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Re: [Synoptic-L] Questioning Questioning Q

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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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