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How to Summarize Current State of Opinion

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  • Joseph Weaks
    I ve had conversation with colleagues before that it is difficult to summarize the level of current opinion on Synoptic theory among NT scholars that work with
    Message 1 of 8 , Jul 23, 2014
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      I've had conversation with colleagues before that it is difficult to summarize the level of current opinion on Synoptic theory among NT scholars that work with the synoptic data. We don't take a straw poll each year at SBL. One's assessment of the current state is based entirely on one's perspective, which by definition, is skewed.
      It seems obvious to me, for instance, that:
      - There are less Griesbachian/Matthew priority affirmers than 20 years ago.
      - That Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre affirmers have grown in the last decade
      - And that it follows that it is now a smaller majority of 2-Source affirmers. 
      But how does one substantiate that? How "much" of a change in each instance? I simply do not think the answer is "Survey the authors of the Matt/Mark/Luke commentaries from the last 5 years".

      Here is a sentence I have in a draft, intended as a quick summary for primarily OT scholars and students. Suggestions for improvement/correction?

      "When it comes to source criticism in the gospels of the New Testament, a near consensus of scholars affirm the priority of Mark, as well as Matthew’s and Luke’s dependency on Mark as a source. A smaller majority of gospel source specialists also affirm the independence of Matthew and Luke from each other, whereby each relied upon Mark as a primary source, in addition to an unknown source (“Q”) from which they both draw the traditions they share in common but that are not found in Mark."

       
    • David Inglis
      Perhaps something should be added to reflect the difference between the majority US and European views (and maybe even consider the UK vs. German positions).
      Message 2 of 8 , Jul 23, 2014
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        Perhaps something should be added to reflect the difference between the majority US and European views (and maybe even consider the UK vs. German positions).

         

        David Inglis

         

        From: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Synoptic@yahoogroups.com]
        Sent: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 9:50 AM
        To: Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Synoptic-L] How to Summarize Current State of Opinion

         

         

        I've had conversation with colleagues before that it is difficult to summarize the level of current opinion on Synoptic theory among NT scholars that work with the synoptic data. We don't take a straw poll each year at SBL. One's assessment of the current state is based entirely on one's perspective, which by definition, is skewed.

        It seems obvious to me, for instance, that:

        - There are less Griesbachian/Matthew priority affirmers than 20 years ago.

        - That Farrer-Goulder-Goodacre affirmers have grown in the last decade

        - And that it follows that it is now a smaller majority of 2-Source affirmers. 

        But how does one substantiate that? How "much" of a change in each instance? I simply do not think the answer is "Survey the authors of the Matt/Mark/Luke commentaries from the last 5 years".

         

        Here is a sentence I have in a draft, intended as a quick summary for primarily OT scholars and students. Suggestions for improvement/correction?

         

        "When it comes to source criticism in the gospels of the New Testament, a near consensus of scholars affirm the priority of Mark, as well as Matthew’s and Luke’s dependency on Mark as a source. A smaller majority of gospel source specialists also affirm the independence of Matthew and Luke from each other, whereby each relied upon Mark as a primary source, in addition to an unknown source (“Q”) from which they both draw the traditions they share in common but that are not found in Mark."

         

         


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      • E Bruce Brooks
        Joseph Weeks offered this as part of an information summary about current Synoptic opinion. A smaller majority of gospel source specialists also affirm the
        Message 3 of 8 , Jul 23, 2014
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          Joseph Weeks offered this as part of an information summary about current Synoptic opinion.

           

          A smaller majority of gospel source specialists also affirm the independence of Matthew and Luke from each other, whereby each relied upon Mark as a primary source, in addition to an unknown source (“Q”) from which they both draw the traditions they share in common but that are not found in Mark."

           

          I think most people acquainted with the problem, whether or not they agree with this statement, would agree that it is more commonly held, or assented to, than any of its alternates.

