Re: [Synoptic-L] J and P (with Excursus on Mk 13 and the Gentiles)
Thanks for addressing J and P for me. Your remarks do help me get a bigger picture of your approach to the scholarship of others.
Separately, Miriam-Webster defines "fictive" this way:
1. Not genuine
2. Relating to imaginative creation
3. Relating to fiction.
It seems to me that the hypothesis that Mt and Lk were independent and relied on two shared sources--right or wrong, persuasive or not--is the result of analytical work, not the product of pure imagination.
Rev. Chuck Jones
Sent from my iPhone
On Nov 12, 2012, at 3:12 PM, "E Bruce Brooks" <brooks@...> wrote:
> To: Synoptic
> In Reluctant Response To: Chuck Jones
> On: Genesis
> From: Bruce
> I had thought to ignore Chuck's other insulting remark, but he insists on
> it. Here we go.
> Chuck: I believe despite the word count of your post, you did not address J
> and P. I invite you to do that.
> Bruce: J and P were mentioned by Chuck in the following accusatory and thus
> insulting way, and I quote (albeit reluctantly) by liftoff from his previous
> Chuck: J and P are not fictive sources for the flood narrative, they are
> sources for which the evidence is found in the document Genesis itself. But
> you know this stuff. You just choose to ignore it.
> Bruce: Accusations to the contrary (and I repeat that this sort of
> accusation has no place in scholarly discourse as I understand it), I don't
> choose to ignore anything. I do decline, in a single post of whatever
> length, to address all questions on the philology of the OT as well as the
> As for the flood story, now that it comes up again, I am not in any sense up
> on it. I do recall that there are two creation stories in Genesis, and that,
> more generally, Wellhausen has analyzed a large swath of OT as stemming from
> four sources, which he calls J E P and D. Wellhausen (if I recall correctly;
> my reading was years ago) construes these as pre-existing texts, which,
> though themselves of different date, were in effect conflated to produce
> this part of our OT. Here as in the case of some NT examples, I consider
> conflation an extremely unlikely scenario. It seems to me much more likely
> that the various conflicting stories, for which I accept Wellhausen's
> relative dating, are at least in some cases successive intrusions into an
> originally single story, added to change the character of the document while
> still leaving the document itself in its former authoritative position.
> There are then no independent documents, waiting for centuries to be
> incorporated into a composite document. There is an original document,
> successively modified by its proprietors, as at any moment they may think
> So also, it seems to me, with the Elihu strand in Job, which introduces into
> that agonized document a fourth solution, not envisioned by the original
> So also, it also seems to me, with the Mahabharata, in which (as Mary
> Carroll Smith, to my eye, convincingly showed decades ago), and in some
> agreement with Wellhausen, who sees his priestly (P) layer as the latest of
> the four, a priestly layer has overlaid an originally straightfoward
> military epic.
> In none of these cases is a conjectural outside document involved, save
> where Wellhausen (though not Smith) chooses to posit one. The texts in
> question are all in front of us, side by side in the OT (or the Mahabharata)
> as we have it. Such a text component becomes fictive only when Wellhausen
> (or someone) chooses to assert its previous, independent, and parallel
> existence as a text in its own right.
> I take as an analogous and relevant case (just to get the terminology
> straight, if nothing else) Achtemeier's conjectured Miracle Catenae, which
> he invented to explain a parallel series in Mark, each branch of which
> contains what Achtemeier regards as parallel accounts of the same Feeding
> Miracle. Another fictive text would be the Signs Source, which Bultmann and
> others have conjectured behind our Gospel of John. Once we go beyond what is
> in front of us, and posit (without supporting external evidence) a separate
> text, we are in the fictive realm. That is not an accusation, it is a
> classification. But the difference is one worth making.
> Not all fictive texts need to be wrong, just as not all conjectural
> emendations in the lower criticism need to be wrong; some of the manuscript
> emendations have been subsequently verified by later manuscript discoveries,
> and the makers of those conjectures (eg, Bentley) accordingly live forever
> in the pantheon of text criticism. And well they might. For those interested
> in observance at that particular shrine, Bentley's birthday is 27 January -
> as it happens, 1662, but the one in 2013 will be coming up soon; there is
> still ample time to lay in provisions for a proper feast, and to provide
> enough oil for the lamps of a late revelry. Those who hold these things in
> due honor are herewith reminded.
