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Questioning Questioning Q

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic On: Recent Review of Goodacre/Perrin: Questioning Q From: Bruce This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of Biblical
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 13, 2005
      To: Synoptic
      On: Recent Review of Goodacre/Perrin: Questioning Q
      From: Bruce

      This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of
      Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005), an SBL publication which I have the
      pleasure of receiving via E-mail. The review is by Joseph Verheyden, whose
      academic affiliation is incompletely specified in the review as "University
      of Leuven;" it is more precisely Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where the
      reviewer is manager of the Biblical Studies section of, and an Associate
      Professor in, the Faculty of Theology. The RBL reference, with link, is:

      "Goodacre, Mark and Nicholas Perrin, eds.
      Questioning Q: A Multidimensional Critique
      http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=4655
      Reviewed by Joseph Verheyden"

      The review again attests the slipperiness of Q, since the reviewer is able
      to parry challenges to the inclusion in Q of a particular passage by saying
      that not all Q votaries accept that passage. Thus, on p2, in refutation of
      Perrin, "The parable of the Great Banquet and that of the Pounds/Talents are
      not readily assigned to Q by each and every scholar who accepts the
      hypothesis." The intended message of this is that Perrin's challenge fails
      to reach its target. A logical fallacy is involved, but it would take a
      series of surrejoinders to establish that. Point to Verheyden.

      Another and more general factor, pointed out years ago by myself, and
      probably obvious to all in any case, is that concessions or claims by any
      one Q votary are not binding on any other Q votary, so that a victory
      against Q in one small argument leads precisely nowhere: those arguments do
      not cumulate, nor are they available for reliance by future discussants. If
      for example it were to be bindingly conceded that (say) the Parable of the
      Banquet is not properly included in Q, and if thereafter all Q discussion
      would proceed on the basis of that material NOT BEING IN Q, progress in one
      or another direction might be made. The diffuse institutional structure of
      Q, even more than its tenuousness as a hypothetical text, essentially
      stymies argument by preventing this sort of cumulation.

      This rhetorical advantage of Q is very substantial. Verheyden makes
      continual use of it and
      of its even more sinister cousins. "We already know that objection" is his
      Leitmotif. It is not necessary to actually answer the objection. It suffices
      to point out that the objection is not novel.

      That's already a losing scenario. But in the view of this outsider, a still
      more impregnable aspect of Q, not logically or rhetorically but practically,
      is the fact that the community of believers will simply not accept GMark as
      the earliest, and thus most authoritative, version of the tradition of
      Jesus. Doing so would wipe out a substantial portion of the Nicene Creed,
      which is not an endurable outcome. Central belief, as defined by that
      community, requires to be supported by Matthew and Luke, and thus if
      threatened by an authoritative GMark, as is presently the case, the
      community is determined, by some means, to restore full authority to the
      portions of Matthew and Luke not attested in GMark. There seems to be no
      point of central doctrine for which GMark is the sole support. Doctrinally
      speaking, GMark is dispensable: it might be dropped from the canon without
      doing the slightest damage to orthodox dogma. The same cannot be said of
      GMatthew or GLuke. If neither of them is the earliest Gospel, then for
      doctrinal reasons their *source* must be put into that position. This is
      precisely what the Q Hypothesis does, and it is the most intellectually
      credible way so far found of meeting this need. The community may not
      exactly buy Q in all its aspects, whatever exactly those aspects may be, but
      it far prefers to let Q be, if in doing so it can banish the spectre of
      undiluted Markan Priority.

      In early ages, the canonical position of GMatthew as first in sequence
      guaranteed it a certain implicit authority, which has been much reinforced
      in practice by its status as the ecclesiastically preferred Gospel.
      Augustinian and other early pronouncements merely strengthened that implicit
      position. As soon, however, as scholarship seriously raised the possibility
      that the cruder GMark might be chronologically earlier, it also raised the
      possibility that the material in Matthew and Luke but not in GMark had
      separate claims on primacy, going back to a document either equal or
      superior to GMark in germs of antiquity and thus authority. One emblematic
      date seems to be 1838, with the virtually simultaneous publications of Wilke
      (Markan Priority) and Weisse (Markan Priority plus Q). It is suggestive that
      the only non-Q theory to win significant modern support is the Griesbach
      theory, which puts GMark in third position, and by doing so eliminates the
      problem which Q offers to solve in a different way. Once the threat of a
      prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
      immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact dispense with it.

      This being so (as far as I can detect from my outside position), it is
      futile to think of convincing the larger community of the unreality of Q,
      unless the Griesbach situation can itself become widely popular, which does
      not seem to be happening.

      In my field (early China), we have a situation where certain myths (eg, the
      Yellow Emperor) which were propounded by orthodox theory and are now
      embraced by the general (Chinese and international) public, are at the same
      time widely doubted in the international critical scholarly community. As
      far as I am aware, in what I might call the Early Christianity field, the
      international critical scholarly community and the circle of believers
      exactly coincide. This is an entirely different situation. In terms of
      strategy, it means that there is no substantial group to which an argument
      against Q (or some functional anti-Markan equivalent) might be addressed
      with any realistic hope of success.

      Whatever the merits of "Questioning Q" as an argument (and I would be
      interested to see a criticism by someone with standing in the field, yet
      inclined toward the FG Hypothesis), I would thus judge that it was bound to
      fail in its intended purpose, namely, as a general deconvincement concerning
      Q. But as long as it is understood that the audience likely to be receptive
      to such an argument is probably numbered in the low teens (it is not even
      clear to me that more than a small minority of the Synoptic List subscribers
      doubt the reality of Q), there is probably no harm in proceeding with it,
      but essentially as a gratuitous exercise in logic, and in a small room with
      the door closed.

      How, on that understanding, and assuming this list to be the room in
      question, might one reasonably proceed de novo? I end with one tiny
      suggestion.

      It is frequently assumed (and that assumption is sometimes tacit in
      Questioning Q and also in the review here cited) that the Synoptists were
      simply copyists, so that any divergences between them can only be accounted
      for by positing an outside source. We might then, as an experiment, start
      with the extreme opposite assumption: that the Synoptics were the only
      sources for the Synoptics, and except where it can be shown to be otherwise,
      that each invented all his material. By accounting for their contents as far
      as possible on that basis, one might then see where that basis fails, and
      where the hypothesis of an outside, non-Synoptic source (including a memory
      of the preaching of Peter; whatever) becomes unavoidable. The nature of that
      outside source (or sources) might then be clarified, and a match or mismatch
      with Q as presently envisioned (not to mention proto-Luke and other
      hypothetical documents which once had a substantial scholarly following)
      might be determined. That is, putting the Synoptic question in its modern
      and most general form, how far will the assumption of strictly *authorial*
      function in AMt, AMk, and ALk, and of the remaining Synoptics as preferred
      sources where that assumption fails, carry us?

      It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt 16:13-16
      || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent invention is
      not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some reliance of
      two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions) unavoidable. If
      so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected passage, to ask:
      in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of connectedness lie?
      And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the authorial
      departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If directionality
      can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can be found for
      departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem (insofar as it is
      represented by this passage) would be solved, and the solution could then be
      checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources - things remaining
      unexplained by the solution.

      And so on, for a second arbitrarily selected passage.

      Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to hear
      what other List members think they might be. If the discussion of the
      Synoptic Problem, intertwined as it presently is with the Q Problem, were
      back at Day One. Right now, counting from Wilke/Weisse, it's at Day 60,993,
      and it seems to be at something of a dead end.

