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Poirier's article in latest JSNT

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  • Mark Goodacre
    Congratulations to John Poirier on the publication today of this excellent article in JSNT: John C. Poirier, The Roll, the Codex, the Wax Tablet and the
    Message 1 of 21 , Jul 31 8:20 AM
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      Congratulations to John Poirier on the publication today of this
      excellent article in JSNT:

      John C. Poirier, "The Roll, the Codex, the Wax Tablet and the Synoptic
      Problem", JSNT 35(1) (2012): 3-30

      Abstract: The Farrer hypothesis, especially as defended by Michael
      Goulder, has often been faulted for its supposed reliance on an
      anachronistic and technically impracticable understanding of Luke’s
      compositional practices. A closer look at the arguments against Farrer
      and Goulder, however, reveals a number of problems with this charge,
      including (but not limited to) its dependence on an inadequate
      understanding of how works were actually composed in antiquity.
      Goulder’s suggestion that Luke worked backwards through Matthew, in
      particular, has received a certain amount of criticism, but that
      scenario is shown here to be both technically feasible and perfectly
      in keeping with the way the ancients sometimes worked. Perhaps the
      greatest problem with the arguments made against the Farrer hypothesis
      is that they ignore Luke’s likely use of the wax tablet as a
      compositional aid—a medium that would have allowed Luke to rearrange
      Matthew’s material as freely as Farrerians suppose.
      --
      Mark
      --
      Mark Goodacre
      Duke University
      Department of Religion
      Gray Building / Box 90964
      Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
      Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

      http://www.markgoodacre.org
    • David Inglis
      Excellent. I’ve never understood how anyone could assume that something as long as a gospel could have been written from start to finish without some form of
      Message 2 of 21 , Jul 31 9:35 AM
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        Excellent. I’ve never understood how anyone could assume that something as long as a gospel could have been written from start to finish without some form of ‘notes’ or other intermediate stage, involving smaller pieces of text which are gathered together before the final thing (whether on a roll or a codex) is written.



        David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



        From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Goodacre
        Sent: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 8:20 AM
        To: Synoptic-L
        Cc: John C. Poirier
        Subject: [Synoptic-L] Poirier's article in latest JSNT

        Congratulations to John Poirier on the publication today of this excellent article in JSNT:

        John C. Poirier, "The Roll, the Codex, the Wax Tablet and the Synoptic Problem", JSNT 35(1) (2012): 3-30

        Abstract: The Farrer hypothesis, especially as defended by Michael Goulder, has often been faulted for its supposed reliance on an anachronistic and technically impracticable understanding of Luke’s compositional practices. A closer look at the arguments against Farrer and Goulder, however, reveals a number of problems with this charge, including (but not limited to) its dependence on an inadequate
        understanding of how works were actually composed in antiquity. Goulder’s suggestion that Luke worked backwards through Matthew, in particular, has received a certain amount of criticism, but that
        scenario is shown here to be both technically feasible and perfectly in keeping with the way the ancients sometimes worked. Perhaps the greatest problem with the arguments made against the Farrer hypothesis is that they ignore Luke’s likely use of the wax tablet as a compositional aid—a medium that would have allowed Luke to rearrange Matthew’s material as freely as Farrerians suppose.
        --
        Mark
        --
        Mark Goodacre
        Duke University
        Department of Religion
        Gray Building / Box 90964
        Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
        Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530



        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Mark Goodacre
        ... I know what you mean, but these things vary greatly from author to author, don they? I know scholars who just pound out several thousand words a day and
        Message 3 of 21 , Jul 31 10:55 AM
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          On 31 July 2012 12:35, David Inglis <davidinglis2@...> wrote:

          > Excellent. I’ve never understood how anyone could assume that something as
          > long as a gospel could have been written from start to finish without some
          > form of ‘notes’ or other intermediate stage, involving smaller pieces of
          > text which are gathered together before the final thing (whether on a roll
          > or a codex) is written.

          I know what you mean, but these things vary greatly from author to
          author, don' they? I know scholars who just pound out several
          thousand words a day and hardly go back to change them, and others who
          agonize over every word and go through tons of drafts. Or I think of
          Mozart's near perfect scores and Beethoven's messy ones with all sorts
          of crossings-out all over them. If modern writing practice differs so
          greatly, shouldn't we assume by analogy that there would be variation
          between authors in the ancient world too?

