed
      the "Lachmann Gambit" by the late David Dungan. In fact, we discussed this
      almost a decade ago on this very list. See: . . ."

      And at the referenced place we read in part:

      STEPHEN (1998): The issue, of course, is whether this particular "lemma" is
      even capable of approaching the complete solution. Eventually it may be
      useful, but the Griesbach solution must first be eliminated. . . .

      BRUCE: The implication is that before trying one approach, one must first
      decisively invalidate all other approaches. Never mind Griesbach, there is
      also Lindsay (Lukan Priority), not to mention any of the other museum pieces
      which Stephen has himself conveniently assembled on his web site. And for
      that matter, not everything that Michael Goulder writes about Luke, in
      support of the FGH (which on the whole I find convincing), should pass, in a
      really rigorous and orderly investigation, without criticism; some sifting
      of the wheat from the chaff.

      As a rule of procedure, I find this self-defeating. It would mean, for one
      thing, that all contributions to the Synoptic problem would need to be at
      least 1000 pages long, and by the rules of this list, no such contribution
      could ever appear on this list. If Stephen has made a contribution to the
      problem which meets his own implied criterion, or knows of anyone else who
      has, I should like to have the reference.

      Counsels of impossibility are not methodologically sound. As for "whether
      this particular lemma is even capable of approaching the complete solution,"
      I can only say that we won't know until we try. And it may not suffice as an
      objection to say that Neirynck has already tried. I find what I know of
      Neirynck's work to be admirably systematic, and at many points convincing,
      but I'm not prepared to write a monograph evaluating that work
      systematically, picking out what seem to me to be its less valid from its
      more valid points, and dealing with the objections, right or wrong, which
      may have been directed against them, over the last 50 years or so. That
      monograph would itself quickly assume the proportions of a lifework. It is
      surely not the most productive way to spend a life.

      The Synoptic Problem, like many other NT problems, is at many points simply
      a matter of directionality determination. The more points of directionality
      can be determined, the further along we are. To me, that is definitional. It
      does not mean that such determinations, one after another, will necessarily
      lead straight to the right answer. It depends, as these things always do, on
      the nature of the problem and on the character of our initial results. If,
      for example, we find that Luke is sometimes prior to Matthew, and sometimes
      with equal probability posterior to Matthew, then we will need to consider
      options, among which is the Q hypothesis; options which were not necessarily
      obvious at the outset.

      REFUTATION

      The idea of refuting Farmer, Stoldt, and company before beginning to work on
      the Synoptic Problem is not only prohibitively time-consuming, I think it is
      also fallacious. For what does it mean to refute Farmer? It is quite
      possible that Farmer is not wrong at every point, so which points are then
      the salient ones? A prior analysis of the structure of Farmer's thought
      would be required, in order to demonstrate that our spot refutation sufficed
      to disable Farmer's opinion in a particular context. Here again we approach
      the disabling, as a prerequisite for the useful. It does not work.

      Take something for which I have a good deal more respect: Goulder on Luke. I
      find that in general, he makes a good case for (a) Luke's reliance at many
      points on Matthew, and for (b) the Matthean character of many supposed "Q"
      passages. I also find that there are cases where, by the same sort of
      arguments, the Mt/Lk directionality is against him, eg the Beatitudes and
      the Lord's Prayer. Suppose this assessment to be correct. Does it mean that
      Goulder is wrong, as many have evidently concluded? I would say, No, it
      means that he is wrong part of the time. *Which* part of the time? There, I
      would suggest, is the operative second question.

      (And I will answer the operative second question, as far as I have got with
      it. I have the impression, which Ron Price would express somewhat
      differently, but perhaps in the end compatibly, that the Lukan passages
      which seem prior to the counterpart Matthean passages are all in the same
      area, and that area is the area of probable liturgical repetition: formulas
      of one sort or another that Luke did not learn out of somebody else's book,
      but simply through his own membership in his local Jesus group. We tend to
      regard Luke as a historian, assembling his gospel from sources, just as one
      of us might do, starting tomorrow, in our local library. We tend to forget
      that Luke was also a Christian).

      It thus seems to me that the concept of "refutation" is more complicated
      than Stephen has been allowing for, as well as less practical than he may
      have envisioned, and I invite him to reconsider his recommendation.

      If a date in some reference work has been shown to be a misprint, there is
      an end of it, and people who use that date should be apprised of their
      error. That some people are exercised about (for example) Lachmann, or about
      arguments from order in general, or about text types in general, is not a
      fact of the same character. It is an opinion in an area where other opinions
      can exist.

      Lachmann pointed to the fact that where Luke and Matthew diverge from the
      order of events in Mark, they do not do so in concert, but one at a time, or
      when they both diverge, they diverge in different directions. Suppose this
      were NOT true. What would the Synoptic Problem look like in that case? I
      submit that it would look very different than it does at present,
      analytically speaking. Mark is the common ground in the order of events in
      all the other Gospels. In addition, and in support, no other Gospel
      unambiguously shows knowledge of any source older than Mark. All other
      Gospel writers treat Mark with a respect not shown to any other probable
      source. All subsequent writers on matters Christian acknowledge the
      authority of Mark. Even if, like Paul, they sometimes do so inversely, by
      denying that what Mark says is of any importance (with the interesting
      exception that Paul does accept the authority of at least some of Mark's
      pronouncements on matters of church rule and practice).

      And so on. The field owes much to Lachmann, not excluding the first modern
      edition of the Greek NT. I personally think his suggestions about the
      Synoptic Problem may have their merits also. Whether that is so or not is a
      question that may have to await future research.

      Anyone's suggestions about the Synoptic Problem may have their uses as well.
      The test of their utility should not lie in a prior demonstration that
      everyone else is wrong, but rather, as with any other theory in any other
      field, in an estimate of how well they explain the data with which they are
      concerned. The success of one theory is the best refutation of the eleven
      other theories.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... The following page: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_xQxQ includes a table of the Double Tradition passages (referenced by chapter/verse in
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 24, 2009
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        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > Take something for which I have a good deal more respect: Goulder on Luke. I
        > find that in general, he makes a good case for (a) Luke's reliance at many
        > points on Matthew, and for (b) the Matthean character of many supposed "Q"
        > passages. I also find that there are cases where, by the same sort of
        > arguments, the Mt/Lk directionality is against him, eg the Beatitudes and
        > the Lord's Prayer. Suppose this assessment to be correct. Does it mean that
        > Goulder is wrong, as many have evidently concluded? I would say, No, it
        > means that he is wrong part of the time. *Which* part of the time? There, I
        > would suggest, is the operative second question.

        The following page:

        http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_xQxQ

        includes a table of the Double Tradition passages (referenced by
        chapter/verse in Matthew) which over five years ago I reasoned Luke derived
        from Matthew rather than the sayings source. Goulder was surely right in
        regard to all these passages, even if he was at least partly wrong in regard
        to the rest of the Double Tradition.

        In "Luke: A New Paradigm", Goulder's choicest comments supporting Luke's use
        of Matthew in connection with specific passages appear, I suggest, when he
        is discussing passages which I have assigned to Luke's use of Matthew. Thus
        on Lk 3:16-17 he refers to a major problem for Q; on Lk 4:1-13 and Lk 7:1-10
        he refers to the embarrassment these texts cause for his opponents; on
        10:21-22 he refers tongue in cheek to a Q apparently edited by Matthew; and
        on Lk 19:11-27 he finds that some of his opponents have come close to the
        view that Luke is straightforwardly editing Matthew.

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK
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