      Bruce

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Eric Eve
      E Bruce Brooks wrote: This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005), Thanks for calling my
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
        E Bruce Brooks wrote:
        This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of
        Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005),
        Thanks for calling my attention to this review.
        This rhetorical advantage of Q is very substantial. Verheyden makes
        continual use of it and
        of its even more sinister cousins. "We already know that objection" is his
        Leitmotif. It is not necessary to actually answer the objection. It
        suffices
        to point out that the objection is not novel.
        My initial impression from reading Verheden's review is that he also not
        entirely even-handed in his assumption of where the burden of proof should
        lie. For example, his main critism of my contribution seems to be that I
        have not proved that the doubts I raise about the possibility of a
        reconstructed Mark apply to Q; but he has firstly not made clear what he
        would count as such a proof and has secondly not offered a single argument
        to the contrary. The unwritten assumption seems to be that the Q theory is
        true unless it is *proved* to be false.
        That's already a losing scenario. But in the view of this outsider, a
        still
        more impregnable aspect of Q, not logically or rhetorically but
        practically,
        is the fact that the community of believers will simply not accept GMark
        as
        the earliest, and thus most authoritative, version of the tradition of
        Jesus. {snip] Central belief, as defined by that
        community, requires to be supported by Matthew and Luke, and thus if
        threatened by an authoritative GMark, as is presently the case, the
        community is determined, by some means, to restore full authority to the
        portions of Matthew and Luke not attested in GMark. [snip]

        [much snipped] It is suggestive that
        the only non-Q theory to win significant modern support is the Griesbach
        theory, which puts GMark in third position, and by doing so eliminates the
        problem which Q offers to solve in a different way. Once the threat of a
        prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
        immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact dispense with
        it.

        This being so (as far as I can detect from my outside position), it is
        futile to think of convincing the larger community of the unreality of Q,
        unless the Griesbach situation can itself become widely popular, which
        does
        not seem to be happening.
        I would be more convinced by this if there were a demonstrable correlation
        between faith stance and positions held on the Synoptic Problem, but I'm not
        at all sure that there is. So far as I am aware, it is not the case that all
        Q-sceptics are outside 'the community of believers' and all Q-supporters
        within. I'm inclined to doubt even that a majority of FGH (Mark without Q)
        supporters are hostile or indifferent to Christian belief.

        It may be that there's a vested interest in belief in Q, but if so, it is
        probably not faith related; if it exists it is more likely be the vested
        interest of 'scholarly orthodoxy' quite apart from 'religious orthodoxy',
        namely that a great deal has been written on the gospels on the assumption
        of the 2DH, and a great many standard textbooks and commentaries assume it,
        and that it's the assumed default position of a great majority of scholars
        who are not particularly interested in examining the question for themselves
        since they have what are, to them, quite legitimately more interesting
        questions to pursue. In particular (see my comments on Oxford below), I
        suspect that such scholarly orthodoxies tend to be self-perpetuating since
        they get passed on from one generation to the next - but positions can shift
        with time.

        Whatever the merits of "Questioning Q" as an argument (and I would be
        interested to see a criticism by someone with standing in the field, yet
        inclined toward the FG Hypothesis), I would thus judge that it was bound
        to
        fail in its intended purpose, namely, as a general deconvincement
        concerning
        Q. But as long as it is understood that the audience likely to be
        receptive
        to such an argument is probably numbered in the low teens (it is not even
        clear to me that more than a small minority of the Synoptic List
        subscribers
        doubt the reality of Q), there is probably no harm in proceeding with it,
        but essentially as a gratuitous exercise in logic, and in a small room
        with
        the door closed.
        I have no idea what the proportion of Q-sceptics and Q-supporters is among
        the subscribers to Synoptic-L, but it seems to me that a sizeable proportion
        of people who post here are Q-sceptics of one form or another (posts in
        support of the 2DH here seem to be to be relatively rare). And in any case,
        your conclusion seems unduly pessimistic; to paraphrase, you seem to be
        saying "don't bother with rational debate when vested interest holds the
        field." If that's true, then we're all wasting our time!

        Again, I don't know how far the present generation of undergraduates may be
        indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
        marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as Q-support
        among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably reflects
        views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
        suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
        only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.
        How, on that understanding, and assuming this list to be the room in
        question, might one reasonably proceed de novo? I end with one tiny
        suggestion.

        [much snipped]

        It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
        16:13-16
        || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent invention is
        not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some reliance of
        two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions) unavoidable.
        If
        so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected passage, to
        ask:
        in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of connectedness
        lie?
        And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the authorial
        departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If directionality
        can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can be found for
        departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem (insofar as it
        is
        represented by this passage) would be solved, and the solution could then
        be
        checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources - things remaining
        unexplained by the solution.
        The trouble is that arguments about authorial motives so often turn out to
        be reversible, at least, that's how it's often appeared to me in previous
        debates on this list. This is no doubt because quite a bit of subjectivity
        comes into making such judgments; what appears plausible and compelling to
        one scholar may not seem at all so to another. This is not simply because
        we're all biased in favour of arguments that tend to support our own
        position (though there's no doubt an element of that), but also because we
        each have our own individual intellectual temperaments, and so we all make
        (sometimes quite subtly) different evaluations on such issues as what needs
        to be explained, what counts as a satisfying explanation, and what is more
        plausible than what.
        Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to hear
        what other List members think they might be. If the discussion of the
        Synoptic Problem, intertwined as it presently is with the Q Problem, were
        back at Day One. Right now, counting from Wilke/Weisse, it's at Day
        60,993,
        and it seems to be at something of a dead end.
        And there may be any number of reasons for that, of which the nature of the
        data is one that surely looms large.

        Thanks for your thoughts,

        Eric
        ----------------------------------
        Eric Eve
        Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
        Harris Manchester College, Oxford
        http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Eric Eve
        Unfortunately Yahoo Groups stripped out the formatting from my last post which would have made it clear where I was quoting and where replying, rendering the
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
          Unfortunately Yahoo Groups stripped out the formatting from my last post
          which would have made it clear where I was quoting and where replying,
          rendering the resulting text incomprehensible - what I thought I'd sent
          wasn't what arrived! So here's a second attempt which hopefully makes it a
          bit clearer. Apologies for any confusion.

          E Bruce Brooks wrote:
          This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of
          Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005),
          [EE:]
          Thanks for calling my attention to this review.
          [EBB:]
          This rhetorical advantage of Q is very substantial. Verheyden makes
          continual use of it and
          of its even more sinister cousins. "We already know that objection" is his
          Leitmotif. It is not necessary to actually answer the objection. It
          suffices
          to point out that the objection is not novel.
          [EE:]
          My initial impression from reading Verheden's review is that he also not
          entirely even-handed in his assumption of where the burden of proof should
          lie. For example, his main critism of my contribution seems to be that I
          have not proved that the doubts I raise about the possibility of a
          reconstructed Mark apply to Q; but he has firstly not made clear what he
          would count as such a proof and has secondly not offered a single argument
          to the contrary. The unwritten assumption seems to be that the Q theory is
          true unless it is *proved* to be false.
          [EBB:]
          That's already a losing scenario. But in the view of this outsider, a
          still
          more impregnable aspect of Q, not logically or rhetorically but
          practically,
          is the fact that the community of believers will simply not accept GMark
          as
          the earliest, and thus most authoritative, version of the tradition of
          Jesus. {snip] Central belief, as defined by that
          community, requires to be supported by Matthew and Luke, and thus if
          threatened by an authoritative GMark, as is presently the case, the
          community is determined, by some means, to restore full authority to the
          portions of Matthew and Luke not attested in GMark. [snip]

          [much snipped] It is suggestive that
          the only non-Q theory to win significant modern support is the Griesbach
          theory, which puts GMark in third position, and by doing so eliminates the
          problem which Q offers to solve in a different way. Once the threat of a
          prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
          immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact dispense with
          it.

