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Re: [Synoptic-L] The living stream of oral tradition

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  • Jeff Peterson
    Ron, We have positive evidence of oral tradition as a feature of the first Christian generation from both Paul (esp. 1 Cor 11:23) and Luke (note PAREDOSAN in
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 23, 2010
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      Ron,

      We have positive evidence of oral tradition as a feature of the first
      Christian generation from both Paul (esp. 1 Cor 11:23) and Luke (note
      PAREDOSAN in 1:2); Paul also treats the sayings of Jesus as an authoritative
      source with a defined content (cf. 1 Cor 7:25), and it's problematic in
      method to assume from his occasional correspondence the extent to which he
      was acquainted with teachings attributed to Jesus, or how much he may have
      taught his congregations about Jesus' sayings in the course of founding a
      church.

      Your "*logia*" source, on the other hand, is much more speculative. Papias
      supplies no evidence for it, as when he characterizes the *logia*, he refers
      to "things said or done" by Jesus, collected in books like Mark's or
      Matthew's -- i.e., *logia* doesn't mean "sayings," it means "teachings" or
      "oracles" and is exemplified in Gospels with a biographical shape. The only
      reason for holding to the existence of a (mostly) sayings source would be a
      solid demonstration that Matthew and Luke independently made use of it; but
      E. P. Sanders noted some time ago that a literary relationship sufficient to
      commend their independent use of a lost source serves just as well to
      establish direct use of one Gospel by the author of the other. As I argued
      in a 2002 essay on "Order in the Double Tradition and the Existence of Q,"
      the one argument remaining for Q is the differing order of the Double
      Tradition in Matt and Luke, and that's not a compelling argument if we allow
      Luke any creativity in the ordering of his material.

      Jeff Peterson
      Austin Graduate School of Theology
      Austin, Texas

      On Tue, Feb 23, 2010 at 8:30 AM, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:

      >
      >
      > I've been listening to Mark Goodacre's NT Pod on the arguments against Q.
      > It's good of him to enable people to hear first hand how the NT is being
      > taught in a modern university. I would like to have replied directly, but
      > could not because I don't belong to any of the groups the software insists
      > on for those who make comments. (Am I missing something here, or are
      > potential responders being deliberately filtered?)
      >
      > He invokes Occam's Razor against the hypothetical Q (so far, so good), but
      > in the very same presentation he also invokes the "living stream of oral
      > tradition" in an attempt to counter the argument about 'alternating
      > primitivity'. Isn't this also a hypothetical source, and shouldn't it be
      > included in the Goodacre (as opposed to the Goulder) version of the Farrer
      > Theory? There is surely an inconsistency here.
      >
      > There was indeed some oral tradition available to Luke. For instance he
      > probably knew that Jesus' followers had expected him to liberate his
      > country
      > from the Romans (24:21), and that there had been an armed struggle prior to
      > Jesus' arrest (as hinted in 22:49). But when Luke was written over 60 years
      > after the death of Jesus, would the oral tradition have included reliably
      > memorized sayings of Jesus? I doubt it. After all, most of the primitive
      > churches had been founded by Paul or his close associates, and except on
      > the
      > rare occasions when it suited his arguments (e.g. 1 Cor 9:14, in 'Letter
      > A'), Paul did not treat the sayings of Jesus as very important (e.g. 1 Cor
      > 2:2, in 'Letter B').
      >
      > I suggest that apart from the few who had acquired a copy of the logia
      > (which pre-dated the influence of Paul), members of the primitive churches
      > had very little knowledge of the sayings of Jesus until the publication of
      > Mark and then Matthew.
      >
      > Ron Price
      >
      > Derbyshire, UK
      >
      > Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Mark Goodacre
      Thanks for the comments on the podcasts, Ron. No, there are no filters set up. As the Guardian would say, Comment is free . As a general comment on your
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 23, 2010
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        Thanks for the comments on the podcasts, Ron. No, there are no filters set
        up. As the Guardian would say, "Comment is free".