          Mark
          --
          Mark Goodacre
          Duke University
          Department of Religion
          Gray Building / Box 90964
          Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
          Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

          http://www.markgoodacre.org
        • David Mealand
          Mark wrote--- I know scholars who just pound out several thousand words a day and hardly go back to change them, ... Yes, I remember the story about one
          Message 4 of 21 , Jul 31 1:21 PM
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            Mark wrote---
            I know scholars who just pound out several
            thousand words a day and hardly go back to change them,
            ----

            Yes, I remember the story about one scholar who produced
            an amazing output of books. His wife took a call for him one day
            and explained to the caller that he was working on his latest
            tome. That's all right said the caller, I'll just hold on
            till he has finished it.

            David M.


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


            --
            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
          • David Mealand
            I have just downloaded and read through the main argument in John Poirier s article. I like the extended emphasis on the realia of ancient writing techniques,
            Message 5 of 21 , Aug 1, 2012
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              I have just downloaded and read through the main argument in John
              Poirier's article. I like the extended emphasis on the realia of ancient
              writing techniques, and the examples from the ancient world which
              are cited. I was slightly surprised that, after the lengthy case made out
              for the possibility of Luke having proceeded in reverse order through
              a source scroll, he then fairly briefly states that actually he doesn't think
              that he did do this. But then I thought that in fact I would agree
              with both propositions - Luke could have done it (on the evidence
              provided), but no
              I also don't think that he did do so. The second section on the wax tablets
              also contains many interesting and useful insights. The possible explanation
              for Luke's major omission is fascinating and ingenious, but rather
              speculative. On most issues, however, I find the article contains many
              valuable insights into how ancient writings were produced, and avoids
              hasty or doctrinaire leaps in favour of particular theories about specific
              texts.

              I would strongly recommend others to read the article.

              Perhaps I could offer one passing suggestion which might appeal to
              those who still take the 2ST seriously - the use of wax tablets could
              also have helped Matthew note down bits of Q (and M) to fit into
              appropriate places in his more topically structured text ;-)

              David M.



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


              --
              The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
              Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
            • Mark Goodacre
              Thanks, David. Good points, all. With respect to Matthew s work on Q and M, Derrenbacker has the interesting suggestion that Q may have been in codex form
              Message 6 of 21 , Aug 1, 2012
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                Thanks, David. Good points, all. With respect to Matthew's work on Q and
                M, Derrenbacker has the interesting suggestion that Q may have been in
                codex form and so easier to bob around in. But I like your suggestion
                about Matthew working with wax tablets for this material -- that would also
                help to explain Matthew's "unscrambling" of Q's excellent order of the
                sayings and his rather wooden, thematic re-ordering. [ ;-) ]

                I agree with you about the slight anti-climax on the reverse-scrolling
                issue. In reading the article for the first time, I had assumed that
                Poirier was going to make the argument not only that it was feasible but
                also that it was what he thinks Luke did. But Goulder's argument for the
                reverse-scrolling is problematic because of the correspondences, not
                because of the process.

                But what I like about Poirier's article is that it stimulates the
                imagination to think about the realia -- agreed.

                Mark
                --
                Mark Goodacre
                Duke University
                Department of Religion
                Gray Building / Box 90964
                Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

                http://www.markgoodacre.org


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • David Inglis
                Having also read the article, although I think it is very good as far as it goes, I am disappointed that it doesn t touch on what I consider a major issue with
                Message 7 of 21 , Aug 1, 2012
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                  Having also read the article, although I think it is very good as far as it goes, I am disappointed that it doesn't
                  touch on what I consider a major issue with what we see as Luke. This is the significant (to my mind, at least) evidence
                  that the first version was not only shorter (e.g. missing at least chapters 1 and 2), and also had material in a
                  different order (e.g. swapping Capernaum and Nazareth). As a result, any discussion of how the author of Luke composed
                  it should take account of what the initial version most likely contained, and not what it currently contains. For
                  example, if "the NA27 text of Luke's Gospel contains 95,972

                  letters, while the text of Acts contains 95,838," then I think it very unlikely that this was true for at least the
                  initial version of Luke. Consequently, what we see today may well have been 'massaged' so that Luke and Acts both fitted
                  on a scroll of the same length, but I very much doubt that this applied to their initial form.

