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Re: [Synoptic-L] Questioning Questioning Q

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  • 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 1 of 12 , Sep 15, 2005
      Just a couple of quick points in response to Bruce and Mark.

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

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

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


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

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

      Best wishes,

      Eric
      ----------------------------------
      Eric Eve
      Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
      Harris Manchester College, Oxford
      http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/
    • Karel Hanhart
      Eric, In the post below who is snipping whom in the following phrase, I end with one tiny ... You were citing Verheyden, I think, after his sentence, Once
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 17, 2005
        Eric,

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

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

        Karel



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


        >E Bruce Brooks wrote:
        > This recent volume (Intervarsity 2004) has received notice in Reviews of
        > Biblical Literature (5 Sept 2005),
        > Thanks for calling my attention to this review.
        > This rhetorical advantage of Q is very substantial. Verheyden makes
        > continual use of it and
        > of its even more sinister cousins. "We already know that objection" is
        > his
        > Leitmotif. It is not necessary to actually answer the objection. It
        > suffices
        > to point out that the objection is not novel.
        > My initial impression from reading Verheden's review is that he also not
        > entirely even-handed in his assumption of where the burden of proof should
        > lie. For example, his main critism of my contribution seems to be that I
        > have not proved that the doubts I raise about the possibility of a
        > reconstructed Mark apply to Q; but he has firstly not made clear what he
        > would count as such a proof and has secondly not offered a single argument
        > to the contrary. The unwritten assumption seems to be that the Q theory is
        > true unless it is *proved* to be false.
        > That's already a losing scenario. But in the view of this outsider, a
        > still
        > more impregnable aspect of Q, not logically or rhetorically but
        > practically,
        > is the fact that the community of believers will simply not accept GMark
        > as
        > the earliest, and thus most authoritative, version of the tradition of
        > Jesus. {snip] Central belief, as defined by that
        > community, requires to be supported by Matthew and Luke, and thus if
        > threatened by an authoritative GMark, as is presently the case, the
        > community is determined, by some means, to restore full authority to the
        > portions of Matthew and Luke not attested in GMark. [snip]
        >
        > [much snipped] It is suggestive that
        > the only non-Q theory to win significant modern support is the Griesbach
        > theory, which puts GMark in third position, and by doing so eliminates
        > the
        > problem which Q offers to solve in a different way. Once the threat of a
        > prior GMark is eliminated, the theoretical need for a Q Hypothesis
        > immediately vanishes, and the modern Griesbachians in fact dispense with
        > it.
        >
        > This being so (as far as I can detect from my outside position), it is
        > futile to think of convincing the larger community of the unreality of Q,
        > unless the Griesbach situation can itself become widely popular, which
        > does
        > not seem to be happening.
        > I would be more convinced by this if there were a demonstrable correlation
        > between faith stance and positions held on the Synoptic Problem, but I'm
        > not
        > at all sure that there is. So far as I am aware, it is not the case that
        > all
        > Q-sceptics are outside 'the community of believers' and all Q-supporters
        > within. I'm inclined to doubt even that a majority of FGH (Mark without Q)
        > supporters are hostile or indifferent to Christian belief.
        >
        > It may be that there's a vested interest in belief in Q, but if so, it is
        > probably not faith related; if it exists it is more likely be the vested
        > interest of 'scholarly orthodoxy' quite apart from 'religious orthodoxy',
        > namely that a great deal has been written on the gospels on the assumption
        > of the 2DH, and a great many standard textbooks and commentaries assume
        > it,
        > and that it's the assumed default position of a great majority of scholars
        > who are not particularly interested in examining the question for
        > themselves
        > since they have what are, to them, quite legitimately more interesting
        > questions to pursue. In particular (see my comments on Oxford below), I
        > suspect that such scholarly orthodoxies tend to be self-perpetuating since
        > they get passed on from one generation to the next - but positions can
        > shift
        > with time.
        >
        > Whatever the merits of "Questioning Q" as an argument (and I would be