           

           

          Leaving that aside now, for the moment, and starting afresh, I believe that there would also be a vague but definite majority in support of these statements about the date, place, and acquaintance of two of our Gospels:

           

          1. Luke: decade of the 80’s (give or take a few years); Antioch; knew and used Mark

           

          2. Matthew: decade of the 80’s (give or take a few years); Antioch; knew and used Mark

           

          Given those as somehow the default or least uncomfortable assumptions about those texts, for most people, suppose we now put this question, de novo, not to everybody, but to the people for whom those ARE the least uncomfortable assumptions:

           

          3. How likely is it, really, that the authors of Matthew and Luke were entirely unaware of each other?

           

          Bruce

           

          E Bruce Brooks

          Warring States Project

          University of Massachusetts at Amherst

           

           

        • Jeff Peterson
          Matthew written ca. 80 in Antioch does seem a near-consensus position to me (or at least widespread). It’s not, however, my impression there’s a consensus
          Message 4 of 8 , Jul 23, 2014
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            Matthew written ca. 80 in Antioch does seem a near-consensus position to me (or at least widespread). It’s not, however, my impression there’s a consensus that Luke was written in Antioch; in fact, I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen it suggested! 

            As to date, my impression is there’s a current trend (not to say a majority) favoring a date for Acts after 120; if you link Luke and Acts, that suggests a similar date for the Gospel. (FWIW, I’d favor a date ca. 90 for both. I have no clue where.)

            I quite agree about the unlikelihood of Matthew and Luke being written in ignorance of one another, the more so as the length of time postulated between them increases.

            Jeff Peterson
            Austin Graduate School of Theology


            On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 9:38 PM, 'E Bruce Brooks' brooks@... [Synoptic] <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
             

            Joseph Weeks offered this as part of an information summary about current Synoptic opinion.

             

            A smaller majority of gospel source specialists also affirm the independence of Matthew and Luke from each other, whereby each relied upon Mark as a primary source, in addition to an unknown source (“Q”) from which they both draw the traditions they share in common but that are not found in Mark."

             

            I think most people acquainted with the problem, whether or not they agree with this statement, would agree that it is more commonly held, or assented to, than any of its alternates.

             

             

            Leaving that aside now, for the moment, and starting afresh, I believe that there would also be a vague but definite majority in support of these statements about the date, place, and acquaintance of two of our Gospels:

             

            1. Luke: decade of the 80’s (give or take a few years); Antioch; knew and used Mark

             

            2. Matthew: decade of the 80’s (give or take a few years); Antioch; knew and used Mark

             

            Given those as somehow the default or least uncomfortable assumptions about those texts, for most people, suppose we now put this question, de novo, not to everybody, but to the people for whom those ARE the least uncomfortable assumptions:

             

            3. How likely is it, really, that the authors of Matthew and Luke were entirely unaware of each other?

             

            Bruce

             

            E Bruce Brooks

            Warring States Project

            University of Massachusetts at Amherst

             

             


          • Emmanuel Fritsch
            Le 24/07/2014 05:21, Jeff Peterson peterson@austingrad.edu [Synoptic] a ... If not in Antioch, then where ? The main argument, if I well remember, is the
            Message 5 of 8 , Jul 24, 2014
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              Le 24/07/2014 05:21, Jeff Peterson peterson@... [Synoptic] a écrit :
              Matthew written ca. 80 in Antioch does seem a near-consensus position to me (or at least widespread). It’s not, however, my impression there’s a consensus that Luke was written in Antioch; in fact, I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen it suggested!

              If not in Antioch, then where ?

              The main argument, if I well remember, is the spiraling locations of city and ethnic names in Lk+Act. And the center of the spiral is Antioch.

              manu
            • Brad McAdon
              On 7/23/2014 8:38 PM, E Bruce Brooks brooks@asianlan.umass.edu ... If one considers the training that aspiring writers / speakers received during the
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 24, 2014
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                On 7/23/2014 8:38 PM, 'E Bruce Brooks' brooks@... [Synoptic] wrote:
                How likely is it, really, that the authors of Matthew and Luke were entirely unaware of each other?

                If one considers the training that aspiring writers / speakers received during the Greco-Roman period, one could come away with thinking that it is inconceivable that the author of Luke did not know Matthew (accepting for now that Luke post-dates Matthew).