                  David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



                  From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Mark Goodacre
                  Sent: Wednesday, August 01, 2012 3:34 PM
                  To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] Poirier's article in latest JSNT

                  Thanks, David. Good points, all. With respect to Matthew's work on Q and M, Derrenbacker has the interesting suggestion
                  that Q may have been in codex form and so easier to bob around in. But I like your suggestion about Matthew working with
                  wax tablets for this material -- that would also help to explain Matthew's "unscrambling" of Q's excellent order of the
                  sayings and his rather wooden, thematic re-ordering. [ ;-) ]

                  I agree with you about the slight anti-climax on the reverse-scrolling issue. In reading the article for the first time,
                  I had assumed that Poirier was going to make the argument not only that it was feasible but
                  also that it was what he thinks Luke did. But Goulder's argument for the reverse-scrolling is problematic because of the
                  correspondences, not because of the process.

                  But what I like about Poirier's article is that it stimulates the imagination to think about the realia -- agreed.

                  Mark
                  --
                  Mark Goodacre
                  Duke University
                  Department of Religion
                  Gray Building / Box 90964
                  Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                  Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • David Mealand
                  David Inglis raises an important issue: he wrote ... ...if the NA27 text of Luke s Gospel contains 95,972 letters, while the text of Acts contains 95,838,
                  Message 8 of 21 , Aug 2, 2012
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                    David Inglis raises an important issue: he wrote
                    ----------
                    ...if "the NA27 text of Luke's Gospel contains 95,972
                    letters, while the text of Acts contains 95,838," then
                    I think it very unlikely that this was true for at least
                    the initial version of Luke. Consequently, what we see
                    today may well have been 'massaged' so that Luke and Acts
                    both fitted on a scroll of the same length, but I very
                    much doubt that this applied to their initial form.
                    ------------
                    I had already indicated some caution about the omission being
                    explained by 3 uses of a stack of wax tablets arriving at the
                    first of these totals, and matching the three sections of Luke.
                    This goes deeper. While I am not wholly persuaded that Luke
                    1 & 2 are additions to Luke it is a hypothesis I am willing to
                    entertain (as the philosophers are wont to say) in order to
                    consider the consequences. The latter are intriguing. If
                    Luke 1 & 2 are additions, and if David I's attempts to recover the
                    Luke known to Marcion provide evidence for this, then what is
                    the status, on this view, of the Lukan preface? I would be very
                    interested in David's response to this, as it has implications
                    for other aspects of what became the two volume work that got
                    attributed to "Luke".

                    Hope this isn't too convoluted a question.

                    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, While I can t claim to be able to fit Marcion s text into the history of the editions of Luke, the clear implication of my page hypothesis is that
                    Message 9 of 21 , Aug 3, 2012
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                      David Mealand wrote:

                      > ..... If Luke 1 & 2 are additions, and if David I's attempts to recover the
                      > Luke known to Marcion provide evidence for this, then what is the status, on
                      > this view, of the Lukan preface?

                      David,

                      While I can't claim to be able to fit Marcion's text into the history of the
                      editions of Luke, the clear implication of my page hypothesis is that the
                      original text of Luke did contain the preface. The original with its truly
                      majestic opening (1:1-4; 3:1-2) was a codex of 60 pages, and this was
                      expanded into a codex of 68 pages corresponding to the extant Luke. This was
                      achieved by the addition of the birth narratives (1:5 - 2:52, 7 pages) and
                      the Parable of the Pounds (19:12-27, 1 page).

                      For what it's worth, I consider the evidence for this text history (seen in
                      the light of a successful application of the page hypothesis to all the
                      other major NT books) to be overwhelming.

                      Ron Price,

                      Derbyshire, UK

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



                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • E Bruce Brooks
                      To: Synoptic In Response To: Ron On: Page Theories From: Bruce Ron (responding to David Inglis): While I can t claim to be able to fit Marcion s text into the
                      Message 10 of 21 , Aug 3, 2012
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                        To: Synoptic
                        In Response To: Ron
                        On: Page Theories
                        From: Bruce

                        Ron (responding to David Inglis): While I can't claim to be able to fit
                        Marcion's text into the history of the editions of Luke, the clear
                        implication of my page hypothesis is that the original text of Luke did
                        contain the preface.