        > interested to see a criticism by someone with standing in the field, yet
        > inclined toward the FG Hypothesis), I would thus judge that it was bound
        > to
        > fail in its intended purpose, namely, as a general deconvincement
        > concerning
        > Q. But as long as it is understood that the audience likely to be
        > receptive
        > to such an argument is probably numbered in the low teens (it is not even
        > clear to me that more than a small minority of the Synoptic List
        > subscribers
        > doubt the reality of Q), there is probably no harm in proceeding with it,
        > but essentially as a gratuitous exercise in logic, and in a small room
        > with
        > the door closed.
        > I have no idea what the proportion of Q-sceptics and Q-supporters is among
        > the subscribers to Synoptic-L, but it seems to me that a sizeable
        > proportion
        > of people who post here are Q-sceptics of one form or another (posts in
        > support of the 2DH here seem to be to be relatively rare). And in any
        > case,
        > your conclusion seems unduly pessimistic; to paraphrase, you seem to be
        > saying "don't bother with rational debate when vested interest holds the
        > field." If that's true, then we're all wasting our time!
        >
        > Again, I don't know how far the present generation of undergraduates may
        > be
        > indicative of future generations of scholars, but from the exam papers I
        > marked this summer I'd say Q-scepticism is every bit as popular as
        > Q-support
        > among undergraduates finishing at Oxford; of course, this probably
        > reflects
        > views on the synoptic problem held among their teachers, but it doesn't
        > suggest that Q-scepticism is such an unpalatable point of view that it's
        > only worth discussing among a few eccentric devotees of lost causes.
        > How, on that understanding, and assuming this list to be the room in
        > question, might one reasonably proceed de novo? I end with one tiny
        > suggestion.
        >
        > [much snipped]
        >
        > It fails, for instance, with the Question at Caesarea Philippi (Mt
        > 16:13-16
        > || Mk 8:27-29 || Lk 9:13-20), where the theory of independent invention
        > is
        > not plausible, since the coincidences would be too great. Some reliance
        > of
        > two of them ultimately on a third is (on those assumptions) unavoidable.
        > If
        > so, then we can proceed, with this one arbitrarily selected passage, to
        > ask:
        > in terms of directionality theory, where do the lines of connectedness
        > lie?
        > And at the same time, what motive can be assigned to the authorial
        > departures from what is explained by that connectedness? If
        > directionality
        > can be consistently assigned, AND if intelligible motives can be found
        > for
        > departures from directionality, then the Synoptic Problem (insofar as it
        > is
        > represented by this passage) would be solved, and the solution could then
        > be
        > checked for evidence of outside, non-Synoptic, sources - things remaining
        > unexplained by the solution.
        > The trouble is that arguments about authorial motives so often turn out to
        > be reversible, at least, that's how it's often appeared to me in previous
        > debates on this list. This is no doubt because quite a bit of subjectivity
        > comes into making such judgments; what appears plausible and compelling to
        > one scholar may not seem at all so to another. This is not simply because
        > we're all biased in favour of arguments that tend to support our own
        > position (though there's no doubt an element of that), but also because we
        > each have our own individual intellectual temperaments, and so we all make
        > (sometimes quite subtly) different evaluations on such issues as what
        > needs
        > to be explained, what counts as a satisfying explanation, and what is more
        > plausible than what.
        > Other approaches are doubtless possible, and I would be interested to
        > hear
        > what other List members think they might be. If the discussion of the
        > Synoptic Problem, intertwined as it presently is with the Q Problem, were
        > back at Day One. Right now, counting from Wilke/Weisse, it's at Day
        > 60,993,
        > and it seems to be at something of a dead end.
        > And there may be any number of reasons for that, of which the nature of
        > the
        > data is one that surely looms large.
        >
        > Thanks for your thoughts,
        >
        > Eric
        > ----------------------------------
        > Eric Eve
        > Research Fellow and Tutor in Theology
        > Harris Manchester College, Oxford
        > http://users.ox.ac.uk/~manc0049/
        >
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
      • Eric Eve
        Dear Karel, I m currently on holiday and won t be back at my desk for another two weeks, so I don t have access to correspondence to check this point. But from
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 17, 2005
          Dear Karel,

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

          Regards,

          Eric

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