> But fictive (or conjectural, or whatever) is still the proper category.
> Texts in that category necessarily stand on different feet than attested
> texts, whether or not extant. "Fictive" does not mean "false." It just means
> that the sole basis for it AS A TEXT, rather than as an accretion or other
> textual element, is conjectural.
> THE FEEDING OF FOUR THOUSAND
> I mentioned Achtemeier. If we might venture to get off the subject of
> Chuck's terminology for just a moment, and spend a paragraph seriously, what
> about the Mark Feeding miracles? Are they the same thing reported twice, and
> conflated in Mark, as Achtemeier thought? I very much do not think so. And
> why not? Because Mark himself is at pains (speaking through the Markan
> Jesus) to tell us otherwise. The Markan Jesus, following the second miracle,
> abuses the disciples for forgetting the first miracle, and for missing the
> symbolism. WHAT symbolism, the harried reader of Mark may demand. There are
> the 5000 vs the 4000, the 5 loaves and the 7 loaves, the 2 fish and 0 fish.
> Wherein does the symbolic clue reside? This the Markan Jesus, albeit
> impatiently, is about to tell us. It is, he says, with more than a touch of
> exasperation (doesn't it just take you back to Sunday School? It does me)
> that the key is in THE NUMBER OF BASKETS OF LEFTOVERS. Those numbers are,
> respectively, 12 and 7.
> So what's with 12 and 7? For that matter, in Luke, what's with the
> dispatching of not one but two gangs of disciples, first 12 and then 70? I
> will tell you what I think. I think that both 12's refer to the 12 tribes of
> Israel, and thus to Israel itself, however geographically dispersed Israel
> might be at that time. And I think that 7 and its multiples refer to the 70
> nations of the world, and thus, the whole world (or we might say, being
> mindful of the Days of Creation, all of creation). It would follow (or that
> is my impression) that the first Feeding Miracle - and for a while, it was
> the ONLY feeding miracle) had to do with the mission to Israel, and the
> meaning of the symbolism in that one and only story was that there was
> enough nourishment in the teachings of Jesus to feed all of Israel.
> Expansive, but of course ethnically limited.
> Then, later, came something less ethnically limited. There came acceptance,
> in the Markan community, of the validity of the mission to the Gentiles.
> Under the leadership of the still not yet murdered James Zebedee at
> Jerusalem, the Gentile mission and its necessary abandonment of ethnically
> Jewish observances such as food purity were officially approved in 44 as
> Jesus Movement Doctrine. (This was later reversed under James the Brother,
> but that is another chapter). As recognition of that momentous new policy,
> another Feeding Miracle was felt to be necessary, and Mark accordingly wrote
> one. And then, as he had in the case of the original Jesus Parable of the
> Sower, Mark inserted a bad-tempered rebuke to people who still held to the
> old understanding. That rather drastic step brought the Gospel of Mark up to
> date, and it also chided those who might resist being brought up to date on
> this particular policy shift. Woe to them.
> (I am reminded of the gyrations of the French Communists of an earlier
> decade, trying to keep up with the unpredictable shifts in Soviet-decreed
> policy. A safely orthodox comrade might wake up on any given Tuesday to find
> himself a Left Deviationist, or a Right Deviationist, or (just as fatal) a
> Center Deviationist, and accordingly in peril of liberty and life.
> Orthodoxy, if it is in process of evolving, as Christian orthodoxy in the
> days of Paul seems to have been evolving, is not a safe haven for the
> believer. You also have to get up before dawn and read the morning paper).
> Anyway, this is how I would account for the Feeding Miracles: one early, and
> having to do only with the Mission to Israel, and one composed later and
> added to account for, and give textual authority for, and indeed to impose
> as the official Jesus Party line, the newly accepted Mission to the
> OK, someone may say, but is there any confirmation? I have already hinted at
> the external confirmation of part of this scenario in Galatians. Written by
> Paul, not Mark. But, someone may ask, what about Mark itself? Surely there
> are more textual traces of this momentous policy shift than just one little
> miracle. I reply: Not necessarily; Mark writes what he thinks sufficient,
> and all we can do is to observe what that may have been. Maybe he misjudges,
> maybe he miscalculates, maybe we could do it with more literary elegance,
> but it's his choice.