        As a general comment on your thoughts, Ron, and on yours too, Chuck, I would
        say that I am often surprised by the way that Occam's Razor is represented
        in this context. It is simply a question of not multiplying entities beyond
        what is necessary. I and others have argued that Q is unnecessary because
        the data is better explained by Luke's direct familiarity with Matthew
        alongside his use of Mark. Oral tradition is not an unnecessary entity
        that is superfluous to requirements but is something that we know was
        present, through Paul's witness to Jesus tradition, through Luke's preface,
        through Papias's comments, or through common sense. Of course the
        difficulty with oral tradition is that it is by its nature lost, except when
        it is crystallized in texts. Scholars of Christian origins rightly draw
        attention to use of oral traditions in discussions of Luke's use of Mark,
        Matthew's use of Mark, or other relationships. The only reason that this
        appeal is not made in the question of the double tradition is that we do not
        have a literary text of Q and so *every* detail can projected onto the
        hypothetical text.

        Best wishes
        Mark

        On 23 February 2010 10:11, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:

        >
        >
        > Ron,
        >
        > You make a great point.
        > Einstein is credited with saying, "Make everything be as simple as
        > possible, but not simpler." By the time all the caveats, footnotes,
        > addenda, probabilities and "must'ves" are appended to no-Q theories, simple
        > isn't simple anymore, much less simplest.
        >
        > Chuck
        >
        > Rev. Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar
        >
        >
        > --- On Tue, 2/23/10, Ron Price <ron.price@...<ron.price%40virgin.net>>
        > wrote:
        > I've been listening to Mark Goodacre's NT Pod on the arguments against Q.
        >
        > It's good of him to enable people to hear first hand how the NT is being
        >
        > taught in a modern university. I would like to have replied directly, but
        >
        > could not because I don't belong to any of the groups the software insists
        >
        > on for those who make comments. (Am I missing something here, or are
        >
        > potential responders being deliberately filtered?)
        >
        > He invokes Occam's Razor against the hypothetical Q (so far, so good), but
        >
        > in the very same presentation he also invokes the "living stream of oral
        >
        > tradition" in an attempt to counter the argument about 'alternating
        >
        > primitivity' . Isn't this also a hypothetical source, and shouldn't it be
        >
        > included in the Goodacre (as opposed to the Goulder) version of the Farrer
        >
        > Theory? There is surely an inconsistency here.
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
        >
        >



        --
        Mark Goodacre
        Duke University
        Department of Religion
        Gray Building / Box 90964
        Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
        Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

        http://www.markgoodacre.org


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Coleman A. Baker
        Indeed, Mark. We have no evidence of the hypothetical Q document but we do have evidence that there existed a living stream of oral tradition. As Mark notes,
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 23, 2010
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          Indeed, Mark. We have no evidence of the hypothetical Q document but we do have evidence that there existed a living stream of oral tradition. As Mark notes, the problem with oral tradition is that it is written in textual form and thus lost. I see no inconsistency in this.

          Great series, by the way, Mark!

          Coleman A. Baker
          PhD Candidate
          Brite Divinity School, TCU
          www.colemanabaker.com
          817-932-0859

          On Feb 23, 2010, at 9:24 AM, Mark Goodacre wrote:

          > Thanks for the comments on the podcasts, Ron. No, there are no filters set
          > up. As the Guardian would say, "Comment is free".
          >
          > As a general comment on your thoughts, Ron, and on yours too, Chuck, I would
          > say that I am often surprised by the way that Occam's Razor is represented
          > in this context. It is simply a question of not multiplying entities beyond
          > what is necessary. I and others have argued that Q is unnecessary because
          > the data is better explained by Luke's direct familiarity with Matthew
          > alongside his use of Mark. Oral tradition is not an unnecessary entity
          > that is superfluous to requirements but is something that we know was
          > present, through Paul's witness to Jesus tradition, through Luke's preface,
          > through Papias's comments, or through common sense. Of course the
          > difficulty with oral tradition is that it is by its nature lost, except when
          > it is crystallized in texts. Scholars of Christian origins rightly draw
          > attention to use of oral traditions in discussions of Luke's use of Mark,
          > Matthew's use of Mark, or other relationships. The only reason that this
          > appeal is not made in the question of the double tradition is that we do not
          > have a literary text of Q and so *every* detail can projected onto the
          > hypothetical text.
          >
          > Best wishes
          > Mark
          >
          > On 23 February 2010 10:11, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
          >
          >>
          >>
          >> Ron,
          >>
          >> You make a great point.
          >> Einstein is credited with saying, "Make everything be as simple as
          >> possible, but not simpler." By the time all the caveats, footnotes,
          >> addenda, probabilities and "must'ves" are appended to no-Q theories, simple
          >> isn't simple anymore, much less simplest.
          >>
          >> Chuck
          >>
          >> Rev. Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar
          >>
          >>
          >> --- On Tue, 2/23/10, Ron Price <ron.price@...<ron.price%40virgin.net>>
          >> wrote:
          >> I've been listening to Mark Goodacre's NT Pod on the arguments against Q.
          >>
          >> It's good of him to enable people to hear first hand how the NT is being
          >>
          >> taught in a modern university. I would like to have replied directly, but
          >>
          >> could not because I don't belong to any of the groups the software insists
          >>
          >> on for those who make comments. (Am I missing something here, or are
          >>
          >> potential responders being deliberately filtered?)
          >>
          >> He invokes Occam's Razor against the hypothetical Q (so far, so good), but
          >>
          >> in the very same presentation he also invokes the "living stream of oral
          >>
          >> tradition" in an attempt to counter the argument about 'alternating
          >>
          >> primitivity' . Isn't this also a hypothetical source, and shouldn't it be
          >>
          >> included in the Goodacre (as opposed to the Goulder) version of the Farrer
          >>
          >> Theory? There is surely an inconsistency here.
          >>
          >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >>
          >>
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          > --
          > Mark Goodacre
          > Duke University
          > Department of Religion
          > Gray Building / Box 90964
          > Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
          > Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530
          >
          > http://www.markgoodacre.org
          >
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • brooks@asianlan.umass.edu
          To: Synoptic Cc: GPG In Response To: Ron Price On: Oral Tradition From: Bruce RON: Mark Goodacre , , , invokes Occam s Razor against the hypothetical Q (so
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 23, 2010
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            To: Synoptic
            Cc: GPG
            In Response To: Ron Price
            On: Oral Tradition
            From: Bruce

            RON: Mark Goodacre , , , invokes Occam's Razor against the
            hypothetical Q (so far, so good), . . .

            BRUCE: Depends. The best theory is the simplest one *that covers the
            data.* In particular, there should be no assumptions in the theory
            that are not doing work in the theory, no wheels not engaging other
            wheels, no non-loadbearing struts. But the theory needs to be as
            complicated as the data, and the data in this case (interrelationships
            of Mk as followed by Mt and Lk) may in fact be complicated. For
            example, the Q / no Q option may be a false binary: it may not exhaust
            the possibilities. Ron himself has what I would call a modified Q. And
            I am on record as saying that Michael Goulder (whose work I repeat
            that I find foundational in this area) probably pushes his theory too
            far in trying to account for *every* feature of common Mt/Lk material
            as derived by Lk from Mk. My sense is that Lk had his independent
            knowledge of some Christian formulas. Not from any other book he had
            read, or any informant he interviewed, but simply from his own
            personal experience as a member of a Christian group. For this whole
            area, and it may have been considerable, Luke didn't need Matthew to
            tell him about Christian tradition; he had learned his Christianity
            elsewhere. So if not Q (and I agree with those who find Q in its
            present form untenable), there may be a C (community praxis) which was
            among the common sources for Mt and Lk. Given his own contact with C,
            Lk may at several points be preferring the simpler original form,
            rather than the conspicuously Judaized form he found (and was offended
            by) in Matthew.

