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RE: [Synoptic-L] Lk1-2 and Acts

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  • David Mealand
    I have long been aware of general differences between the style of Luke and that of Acts. In 1986 Kenny drew attention to this issue in a new way, but there
    Message 1 of 63 , Sep 15, 2012
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      I have long been aware of general differences between the style of
      Luke and that of Acts. In 1986 Kenny drew attention to this issue
      in a new way, but there still seemed to be no need to question common
      authorship of the two texts. One obvious line, in addition to noting
      similar themes, was that the earlier work was revising previous
      sources written in a Greek more influenced by Aramaic than the Greek
      of the author, even if the latter did sometimes like to imitate the
      Septuagint. The later work is more concerned with Greece and Rome.
      So the differences of style seemed explicable.

      That situation changed with the publication of the monograph by
      Patricia Walters, the reason being that this showed that the sections
      of text most likely to be authorial in each of the works displayed
      very significant stylistic differences. The criteria used were ones
      known and used in the Graeco-Roman world. The results do not in
      themselves require a decision for different authorship, but they
      do require serious further explanation. They do call in question
      a widespread assumption of common authorship, and demonstrate that
      much more careful attention needs to be given to the issue if such
      an assumption is to stand.

      One obvious line is to check the new findings and this I did. I used
      the same standard statistical method with different criteria. The
      results were still highly significant. My criteria were very high
      frequency, so I could partition the data further. The Luke sub-samples
      cohered, the Acts sub-samples cohered, but the difference between the
      two sets was still highly significant. I tried one further tactic
      of removing some sections of the Luke seams and summaries to test a
      further possible line of objection. The original results still stood.
      I then used a different (multivariate) method and included other samples
      from both texts to see where the SS samples landed in relation to those,
      and to each other. I ran variations on that. One of those is on my
      web site. After all these checks I was convinced that the original
      statistical results were robust and needed to be taken very seriously.

      I am not inferring directly from stats to different authorship. I am
      concluding that my previous reasons (and those of others) for acquiescing
      in the assumption of common authorship deserve serious reappraisal. A
      really convincing explanation of the differences needs to be provided,
      if such is in fact possible.

      I am well aware that style can be affected by what an author admires or
      detests, and by whether some disturbance of mood affects the composition
      of a piece, or the author has an opium dream. While I have not checked
      for the latter in the case of Luke-Acts, I have checked genre rigorously,
      and most of the other items one might usually suspect. I also looked
      at the lines of defence in as many of the scholarly reviews as I could
      find. Obviously I am not going to post here all the items I would put
      in an eventual properly published piece, and even there editors differ
      considerably as to how extensively the data are presented. But I
      would not be so definite about the need for reappraisal of the issue if
      I had not carried out a lot of tests not immediately evident.

      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 long been aware of general differences between the style of Luke and that of Acts. In 1986 Kenny drew attention to this issue in a new way, but there
      Message 63 of 63 , Sep 15, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        I have long been aware of general differences between the style of
        Luke and that of Acts. In 1986 Kenny drew attention to this issue
        in a new way, but there still seemed to be no need to question common
        authorship of the two texts. One obvious line, in addition to noting
        similar themes, was that the earlier work was revising previous
        sources written in a Greek more influenced by Aramaic than the Greek
        of the author, even if the latter did sometimes like to imitate the
        Septuagint. The later work is more concerned with Greece and Rome.
        So the differences of style seemed explicable.

        That situation changed with the publication of the monograph by
        Patricia Walters, the reason being that this showed that the sections
        of text most likely to be authorial in each of the works displayed
        very significant stylistic differences. The criteria used were ones
        known and used in the Graeco-Roman world. The results do not in
        themselves require a decision for different authorship, but they
        do require serious further explanation. They do call in question
        a widespread assumption of common authorship, and demonstrate that
        much more careful attention needs to be given to the issue if such
        an assumption is to stand.

        One obvious line is to check the new findings and this I did. I used
        the same standard statistical method with different criteria. The
        results were still highly significant. My criteria were very high
        frequency, so I could partition the data further. The Luke sub-samples
        cohered, the Acts sub-samples cohered, but the difference between the
        two sets was still highly significant. I tried one further tactic
        of removing some sections of the Luke seams and summaries to test a
        further possible line of objection. The original results still stood.
        I then used a different (multivariate) method and included other samples
        from both texts to see where the SS samples landed in relation to those,
        and to each other. I ran variations on that. One of those is on my
        web site. After all these checks I was convinced that the original
        statistical results were robust and needed to be taken very seriously.

        I am not inferring directly from stats to different authorship. I am
        concluding that my previous reasons (and those of others) for acquiescing
        in the assumption of common authorship deserve serious reappraisal. A
        really convincing explanation of the differences needs to be provided,
        if such is in fact possible.

        I am well aware that style can be affected by what an author admires or
        detests, and by whether some disturbance of mood affects the composition
        of a piece, or the author has an opium dream. While I have not checked
        for the latter in the case of Luke-Acts, I have checked genre rigorously,
        and most of the other items one might usually suspect. I also looked
        at the lines of defence in as many of the scholarly reviews as I could
        find. Obviously I am not going to post here all the items I would put
        in an eventual properly published piece, and even there editors differ
        considerably as to how extensively the data are presented. But I
        would not be so definite about the need for reappraisal of the issue if
        I had not carried out a lot of tests not immediately evident.

        David M.





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


        --
        The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
        Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
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