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Re: [Synoptic-L] 2ST vs FGT - is a crucial experiment the way?

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  • Ronald Price
    ... David, Thanks for this pointer to your article, which I was indeed able to access. The overall conclusion that stylometric analysis favours the 2ST more
    Message 1 of 13 , Jan 14, 2012
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      On 12/01/2012 23:05, "David Mealand" <D.Mealand@...> wrote:

      > There are links to CUP, and to NTS, and also a link to
      > the text of the article, on my Edinburgh Uni site here:
      >
      > https://www.wiki.ed.ac.uk/display/DLM/DLM-stylometric-analysis
      >
      > This should mean that it is available to members of Synoptic-L

      David,

      Thanks for this pointer to your article, which I was indeed able to access.
      The overall conclusion that stylometric analysis favours the 2ST more than
      the FGT, is perhaps what I would have expected. However the footnote about
      the groups 'R' and '8' is surely open to question. For those who haven't
      seen David's article, he suggests that the double tradition woes of Mt 23
      ('R') // Lk 11 might not belong to Q, and certain M sayings in Mt chs. 10,
      11, 12, 16 & 18 constituting his group '8' may actually have been derived
      from Q. Can an analysis based on the most common Greek words in 250-word
      samples, be sufficiently accurate to provide a reliable indication of the
      source of a single sample? For anyone not used to counting NT Greek words,
      250 words is about one sixth of the size of Colossians.

      In any case (to take up a couple of David's points) a low level of agreement
      in the double tradition does not necessarily indicate a different source. It
      can mean simply that one of the synoptic authors was not entirely satisfied
      with a specific pericope or set of pericopes. Also the evidence for
      divergent translation from Aramaic in Mt 23 // Lk 11 should be linked with
      evidence there and elsewhere for paronomasia in the underlying Aramaic, and
      the parallelism in scores of aphorisms, as thoroughly undermining
      Kloppenborg's Greek-in-origin Q.

      I would still argue that it is not tinkering with Q which is required, but a
      radical rethink.

      Ron Price,

      Derbyshire, UK

      http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_home.html



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    • David Mealand
      Ron Thanks for your view of the paper. I notice that you focus mainly on a tentative afterthought. It was only when the main argument and conclusions had been
      Message 2 of 13 , Jan 14, 2012
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        Ron

        Thanks for your view of the paper.

        I notice that you focus mainly on a tentative afterthought.

        It was only when the main argument and conclusions had
        been reached, that I included (probably tucked away in a footnote)
        some tentative thoughts on a few oddities I noticed
        on my route.

        It is the argument based on the evidence of the main series
        of tests which must carry the weight. For that samples ranging from
        1000 words down through 500 to 250 were in fact used. If you use
        rare words of course you need very large samples, that is why arguments
        based on rare words are often seriously problematic. Most of my tests
        used the words in Matthew with the very highest frequency, and none of
        them used very rare words.

        One could, of course, compare all of Q with all of M using just two large
        blocks of text, but that would be very unwise.
        It would give no indication of within group consistency
        (or otherwise), and it would commit the serious error of not allowing
        for the differences of style between sayings and such things as
        apophthegms and parables. The tests allow for these genre differences,
        and they do check "within source" differences, as well as between source
        differences. That is why the material has to be divided into small
        samples, and so rely on the words of the highest frequency. Doing this
        takes considerably longer of course, but taking what looks like an
        attractive short cut can have inconvenient consequences.

        David M.





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


        --
        The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
        Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
      • Ronald Price
        ... David, I did mention that they were in a footnote. What I didn t mention is that in the final section headed Conclusions , the footnote is explicitly
        Message 3 of 13 , Jan 16, 2012
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          On 14/01/2012 23:59, "David Mealand" <D.Mealand@...> wrote:

          > I notice that you focus mainly on a tentative afterthought.
          >
          > It was only when the main argument and conclusions had
          > been reached, that I included (probably tucked away in a footnote)
          > some tentative thoughts on a few oddities I noticed
          > on my route.

          David,

          I did mention that they were in a footnote. What I didn't mention is that in
          the final section headed "Conclusions", the footnote is explicitly referred
          to thus:

          "Note 34 explored some further implications of these results relating to the
          extent of Q."

          So what your article referred to as "some further implications of these
          results", you now call "tentative thoughts on a few oddities". They seem to
          be rapidly losing their status! In any case my response did not pretend to
          be a formal review, and I don't see why even tentative thoughts should be
          exempt from comment.

          > It is the argument based on the evidence of the main series
          > of tests which must carry the weight.

          The main thrust of your argument does indeed seem to count significantly
          against the FGT, in which the double tradition is taken as essentially
          Matthean, and therefore would be expected to be similar in style to 'M'
          material.

          But lest some readers deduce that the hypothesis of Luke's use of Matthew
          has been dealt a serious blow, I should point out that the crude form of the
          3ST outlined by Tuckett as a possible fall-back position would behave
          exactly like the 2ST on David's stylometric tests. Also my more radical form
          of the 3ST would require a different arrangement of the input data if it
          were to be tested using David Mealand's methods. Luke's subsidiary use of
          Matthew is a fundamental part of the 3ST.