            RON: . . . but . . . he also invokes the "living stream of oral
            tradition" in an attempt to counter the argument about 'alternating
            primitivity'. Isn't this also a hypothetical source, and shouldn't it be
            included in the Goodacre (as opposed to the Goulder) version of the Farrer
            Theory? There is surely an inconsistency here.

            BRUCE: MarkG has already replied, but I remain unsatisfied, since he
            still seems to envision "oral tradition" as a thing; a thing out there
            somewhere. Not likely. Much more likely, to my mind, is that Luke had
            his own directly experienced tradition; he had learned the Lord's
            Prayer by saying it a thousand times, from childhood up. He didn't
            need anything else. He didn't need to see it written down somewhere in
            the bookstore.

            In general, and having watched the progress of the idea over several
            decades, it seems to me that "oral tradition," that frequently invoked
            magic phrase, is easily the flabbiest of explanatory devices, both in
            NT and in Homeric studies (and I could supply some truly horrendous
            examples from Sinology). The problem is that, without more work than
            it usually gets, the magic phrase will cover anything whatever, and
            there is no way to check it. Unless the tradition is specified more
            closely, and thus more checkably, than that phrase, I find "oral
            tradition" analytically worthless.

            RON: There was indeed some oral tradition available to Luke. For instance he
            probably knew that Jesus' followers had expected him to liberate his country
            from the Romans (24:21), and that there had been an armed struggle prior to
            Jesus' arrest (as hinted in 22:49). But when Luke was written over 60 years
            after the death of Jesus, would the oral tradition have included reliably
            memorized sayings of Jesus? I doubt it. After all, most of the primitive
            churches had been founded by Paul or his close associates,

            BRUCE: Ron is still treating these things as data Luke studied out
            from someplace; historical information he got the same way we today
            would get it - go to the newspaper files or whatever. I find this a
            surpassingly unreal scenario.

            We know nothing about the founders of the earliest Jesus movement cell
            groups, most obviously those in Syria, but Alexandria too is a blank
            for the first hundred years or so. There is some evidence that at
            least the near-northern ones were founded by original followers of
            Jesus (or by himself), and that they carried their own ideas of Jesus
            and the lore about him, plus of course their later theology based on
            that lore. Some of these groups were probably converted by Jesus
            during his lifetime; others by his followers then or shortly after.
            Nobody seems to factor in this phase of things. People from Lietzmann
            to Jackson-McCabe, inclusive, all buy the Acts scenario, that the
            apostolic mission began from Jerusalem. That in effect blanks out the
            entire lifetime of Jesus as having no effect whatever on the
            subsequent history of his movement. Such is Death Christian theory. I
            don't buy it. I think it is a coverup. I think it is a rewrite. And I
            think that if we take the minimum necessary assumptions into account,
            as to what was going in early Christianity besides the Jerusalem gang,
            we are going to get a better picture; a better base to think from.

            RON: . . . except on the rare occasions when it suited his arguments
            (e.g. 1 Cor 9:14, in 'Letter A'), Paul did not treat the sayings of
            Jesus as very important (e.g. 1 Cor
            2:2, in 'Letter B').

            BRUCE: More than that, Paul declares explicitly that he intends to
            have nothing to do with Jesus's lifetime. His Christianity is Death
            Christianity. All that tells me is that there was at the time a
            competing Life Christianity which Paul knew about, but rejected.
            Arguing from the necessary assumptions mentioned above, it follows
            (for me) that Life Christianity was not only present along with Death
            Christianity, but that it was the older form.