          This being so (as far as I can detect from my outside position), it is
          futile to think of convincing the larger community of the unreality of Q,
          unless the Griesbach situation can itself become widely popular, which
          does
          not seem to be happening.
          [EE:]
          I would be more convinced by this if there were a demonstrable correlation
          between faith stance and positions held on the Synoptic Problem, but I'm not
          at all sure that there is. So far as I am aware, it is not the case that all
          Q-sceptics are outside 'the community of believers' and all Q-supporters
          within. I'm inclined to doubt even that a majority of FGH (Mark without Q)
          supporters are hostile or indifferent to Christian belief.

          It may be that there's a vested interest in belief in Q, but if so, it is
          probably not faith related; if it exists it is more likely be the vested
          interest of 'scholarly orthodoxy' quite apart from 'religious orthodoxy',
          namely that a great deal has been written on the gospels on the assumption
          of the 2DH, and a great many standard textbooks and commentaries assume it,
          and that it's the assumed default position of a great majority of scholars
          who are not particularly interested in examining the question for themselves
          since they have what are, to them, quite legitimately more interesting
          questions to pursue. In particular (see my comments on Oxford below), I
          suspect that such scholarly orthodoxies tend to be self-perpetuating since
          they get passed on from one generation to the next - but positions can shift
          with time.

          [EBB:]
          Whatever the merits of "Questioning Q" as an argument (and I would be
          interested to see a criticism by someone with standing in the field, yet
          inclined toward the FG Hypothesis), I would thus judge that it was bound
          to
          fail in its intended purpose, namely, as a general deconvincement
          concerning
          Q. But as long as it is understood that the audience likely to be
          receptive
          to such an argument is probably numbered in the low teens (it is not even
          clear to me that more than a small minority of the Synoptic List
          subscribers
          doubt the reality of Q), there is probably no harm in proceeding with it,
          but essentially as a gratuitous exercise in logic, and in a small room
          with
          the door closed.
          [EE:]
          I have no idea what the proportion of Q-sceptics and Q-supporters is among
          the subscribers to Synoptic-L, but it seems to me that a sizeable proportion
          of people who post here are Q-sceptics of one form or another (posts in
          support of the 2DH here seem to be to be relatively rare). And in any case,
          your conclusion seems unduly pessimistic; to paraphrase, you seem to be
          saying "don't bother with rational debate when vested interest holds the
          field." If that's true, then we're all wasting our time!

          Again, I don't know how far the present generation of undergraduates may be
          indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
          marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as Q-support
          among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably reflects
          views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
          suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
          only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.
          [EBB:]
          How, on that understanding, and assuming this list to be the room in
          question, might one reasonably proceed de novo? I end with one tiny
          suggestion.

          [much snipped]

          It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
          16:13-16
          || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent invention is
          not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some reliance of
          two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions) unavoidable.
          If
          so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected passage, to
          ask:
          in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of connectedness
          lie?
          And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the authorial
          departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If directionality
          can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can be found for
          departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem (insofar as it
          is
          represented by this passage) would be solved, and the solution could then
          be
          checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources - things remaining
          unexplained by the solution.
          [EE:]
          The trouble is that arguments about authorial motives so often turn out to
          be reversible, at least, that's how it's often appeared to me in previous
          debates on this list. This is no doubt because quite a bit of subjectivity
          comes into making such judgments; what appears plausible and compelling to
          one scholar may not seem at all so to another. This is not simply because
          we're all biased in favour of arguments that tend to support our own
          position (though there's no doubt an element of that), but also because we
          each have our own individual intellectual temperaments, and so we all make
          (sometimes quite subtly) different evaluations on such issues as what needs
          to be explained, what counts as a satisfying explanation, and what is more
          plausible than what.
          [EBB:]
          Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to hear
          what other List members think they might be. If the discussion of the
          Synoptic Problem, intertwined as it presently is with the Q Problem, were
          back at Day One. Right now, counting from Wilke/Weisse, it's at Day
          60,993,
          and it seems to be at something of a dead end.
          [EE:]
          And there may be any number of reasons for that, of which the nature of the
          data is one that surely looms large.

          Thanks for your thoughts,

          Eric
          ----------------------------------
          Eric Eve
          Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
          Harris Manchester College, Oxford
          http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • E Bruce Brooks
          To: Synoptic In Response To: Eric Eve On: Verheyden Review of Q Q From: Bruce [To take note of Eric s followup message, the copy of his posting which reached
          Message 4 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
            To: Synoptic
            In Response To: Eric Eve
            On: Verheyden Review of Q Q
            From: Bruce

            [To take note of Eric's followup message, the copy of his posting which
            reached me direct had sidelining and blue highlighting, and was formally
            clear. The two copies that went through the server had that formatting
            stripped, and were much harder to figure out. Yahoo may now be removing
            RichText signals, and such. That being so, I still much prefer the format I
            adopt below (at which I arrived years ago for analogous reasons) - it is
            proof against any such code stripping. Respectfully suggested. / Bruce]

            Some interesting group rhetoric points here. I give my remarks for what they
            may be worth, it being understood that as an outsider my NT knowledge base
            is very limited. What they may be worth despite that is due to the fact
            that, in my own field, I have been in much the same position as the authors
            of Questioning Q. Some strategic considerations may be parallel. In that
            spirit, and hoping to apply some of these suggestions in my own future
            publications, here are some further responses.

            ERIC: My initial impression from reading Verheyden's review is that he also
            not entirely even-handed in his assumption of where the burden of proof
            should lie.

            BRUCE: It's clearly a hostile review, determined to defend Q rather than
            fully engage the book. For that purpose, any blunting of arguments offered
            will suffice. The phrase "weakest link" tends to turn up in such defensive
            review situations, and good luck with a rejoinder on the logical structure
            of the argument. Basically, book writing is an enterprise with no second
            chances. In view of this inevitable reviewer tendency, and with a thoroughly
            entrenched system like Q, it is probably good strategy to present the best
            arguments in logically simple form, avoid analogies, and avoid speculations.
            Anti-Q writing, from Farrer on down (to my outside eye) has tended to blunt
            its effect by adding in speculations about Gospel structure (Hexateuch
            schemes, Lectionary models, etc etc) which have their own difficulties of
            acceptance. The package as a whole demands too much new thinking, and may
            not be equally well grounded at all points. The first thing (on one view of
            the matter) is to get rid of Q. New thinking in the resulting vacuum can
            then more easily take place. A learned audience, at least the one I
            customarily address, can only take one step at a time. Hence (to my eye) the
            intrinsic difficulty of any "multidimensional" assault. It may blur rather
            than focus the root issue, and it may ask for agreement at too many points,
            some of which will inevitably appear less convincing than others.

            ERIC: . . . but he has firstly not made clear what he would count as such a
            proof and has secondly not offered a single argument to the contrary. The
            unwritten assumption seems to be that the Q theory is true unless it is
            *proved* to be false.

