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Re: [Synoptic-L] Mark's Greek

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  • David Mealand
    If one takes 1000 word samples of Mark and counts 30 of the more frequent function words and then plots the Mark samples against other NT writers, samples from
    Message 1 of 47 , Jul 3, 2011
      If one takes 1000 word samples of Mark and
      counts 30 of the more frequent function words
      and then plots the Mark samples against other
      NT writers, samples from the LXX, and people like
      Josephus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Plutarch, &
      Polybius then you can see who is like and unlike
      to whom.

      Down in the lower left corner are writers of Semitic
      narrative Greek e.g. translators of 4 Kingdoms.
      Revelation is near these as are samples from Deuteronomy
      and Isaiah, 1 Macc., and Daniel. Jerome lamented the style of the
      prophets (in the LXX). Of the other NT writers Mark
      is nearer to these but not so extreme. His narratives and his
      sayings are mostly fairly well to the left, but the sayings higher
      up on the vertical scale, on which speeches are higher,
      treatises higher again, and Paul's epistles at the top.
      But Paul is not so Semitic, so more central on the
      left to right axis. The FG is also more towards the left,
      but higher up. It has a somewhat Semitic style, as Mark has,
      but more inclined to speechify even in narrative sections.
      The main Johannine Epistle is further left again but higher
      up - it is after all an epistle and not narrative, but more Semitic
      in its literary style.

      Matthew and Luke are only partly to the left (Semitic)
      side of centre - reflecting the origin of their material
      on the one hand, but their more fluent Greek on the other.
      Genesis and Proverbs are also just left of centre, as
      somewhat more fluent LXX Greek texts unlike those determined to
      stay as close to the Hebrew as possible.
      Some bits later on in Mark also just make it to this area.
      Acts is further right again, as are some documentary papyri,
      and beyond Acts to the right are 2 & 4 Maccabees, Wisdom,
      Dionysius and Plutarch, Josephus and Philo.
      Furthest to the right is Polybius with plenty of men and
      de and genitive participles.

      All this and more is, I hope, (pending acceptance of some
      amendments) to appear in an NT journal, but the mills grind slow.

      All this is based on counts of data fed through a
      multivariate stats programme known as Correspondence
      Analysis. It not only shows which texts are like and unlike
      which other texts, but also which words are associated with
      which clusters of texts, or tend to be shunned by them.
      It is an attempt to try to get a more sound numeric basis,
      but the results do not seem too flagrantly contrary to
      more conventional literary study of these Greek texts.
      It does help to quantify just how much further than others
      some texts tend to go in one direction or another.

      Dionysius would be an example of an early "classicizing Greek"
      which preceded the more thorough going Attic revival which
      really comes later. Acts is just late enough to flourish
      a very occasional Atticism, but it was later again on that scribes
      tried to make the NT a bit more Attic than its time of writing
      permitted - a case of attempted update.

      While I think it more probable that Matthew and Luke improved
      Mark's Greek than the opposite, I would not wish to overstate the
      case.

      David M.


      ---------
      David Mealand, University of Edinburgh



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      The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
      Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
    • David Inglis
      David Mealand wrote: So for instance to step aside from Q and M, let us consider the special Lukan material. It would be useful there to review and update
      Message 47 of 47 , Jul 26, 2011
        David Mealand wrote:

        So for instance to step aside from Q and M, let us consider the special Lukan material. It would be useful there to review and update existing studies to see if the "L" material is a) internally consistent or not and b) differs from the editorial style of the author of Gospel number 3. Could this be an issue on which 2SH and FGT adherents might proceed in unison? Or am I being unduly optimistic here?

        David, some information can be gleaned from the stylistic analyses of the categories in the HHB concordance performed by both Dave Gentile and myself. The following 4 collections of words (HHB categories) are useful here, I think:

        · 002 – Words used in passages unique to gLk (i.e. sondergut Lk)

        · 012 – Words used in gLk in passages shared with gMk but not gMt, where the words are not in gMk

        · 102 – Words used in gLk in passages shared with gMt but not gMk, where the words are not in gMt (i.e. double tradition words not in gMt)

        · 112 – Words used in gLk in passage shared with both gMt and gMk, where the words are not in either gMt or gMk (i.e. triple tradition words not in gMt or gMk)

        Both Dave G and I have similar findings: The frequencies with which specific words are used (profiles) are similar in 002, 012, and 112, while the profile of 102 is different. In particular, I find that the similarity between the profiles of 002 and 112 is one of the greatest in my analysis, i.e. sondergut Lk is stylistically similar (at least, so far as word frequencies are concerned) to the unique Lukan parts of the triple tradition. From this I infer that 002 is unlikely to contain passages from different sources, or, if it does, that aLk has generally ‘massaged’ the text from the different sources into his own style.

        David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



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