          Ron Price,

          Derbyshire, UK

          http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/syno_meri.html




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        • David Mealand
          Ron Yes thanks for the clarification. I was trying to make the logical structure of the argument clear. The first and main concern was to compare a sufficient
          Message 4 of 13 , Jan 16, 2012
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            Ron

            Yes thanks for the clarification. I was trying
            to make the logical structure of the argument
            clear. The first and main concern was to compare
            a sufficient set of samples representing the DT with
            an equivalent set of samples representing sayings,
            parables and apophthegms only in Matthew. Once it
            was clear from the results that the great majority of Q
            differs on these criteria from the great majority of
            M, I then, and only then, allowed myself some further
            exploration of the few bits of material that didn't go
            all the way with the trend.

            One of 12 samples from Q is at issue, and this turned out
            to include some verses that several people are hesitant about
            attributing to Q anyway. They are some verses from the woes
            against the scribes which have low levels of agreement in the DT,
            indications of the use of a source other than Q, and evidence of
            some divergent translation from Aramaic. But we are talking about
            part of one 250 word sample here, and some people do attribute
            some of these verses to M. My results suggest they are right
            to do so. Similar considerations apply to the few bits of M that
            are closer to Q. Some of these contain verses which are immediately
            adjacent to verses evidently belonging to the DT. My results
            suggest that these few verses should be considered more carefully
            as possibly being verses in Q that Luke omitted. But we can only
            start looking at this in this way if we can first get an 82%
            success rate in blind assigning of Q samples to Q, and M samples to M.

            If someone wishes to explore variations on 3ST then
            I would be quite happy to see the results. I would
            only warn that setting this kind of thing up, assembling
            all of the data, checking the experiments carefully etc.
            etc. is not going to be done quickly. If it could be
            done speedily I might have tested all the Synoptic
            theories at once while about it, but sadly it ain't like
            that.

            One final comment. I am more passionate about trying to persuade
            NT scholars to allow the discipline to take scientific methods
            seriously, than I am about the results that come out at the end.
            We need to be much much more serious about formulating hypotheses
            to test our theories, and then rigorously finding and checking
            the evidence. This is even more the case when dealing with a
            clash of theories which affects so much else in the discipline.
            We should not give up traditional literary methods, but should
            reinforce them with more logical and analytical and numeric processing
            of the evidence. I do care about the results, but I might have to
            rethink them tomorrow.

            David M


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


            --
            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
          • Bob Schacht
            ... I agree with this sentiment. However, your (and my) efforts in this direction are swimming against the tide of C. P. Snow s The Two Cultures: Those
            Message 5 of 13 , Jan 16, 2012
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              At 09:52 AM 1/16/2012, David Mealand wrote:
              >...I am more passionate about trying to persuade
              >NT scholars to allow the discipline to take scientific methods
              >seriously, than I am about the results that come out at the end.
              >We need to be much much more serious about formulating hypotheses
              >to test our theories, and then rigorously finding and checking
              >the evidence. ...

              I agree with this sentiment. However, your (and my) efforts in this
              direction are swimming against the tide of C. P. Snow's The Two
              Cultures: Those educated in the humanities tradition vs. those
              educated in the "sciences." My experience has been that people
              educated in the humanities just don't like the words "hypothesis" or
              "testing" of hypotheses or theories, etc. That is, they either just
              don't like those terms anywhere, or they feel that those words just
              don't apply to the humanities. There is this mis-perception that
              "hypothesis" and "testing" must always involve men and women in white
              lab coats working in a clean laboratory with microscopes and test
              tubes, and they just don't see how their information can be reduced
              to slides and test tubes. They generally don't know much about
              science (and so, The Two Cultures), and don't realize how much of
              science does not involve those kinds of laboratories (think of the
              social sciences, geology, astronomy, etc.) They don't see the value
              of stating an idea in the form of a testable hypothesis.

              For example, J.D. Crossan has written about "prophecy historicized"
              (e.g., Birth of Christianity, p. 521) when he discusses the
              Passion-Resurrection stories, by which he explains the passion and
              resurrection stories in terms of prophecies. Years ago, he did an
              internet seminar with CrossTalk (XTalk) on his book. I asked him
              about this idea, "prophecy historicized," saying that it sounded like
              an interesting hypothesis for Biblical studies, because it seemed
              like historicizing prophecy is something that might have happened
              more than once..
              * How does prophecy become historicized?
              * When, and in what circumstances does this occur?
              But he was unwilling to investigate this idea in this way. He would
              only apply it to the passion-resurrection narratives. And
              furthermore, when I tried to outline what was involved, I found that
              he employed many different fragments of prophecy from different
              places in a variety of contexts. I could see no way to generalize
              this thought into a more wide-ranging theory. It seems like an ad hoc
              idea, produced only to explain one literary phenomenon, and not
              applicable to any other situation. I think it more likely is a case
              of "history rationalized," whereby an attempt is made to explain one
              incident with fragments of prophecies that had common elements. But
              this makes the assumption that the incident in question actually happened.

              In short, I think your issue is not simply a numerical problem, but a
              philosophical one, as well.

              Bob Schacht
              Northern Arizona University





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