            BRUCE: Exactly how it looks to me, and I would guess, fully predictable. It
            might thus have been a good preliminary for the book's authors to assess
            what would count as proof, not to themselves, but to their potentially
            skeptical readers. Offering proofs (or refutations) outside that context,
            without knowing at what point one may validly write QED, is like playing
            tennis with no net. As far as the present game goes, for the great majority
            of potential readers, Q exists, and bears significant exegetical weight and
            doctrinal function. The burden of disproof thus automatically falls on those
            who doubt Q. This is not fair, it is not logical, but it would seem to be
            the rhetorical context. That context might then, with advantage to the book,
            have shaped the book itself more consistently. Thus an ideal chapter
            structure might have been, (a) identify the problem, the particular point
            being discussed, (b) state the rules, and only then (c) offer the
            demonstration. Some parts of the book do have that structure, but it is not
            consistently applied, and when present, it is not *insistently* presented.
            More uniformity (the same three steps in each chapter, over and over), and
            more labeling, and more boldface in the labeling (and a few more diagrams to
            break up the printblock, and a slightly larger typeface, and slightly wider
            margins, all those proved subliminal convincers of the mass market) might
            have made a more formidable challenge to Q, or to Verheyden et Cie. That
            repetitive method lacks literary finesse, it's maybe a little clunky, but so
            was the T-34 tank, whose merit was that it got the job done. There is no
            point running around antagonizing people, quite the contrary, and I always
            recommend framing arguments in terms of propositions rather than people (the
            constant ad hominem of Farmer surely grates on other reader sensibilities
            than just my own). But with the opposing proposals, it seems to me that
            there is also such a thing as being too subtle and too polite.

            ERIC: . . . I'm inclined to doubt even that a majority of FGH (Mark without
            Q) supporters are hostile or indifferent to Christian belief.

            BRUCE: I shouldn't think it requires hostility, or even indifference. I
            would imagine that it does require a decoupling of some of one's own
            beliefs, and that it presents severe challenges for anyone responsible for
            what is sometimes called the cure of souls, that is, other people's beliefs.
            If belief in the Virgin Birth is thought necessary to salvation, as standard
            creedal statements apparently claim, and if Mark is the earliest and best
            authority for the facts in the matter, and if Mark not only does not mention
            the Virgin Birth but evinces a Christology in which the Virgin Birth has no
            place (reaching a certain view of Jesus by a different route entirely; the
            word adoptionism might conceivably occur), then there is a sharp unavoidable
            conflict between scripture and belief. Not everyone tolerates that conflict
            equally well (some people can bracket off this and all miracle questions;
            others, not). It may then not be so surprising if people prefer a Gospel
            theory that keeps the conflict from arising in the first place. I note that
            the earliest statement about relative age of the Gospels asserted that the
            ones with the genealogies (and the birth stories) were the earliest. And I
            sense in this statement a move to protect precisely this segment of dogma.
            Is this an outlandish suspicion? And if it is a reasonable suspicion, does
            it not limit the zone of possible convincement?

            ERIC: It may be that there's a vested interest in belief in Q, but if so, it
            is probably not faith related; if it exists it is more likely be the vested
            interest of 'scholarly orthodoxy' quite apart from 'religious orthodoxy',
            namely that a great deal has been written on the gospels on the assumption
            of the 2DH, and a great many standard textbooks and commentaries assume it,

            BRUCE: From analogous experience and not from detailed inspection of NT
            structures, I would tend to doubt that the scholarly orthodoxy is entirely
            separate from the faith orthodoxy. I would suspect that it exists with some
            degree of tolerance from the faith orthodoxy. My reading in the early 20c
            literature of Gospel proposals repeatedly turns up situations where a
            scholar will make interesting philological suggestions in some chapter, but
            then conclude with three pages assuring the reader that this suggestion
            offers no challenge to faith (cf the Westcott/Hort insistence that no
            textual variant in the NT - repeat, NO textual variant - imperils any major
            doctrine). These people seem to have been well aware of a conflict in their
            potential readership, and my guess would be that they were correct in their
            assessment. But certainly the scholarly superstructures built within the
            parameters implied by this situation have their own weight, and require to
            be considered in the strategic thinking of anyone proposing to remove a
            major piece of the current edifice of conclusions.

            ERIC: Again, I don't know how far the present generation of undergraduates
            may be
            indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
            marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as Q-support
            among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably reflects
            views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
            suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
            only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.

            BRUCE: Students do tend to write what they think their teachers will
            approve, since so much depends on their teachers' approval. If Q-skepticism
            is spreading by this means, fine with me. But with any belief, it matters a
            lot how it is held. Are the youthful Q-skeptics merely memorizing the
            locally approved answer, or do they understand the structure of the argument
            by which that answer is reached? Even among friends or dependents, logic
            counts. It wears better than all the alternatives.

            As for "lost causes," I would prefer a softer phrase, but still: My library
            contains two previous books by MarkG assaulting Q. If they succeeded, what
            justified this third book? And if they failed, is not a reassessment of the
            chances of convincement, and the scope of its probable success,
            appropriately due? One addresses a well-defined audience differently than a
            general one. If the best hope is with the well-defined audience, then maybe
            . . .

            [I will defer discussion of my Caesarea Philippi suggestion to a separate
            note, this one being already too long. Let me end by saying that if Q Q gets
            rave reviews in other journals, implying wide acceptance and suggesting that
            Q is on the wane globally, nobody, including the authors, will be happier
            than myself].

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • Ron Price
            ... Bruce, I think we need to go back to first principles and approach the problem scientifically. Each of the main competing theories should be examined to
            Message 5 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
              Bruce Brooks wrote:

              > Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to hear
              > what other List members think they might be.

              Bruce,

              I think we need to go back to first principles and approach the problem
              scientifically.

              Each of the main competing theories should be examined to find all the
              'predictions' it makes. Where the theories make different predictions, these
              can be tested against the available data.

              Ron Price

              Derbyshire, UK

              Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
            • E Bruce Brooks
              To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron Price On: Synoptic Theories From: Bruce RON: Each of the main competing theories should be examined to find all the
              Message 6 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
                To: Synoptic
                In Response To: Ron Price
                On: Synoptic Theories
                From: Bruce

                RON: Each of the main competing theories should be examined to find all the
                'predictions' it makes. Where the theories make different predictions, these
                can be tested against the available data.

                BRUCE: Sounds like a job for a committee, and we don't have one. Why not
                instead, for starters, focus on one "prediction" that QH makes, and a
                prediction in that same area that FGH makes, and try adjudicating them? If
                that works, we can get a grant and hire the committee.

                Presumably this has been done at some point in the not scanty Q-dubiety
                literature, and some learned can simply cite a sample test passage or
                prediction pair. Would somebody please do that?

                Bruce

                E Bruce Brooks
                Warring States Project
                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
              • Mark Goodacre
                Thanks for the interesting messages, Bruce and Eric. A couple of minor notes in relation to this one: ... MARK: The review is also partial, i.e. it focuses
                Message 7 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
                  Thanks for the interesting messages, Bruce and Eric. A couple of
                  minor notes in relation to this one:

                  On 14/09/05, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...> wrote:

                  > BRUCE: It's clearly a hostile review, determined to defend Q rather than
                  > fully engage the book. For that purpose, any blunting of arguments offered
                  > will suffice. The phrase "weakest link" tends to turn up in such defensive
                  > review situations, and good luck with a rejoinder on the logical structure
                  > of the argument.

