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Re: [Synoptic-L] Re: [XTalk] The Great Omission

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  • E Bruce Brooks
    To: Synoptic, CrossTalk Cc: GPG In Response To: Dennis Goffin (and Bob Schacht) On: Lukan Great Omission From: Bruce Bob asks for details about previous
    Message 1 of 4 , Aug 3, 2010
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      To: Synoptic, CrossTalk
      Cc: GPG
      In Response To: Dennis Goffin (and Bob Schacht)
      On: Lukan Great Omission
      From: Bruce

      Bob asks for details about previous attempts to fom a model for the Lukan
      Omission in terms of lost codex leaves. I am afraid that on this point my
      memory is not well supported by my Rolodex. All I can say at this point is
      that, as hinted in my earlier note, one attempt was based on wordcounts of
      Mark, and another on letter counts. For the reason I gave (neither Greek
      words nor Greek letters are isometric, unlike Chinese characters), neither
      approach bodes well.

      I was also asked to respond to Dennis Goffin's objection.

      DENNIS: Reading the relevant passage in Streeter, I notice that he makes an
      excellent case for 'the Great Omission' to have been no such thing, merely
      that Luke got an earlier version of gMk than was finally published.

      BRUCE: That's a fair summary of Streeter 172-174. The interesting part
      starts at the bottom of p174, and begins to get warm at the bottom of p175.
      Keep on reading.

      DENNIS: Nor do I see anything in Hawkins' view that necessarily militates
      against it.

      BRUCE: Streeter quotes Hawkins' opinion that the style of the disputed
      matter is "if anything, more Marcan than Mark." I might add that the style
      of Colossians and of 2 Thessalonians is more Pauline than Paul. It is just
      here that they betray their possibly secondary nature: the craftsman is
      plying his trade a little too zealously. In Mark, it is quite possible that
      at some point in the fornative process, much of the material here disputed
      was indeed added to a previously existing text. If Luke had had a sort of
      interim copy of Mark, including the the early layers but lacking the later
      layers, we might explain the Omission - but again, only if the omission
      coincided with pericope boundaries. It is Streeter's point (and mine) that
      this is not the case. So that theory is untenable. It is also untenable for
      other reasons, not all of them previously exposed (at least not by myself)
      on this family of E-lists. Roughly: there are significant stretches of Mark
      where the most obvious Markan style markers are either absent or (like kai)
      reduced to statistically unremarkable levels. If Luke lacked *all* of this
      late-layer material, then we might think (except for the ragged edges of the
      Omission, which would still resist this explanation) that he had somehow
      gotten hold of an early author's manuscript. But he does not. The Omission
      is the only long stretch of Mark which is not represented one way or another
      in Luke. Then his Vorlage was an essentially complete Mark, except for the
      two pieces recently discussed.

      DENNIS: I notice also that Streeter talks about the copy of gMk that Luke
      got as a papyrus roll, not a codex.

      BRUCE: That's Streeter's slip. His "Small Omission." I have ventured to
      correct it. I don't see how a torn papyrus roll could leave behind it the
      situation Luke seems to have confronted. A simple tear might have been
      patched, with only minimal illegibility along the mend; that pattern is not
      what Luke shows. A tear with loss of one half would result in half a Mark,
      which again is not what Luke shows. What Luke shows would need to have been
      brought about by two tears, with loss of the middle section, but with the
      outside sections somehow patched together. It is very hard to imagine this
      for a roll, but very easy for a codex. (Some of my own books have loose or
      lost signatures or pages; it is a characteristic vulnerability of the codex

      DENNIS: What are the clinchers against the above?

      BRUCE: See previous, and above all, read Streeter (with Greek text
      preferably in hand) past p175 and into the top of 178, slightly downplaying
      the rest of 178 and following, where Streeter lapses into a more
      conventional guise.

      The lamp that is hidden will be revealed, as the Good Books say, but it will
      not necessarily remain long on view.

      E Bruce Brooks
      Warring States Project
      University of Massachusetts at Amherst
    • Ron Price
      ... Bruce, This conclusion assumes that Luke was merely copying the text of Mark, as opposed to freely editing it, and further examination shows clearly that
      Message 2 of 4 , Aug 6, 2010
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        Bruce Brooks wrote:

        > ..... If anyone out there is actually interested in the subject, take a
        > Greek text of Mark and (in the other hand) one of Luke, and follow along
        > with both, word by word, just before the Omission, until you come to the
        > place where Luke loses contact with Mark. Make a note of it. Then line up
        > the respective points at the end of the Omission, where Luke regains
        > contact, again following the two word by word. What will emerge, I venture
        > to suggest, but only for those actually taking the time to perform the
        > experiment, is that the boundaries of what Luke includes and omits *do not
        > correspond to pericope boundaries.*


        This conclusion assumes that Luke was merely copying the text of Mark, as
        opposed to freely editing it, and further examination shows clearly that the
        assumption is invalid.

        If Luke had been a mere copyist, then an examination of Mk 6:42-44; 8:27;
        and Lk 9:17-18 along the lines you suggest would show that he omitted KAI
        APO TWN ICQUWN and the sentence mentioning the PENTAKISCILIOI, and then
        omitted the first part of Mk 8:27 with its mention of KAISAREIAS THS
        FILIPPOU. But far from omitting the mention of the five thousand, he had
        already mentioned them several sentences earlier. Also, in 9:18 he added
        that Jesus was 'praying alone'. This is not the work of a copyist. Once we
        grant that Luke was an editor exerting considerable freedom in his use of
        Mark (and this is easily verified when we expand our comparisons between
        Mark and Luke), it is surely a nonsense to claim that Luke's deviation from
        Mark can be pinned down to mid-sentence, or even to mid-pericope.

        > ..... At minimum, however many copies of Mark were available to
        > medium-income readers in Syria, noneof them contained the ending of the
        > text.

        They all contained the ending (16:8). It's just that some people
        underestimate Mark's skills as an author. ;-)

        > Matthew, another known Mark reader, did his best to patch in what he
        > thought would have been the ending.

        Mark revelled in subtlety. Matthew, as a good teacher, liked to set things
        out clearly. This simple distinction explains many of the differences
        between their texts.

        > ..... if, as I and some others have concluded, Mark is early, with a core
        > narrative written in the early or mid 30's, .....

        Not a chance. Several older aphorisms untainted by the synoptic editors
        indicate that the original disciples expected the imminent return of Jesus.
        Why write anything down if you think the end is imminent? One of the
        clearest trajectories in the early Jesus movement is from eager expectation
        of an early return, to acceptance of, and preparation for, an increasingly
        long delay. Mark illuminates a part of the trajectory when he deliberately
        sets the embarrassing 9:1 in a context designed to suggest that the
        expectation of an imminent return was somehow fulfilled in the

        Ron Price

        Derbyshire, UK

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