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RE: [Synoptic-L] Discontinuities in texts

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    David and Mark G: The focus on both Luke and John certainly got my attention. The question I have, and increasingly, is how much authorial control does one
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 26 12:02 PM
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      David and Mark G:

      The focus on both Luke and John certainly got my attention. The question I have, and increasingly, is how much authorial control does one have in writing, and how consistent is our writing?

      I know the normal paradigm is to see variations in language and disjunctures in the flow of narrative as indications of use of a source (hence the reference to John's aporias, which Fortna used famously to find seams of sources, incorrectly I think). But I remember looking back over some writing I did in Grad School, and being struck by how much my writing at points "sounded" like Moody Smith's. I had unconsciously picked up some wording from him. Other times I have looked at older papers and realized the argument started and stopped in weird ways. But it was me writing each of these. I think this is behind David's questions about actual studies of style in various circumstances.

      On the other hand, even if a source is used, a writer often "absorbs it" into his or her own idiom. So sometimes use of sources might become difficult to determine.

      All that is to say that I am increasingly suspicious of "clear" standards for an author's style. Authors can mimic styles (infancy narrative of Luke; or the various speeches in Acts, each with its own style). And authors can absorb other's material -- and in that case what is source and what is composition?

      One other issue -- when one talks about the theology of an author -- do any of us have a cohesive theology or view of life? For instance, I am amazed at people who claim to have an absolute ethic of life (re: abortion, for instance), and yet can in the next breath support the death penalty. To me this is a complete contradiction. And yet... to them they are consistent, or they categorize these in different "pockets" of thought.

      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College
      423-461-8720
      http://www.milligan.edu/administrative/mmatson/personal.htm


      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      > Of David Mealand
      > Sent: Tuesday, July 26, 2011 7:34 AM
      > To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Discontinuities in texts
      >
      >
      > This issue arises in a number of places
      > not only in Luke & Acts but also in the
      > very blatant discontinuities in the Fourth Gospel.
      >
      > These are often discussed in their NT context and those discussing them
      > tend to bring assumptions about what might or might not have caused them.
      >
      > Has anyone seen an empirical study of discontinuities in modern texts and
      > whether they are due to
      > a) the author rewriting their own material or b) the author incompletely
      > absorbing source material or c) another author unevenly adapting an
      > earlier author's work?
      >
      > I can remember a very blatant example of b many years ago when I had set
      > items of very different viewpoints as reading for a seminar. One student
      > contribution dutifully read out plagiarized sentences from A followed by a
      > sentence from B without apparently noting that B contradicted A.
      > (I hasten to add that this did not happen in Edinburgh.) So I can offer
      > limited first hand evidence for b. I also think that I have first hand
      > evidence for discontinuities becoming evident at proof stage in at least
      > one item of mine that I had heavily revised myself before releasing. We
      > also, of course, know of discontinuities which arise simply from errors in
      > copying a manuscript from an exemplar.
      >
      > But if someone knows of a study of causes of discontinuity it might throw
      > more light on the phenomenon.
      >
      > David M.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ---------
      > David Mealand, University of Edinburgh
      >
      >
      > --
      > The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in Scotland,
      > with registration number SC005336.
      >
      >
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