                        Bruce: This is a weakness of all page theories: they are vulnerable to
                        evidence for interpolation and extension, which unfortunately all the
                        Gospels except Matthew seem to contain. At any rate, decision between a page
                        theory and another type of theory seems to be possible, which is somewhat
                        interesting.

                        Ron: The original with its truly majestic opening (1:1-4; 3:1-2) was a codex
                        of 60 pages,

                        Bruce: The opening is surely impressive; much moreso than the opening of
                        Matthew, which I have suggested Luke was imitating, and indeed surpassing.

                        Ron: . . . and this was expanded into a codex of 68 pages corresponding to
                        the extant Luke. This was achieved by the addition of the birth narratives
                        (1:5 - 2:52, 7 pages)

                        Bruce: Ron thus incorporates the Birth Narrative into his page theory, which
                        preserves that theory against that challenge. I should think, however, that
                        the prefaces to Luke and Acts were added at the time that Acts I was added
                        to Luke, which as I have earlier suggested there are reasons for thinking
                        was later than Luke A. That is,

                        (1) Luke A (no Birth narrative, no preface)
                        (2) Matthew (contains a skimpy Birth narrative)
                        (2) Luke B adds a whammo Birth narrative plus Acts I, and prefaces both

                        Ron . . . and the Parable of the Pounds (19:12-27, 1 page).

                        Bruce: Ah, the Parable of the Pounds (or Talents). This is not only
                        intrusive in Luke, it is intrusive *from Matthew.* The directionality
                        argument has been ably (indeed, hilariously) set forth by M Goulder, and
                        needs no restatement by me. The upgrading to "ten" servants, which is not
                        maintained through the rest of the story, is enough to make Luke here
                        secondary to Matthew. Further support for the page theory as Ron here
                        outlines it is to be had from the directionality of the Parable of the Feast
                        (Lk 14:16-24 ~ Mt 22:1-14), which for many of the same reasons is original
                        in Luke. That is, it is part of Luke A, as Ron seems to allow. But the
                        implication of this priority of Luke in the Parable of the Feast is that
                        Matthew here is secondary to Luke. I have elsewhere argued that there are
                        many cases of this (the Sermon on the Mount < Plain being only the most
                        extreme). This reverse movement is, I think, fatal to FGH in the form in
                        which M Goulder left it. Since I have been unable to convince M Goulder
                        during his lifetime, or any subsequent proprietor of the theory, to accept
                        this reverse movement as a friendly amendment (so to speak), it becomes
                        instead the basis of a rival account of the material. So be it.

                        Meanwhile, Ron's Luke is vulnerable to any instances other than the two he
                        mentions in which Goulder's account of Luke is correct. I would think that
                        there are many of these, otherwise the general lateness of Luke compared to
                        Matthew in the Trajectory material would be inexplicable.

                        Quite apart from this Matthew question, there are signs of disturbance in
                        Luke that point to later intrusion of material in Luke. For example, What
                        route did Jesus take to Jerusalem? At the beginning there is a suggestion
                        that he took the high road through Samaria, but later in the travel
                        narrative he is evidently in Jewish territory, hence the low road along the
                        Jordan. The Samaria motif in Luke is associated (as is the symbolic Sending
                        of the Seventy, where 70 = 7 = all nations) with the Gentile mission, which
                        seems to have been a late idea in Luke. There is a similar geographical
                        tension at the end: Jesus appears to disciples on the road to Emmaus, which
                        is NW of Jerusalem and implies the high road, but he ascends having led them
                        out to Bethany, which is in the other direction and implies the low road. If
                        we eliminate from Luke (that is, from our picture of Luke A) everything
                        associated with the Gentile Mission, we avoid these little differences, and
                        get a geographically consistent Luke A. Which is encouraging, but at the
                        cost of making the Seventy etc secondary in Luke; author's later
                        improvements not suggested by Matthew.