            Notice that when Paul DOES quote a "saying of the Lord," it is
            predominantly on matters having to do with church government or
            (thinking of divorce) civil behavior. That is, things that look ahead
            to the maintenance of the movement in the longer wait that developed
            for the Final Days. I won't again mention my reconstructed Mark, but
            even ignoring the philological evidence, and taking things simply at
            their face, the sayings of Jesus in Mark that address conditions after
            Jesus's death are clearly prospective and legitimizing. Most obvious
            is the bit about why his disciples do not fast. They will (and indeed
            they did), after he was gone. That passage is not a remembered saying
            of Jesus. It is an *invented* saying of Jesus, inserted in Mark in
            order to countenance later practice. It is just these later "church
            order" sayings that Paul is relatively open to. The actual teachings
            of Jesus, he cares for not at all. What Jesus taught about God and how
            to get there coincided not at all with Paul's own convictions in the
            matter. Paul cares instead for certain teachings of the Church *about*
            Jesus. There is, I would suggest, a world and a half of difference
            between the two.

            RON: I suggest that apart from the few who had acquired a copy of the logia
            (which pre-dated the influence of Paul), members of the primitive churches
            had very little knowledge of the sayings of Jesus until the publication of
            Mark and then Matthew.

            BRUCE: Again, it depends. How many Jesus sayings would the Bethsaida
            Church have known? Chiefly, the ones they had heard Jesus say. An
            assurance or two, perhaps in indirect form (eg, the Seed Parable), or
            a hellfire threat (this is the Salt series on which Dave Gentile has
            worked). That would be about it. It was not red-letter sayings of
            Jesus that stirred these people, and convinced them in the first
            place; it was the content of Jesus's teaching. What that was, Mark for
            the most part assumes we know, and does not spell out. He is largely
            concerned to tell the part of the story that the Bethsaida people
            would NOT have known directly, or would not have known how to
            interpret satisfactorily. Or the Antioch people, or the Capernaum
            people, or the Damascus people, or the Caesarea Philippi people, or
            the Chorazin people. It was for them, or for someone situatated
            similarly to them, that Mark most likely wrote his Gospel. And it was
            the number and needs of people in that situation that gave Mark a
            wider audience, and in time made his work authoritative for at least
            much of the Galilee/Syria territory,

            That not everyone, especially (say) the conservative Jews in Edessa,
            was satisfied by it, the existence of Matthew testifies.

            Or so it looks from here.

            Bruce

            E Bruce Brooks
            Warring States Project
            University of Massachusetts at Amherst
          • Coleman A. Baker
            Indeed, Mark. We have no evidence of the hypothetical Q document but we do have evidence that there existed a living stream of oral tradition. As Mark notes,
            Message 5 of 13 , Feb 23, 2010
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              Indeed, Mark. We have no evidence of the hypothetical Q document but we do have evidence that there existed a living stream of oral tradition. As Mark notes, the problem with oral tradition is that it is written in textual form and thus lost. I see no inconsistency in this.

              Great series, by the way, Mark!

              Coleman A. Baker
              PhD Candidate
              Brite Divinity School, TCU
              www.colemanabaker.com
              817-932-0859

              On Feb 23, 2010, at 9:24 AM, Mark Goodacre wrote:

              > Thanks for the comments on the podcasts, Ron. No, there are no filters set
              > up. As the Guardian would say, "Comment is free".
              >
              > As a general comment on your thoughts, Ron, and on yours too, Chuck, I would
              > say that I am often surprised by the way that Occam's Razor is represented
              > in this context. It is simply a question of not multiplying entities beyond
              > what is necessary. I and others have argued that Q is unnecessary because
              > the data is better explained by Luke's direct familiarity with Matthew
              > alongside his use of Mark. Oral tradition is not an unnecessary entity
              > that is superfluous to requirements but is something that we know was
              > present, through Paul's witness to Jesus tradition, through Luke's preface,
              > through Papias's comments, or through common sense. Of course the
              > difficulty with oral tradition is that it is by its nature lost, except when
              > it is crystallized in texts. Scholars of Christian origins rightly draw
              > attention to use of oral traditions in discussions of Luke's use of Mark,
              > Matthew's use of Mark, or other relationships. The only reason that this
              > appeal is not made in the question of the double tradition is that we do not
              > have a literary text of Q and so *every* detail can projected onto the
              > hypothetical text.
              >
              > Best wishes
              > Mark
              >
              > On 23 February 2010 10:11, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
              >
              >>
              >>
              >> Ron,
              >>
              >> You make a great point.
              >> Einstein is credited with saying, "Make everything be as simple as
              >> possible, but not simpler." By the time all the caveats, footnotes,
              >> addenda, probabilities and "must'ves" are appended to no-Q theories, simple
              >> isn't simple anymore, much less simplest.
              >>
              >> Chuck
              >>
              >> Rev. Chuck JonesInterim Executive DirectorWestar InstituteThe Jesus Seminar
              >>
              >>
              >> --- On Tue, 2/23/10, Ron Price <ron.price@...<ron.price%40virgin.net>>
              >> wrote:
              >> I've been listening to Mark Goodacre's NT Pod on the arguments against Q.
              >>
              >> It's good of him to enable people to hear first hand how the NT is being
              >>
              >> taught in a modern university. I would like to have replied directly, but
              >>
              >> could not because I don't belong to any of the groups the software insists
              >>
              >> on for those who make comments. (Am I missing something here, or are
              >>
              >> potential responders being deliberately filtered?)
              >>
              >> He invokes Occam's Razor against the hypothetical Q (so far, so good), but
              >>
              >> in the very same presentation he also invokes the "living stream of oral
              >>
              >> tradition" in an attempt to counter the argument about 'alternating
              >>
              >> primitivity' . Isn't this also a hypothetical source, and shouldn't it be
              >>
              >> included in the Goodacre (as opposed to the Goulder) version of the Farrer
              >>
              >> Theory? There is surely an inconsistency here.
              >>
              >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >>
              >>
              >>
              >
              >
              >
              > --
              > Mark Goodacre
              > Duke University
              > Department of Religion
              > Gray Building / Box 90964
              > Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
              > Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530
              >
              > http://www.markgoodacre.org
              >
              >
              > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              >
              >
              >
              > ------------------------------------
              >
              > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
              >
              >
              >



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Ron Price
              ... Mark et al., This distinction is debatable. The entity posited by the 2ST is a document *which included all the double tradition material*. The entity
              Message 6 of 13 , Feb 24, 2010
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                Mark Goodacre wrote:

                > ..... I and others have argued that Q is unnecessary because
                > the data is better explained by Luke's direct familiarity with Matthew
                > alongside his use of Mark. Oral tradition is not an unnecessary entity
                > that is superfluous to requirements but is something that we know was
                > present, .....

                Mark et al.,

                This distinction is debatable.

                The entity posited by the 2ST is a document *which included all the double
                tradition material*.

                The entity posited by Mark's version of the FT is oral tradition *which
                included all the examples of more primitive wording needed to explain the
                occasional greater originality of Luke*.

                The entity posited by my radical form of the 3ST is the "logia" *containing
                the aphorisms roughly as described on my web site*.

                I think a difference in 'necessity' only comes in when we compare these with
                Goulder's version of the FT, which doesn't posit any of these three
                entities, nor any equivalent entity. So was Goulder right here? I think not,
                partly because his explanations of Lukan texts usually taken to have been
                more original are far from satisfactory.

                Where does this leave us? The Synoptic Problem is somewhat more complex than
                implied by Goulder's stricter version of the FT, which was lacking in
                explanatory power especially for some of the aphorisms. This leaves us with
                the 2ST, the 3ST and Mark's version of the FT. But synoptic diagrams are
                essentially data transfer diagrams. So surely the Goodacre FT diagram should
                include the
                'oral-tradition-including-texts-showing-greater-Lukan-originality' entity
                for completeness.

                Ron Price

                Derbyshire, UK

                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
              • Ron Price
                ... Jeff, You made this claim in another thread, and I challenged it there. ... The (mostly) sayings source known as Q is such a mess that no clear-minded
                Message 7 of 13 , Feb 24, 2010
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                  Jeff Peterson wrote:

                  > ..... when he [Papias] characterizes the *logia*, he refers
                  > to "things said or done" by Jesus, .....