> As it happens, however, it seems that there IS another place. Safely in the
> back of his commentary, at p636f, where nobody will see it and be offended
> by it, under the heading of Additional Note E: The Compilation of the
> Apocalyptic Discourse, Vincent Taylor gives what to my eye is a very
> convincing demonstration of the buildup of a text (Mk 13) by the addition of
> later material. I won't repeat the whole scheme here; it may readily be
> consulted. The one detail of immediate relevance is Mk 13:10, of which
> Taylor says, (p640), "In this group of sayings there can be little doubt
> that 10 is added by Mark (v. Comm), and that the primitive unit is 9,
> And what is the content of Mk 13:10? It is this: "And the Gospel must first
> be preached to all nations." Now, Taylor not only sees Mk 13:10 as
> interpolated in (and thus later than) the surrounding text, he sees that
> surrounding text itself as an addition to the core of Mk 13. Then 13:10,
> which makes the Gentile mission *necessary,* is likely to be later than
> other passages in Mark according to which the Gentile mission is merely
> *acceptable.* The first groundwork for Gentile inclusion was laid by
> passages like the inserted Second Feeding, and the capstone, theoretically
> speaking, was added by the very late insert 13:10. It was apparently one of
> the very last passages added to the almost complete Gospel of Mark.
> And after finishing his Gospel, and thus having arrived at the conviction
> that the Gentile Mission was where the future of Christianity was at, and
> thus that the way to bring on the ardently desired Last Days was to push the
> Gentile Mission as hard, and as far, and as fast, as all worthy spirits
> could, what did Mark do?
> I don't know; I wasn't there. But I note with interest that what Luke SAYS
> Mark did, following the Jerusalem meeting with Paul and the murder of James
> Zebedee, was to get out of Jerusalem and join Paul in Antioch, and from
> there, to take a direct and personal hand in the aforesaid Mission to the
> Of course, as I remarked on a previous occasion, Luke may be lying, the
> moreso as he necessarily had some animus toward Mark, the writer of the
> Gospel which Luke himself was all on fire to replace as the authoritative
> account of Jesus. We always have to consider that possibility. But lying to
> what end? Cui bono?
> Pending an answer to that question, perhaps via necromancy, it seems to me
> that my suggestion about the Second Feeding, and the Gentile Mission, and
> about Mark's acceptance of the story, and his acceptance of the policy, and
> his acceptance, given the policy, of a duty to personally advance the
> policy, not only makes sense, but it has on its side Mark, Paul, Luke, and
> last and least, Vincent Taylor. That makes four in addition to (least of
> all) myself. This therefore being not on its face a frivolous proposal (or
> biased, or ignorant, or any other item from the standard lexicon of
> invective), but having a certain countenance among persons of standing,
> ancient and modern, I venture to recommend it to the thoughtful, as perhaps
> worthy of their consideration.
> E Bruce Brooks
> Warring States Project
> University of Massachusetts at Amherst
> Reply via web post Reply to sender Reply to group Start a New Topic Messages in this topic (1)
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
- To: Synoptic
We had this rather cryptic remark from Chuck Jones:
Chuck: Your remarks do help me get a bigger picture of your approach to the
scholarship of others.
And there was David Inglis's recent query about what one does with earlier
and now perhaps obsolete (eg, pre-P75) scholarship. The topic thus seems to
be current. Perhaps I might add a word to what I earlier said in reply.
If previous scholarship (meaning, research results) were consistent and
cumulative, as is certainly the expectation in the other sciences, then one
would simply read previous scholarship, especially its upper layers, to see
where the field was at, and then go forward from that point in one's own
work. In an organized world, one would not even need to read the
scholarship, it would be cumulated in pocket size, so that if we wanted the
atomic weight of germanium, we would simply turn to that page of the CRI
handbook. Very nice.
But it can sometimes happen that the expectation is not valid.
Take classical Chinese scholarship, which, for the millennium ending only
recently, was dominated by the state examinations. The state examinations
specified which commentaries on the classical texts were approved, and those
in search of a career therefore concentrated intensely on those approved
commentaries. The idea of looking independently at the evidence - at the
classical texts themselves - either did not arise, or was quickly suppressed
for practical reasons. During that period, as far as I have been able to
discover, the number of what we over here would call critical scholars, the
ones who considered the matter independently, and whose work survives in
print, number perhaps a couple of dozen. Critical scholars in the modern age
will thus attend closely to the couple dozen, and at most skim the rest for
the useful tidbit here or there.