                        Taking it a step further, the ascension in Luke also contradicts the
                        ascension in Acts, as many (including Fitzmyer ad loc) have noted. Acts I is
                        there precisely to reconcile Gentile and Jewish Christians, so it too (I
                        infer) belongs the the Gentile Mission layer in Luke. After these had been
                        added to Luke A, we have Luke B + Acts I, and a drastically reshaped picture
                        of the history of Christianity.

                        I think the evidences for such adjustments in Luke (including Acts, and I
                        think we must include Acts in our calculations) are strong. But they are
                        consistent neither with the Goulder realization of FGH nor with Ron's page
                        theory. They imply more movement, and in more directions, than either of
                        those proposals envisions.

                        Here, to me, is the direction in which an eventual solution lies.

                        Bruce

                        E Bruce Brooks
                        Warring States Project
                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                      • David Inglis
                        ... this, then what is the status, on this view, of the Lukan preface? *** David I: I repeat here some text from my website on Marcion s gospel [Mcg]: In Adv.
                        Message 11 of 21 , Aug 3, 2012
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                          David Mealand wrote:

                          > ..... If Luke 1 & 2 are additions, and if David I's attempts to recover the Luke known to Marcion provide evidence for
                          this, then what is the status, on this view, of the Lukan preface?



                          *** David I: I repeat here some text from my website on Marcion's gospel [Mcg]:



                          In Adv. Marcion, Book IV, Chapter 7, Tertullian reports that Mcg begins:

                          "In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius [3.1a] (for such is Marcion's proposition) he "came down to the Galilean
                          city of Capernaum," [4:31a]"



                          Epiphanius agrees with Tertullian, stating that:



                          "At the very beginning he [Marcion] excised all of Luke's original discussion - his "inasmuch as many have taken in
                          hand" and so forth, and the material about Elizabeth and the angel's annunciation to the Virgin Mary, John and Zacharias
                          and the birth at Bethlehem; the genealogy and the subject of the baptism. All this he took out and turned his back on
                          and made this the beginning of the Gospel, "In the fifteenth year of Tiberius Caesar," [3:1a] and so on.



                          *** So, both major sources agree that Mcg omitted Lk 1 and 2. However, it is (in my opinion) significant that while
                          Epiphanius comments on these omissions, Tertullian does not. As both delight in noting even minor differences between
                          Mcg and Lk, the fact that Tertullian does not mention Marcion's omission suggests to me that his (probably Old Latin)
                          copy of Lk did not contain these chapters either. Continuing:



                          It has been noted by many (including Brown, Fitzmeyer, Streeter, and Tyson) that v. 3:1 would have been a very good
                          beginning for a gospel, lending weight to the view that this was the case at some point in the development of Lk, with
                          the material in chapters 1 and 2 being added later. On this point Volume III of The Encyclopedia Biblica notes:



                          Finally, as in the case of Mt. so also in that of Lk. we must conjecture that the gospel once was without the first two
                          chapters (1:5-2:52). Lk.'s proem (1:1-4) speaks in favour of this presumption . as also do the facts that the Baptist is
                          in 3:2 introduced like a person who has never yet been mentioned, and that Jesus at Nazareth (4:16-30) appeals in his
                          own vindication simply to his possessing the gift of the Holy Spirit; so also the further fact that the Baptist (7:18 f)
                          allows the question to be raised whether Jesus be the Messiah or not, without knowing anything of the complete
                          information which, according to 1:41-45, his mother possessed."



                          *** Despite points such as this, the general opinion is that Marcion is the guilty party here (i.e. that he removed text
                          from Lk). For example:



                          On this point both Tyson and Gregory comment that Knox wrote:



                          "Marcion would surely not have tolerated this highly 'Jewish' section; but how wonderfully adapted it is to show the
                          nature of Christianity as the true Judaism and thus to answer one of the major contentions of the Marcionites! And one
                          cannot overlook the difficulty involved in the common supposition that Marcion deliberately selected a Gospel which
                          began in so false and obnoxious a way."



                          *** There is actually no evidence (that I have seen) to say that Marcion truncated Lk. There is, however, a great deal
                          of adverse opinion based on the fact that Mcg WAS shorter than what we see as Lk, in particular omitting Lk 1 and 2.
                          Marcion did become labeled the "arch heretic," but it appears to me that this could easily be a reaction to Marcion
                          presenting to the church an 'alpha' (with apologies to Bruce) version of Christianity based on an earlier, shorter,
                          version of Lk that omitted Lk 1 and 2, appears to have Capernaum and Nazareth swapped, omits some parables (including
                          the prodigal son), and is generally western, in particular having a shorter version of Lk 24.