                  MARK: The review is also partial, i.e. it focuses only on those essays
                  Verheyden sees as potentially vulnerable. The same is true of Paul
                  Foster's recent review for ExpT. I know that this may be inevitable
                  in a review of a collection, but in terms of forwarding the discussion
                  of the Synoptic Problem, it is disappointing. For example, my own
                  essay on the quasi-text-critical rationale of the IQP ("When is a Text
                  Not a Text?") is addressed by neither; Olson's essay ("Unpicking on
                  the Farrer Theory") is not addressed by Foster; Peterson (on the order
                  of the double tradition) and Matson (Luke's Rewriting of the Sermon on
                  the Mount) are pretty well ignored by both and so on. [Note: Peterson
                  is misspelt Petterson].

                  BRUCE:
                  > Anti-Q writing, from Farrer on down (to my outside eye) has tended to blunt
                  > its effect by adding in speculations about Gospel structure (Hexateuch
                  > schemes, Lectionary models, etc etc) which have their own difficulties of
                  > acceptance. The package as a whole demands too much new thinking, and may
                  > not be equally well grounded at all points.

                  MARK: I agree, and have argued that this is one of the difficulties
                  with much Q sceptic writing (e.g. Chapter 1 of Case Against Q, and
                  "World Without Q" chapter in Questioning Q). I think that Goulder has
                  been at his best in some of his essays on the topic in the 1990s and
                  2000s, especially "Is Q a Juggernaut" and "Self-Contradiction in the
                  IQP", which have more limited goals. If one does not accept the
                  consensus position, it is important to think about one's strategies
                  for attempting to persuade colleagues that the consensus needs
                  re-examining.

                  > BRUCE: Exactly how it looks to me, and I would guess, fully predictable. It
                  > might thus have been a good preliminary for the book's authors to assess
                  > what would count as proof, not to themselves, but to their potentially
                  > skeptical readers. Offering proofs (or refutations) outside that context,
                  > without knowing at what point one may validly write QED, is like playing
                  > tennis with no net.

                  MARK: That may be a valid point, but as far as my own context is
                  concerned, I have already attempted to set out my own Case Against Q
                  in another book, and the purpose of this book was not to remake the
                  Case Against Q with a little help from my friends, but rather to go at
                  the problem in a different way, by raising a variety of questions of
                  the Q hypothesis, hence the title.

                  > BRUCE: I shouldn't think it requires hostility, or even indifference. I
                  > would imagine that it does require a decoupling of some of one's own
                  > beliefs, and that it presents severe challenges for anyone responsible for
                  > what is sometimes called the cure of souls, that is, other people's beliefs.
                  > If belief in the Virgin Birth is thought necessary to salvation, as standard
                  > creedal statements apparently claim, and if Mark is the earliest and best
                  > authority for the facts in the matter, and if Mark not only does not mention
                  > the Virgin Birth but evinces a Christology in which the Virgin Birth has no
                  > place (reaching a certain view of Jesus by a different route entirely; the
                  > word adoptionism might conceivably occur), then there is a sharp unavoidable
                  > conflict between scripture and belief.

                  MARK: But even if your argument here is valid, it is irrelevant to
                  the question of Q as it is framed for most of those writing in this
                  book, for whom Marcan Priority is not in doubt.

                  BRUCE: > Not everyone tolerates that conflict
                  > equally well (some people can bracket off this and all miracle questions;
                  > others, not). It may then not be so surprising if people prefer a Gospel
                  > theory that keeps the conflict from arising in the first place. I note that
                  > the earliest statement about relative age of the Gospels asserted that the
                  > ones with the genealogies (and the birth stories) were the earliest.

                  MARK: Let me recommend Stephen C. Carlson, "Clement of Alexandria on
                  the "Order" of the Gospels", _New Testament Studies_ 47 (2001):
                  118-25, reproduced at
                  http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/greek/clement.htm

                  > ERIC: Again, I don't know how far the present generation of undergraduates
                  > may be
                  > indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
                  > marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as Q-support
                  > among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably reflects
                  > views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
                  > suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
                  > only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.

                  MARK: I quite agree, and I have the same experience in Birmingham.
                  The difficulty I have is persuading students of the plausibility of Q
                  in the first place, long before I've had the chance to cover some of
                  the difficulties with it. I have talked to other teachers world-wide
                  on this problem and I know that this is a common experience. In my
                  experience, the problem is to get the students to a point where they
                  can understand why Q is a plausible hypothesis.

                  BRUCE: > As for "lost causes," I would prefer a softer phrase, but
                  still: My library
                  > contains two previous books by MarkG assaulting Q. If they succeeded, what
                  > justified this third book? And if they failed, is not a reassessment of the
                  > chances of convincement, and the scope of its probable success,
                  > appropriately due? One addresses a well-defined audience differently than a
                  > general one. If the best hope is with the well-defined audience, then maybe
                  > . . .

                  MARK: Is "this third book" in question Questioning Q? If so, are the
                  two previous books The Case Against Q and The Synoptic Problem: A Way
                  Through the Maze? If so, Questioning Q is a different book from Case
                  Against Q (see above) and, as it happens, it was Nick Perrin's
                  initiative. Way Through the Maze is a student guide so is quite
                  different from Case. As to whether either "succeeds" or not, I will
                  leave others to judge.

                  With best wishes
                  Mark
                  --
                  Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:Goodacre@...
                  http://NTGateway.com/goodacre
                  http://NTGateway.com
                • E Bruce Brooks
                  To: Synoptic In Response To: MarkG On: Q Q Q From: Bruce Always a privilege to be able to discuss a book with its authors. I find myself tempted accordingly
                  Message 8 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
                    To: Synoptic
                    In Response To: MarkG
                    On: Q Q Q
                    From: Bruce

                    Always a privilege to be able to discuss a book with its authors. I find
                    myself tempted accordingly into a line or two more:

                    MARK: The review is also partial, i.e. it focuses only on those essays
                    Verheyden sees as potentially vulnerable. The same is true of Paul Foster's
                    recent review for ExpT. I know that this may be inevitable in a review of a
                    collection, . . .

                    BRUCE: No. Simply no. A reviewer pressed for space might reasonably skip
                    some weak items in a miscellaneous Festschrift, but to pick only select bits
                    of an integrated joint work in a 5-page review (with more available; this is
                    an on-line journal) is a violation of scholarly expectations. Book review
                    editors exist to correct such imbalances before they see print. These two
                    editors seem not to have done their job, or perhaps to have done a different
                    job well. Of some 30 reviews of my Analects book, I know of two cases where
                    the editor ordered a negative review. It happens that both reviewers defied
                    those orders, but it takes a certain amount of nerve to do this. (Of the two
                    reviewers, the untenured one is now entirely unemployed in the field).

                    MARK: I think that Goulder has been at his best in some of his essays on the
                    topic in the 1990s and 2000s, especially "Is Q a Juggernaut" and
                    "Self-Contradiction in the IQP", which have more limited goals. If one does
                    not accept the consensus position, it is important to think about one's
                    strategies for attempting to persuade colleagues that the consensus needs
                    re-examining.

                    BRUCE: I agree about Goulder, and have been very glad to see him keep going
                    in recent years. The main thing, the first rule of politics, is not to drop
                    out. And I also agree that he has done well to focus more tightly. Knowing
                    when to stop is half of art. The Chinese have made practically a whole
                    philosophy out of this rather simple insight. (And perhaps in consequence,
                    Chinese literature runs much shorter than Greek literature on comparable
                    topics).

                    MARK: But even if your argument here [about the doctrinal threat of a Prior
                    Mark] is valid, it is irrelevant to the question of Q as it is framed for
                    most of those writing in this book, for whom Marcan Priority is not in
                    doubt.

                    BRUCE: I suspect that Markan Priority is widely accepted. It is the removal
                    of the insulating Q from that understanding, I suggest, that turns Markan
                    Priority into a threat to basic dogma. In the mind of the reader, and it is
                    the reader who counts in these calculations.