This amounts to a differential approach to previous scholarship, one in
which one's own judgement plays a larger role than it otherwise might. How
does one nourish one's judgement? I should think: by doing some of the work
oneself, the better to recognize a good effort, or a sound inference, when
one meets it in the work of someone else. William James once said that the
mark of an educated person was a capacity for judgement. I warmly concur.
What with experience of one's own, in contact with the material, and also
with experience of other people, one arrives at whatever level of decision
finesse one is going to have. Part of that experience is discovering which
past authors seem to be consistently in the right direction, or anyway in a
promising direction. Some authors are spotty - Vincent Taylor's book on Mark
is to me one of the enduring monuments of Markan research, but his
exploration of Streeter's Proto-Luke idea leaves me somewhat worse than
cold. Mitton's Ephesians I find consistently careful and convincing; I can
detect none of the same qualities in his James. Others are more consistently
interesting. David Inglis began with the question of Michael Goulder, and I
will end the same way.
I find Michael to be consistently interesting. Not always right (I think I
am not alone in the wish that Michael had never heard of lectionaries), but
always interesting, and (an additional blessing) always fun to read. For me,
he is someone worth getting used to, one of the people in the past century
whose works I find it useful to read in toto - I think I have nearly all of
them, including his volumes on the Psalms.
But even there, judgement comes into play, and I don't mean simply
predisposition. In Michael's Luke Paradigm, which looks to me like being his
monument, there are times when he exposes the absurdity of Luke mixing
Matthew with something of his own, something that doesn't work very well.
He, and I with him, conclude that this is a clear case of Mt > Lk. Then
there are other passages where the best that Michael can say is that the
Luke version is very Lukan. But this would be likely to obtain for both an
original Luke story and for one Luke adapts from Matthew. It is at these
points - and they too are intensely valuable, though in a different way -
that a careful reader may think of considering a different directional
possibility. I aspire to being that careful reader.
Potentially, my Relocated Passages in Luke paper, years ago at SBL, showed
the way in which Michael's work on Luke may in time be undermined. This was
not lost on the audience of that time, and they asked, in effect, what about
Goulder? My answer was more or less this: In my opinion, Goulder's Luke is
going to be one of the permanently valuable works of the past century. Not
unchanged, not in all details, but as one foundation of a new view of the
whole Gospel tradition.
I would still stick by that, and the moreso as my alternative picture of
Mt/Lk seems to be developing self-consistently. To me, in the end, it
matters little whether a given contribution was perfect; what matters is
whether it moved things forward.
The same question, it seems to me, is going to be asked of each of us. In a
scholarly sense, in the sense of the world of interest being better observed
and more adequately reported, did we leave it better than we found it? Or
were we just along for the ride?
I think the deep core of methodology is not only the how, but the why. The
deep point of methodology is not to be just along for the ride.
E Bruce Brooks
Warring States Project
University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Chuck, yes there was analytical work, but what was it based upon? It seems
to me it was based on the idea that Luke and Matt, in order to have so much
the same yet so much different, could not have been interdependent. (?) This
(to me) is a fictive assumption. It is creating a "problem" when one might
or might not exist. It seems more "faith based," possibly based on the
assumption that the authors were faithful scribes who would have not varied
so much, had they known of each other's work. I'm not sure this is an
assumption of merit.
Dennis Dean Carpenter
From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf
Of Chuck Jones
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 9:01 AM
Subject: Re: [Synoptic-L] J and P (with Excursus on Mk 13 and the Gentiles)
Thanks for addressing J and P for me. Your remarks do help me get a bigger
picture of your approach to the scholarship of others.
Separately, Miriam-Webster defines "fictive" this way:
1. Not genuine
2. Relating to imaginative creation
3. Relating to fiction.
It seems to me that the hypothesis that Mt and Lk were independent and
relied on two shared sources--right or wrong, persuasive or not--is the
result of analytical work, not the product of pure imagination.
Rev. Chuck Jones
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]