                  Jeff,

                  You made this claim in another thread, and I challenged it there.

                  > ..... The only
                  > reason for holding to the existence of a (mostly) sayings source would be a
                  > solid demonstration that Matthew and Luke independently made use of it;

                  The "(mostly) sayings source" known as Q is such a mess that no clear-minded
                  person could ever have written it. The 'mostly' bit alone gives it away as
                  an artificial construction.

                  But what about a solid demonstration of a sayings source that contains only
                  aphorisms, that is poetic, that has a hundred internal links, that is a
                  'pleasing arrangement', that explains certain mistranslations, that makes
                  sense of the synoptic writers' redaction of its aphorisms, and that reflects
                  a pre-Pauline era. Did this 'logia' once exist or did I invent it? Let's
                  just say this: if I had such poetic skills I would have been very proud of
                  my composition. As it is I merely reconstructed it from the synoptic
                  evidence, like a moderately complicated jig-saw puzzle.

                  Ron Price

                  Derbyshire, UK

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • Mark Goodacre
                  ... It s not a question of my version of the FT but a question of whether or not we accept the presence of oral traditions in antiquity, or whether one
                  Message 8 of 13 , Feb 24, 2010
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                    On 24 February 2010 14:47, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:

                    > The entity posited by Mark's version of the FT is oral tradition *which
                    > included all the examples of more primitive wording needed to explain the
                    > occasional greater originality of Luke*.

                    It's not a question of my "version of the FT" but a question of
                    whether or not we accept the presence of oral traditions in antiquity,
                    or whether one thinks that people only communicated via texts. This
                    is the case for two-source theorists and others too. As I mentioned
                    previously, the only reason that oral tradition does not get factored
                    in to discussions of the double tradition by two-source theorists is
                    that they have an absent document onto which every variation can be
                    projected.

                    As it happens, each scholar will assess the influence of oral
                    traditions differently. Michael Goulder tended to be a
                    minimum-sources person and only occasionally appeals to oral tradition
                    but it's in his work too, e.g. in the women who followed Jesus in Luke
                    8.1-3. I am inclined to think there must have been more examples of
                    this, but am constantly impressed by just how straightforward it is to
                    see Luke redacting Matthew. See, for example, the text book example
                    of "Blessed are the poor" in Luke 6.20, which makes excellent sense as
                    Luke's redaction of Matthew (Case Against Q, chapter 7).

                    One of the remaining problems is that Michael Goulder's arguments
                    against alternating primitivity are still largely unknown or
                    misunderstood. On the basis of his work, I think it is clear that the
                    reconstruction of Q has an inbuilt bias towards Luke because of his
                    far larger vocabulary, his higher number of hapaxes and his
                    disconcerting habit of varying his synonyms.

                    Best wishes
                    Mark
                    --
                    Mark Goodacre
                    Duke University
                    Department of Religion
                    Gray Building / Box 90964
                    Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
                    Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

                    http://www.markgoodacre.org
                  • Ron Price
                    ... Mark, I already admitted the presence of *some* oral tradition in the message which opened this thread. I don t know of anyone who would deny the existence
                    Message 9 of 13 , Feb 24, 2010
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                      Mark Goodacre wrote:

                      > It's not a question of my "version of the FT" but a question of
                      > whether or not we accept the presence of oral traditions in antiquity,
                      > or whether one thinks that people only communicated via texts.

                      Mark,

                      I already admitted the presence of *some* oral tradition in the message
                      which opened this thread. I don't know of anyone who would deny the
                      existence of some oral tradition, nor the existence of verbal communication
                      in the first or any other century.

                      As I see it, the question as it applies to 'alternating primitivity' is
                      whether the oral tradition available to Luke would have included
                      sufficiently accurate memories of the relevant primitive aphorisms (probably
                      originating in a different language in a different country and at least 60
                      years old by his time) to allow him to make corrections to the corresponding
                      texts in Matthew. This is what I find difficult to believe.

