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Re: [Synoptic-L] Theory Types

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  • stephanie fisher
    I find this extraordinary: The other day I was looking at a chart of the major Synoptic theories. And I was struck by the almost opposite diagrams that
    Message 1 of 55 , Feb 4, 2009
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      I find this extraordinary: "The other day I was looking at a chart of the major Synoptic theories. And I
      was struck by the almost opposite diagrams that represent the two most
      widely accepted of those theories, together making up perhaps 98% of active
      NT specialists." How do you know what 98% of active NT specialists think and what is the evidence for this? I suggest that alot of scholars do not in fact go along with either of these theory types.

      Then that both theory types have the Sermon dated early, is also not always true, and that this is reflecting an insistence to preserve the most loved part of the tradition is without evidence.

      Stephanie Fisher
      Nottingham
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: E Bruce Brooks
      To: WSW
      Cc: Synoptic ; GPG
      Sent: Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:29 AM
      Subject: [Synoptic-L] Theory Types


      To: WSW
      Cc: Synoptic; GPG
      On: Theory Types
      From: Bruce

      CHINA

      I used to stare in amazement at the contrasting results that Sinologists
      were getting for the dates of some of the most basic and fundamental of the
      classical Chinese texts. DDJ (or Laudz): maybe 06c and maybe 04c/03c. The
      Sundz Art of War: maybe 06c and maybe late 04c. Dzwo Jwan: all over the map:
      08c to 01c inclusive; take your pick. I would say to myself, If we
      Sinologists were any good, we would surely be able to decide between these
      very widely spaced alternatives. We wouldn't forever be hovering around the
      tree, not knowing which branch to light on.

      Then I realized that the earlier dates preserve the possible authenticity of
      some very familiar and much loved stories. Confucius being chewed out by his
      senior contemporary Laudz. Sundz commanding the Army of Concubines, and
      beheading the two leaders thereof. The humiliation of an elsewhere respected
      figure; sex and violence - What's not to like?

      These images are the stuff of first acquaintance for Sinologists both native
      and international. They get into the skin of our perceptions long before we
      have any notion of critical evaluation; they are part of the air we breathe.
      It is very hard for anyone to divest themselves of so fundamental a part,
      not so much of the subject, as of their way of *coming at* the subject;
      their credentials of first admission. Thus does the precritical
      consciousness forever stymie, in the field as a whole, the operation of the
      critical consciousness.

      NT

      The other day I was looking at a chart of the major Synoptic theories. And I
      was struck by the almost opposite diagrams that represent the two most
      widely accepted of those theories, together making up perhaps 98% of active
      NT specialists. They were:

      Mk, Q
      -------
      Mt, Lk

      and

      Mt, Lk
      --------
      Mk

      In other words, with a slight difference, one is the other inverted. And my
      question again recurred: Can't these people tell up from down? Can't they
      resolve a directionality?

      Then I realized that both models have one trait in common: they preserve the
      early date of the Sermon on the Mount, which is by far the most appealing
      and popular bit of NT text, whether inside or outside Christianity proper.
      In its form as the alleged document "Q," and as dated by some Q votaries,
      the first of these two models even puts the Sermon almost a generation
      before the earliest of the narrative Gospels, the otherwise troublesome and
      problematic Mk.

      It seems to me that the hesitation on the one hand (to accept the hard
      evidence pointing to the later dates for DDJ and the Sundz Art of War) and
      the hesitation on the other hand (to accept the hard evidence pointing to an
      earlier date for Mark, as against the other Synoptics) are the same
      hesitation, and that they have at bottom the same explanation: an insistence
      on preserving the most loved part of the tradition as also the most
      authentic part of the tradition.

      INNER ASIA

      The surface arguments in each of these cases are many, learned, and cogent.
      But so are those on the other side, reminding a spectator of that famously
      balanced volume, The Date of Kaniska. I recall reading those spectacularly
      learned and crushingly persuasive arguments by eminent persons - equally so
      on both sides of the question. And thinking, how can this possibly be? Isn't
      one set of arguments somehow better than the other, albeit in a way that the
      mere bystander, stupefied by all this fame and learning, this avalanche of
      logic and eloquence, cannot detect?

      Probably not always. But in the two cases at hand, it seems to me that if we
      relinquish what we love about the subject, that is, if we relinquish
      ourselves, we get a better observed history. Is this a new thought? No, it
      is a classical thought: 19th century standard issue. Hamerton said it:

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/outline/bias.html

      and Ranke said it:

      http://www.umass.edu/wsp/methodology/outline/evidence.html

      And who am I to contradict them?

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts






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    • Chuck Jones
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      Message 55 of 55 , Feb 11, 2009
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