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RE: [Synoptic-L] New Studies in the Synoptic Problem (PS)

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  • Matson, Mark (Academic)
    Bruce, et al: I have NOT yet read it all (it s 958 pages of dense reading). I would not say that there have been any bolts out of the blue yet, but I found
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 16, 2011
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      Bruce, et al:

      I have NOT yet read it all (it's 958 pages of dense reading). I would not say that there have been any "bolts out of the blue" yet, but I found at least three articles so far very interesting:

      1. John Kloppenborg's article on the relationship between synopsis construction and various hypothesis very interesting. He argues that there is not really a specific bias in any of the synopses, but does illustrate a bunch of examples (that I had been unaware of) in which synopsis construction, especially in ordering and comparing "parallel" verses is simply problematic. What it does is, at least on the margin, simply make the whole issue more complicated. Guess that's not a "definitive" argument, and yet very helpful for thus of us trying to see the argument from all sides fairly. The key to this article is some charts, and I had to read it all a couple of times, but very helpful.

      2. Andrew Gregory's article on "what is literary dependence" does add to, or problematize, the categories of "literary" and "oral" or "memory." Very thoughtful discussion that does not land in an "aha" moment, and yet well worth a number of hours studying.

      3. And Bauckham's article on John and synoptics relationship was worthwhile, even as he critiqued my own efforts. Still, a helpful essay that puts a number of issues into perspective.

      I'm still slugging away, but frankly this does offer some very thoughtful engagement and perspective.


      Mark A. Matson
      Academic Dean
      Milligan College

      > -----Original Message-----
      > From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
      > Of E Bruce Brooks
      > Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2011 2:20 PM
      > To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
      > Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] New Studies in the Synoptic Problem (PS)
      > To: Synoptic
      > In Response To: Mark Matson
      > On: Foster et al
      > From: Bruce
      > I had asked, what would people be doing if the Synoptic Problem mattered?
      > MARK: Well, I think it does matter, even if we still find that many
      > scholars are divided.
      > BRUCE: Just for the sake of exploring all the options, let me advance the
      > thesis that it does NOT matter. Specifically, that what matters to the NT
      > community is keeping the NT community together. With that priority,
      > anything "divisive" is liable to be backburnered, allowed to simmer (and
      > conferences are a nice form of simmering) without coming to a conclusion,
      > since that conclusion would in fact be divisive. One name for this
      > particular kind of analytical stalemate is "agree to disagree." Civil
      > society could not exist without a certain amount of neighborly "agreement
      > to disagree." But it stymies historical research. Not that anyone
      > necessarily cares about historical research, but if they did.
      > MARK: The very search for understanding the nature of the problem affects
      > almost every other area of NT interpretation (Historical Jesus, literary
      > interpretation, Jewish connections, Gentile introduction, NT Theology,
      > relation of NT to OT, intertextual relations, etc. etc.).
      > BRUCE: No argument. That (I suggest, and it does not seem to me to be a
      > profound or original suggestion) is why it is divisive. It would suffice
      > to mention the HJ (the really untouchable topic), but the others are also
      > dangerous. No agreement is in prospect, meaning that any decision on any
      > of these important matters is going to leave behind people on both sides
      > of the decision. This is not what the community as a whole wants, or so I
      > gather from watching how the community behaves. The community wants
      > unanimity, and if there are areas where it cannot get unanimity (as on the
      > evidence of centuries, it cannot in the Synoptic area), it will tend to
      > avoid those areas.
      > MARK: But I gather from your discussion that a thoughtful review of
      > positions, carefully argued in a scholarly forum, does "nothing". Here I
      > disagree.
      > BRUCE: Well, you have read the book and I haven't. If you find that the
      > positions are carefully argued, does that mean that the respective
      > possibilities are carefully stated, or does it mean that the "argument"
      > ended in a conclusion? If not, then the "argument" is functionally futile.
      > To have an "argument" there must be something more than "articulation,"
      > however clear and thoughtful. If yes, then what was the conclusion?
      > Synoptic might be a useful place to challenge a conclusion, but it is hard
      > to challenge, or otherwise relate to, a mere summary, however clear and
      > thoughtful.
      > MARK: Even modest advances in an argument cause me to rethink my
      > position, and I suspect those of various other scholars engaged. This
      > means the next iteration of the discussion is advanced.
      > BRUCE: Would it were so. But I think it more likely that Mark's experience
      > (that his personal sense of the problem is advanced) is general: there
      > will be individual ponderings, and the individual ponderings will continue
      > to be isolated and personal, and on the personal level, perhaps fruitful.
      > But this is not what I would mean by advancing *the discussion.*
      > Individual clarity is good, but if that is all it is, it remains
      > individual. The collective would seem to remain where it was: the average
      > of the individual positions.
      > The collective position does not advance. Instead, the individual
      > positions continue to cancel out.
      > To rephrase an earlier suggestion, if Mark knows of a paragraph in these
      > costly pages where a position is unambiguously reached which might merit
      > general acceptance, and thus betoken a real advance *in discussion,* could
      > he summarize that paragraph in a sentence?
      > E Bruce Brooks
      > University of Massachusetts at Amherst
      > ------------------------------------
      > Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-lYahoo! Groups Links
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