                          David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                        • David Mealand
                          Many thanks to David I for the informative reply, with the specific kind of evidential detail I hoped would be forthcoming. I can t take the issue further
                          Message 12 of 21 , Aug 3, 2012
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                            Many thanks to David I for the informative reply,
                            with the specific kind of evidential detail I hoped
                            would be forthcoming. I can't take the issue
                            further just at the moment - going out this evening,
                            but I hope to follow up with some points which
                            relate to Acts as well as to Luke in connection with
                            this.

                            David M.


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


                            --
                            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                          • David Mealand
                            David Inglis provided detailed evidence for the view that the version of Luke known to (and further adapted by) Marcion lacked all of the first two chapters
                            Message 13 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                              David Inglis provided detailed evidence for
                              the view that the version of Luke known to
                              (and further adapted by) Marcion lacked all
                              of the first two chapters including the preface.

                              The monograph on Acts by Patricia Walters showed
                              that stylometric evidence points to differences
                              between the style of the seams and summaries in
                              Luke and those in Acts which are significant,
                              often highly significant. This seems to indicate
                              serious problems with the assumption of common
                              authorship.

                              Broad differences of style between Luke and Acts had
                              been noted previously, but the significant differences
                              in passages most likely to be editorial form an
                              important body of fresh evidence. No longer can one
                              rest content with the thought that one would expect
                              some general differences of style given the greater
                              emphasis on the Graeco-Roman context in Acts, or
                              the presence of sources with more Semitic features
                              prior to Luke.

                              Walters' tests are robust. Using different criteria
                              (5 of the most frequent words) and the same method on the
                              same samples also shows significant differences. If
                              the Luke samples and the Acts samples are each partitioned
                              into two sub-samples of seams and summaries then these
                              are internally coherent though externally disparate. A
                              possible line of objection is that some of the Lukan
                              seams contain some words inherited from Mark. If those sections
                              are omitted then Walters results still stand, and the
                              attempted rebuttal fails. Given that these additional
                              tests all corroborate, and in no case cast doubt on the
                              original results, it would seem that the authorship of Acts
                              deserves serious reconsideration.

                              So the further point is to ask whether one should link the
                              contrasting style of seams and summaries in Luke and Acts
                              demonstrated by Walters, with the evidence cited by David Inglis for
                              the late addition of the first two chapters of Luke to that text.
                              But that is something I would hesitate to do without sufficient
                              further evidence to justify a single theory to resolve two
                              puzzles about Luke and Acts which may or may not be related.
                              It is always far easier to spin speculative theories than it
                              is to grind out the hard evidence to give them evidential
                              probability.

                              David M.


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


                              --
                              The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                              Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                            • E Bruce Brooks
                              To: Synoptic On: Certain Stylometric Results From: Bruce David Mealand in a recent post cited certain stylometric results of Patricia Walters, and ended with a
                              Message 14 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                To: Synoptic
                                On: Certain Stylometric Results
                                From: Bruce

                                David Mealand in a recent post cited certain stylometric results of Patricia
                                Walters, and ended with a paragraph including this phrase: " So the further
                                point is to ask whether one should link the contrasting style of seams and
                                summaries in Luke and Acts demonstrated by Walters."

                                In view of the uniformly and knowledgeably negative response which Patricia
                                Walters received at her SBL presentation on Luke-Acts recently, I
                                respectfully doubt whether her conclusions can be accepted forthwith as
                                "demonstrated."

                                Her specific results aside, there is a more general point. As David himself
                                points out elsewhere, stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style,
                                but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were not designed. That
                                is exactly my own experience over many years with style tests (in English,
                                Chinese, and more recently and tentatively Greek). What we ask, and what our
                                tools are properly capable of giving us, are often divergent. This readily
                                leads to misapplication and misinterpretation in use. It's perhaps
                                questionable as methodology.

                                Not that we aren't going to try, just to see what happens, but what happens
                                should always be interpreted with appropriate reticence.

