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Are most NT 'analysts' just not very good at analysing data?

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  • David @ Comcast
    The longer I lurk on or contribute to online forums (all to do with the NT, as it happens), the more I get the impression that, however good the contributors
    Message 1 of 6 , Aug 14, 2009
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      The longer I lurk on or contribute to online forums (all to do with the NT,
      as it happens), the more I get the impression that, however good the
      contributors are in their various specialties, for the most part (with
      notable exceptions) they're simply not very good at data analysis. In part I
      base this on the fact that the synoptic question still rages, despite what
      appears (to me at least) enough evidence to have eliminated most of the
      synoptic theories. Instead, we still have the situation where many people
      ignore valid arguments, push anomalies to one side, and explain away
      differences as either mistakes or deliberate changes without appearing to
      even attempt to look for other explanations. As a result, we end up with
      theory after theory regarding the creation of the NT (not just regarding the
      synoptics) that try to cram everything into very rigid, simplistic,
      frameworks and ignore whatever falls outside. Where are the attempts to
      provide a GUT (Grand Unified Theory) that tries to include things like:



      * The Western (B) text type
      * The ending of Mark
      * The multiple different endings of Romans
      * The variations in the ordering or the Paulines
      * Why we don't see any 'mini' Pauline collections centered on Paul's
      churches
      * Marcion, Thomas, etc.



      This is not meant to be a 'rant,' but simply a statement about the NT
      analysis world as I see it. Would anyone care to prove me wrong?



      David Inglis

      Lafayette, CA, 94549





      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Weaks, Joe
      David, It is true that there are some very bad uses of a presumed data set that in no way warrants reliable LOGICAL STATISTICAL analysis with any degree of
      Message 2 of 6 , Aug 14, 2009
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        David,
        It is true that there are some very bad uses of a presumed data set that in no way warrants reliable LOGICAL STATISTICAL analysis with any degree of certainty. Tyson on Synoptic data comes to mind, as well as Burridge's book on genre.

        However, one with a statistics background would never suggest the data set would prove a GUT nor even truly eliminate certain possibilities. When we work with data, we work with PROBABILITIES.

        I do join you in encouraging scholars to do good consultation with stat folks before relying upon false confidences.

        Joe Weaks
        Kansas City

        ________________________________________
        From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David @ Comcast [davidinglis2@...]
        Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 2:19 PM
        To: gpg@yahoogroups.com; Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Synoptic-L] Are most NT 'analysts' just not very good at analysing data?

        The longer I lurk on or contribute to online forums (all to do with the NT,
        as it happens), the more I get the impression that, however good the
        contributors are in their various specialties, for the most part (with
        notable exceptions) they're simply not very good at data analysis. In part I
        base this on the fact that the synoptic question still rages, despite what
        appears (to me at least) enough evidence to have eliminated most of the
        synoptic theories. Instead, we still have the situation where many people
        ignore valid arguments, push anomalies to one side, and explain away
        differences as either mistakes or deliberate changes without appearing to
        even attempt to look for other explanations. As a result, we end up with
        theory after theory regarding the creation of the NT (not just regarding the
        synoptics) that try to cram everything into very rigid, simplistic,
        frameworks and ignore whatever falls outside. Where are the attempts to
        provide a GUT (Grand Unified Theory) that tries to include things like:



        * The Western (B) text type
        * The ending of Mark
        * The multiple different endings of Romans
        * The variations in the ordering or the Paulines
        * Why we don't see any 'mini' Pauline collections centered on Paul's
        churches
        * Marcion, Thomas, etc.



        This is not meant to be a 'rant,' but simply a statement about the NT
        analysis world as I see it. Would anyone care to prove me wrong?



        David Inglis

        Lafayette, CA, 94549





        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



        ------------------------------------

        Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
      • Ken Olson
        ... analysis world as I see it. Would anyone care to prove me wrong?
        Message 3 of 6 , Aug 14, 2009
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          >>>This is not meant to be a 'rant,' but simply a statement about the NT

          analysis world as I see it. Would anyone care to prove me wrong?<<

          David,

          I don't see how anyone could prove you wrong. Your post seems too vague to be falsified. Perhaps you could reformulate it in order to encourage meaningful engagement. Could you tell us which major synoptic theories have been falsified and by what data? People might be willing to engage you on that.

          It seems like you are asking for someone to try to prove that no NT scholars have ignored valid arguments or explained away evidence that did not fit their theory. I think everyone supposes the other guy does that. Or perhaps you want to be shown that someone has proposed a unified field theory of NT documents that answers all questions and presents no problems. That's kind of a tall order. I doubt that's what you're really asking, but it doesn't come out clearly what you are looking for.

          Best wishes,

          Ken

          ABD, New Testament
          Duke University








          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Dennis Dean Carpenter
          David, perhaps you are confusing biblical studies with pure science. I ve really never heard of biblical studies courses found within a mathematics
          Message 4 of 6 , Aug 14, 2009
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            David, perhaps you are confusing biblical studies with "pure science." I've really never heard of biblical studies courses found within a mathematics department (though they might exist).

            Even in my applied statistics coursework and the actual work I implemented as an undergraduate and graduate, we always cautioned that data analysis was only an estimate of reliability.

            Dennis Dean Carpenter
            Dahlonega, Ga.


            ----- Original Message -----
            From: David @ Comcast
            To: gpg@yahoogroups.com ; Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 3:19 PM
            Subject: [Synoptic-L] Are most NT 'analysts' just not very good at analysing data?