                    ERIC EVE [from previous post]: Again, I don't know how far the present
                    generation of undergraduates may be indicative of future generations of
                    scholars, but from the exam papers I
                    marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as Q-support
                    among undergraduates finishing at Oxford;

                    MARK: I quite agree, and I have the same experience in Birmingham. The
                    difficulty I have is persuading students of the plausibility of Q in the
                    first place, long before I've had the chance to cover some of the
                    difficulties with it. I have talked to other teachers world-wide on this
                    problem and I know that this is a common experience. In my experience, the
                    problem is to get the students to a point where they can understand why Q is
                    a plausible hypothesis.

                    BRUCE: I don't want to seem to coin a phrase, but preaching to the
                    unconverted is easy. They haven't yet gotten habituated to the wrong idea. I
                    can cite parallel experiences. If I explain classical text chronology to a
                    Chinese person educated in the sciences, the response is usually, "Of
                    course, perfectly reasonable." It's the country schoolmasters with their
                    thorough habituation to standard (but wrong) views who are nearly
                    impregnable to reason. My guess would be that the average human is willing
                    to learn something once, but not twice. Puts a premium on getting there
                    first, and hence (in this case), a premium on undergraduate education.

                    The more power, then, to those who are doing it.

                    MARK: As to whether either [Q book] "succeeds" or not, I will leave others
                    to judge.

                    BRUCE: They will anyway. But on what timescale? The Chinese in particular
                    take a long view of this sort of thing, and Chinese writers born into an
                    unreceptive century are often at pains to leave behind them something that
                    will prove convincing to the right kind of reader, who may take centuries to
                    turn up. Even in the short term, it's a useful discipline for contrarian
                    writers (I venture to suggest) to proofread with an eye to stylistic
                    durability. Is this argument too enshrined in the issues of the moment? Are
                    there allusions that won't survive the decade? Jokes that will date? Reti (I
                    believe it was) wrote his book on the middle game as a series of
                    animadversions against chess theorists with other views. In the second
                    edition, he took all that out, and simply presented his ideas as such. The
                    other theorists, the newspaper oracles of that particular decade, have
                    vanished into the past without a trace, but Reti (in his second edition) is
                    still read and respected. If one is gambling on outwearing the opposition
                    (and no other supposition really justifies writing, above the broadside
                    level), one may as well make the assumption that posterity won't be dealing
                    with that opposition.

                    Just a thought, offered by one who wants to see the enterprise succeed.

                    Bruce

                    E Bruce Brooks
                    Warring States Project
                    University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                  • John C. Poirier
                    ... This is really disconcerting, Bruce. I hope that this doesn t happen in the New Testament field, but I guess I shouldn t be surprised if it does happen.
                    Message 9 of 12 , Sep 15, 2005
                      E Bruce Brooks writes:



                      > Of some 30 reviews of my Analects book, I know of two cases where

                      > the editor ordered a negative review.



                      This is really disconcerting, Bruce. I hope that this doesn't happen in the
                      New Testament field, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised if it does happen.



                      In my experience, many editors don't even try to be even-handed. I once
                      submitted an article to a journal whose board of editors all pretty much
                      represented the point of view that I was attacking. I was naive enough to
                      expect them to judge my submission on its own merits, but they turned down
                      my article on the basis of something they found wrong with a single sentence
                      (which really had nothing at all to do with my larger argument and could
                      have been removed without any effect on the article whatsoever).



                      I've also had articles turned down on the recommendation of peer reviewers
                      who didn't understand what I was saying (although my language was clear
                      enough), but that's another problem.



                      Suffice it to say that if publishing really is a "game", it's one that isn't
                      always played fairly.





                      John C. Poirier

                      Middletown, Ohio





                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Eric Eve
                      Just a couple of quick points in response to Bruce and Mark. MARK: The review is also partial, i.e. it focuses only on those essays Verheyden sees as
                      Message 10 of 12 , Sep 15, 2005
                        Just a couple of quick points in response to Bruce and Mark.

                        MARK: The review is also partial, i.e. it focuses only on those essays
                        Verheyden sees as potentially vulnerable. The same is true of Paul
                        Foster's recent review for ExpT. I know that this may be inevitable
                        in a review of a collection, but in terms of forwarding the discussion
                        of the Synoptic Problem, it is disappointing. For example, my own
                        essay on the quasi-text-critical rationale of the IQP ("When is a Text
                        Not a Text?") is addressed by neither; Olson's essay ("Unpicking on
                        the Farrer Theory") is not addressed by Foster; Peterson (on the order
                        of the double tradition) and Matson (Luke's Rewriting of the Sermon on
                        the Mount) are pretty well ignored by both and so on.

                        BRUCE: No. Simply no. A reviewer pressed for space might reasonably skip
                        some weak items in a miscellaneous Festschrift, but to pick only select bits
                        of an integrated joint work in a 5-page review (with more available; this is
                        an on-line journal) is a violation of scholarly expectations. Book review
                        editors exist to correct such imbalances before they see print. These two
                        editors seem not to have done their job, or perhaps to have done a different
                        job well.

                        ERIC: I haven't read Paul Foster's review of Questioning Q in ExpT, but in
                        this case reviewer and editor are probably one and the same person; Paul has
                        commissioned quite a few reviews for the ExpT from me over the last couple
                        of years and has generally seemed happy with what I've provided him.


                        MARK: I quite agree, and I have the same experience in Birmingham.
                        The difficulty I have is persuading students of the plausibility of Q
                        in the first place, long before I've had the chance to cover some of
                        the difficulties with it. I have talked to other teachers world-wide
                        on this problem and I know that this is a common experience. In my
                        experience, the problem is to get the students to a point where they
                        can understand why Q is a plausible hypothesis.

                        ERIC: That's also borne out by the finals papers I marked in June; many of
                        the Q-Sceptical answers I read really didn't do justice to the Q hypothesis
                        in the first place; to be fair, though, the better answers probably did do
                        it as much justice as possible in the time available to both state and
                        criticize it under exam conditions.

                        Best wishes,

                        Eric
                        ----------------------------------
                        Eric Eve
                        Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
                        Harris Manchester College, Oxford
                        http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/
                      • Karel Hanhart
                        Eric, In the post below who is snipping whom in the following phrase, I end with one tiny ... You were citing Verheyden, I think, after his sentence, Once
                        Message 11 of 12 , Sep 17, 2005
                          Eric,

                          In the post below who is "snipping" whom in the following phrase, "I end
                          with one tiny
                          > suggestion.
                          > [much snipped]
                          > It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
                          > 16:13-16

                          You were citing Verheyden, I think, after his sentence, "Once the threat of
                          a
                          > prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
                          > immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact dispense with
                          > it." Didn't your reply begin after that point?
                          Why would you 'snip'your own answer? Please, clarify.