                                If anyone ever used a style difference test to explore style differences
                                (preferably within what is otherwise likely to be the work of one author), I
                                suspect that we would immediately begin to see profoundly interesting
                                results - answers to questions we have not so far chosen to ask, but which
                                are there for the asking, any day of any week. All we have to do is use the
                                screwdriver to drive the screw, and not to open the paint can.

                                Warmly recommended,

                                Bruce

                                E Bruce Brooks
                                Warring States Project
                                University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                              • David Mealand
                                Bruce claims I said ... stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style, but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were not designed. ... Not
                                Message 15 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                  Bruce claims I said
                                  ---------
                                  stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style,
                                  but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were
                                  not designed.
                                  --------

                                  Not so. What I said was that stylometric tests tend to
                                  note genre differences as more prominent than source or
                                  author differences. Tests have to be structured to allow
                                  for this.

                                  I have no idea what people may have said at SBL.
                                  My point is that my tests corroborated Walters' findings,
                                  giving support I had not expected to a view towards which
                                  I had previously been resistant. I have read some of the
                                  reviews of the book and noted that most of the points made
                                  in resistance to the critique of Lukan authorship of Acts
                                  did not deal with the tests reported, but appealed to matters
                                  such as similar themes in both works, a line of argument I
                                  find particularly unconvincing but not surprising.

                                  David M.


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


                                  --
                                  The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                                  Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                                • David Inglis
                                  I would put it this way: Stylometric tests look for patterns in the usages of various words or phrases when comparing two or more pieces of text. Depending on
                                  Message 16 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                    I would put it this way: Stylometric tests look for patterns in the usages of various words or phrases when comparing two or more pieces of text. Depending on what words or phrases are used in such a test, we may find patterns that we interpret as being related to genre, style, or authorship. Further, the selection and/or the grouping of the words or phrases used in any such test can affect the patterns seen, as can the particular statistical procedure used. Therefore, I would say that no individual stylometric test can be relied upon, but where several different tests all seem to be showing the same patterns (or lack thereof) of usage of words or phrases then we should be able to, at least, state that the patterns either exist or don’t. Whether this then can be attributed to style, authorship, or something else, is a different question.

                                    If we find that the same patterns do exist, or not (at a significant statistical level), in a number of different tests, and have structured our tests to eliminate (or at least minimize) genre differences, then we have a phenomenon that requires an explanation. The question then becomes whether particular patterns of usage are a reliable indicator of authorship or not, which appears to be the sticking point. However, I think we are on safer ground if we say that the lack of common patterns of usage is a good indicator of different authorship than common patterns of usage are an indicator of common authorship. In other words, I think we can at least eliminate some hypotheses in situations where we don’t find the patterns that the hypotheses predict.

                                    David Inglis, Lafayette, CA, 94549, USA



                                    From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of David Mealand
                                    Sent: Saturday, August 04, 2012 9:24 AM
                                    To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] Length of Luke (and Acts)

                                    Bruce claims I said
                                    ---------
                                    stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style, but less so for authorship, a matter for which they were not designed.
                                    --------
                                    Not so. What I said was that stylometric tests tend to note genre differences as more prominent than source or author differences. Tests have to be structured to allow for this.

                                    I have no idea what people may have said at SBL. My point is that my tests corroborated Walters' findings, giving support I had not expected to a view towards which I had previously been resistant. I have read some of the reviews of the book and noted that most of the points made in resistance to the critique of Lukan authorship of Acts did not deal with the tests reported, but appealed to matters
                                    such as similar themes in both works, a line of argument I find particularly unconvincing but not surprising.

                                    David M.



                                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                  • Patricia Walters
                                    E: In view of the uniformly and knowledgeably negative response which Patricia Walters received at her SBL presentation on Luke-Acts recently, I respectfully
                                    Message 17 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                      E: In view of the uniformly and knowledgeably negative response which
                                      Patricia
                                      Walters received at her SBL presentation on Luke-Acts recently, I
                                      respectfully doubt whether her conclusions can be accepted forthwith as
                                      "demonstrated."

                                      Walters: With all due respect, I cannot let this pass. I would be
                                      interested to know whether you were at my presentation, E. Mikeal Parsons
                                      was not convinced by my research, that is true. But, I count David E. Aune
                                      and Thomas H. Tobin, S.J., and Richard I. Pervo as experts -- and they
                                      were/are convinced. It is a controversial subject, since few have
                                      challenged the assumption of unitary authorship. Be careful of speaking to
                                      research you may not know enough about...