                Mimesis, or the practice of compositional and literary imitation, was the core of Greco-Roman education. Isocrates (4th century BCE) was the first (among surviving texts) to emphasize the importance that students imitate (mimesis) the best models. This imitation included subject matter, arrangement of material, and imitation of phrases and specific and individual words. Dionysius of Halicarnassus (ca. 30-7 BCE) encouraged his readers / students to imitate the greatest and the best historians, philosophers, and poets, and provided specific examples of subject matter / themes, arrangement, and diction from the likes of Lysias, Isocrates, Dinarchus, Thucydides, Demosthenes, and others that students should “study and imitate.” Horace, Cicero, the Senecas, Pliny, ‘Longinus,’ Quintilian (especially Book 10), and Lucian (2nd century CE Greek rhetor / historian), just to mention a few, all testify to the prevalence and importance of the practice of compositional and literary mimesis / imitation. It is not an overstatement to say that if someone were taught Greek during the Greco-Roman era, that person was taught via the means of mimetic instruction, taught to read and imitate many sources, and practiced imitation in his writing while a student under the watchful eye and direction of the rhetor and continued to practice imitation when on his own.

                A useful example of an author imitating another text is Virgil’s rewriting of the Homeric texts. In Book 1 of the Aeneid, Virgil uses (imitates) a variety of subject matter / themes and specific words (though in Latin rather than Greek) from Homer’s Odyssey, taking passages from different books of the Odyssey and rearranging them in Book 1 of the Aeneid very similarly to what we see Matthew doing with Mark and Luke doing with Matthew.

                Scholars of the Lukan birth narrative have noted that the author imitated themes and language from the LXX. When one considers the extent to which the Lukan birth narrative has similar themes and language as Matthew’s birth narrative and also recognizes that Luke imitated the LXX, it becomes reasonable that the Greco-Roman practice of mimesis might be the best explanation for the similarities—and differences, as one of the objectives of Greco-Roman authors was to take a model, absorb it, digest it, and imitate (in this sense, rewrite) it in such a way as to “make it your own,” to advance your own literary or rhetorical ends.

                Brad McAdon, Ph.D.



              • Stephen Carlson
                On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM, Emmanuel Fritsch emmanuel.fritsch@ensg.eu ... Why not Rome, where Acts ends? Or somewhere in the Aegean, where the we-sections
                Message 7 of 8 , Jul 24, 2014
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                  On Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 2:28 PM, Emmanuel Fritsch emmanuel.fritsch@... [Synoptic] <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                  Le 24/07/2014 05:21, Jeff Peterson peterson@... [Synoptic] a écrit :
                  Matthew written ca. 80 in Antioch does seem a near-consensus position to me (or at least widespread). It’s not, however, my impression there’s a consensus that Luke was written in Antioch; in fact, I believe this is the first time I’ve ever seen it suggested!
                             
                  If not in Antioch, then where ?

                  The main argument, if I well remember, is the spiraling locations of city and ethnic names in Lk+Act. And the center of the spiral is Antioch. 
                   
                  Why not Rome, where Acts ends? Or somewhere in the Aegean, where the we-sections happen and some tradition supports?  Luke is the least localizable of the four Gospels to me; all these ideas have some plausibility.
                   
                  Stephen
                   
                • Stephen Carlson
                  On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 6:50 PM, Joseph Weaks jweaks@yahoo.com [Synoptic]
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jul 24, 2014
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                    On Wed, Jul 23, 2014 at 6:50 PM, Joseph Weaks jweaks@... [Synoptic] <Synoptic@yahoogroups.com> wrote:
                    Here is a sentence I have in a draft, intended as a quick summary for primarily OT scholars and students. Suggestions for improvement/correction?

                    "When it comes to source criticism in the gospels of the New Testament, a near consensus of scholars affirm the priority of Mark, as well as Matthew’s and Luke’s dependency on Mark as a source. A smaller majority of gospel source specialists also affirm the independence of Matthew and Luke from each other, whereby each relied upon Mark as a primary source, in addition to an unknown source (“Q”) from which they both draw the traditions they share in common but that are not found in Mark."
                     
                    I've finally come to the point and I think the field has too (e.g., Francis Watson) where it is appropriate to mention the Farrer theory as a viable solution being held by an increasing and important number of scholars.  Perhaps an additional sentence along the lines of "An increasing number of scholars, however, holds that Luke actually knew Matthew's gospel and used it for most of this material."
                     
                    Stephen 
                    --
                    Stephen C. Carlson, Ph.D. (Duke)
                    Post-Doctoral Fellow, Theology, Uppsala
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