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RE: [Synoptic-L] Questioning Questioning Q

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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      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 2 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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        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 3 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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          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 4 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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            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 5 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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              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 6 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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                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 7 of 12 , Sep 14, 2005
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                  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 8 of 12 , Sep 15, 2005
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                    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 9 of 12 , Sep 15, 2005
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                      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 10 of 12 , Sep 17, 2005
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                        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 11 of 12 , Sep 17, 2005
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                          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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