                          Karel



                          ----- Original Message -----
                          From: "Eric Eve" <eric.eve@...>
                          To: <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>
                          Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:23 PM
                          Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Questioning Questioning Q


                          >E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                          > This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of
                          > Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005),
                          > Thanks for calling my attention to this review.
                          > This rhetorical advantage of Q is very substantial. Verheyden makes
                          > continual use of it and
                          > of its even more sinister cousins. "We already know that objection" is
                          > his
                          > Leitmotif. It is not necessary to actually answer the objection. It
                          > suffices
                          > to point out that the objection is not novel.
                          > My initial impression from reading Verheden's review is that he also not
                          > entirely even-handed in his assumption of where the burden of proof should
                          > lie. For example, his main critism of my contribution seems to be that I
                          > have not proved that the doubts I raise about the possibility of a
                          > reconstructed Mark apply to Q; but he has firstly not made clear what he
                          > would count as such a proof and has secondly not offered a single argument
                          > to the contrary. The unwritten assumption seems to be that the Q theory is
                          > true unless it is *proved* to be false.
                          > That's already a losing scenario. But in the view of this outsider, a
                          > still
                          > more impregnable aspect of Q, not logically or rhetorically but
                          > practically,
                          > is the fact that the community of believers will simply not accept GMark
                          > as
                          > the earliest, and thus most authoritative, version of the tradition of
                          > Jesus. {snip] Central belief, as defined by that
                          > community, requires to be supported by Matthew and Luke, and thus if
                          > threatened by an authoritative GMark, as is presently the case, the
                          > community is determined, by some means, to restore full authority to the
                          > portions of Matthew and Luke not attested in GMark. [snip]
                          >
                          > [much snipped] It is suggestive that
                          > the only non-Q theory to win significant modern support is the Griesbach
                          > theory, which puts GMark in third position, and by doing so eliminates
                          > the
                          > problem which Q offers to solve in a different way. Once the threat of a
                          > prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
                          > immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact dispense with
                          > it.
                          >
                          > This being so (as far as I can detect from my outside position), it is
                          > futile to think of convincing the larger community of the unreality of Q,
                          > unless the Griesbach situation can itself become widely popular, which
                          > does
                          > not seem to be happening.
                          > I would be more convinced by this if there were a demonstrable correlation
                          > between faith stance and positions held on the Synoptic Problem, but I'm
                          > not
                          > at all sure that there is. So far as I am aware, it is not the case that
                          > all
                          > Q-sceptics are outside 'the community of believers' and all Q-supporters
                          > within. I'm inclined to doubt even that a majority of FGH (Mark without Q)
                          > supporters are hostile or indifferent to Christian belief.
                          >
                          > It may be that there's a vested interest in belief in Q, but if so, it is
                          > probably not faith related; if it exists it is more likely be the vested
                          > interest of 'scholarly orthodoxy' quite apart from 'religious orthodoxy',
                          > namely that a great deal has been written on the gospels on the assumption
                          > of the 2DH, and a great many standard textbooks and commentaries assume
                          > it,
                          > and that it's the assumed default position of a great majority of scholars
                          > who are not particularly interested in examining the question for
                          > themselves
                          > since they have what are, to them, quite legitimately more interesting
                          > questions to pursue. In particular (see my comments on Oxford below), I
                          > suspect that such scholarly orthodoxies tend to be self-perpetuating since
                          > they get passed on from one generation to the next - but positions can
                          > shift
                          > with time.
                          >
                          > Whatever the merits of "Questioning Q" as an argument (and I would be
                          > interested to see a criticism by someone with standing in the field, yet
                          > inclined toward the FG Hypothesis), I would thus judge that it was bound
                          > to
                          > fail in its intended purpose, namely, as a general deconvincement
                          > concerning
                          > Q. But as long as it is understood that the audience likely to be
                          > receptive
                          > to such an argument is probably numbered in the low teens (it is not even
                          > clear to me that more than a small minority of the Synoptic List
                          > subscribers
                          > doubt the reality of Q), there is probably no harm in proceeding with it,
                          > but essentially as a gratuitous exercise in logic, and in a small room
                          > with
                          > the door closed.
                          > I have no idea what the proportion of Q-sceptics and Q-supporters is among
                          > the subscribers to Synoptic-L, but it seems to me that a sizeable
                          > proportion
                          > of people who post here are Q-sceptics of one form or another (posts in
                          > support of the 2DH here seem to be to be relatively rare). And in any
                          > case,
                          > your conclusion seems unduly pessimistic; to paraphrase, you seem to be
                          > saying "don't bother with rational debate when vested interest holds the
                          > field." If that's true, then we're all wasting our time!
                          >
                          > Again, I don't know how far the present generation of undergraduates may
                          > be
                          > indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
                          > marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as
                          > Q-support
                          > among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably
                          > reflects
                          > views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
                          > suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
                          > only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.
                          > How, on that understanding, and assuming this list to be the room in
                          > question, might one reasonably proceed de novo? I end with one tiny
                          > suggestion.
                          >
                          > [much snipped]
                          >
                          > It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
                          > 16:13-16
                          > || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent invention
                          > is
                          > not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some reliance
                          > of
                          > two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions) unavoidable.
                          > If
                          > so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected passage, to
                          > ask:
                          > in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of connectedness
                          > lie?
                          > And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the authorial
                          > departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If
                          > directionality
                          > can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can be found
                          > for
                          > departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem (insofar as it
                          > is
                          > represented by this passage) would be solved, and the solution could then
                          > be
                          > checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources - things remaining
                          > unexplained by the solution.
                          > The trouble is that arguments about authorial motives so often turn out to
                          > be reversible, at least, that's how it's often appeared to me in previous
                          > debates on this list. This is no doubt because quite a bit of subjectivity
                          > comes into making such judgments; what appears plausible and compelling to
                          > one scholar may not seem at all so to another. This is not simply because
                          > we're all biased in favour of arguments that tend to support our own
                          > position (though there's no doubt an element of that), but also because we
                          > each have our own individual intellectual temperaments, and so we all make
                          > (sometimes quite subtly) different evaluations on such issues as what
                          > needs
                          > to be explained, what counts as a satisfying explanation, and what is more
                          > plausible than what.
                          > Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to
                          > hear
                          > what other List members think they might be. If the discussion of the
                          > Synoptic Problem, intertwined as it presently is with the Q Problem, were
                          > back at Day One. Right now, counting from Wilke/Weisse, it's at Day
                          > 60,993,
                          > and it seems to be at something of a dead end.
                          > And there may be any number of reasons for that, of which the nature of
                          > the
                          > data is one that surely looms large.
                          >
                          > Thanks for your thoughts,
                          >
                          > Eric
                          > ----------------------------------
                          > Eric Eve
                          > Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
                          > Harris Manchester College, Oxford
                          > http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          >
                        • Eric Eve
                          Dear Karel, I m currently on holiday and won t be back at my desk for another two weeks, so I don t have access to correspondence to check this point. But from
                          Message 12 of 12 , Sep 17, 2005
                            Dear Karel,

                            I'm currently on holiday and won't be back at my desk for another two weeks,
                            so I don't have access to correspondence to check this point. But from
                            memory and the presence of "[much snipped"], I'd say I was still citing
                            Verheyden at that point.

