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

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 of 13 , Mar 2, 2010
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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 4 of 13 , Mar 3, 2010
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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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