                      Anyway, thanks for the interesting discussion!

                      Ron Price

                      Derbyshire, UK

                      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                    • Mark Goodacre
                      ... OK, so we are agreed on that dynamic. ... As I understand the argument from alternating primitivity, it is stated with respect to relative primitivity and
                      Message 10 of 13 , Mar 2 9:23 AM
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                        On 24 February 2010 12:50, Ron Price <ron.price@...> wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > I already admitted the presence of *some* oral tradition in the message
                        > which opened this thread. I don't know of anyone who would deny the
                        > existence of some oral tradition, nor the existence of verbal communication
                        > in the first or any other century.
                        >

                        OK, so we are agreed on that dynamic.

                        >
                        > As I see it, the question as it applies to 'alternating primitivity' is
                        > whether the oral tradition available to Luke would have included
                        > sufficiently accurate memories of the relevant primitive aphorisms
                        > (probably
                        > originating in a different language in a different country and at least 60
                        > years old by his time) to allow him to make corrections to the
                        > corresponding
                        > texts in Matthew. This is what I find difficult to believe.
                        >

                        As I understand the argument from alternating primitivity, it is stated with
                        respect to relative primitivity and not absolute antiquity. I would share
                        your scepticism of the notion that Luke had some pipeline going back to the
                        30s. But we know that he had access to traditional material in addition to
                        what he found in Mark / Matthew for a range of reasons, his preface, the
                        traditions in Acts, the similarities between his eucharistic tradition and 1
                        Cor. 11, comparisons of his unique material with details in Josephus and so
                        on.

                        All best
                        Mark
                        --
                        Mark Goodacre
                        Duke University
                        Department of Religion
                        Gray Building / Box 90964
                        Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                        Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

                        http://www.markgoodacre.org


                        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                      • Ron Price
                        ... Mark, Of course. What I failed to mention was the evidence of antiquity in many of the aphorisms, especially Semitic parallelism which appears alien to the
                        Message 11 of 13 , Mar 3 1:12 AM
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                          Mark Goodacre wrote:

                          > As I understand the argument from alternating primitivity, it is stated with
                          > respect to relative primitivity and not absolute antiquity.

                          Mark,

                          Of course. What I failed to mention was the evidence of antiquity in many of
                          the aphorisms, especially Semitic parallelism which appears alien to the
                          Greek language in which they are presented to us. So I see (relative)
                          primitivity in the aphorisms as being a likely indication of the antiquity
                          of the older variant.

                          > I would share your scepticism of the notion that Luke had some pipeline going
                          > back to the 30s.

                          My scepticism applies to the availability and reliability of oral tradition.
                          Actually I think Luke did have a pipeline, but it was back to the 40s - a
                          written collection of the aphorisms of Jesus. I think the rehabilitation of
                          Papias' statement on Matthew is long overdue.

                          > But we know that he had access to traditional material in addition to
                          > what he found in Mark / Matthew for a range of reasons, his preface, the
                          > traditions in Acts, the similarities between his eucharistic tradition and 1
                          > Cor. 11, comparisons of his unique material with details in Josephus and so
                          > on.

                          My investigations have unearthed extra evidence which leads me to confirm my
                          suspicions that Lk 22:19b-20 was not in the original text of Luke, so I beg
                          to differ in regard to the eucharistic tradition. The rest of your point is
                          well taken. Nevertheless the traditions available to Luke were limited. He
                          still probably had to make up speeches for his heroes as some previous Greek
                          writers had done. Also the traditions seem to have varied greatly in
                          reliability. It appears to me that there is a great gulf in this respect
                          between the aphorisms, which seem to have great antiquity, and the remainder
                          of the gospel material, the detail of which is occasionally credible, but is
                          often late and/or unreliable. This gulf is readily explained on the one hand
                          by a written source of aphorisms, and on the other by a broadly sceptical
                          attitude to the reliability of oral tradition in the context of the synoptic
                          gospels.

                          Ron Price

                          Derbyshire, UK

                          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
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