                            Regards,

                            Eric

                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > From: Karel Hanhart [mailto:k.hanhart@...]
                            > Sent: 17 September 2005 10:42
                            > To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com; Eric Eve
                            > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Questioning Questioning Q
                            >
                            >
                            > Eric,
                            >
                            > In the post below who is "snipping" whom in the following phrase, "I end
                            > with one tiny
                            > > suggestion.
                            > > [much snipped]
                            > > It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
                            > > 16:13-16
                            >
                            > You were citing Verheyden, I think, after his sentence, "Once the
                            > threat of
                            > a
                            > > prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
                            > > immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact
                            > dispense with
                            > > it." Didn't your reply begin after that point?
                            > Why would you 'snip'your own answer? Please, clarify.
                            >
                            > Karel
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ----- Original Message -----
                            > From: "Eric Eve" <eric.eve@...>
                            > To: <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2005 3:23 PM
                            > Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Questioning Questioning Q
                            >
                            >
                            > >E Bruce Brooks wrote:
                            > > This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in
                            > Reviews of
                            > > Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005),
                            > > Thanks for calling my attention to this review.
                            > > This rhetorical advantage of Q is very substantial. Verheyden makes
                            > > continual use of it and
                            > > of its even more sinister cousins. "We already know that objection" is
                            > > his
                            > > Leitmotif. It is not necessary to actually answer the objection. It
                            > > suffices
                            > > to point out that the objection is not novel.
                            > > My initial impression from reading Verheden's review is that he also not
                            > > entirely even-handed in his assumption of where the burden of
                            > proof should
                            > > lie. For example, his main critism of my contribution seems to be that I
                            > > have not proved that the doubts I raise about the possibility of a
                            > > reconstructed Mark apply to Q; but he has firstly not made clear what he
                            > > would count as such a proof and has secondly not offered a
                            > single argument
                            > > to the contrary. The unwritten assumption seems to be that the
                            > Q theory is
                            > > true unless it is *proved* to be false.
                            > > That's already a losing scenario. But in the view of this outsider, a
                            > > still
                            > > more impregnable aspect of Q, not logically or rhetorically but
                            > > practically,
                            > > is the fact that the community of believers will simply not
                            > accept GMark
                            > > as
                            > > the earliest, and thus most authoritative, version of the tradition of
                            > > Jesus. {snip] Central belief, as defined by that
                            > > community, requires to be supported by Matthew and Luke, and thus if
                            > > threatened by an authoritative GMark, as is presently the case, the
                            > > community is determined, by some means, to restore full
                            > authority to the
                            > > portions of Matthew and Luke not attested in GMark. [snip]
                            > >
                            > > [much snipped] It is suggestive that
                            > > the only non-Q theory to win significant modern support is the
                            > Griesbach
                            > > theory, which puts GMark in third position, and by doing so eliminates
                            > > the
                            > > problem which Q offers to solve in a different way. Once the
                            > threat of a
                            > > prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
                            > > immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact
                            > dispense with
                            > > it.
                            > >
                            > > This being so (as far as I can detect from my outside position), it is
                            > > futile to think of convincing the larger community of the
                            > unreality of Q,
                            > > unless the Griesbach situation can itself become widely popular, which
                            > > does
                            > > not seem to be happening.
                            > > I would be more convinced by this if there were a demonstrable
                            > correlation
                            > > between faith stance and positions held on the Synoptic
                            > Problem, but I'm
                            > > not
                            > > at all sure that there is. So far as I am aware, it is not the
                            > case that
                            > > all
                            > > Q-sceptics are outside 'the community of believers' and all Q-supporters
                            > > within. I'm inclined to doubt even that a majority of FGH (Mark
                            > without Q)
                            > > supporters are hostile or indifferent to Christian belief.
                            > >
                            > > It may be that there's a vested interest in belief in Q, but if
                            > so, it is
                            > > probably not faith related; if it exists it is more likely be the vested
                            > > interest of 'scholarly orthodoxy' quite apart from 'religious
                            > orthodoxy',
                            > > namely that a great deal has been written on the gospels on the
                            > assumption
                            > > of the 2DH, and a great many standard textbooks and commentaries assume
                            > > it,
                            > > and that it's the assumed default position of a great majority
                            > of scholars
                            > > who are not particularly interested in examining the question for
                            > > themselves
                            > > since they have what are, to them, quite legitimately more interesting
                            > > questions to pursue. In particular (see my comments on Oxford below), I
                            > > suspect that such scholarly orthodoxies tend to be
                            > self-perpetuating since
                            > > they get passed on from one generation to the next - but positions can
                            > > shift
                            > > with time.
                            > >
                            > > Whatever the merits of "Questioning Q" as an argument (and I would be
                            > > interested to see a criticism by someone with standing in the
                            > field, yet
                            > > inclined toward the FG Hypothesis), I would thus judge that it
                            > was bound
                            > > to
                            > > fail in its intended purpose, namely, as a general deconvincement
                            > > concerning
                            > > Q. But as long as it is understood that the audience likely to be
                            > > receptive
                            > > to such an argument is probably numbered in the low teens (it
                            > is not even
                            > > clear to me that more than a small minority of the Synoptic List
                            > > subscribers
                            > > doubt the reality of Q), there is probably no harm in
                            > proceeding with it,
                            > > but essentially as a gratuitous exercise in logic, and in a small room
                            > > with
                            > > the door closed.
                            > > I have no idea what the proportion of Q-sceptics and
                            > Q-supporters is among
                            > > the subscribers to Synoptic-L, but it seems to me that a sizeable
                            > > proportion
                            > > of people who post here are Q-sceptics of one form or another (posts in
                            > > support of the 2DH here seem to be to be relatively rare). And in any
                            > > case,
                            > > your conclusion seems unduly pessimistic; to paraphrase, you seem to be
                            > > saying "don't bother with rational debate when vested interest holds the
                            > > field." If that's true, then we're all wasting our time!
                            > >
                            > > Again, I don't know how far the present generation of
                            > undergraduates may
                            > > be
                            > > indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
                            > > marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as
                            > > Q-support
                            > > among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably
                            > > reflects
                            > > views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
                            > > suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
                            > > only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.
                            > > How, on that understanding, and assuming this list to be the room in
                            > > question, might one reasonably proceed de novo? I end with one tiny
                            > > suggestion.
                            > >
                            > > [much snipped]
                            > >
                            > > It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
                            > > 16:13-16
                            > > || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent
                            > invention
                            > > is
                            > > not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some
                            > reliance
                            > > of
                            > > two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions)
                            > unavoidable.
                            > > If
                            > > so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected passage, to
                            > > ask:
                            > > in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of connectedness
                            > > lie?
                            > > And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the authorial
                            > > departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If
                            > > directionality
                            > > can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can be found
                            > > for
                            > > departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem
                            > (insofar as it
                            > > is
                            > > represented by this passage) would be solved, and the solution
                            > could then
                            > > be
                            > > checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources -
                            > things remaining
                            > > unexplained by the solution.
                            > > The trouble is that arguments about authorial motives so often
                            > turn out to
                            > > be reversible, at least, that's how it's often appeared to me
                            > in previous
                            > > debates on this list. This is no doubt because quite a bit of
                            > subjectivity
                            > > comes into making such judgments; what appears plausible and
                            > compelling to
                            > > one scholar may not seem at all so to another. This is not
                            > simply because
                            > > we're all biased in favour of arguments that tend to support our own
                            > > position (though there's no doubt an element of that), but also
                            > because we
                            > > each have our own individual intellectual temperaments, and so
                            > we all make
                            > > (sometimes quite subtly) different evaluations on such issues as what
                            > > needs
                            > > to be explained, what counts as a satisfying explanation, and
                            > what is more
                            > > plausible than what.
                            > > Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to
                            > > hear
                            > > what other List members think they might be. If the discussion of the
                            > > Synoptic Problem, intertwined as it presently is with the Q
                            > Problem, were
                            > > back at Day One. Right now, counting from Wilke/Weisse, it's at Day
                            > > 60,993,
                            > > and it seems to be at something of a dead end.
                            > > And there may be any number of reasons for that, of which the nature of
                            > > the
                            > > data is one that surely looms large.
                            > >
                            > > Thanks for your thoughts,
                            > >
                            > > Eric
                            > > ----------------------------------
                            > > Eric Eve
                            > > Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
                            > > Harris Manchester College, Oxford
                            > > http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
                            > > Yahoo! Groups Links
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            > >
                            >
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