                                      Patricia Walters
                                      Rockford College

                                      --

                                      "To laugh often and much, to win the respect of intelligent people and the
                                      affection of children, to earn the appreciation of honest critics and
                                      endure the betrayal of false friends, to appreciate beauty, to find the
                                      best in others, to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy
                                      child, a garden patch... to know even one life has breathed easier because
                                      you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
                                      � Ralph Waldo Emerson


                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • E Bruce Brooks
                                      Patricia, I was there. The place was packed. There were many objections, not (as might have been expected) from traditionalists offended at a nontraditional
                                      Message 18 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                        Patricia,

                                        I was there. The place was packed. There were many objections, not (as might
                                        have been expected) from traditionalists offended at a nontraditional idea,
                                        but from people seemingly knowledgeable about stylometrics. They questioned,
                                        in detail, both the method used and the validity of the associated
                                        statistical interpretation of significance.

                                        I might add that those wishing Richard Pervo's published opinion of
                                        Patricia's book, who didn't receive it a few hours ago via E-mail from RBL,
                                        can search it on the SBL site. Its last two lines are perhaps more guarded
                                        than accepting. Anyway, here they are, verbatim:

                                        "Patricia Walters has now nailed a thesis to the church door. It will be
                                        interesting and, one may hope, informative to witness the reactions to her
                                        reassessment of the evidence."

                                        Bruce

                                        E Bruce Brooks
                                        Warring States Project
                                        University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                                      • E Bruce Brooks
                                        To: Synoptic In Response To: David Mealand On: Stylometrics From: Bruce In view of David s recent disclaimer, I am perfectly willing to assume sole ownership
                                        Message 19 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                          To: Synoptic
                                          In Response To: David Mealand
                                          On: Stylometrics
                                          From: Bruce

                                          In view of David's recent disclaimer, I am perfectly willing to assume sole
                                          ownership of the following principle:

                                          "Stylometric indicators tend to be sensitive for style, but less so for
                                          authorship, a matter for which they were not designed."

                                          To which, as sole owner, I would add the following (adapted from the same
                                          previous note):

                                          "Use of stylometric methods to investigate authorship questions is in
                                          principle a misapplication, and the results should always be interpreted
                                          with appropriate reticence."

                                          Bruce

                                          E Bruce Brooks
                                          Warring States Project
                                          University of Massachusetts at Amherst
                                        • David Mealand
                                          In reply to Bruce two sentences are more than enough. It is perfectly possible to test stylometric methods on works of known authorship as David Hoover has
                                          Message 20 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                            In reply to Bruce two sentences are more than enough.

                                            It is perfectly possible to test stylometric
                                            methods on works of known authorship as David Hoover
                                            has done many times.

                                            Concluding that results so far demand that previously
                                            assumed conclusions be seriously re-examined is not the
                                            same as pre-empting the end result of that process.

                                            David M.


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


                                            --
                                            The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                                            Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                                          • Stephen Carlson
                                            ... I would not take the reaction to an oral presentation at SBL on something as technical and mathematical as this topic to be indicative of much of anything.
                                            Message 21 of 21 , Aug 4, 2012
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                                              On Sat, Aug 4, 2012 at 4:47 PM, E Bruce Brooks <brooks@...>wrote:

                                              > **
                                              >
                                              > I was there. The place was packed. There were many objections, not (as
                                              > might
                                              > have been expected) from traditionalists offended at a nontraditional idea,
                                              > but from people seemingly knowledgeable about stylometrics. They
                                              > questioned,
                                              > in detail, both the method used and the validity of the associated
                                              > statistical interpretation of significance.
                                              >
                                              I would not take the reaction to an oral presentation at SBL on something
                                              as technical and mathematical as this topic to be indicative of much of
                                              anything. This is the kind of scholarship that needs to be published and
                                              carefully considered. The value of the questions at such a session is to
                                              make sure that they are (eventually) addressed in the publication.

                                              Stephen
                                              --
                                              Stephen C. Carlson
                                              Ph.D., Duke University


                                              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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