Re: [Synoptic-L] 2ST vs FGT - is a crucial experiment the way?
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
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 Mealand, University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
- At 09:52 AM 1/16/2012, David Mealand wrote:
>...I am more passionate about trying to persuadeI agree with this sentiment. However, your (and my) efforts in this
>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. ...
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.
Northern Arizona University
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