            The longer I lurk on or contribute to online forums (all to do with the NT,
            as it happens), the more I get the impression that, however good the
            contributors are in their various specialties, for the most part (with
            notable exceptions) they're simply not very good at data analysis. In part I
            base this on the fact that the synoptic question still rages, despite what
            appears (to me at least) enough evidence to have eliminated most of the
            synoptic theories. Instead, we still have the situation where many people
            ignore valid arguments, push anomalies to one side, and explain away
            differences as either mistakes or deliberate changes without appearing to
            even attempt to look for other explanations. As a result, we end up with
            theory after theory regarding the creation of the NT (not just regarding the
            synoptics) that try to cram everything into very rigid, simplistic,
            frameworks and ignore whatever falls outside. Where are the attempts to
            provide a GUT (Grand Unified Theory) that tries to include things like:

            * The Western (B) text type
            * The ending of Mark
            * The multiple different endings of Romans
            * The variations in the ordering or the Paulines
            * Why we don't see any 'mini' Pauline collections centered on Paul's
            churches
            * Marcion, Thomas, etc.

            This is not meant to be a 'rant,' but simply a statement about the NT
            analysis world as I see it. Would anyone care to prove me wrong?

            David Inglis

            Lafayette, CA, 94549

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • David @ Comcast
            Dennis, I m not sure where the maths comes in. Data is a broad term that is not restricted to numbers. I m thinking much more of things like patterns (not
            Message 5 of 6 , Aug 14, 2009
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              Dennis, I'm not sure where the maths comes in. "Data" is a broad term that
              is not restricted to numbers. I'm thinking much more of things like patterns
              (not necessarily in a mathematical sense) within texts; manuscript
              locations, groups/families, and numbers; agreements and/or disagreements in
              patristic references; dates; indications of directionality; etc.



              Also, when I asked if anyone could prove me wrong, I was not in any way
              suggesting any kind of formal proof. I was just really asking for
              indications of people working 'outside their box,' e.g. synoptic specialists
              also looking a Paul, or Pauline specialists also looking at Peter, etc.,
              etc.



              David Inglis

              Lafayette, CA, 94549



              _____

              From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
              Of Dennis Dean Carpenter
              Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 1:58 PM
              To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Are most NT 'analysts' just not very good at
              analysing data?

              David, perhaps you are confusing biblical studies with "pure science." I've
              really never heard of biblical studies courses found within a mathematics
              department (though they might exist).

              Even in my applied statistics coursework and the actual work I implemented
              as an undergraduate and graduate, we always cautioned that data analysis was
              only an estimate of reliability.

              Dennis Dean Carpenter
              Dahlonega, Ga.

              ----- Original Message -----
              From: David @ Comcast
              To: gpg@yahoogroups. <mailto:gpg%40yahoogroups.com> com ;
              Synoptic@yahoogroup <mailto:Synoptic%40yahoogroups.com> s.com
              Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 3:19 PM
              Subject: [Synoptic-L] Are most NT 'analysts' just not very good at analysing
              data?

              The longer I lurk on or contribute to online forums (all to do with the NT,
              as it happens), the more I get the impression that, however good the
              contributors are in their various specialties, for the most part (with
              notable exceptions) they're simply not very good at data analysis. In part I
              base this on the fact that the synoptic question still rages, despite what
              appears (to me at least) enough evidence to have eliminated most of the
              synoptic theories. Instead, we still have the situation where many people
              ignore valid arguments, push anomalies to one side, and explain away
              differences as either mistakes or deliberate changes without appearing to
              even attempt to look for other explanations. As a result, we end up with
              theory after theory regarding the creation of the NT (not just regarding the
              synoptics) that try to cram everything into very rigid, simplistic,
              frameworks and ignore whatever falls outside. Where are the attempts to
              provide a GUT (Grand Unified Theory) that tries to include things like:

              * The Western (B) text type
              * The ending of Mark
              * The multiple different endings of Romans
              * The variations in the ordering or the Paulines
              * Why we don't see any 'mini' Pauline collections centered on Paul's
              churches
              * Marcion, Thomas, etc.

              This is not meant to be a 'rant,' but simply a statement about the NT
              analysis world as I see it. Would anyone care to prove me wrong?

              David Inglis

              Lafayette, CA, 94549

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              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Dennis Dean Carpenter
              David, I interpreted what you said as data as numbers. If one looks at data, however, as known information, there is a definite problem, for there is
              Message 6 of 6 , Aug 17, 2009
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                David,
                I interpreted what you said as data as numbers. If one looks at "data," however, as "known information," there is a definite problem, for there is actually very little (if anything) "known" with any certainty, in a modern historical sense, about the synoptics, "Paul," "Peter," and so on, whether the specialists are in a narrow area of expertise or have applied that to areas somewhat outside their area of expertise. To a great extent, it all seems to me to be "educated speculation," dependent upon what others have written, on what one's bias is, and how one, based on this, analyzes. It isn't a matter of lousy data analysis, but of application of what one knows to attempt to solve the unknown and probably the unknowable. That's what makes it so interesting to me. It's not the end, but the "getting there" that is fascinating.

                Dennis Dean Carpenter
                Dahlonega, Ga.




                ----- Original Message -----
                From: David @ Comcast
                To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Friday, August 14, 2009 8:58 PM
                Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Are most NT 'analysts' just not very good at analysing data?


                Dennis, I'm not sure where the maths comes in. "Data" is a broad term that
                is not restricted to numbers. I'm thinking much more of things like patterns
                (not necessarily in a mathematical sense) within texts; manuscript
                locations, groups/families, and numbers; agreements and/or disagreements in
                patristic references; dates; indications of directionality; etc.

                Also, when I asked if anyone could prove me wrong, I was not in any way
                suggesting any kind of formal proof. I was just really asking for
                indications of people working 'outside their box,' e.g. synoptic specialists
                also looking a Paul, or Pauline specialists also looking at Peter, etc.,
                etc.

                David Inglis

                Lafayette, CA, 94549


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