RE: [Synoptic-L] Discontinuities in texts
- 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
> -----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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