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

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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 1 of 13 , Jan 16, 2012
      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 2 of 13 , Jan 16, 2012
        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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