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The Synoptic Problem at the SBL International Meeting 2006, Edinburgh

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    The upcoming international meeting of the SBL in Edinburgh this July is having a
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 16, 2006
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      The upcoming <http://www.sbl-site.org/Congresses/Congresses_ProgramBook.aspx?MeetingId=10>international meeting of the SBL in Edinburgh this July is having a number of papers relevant to the synoptic problem.

      Most interesting is this one by Catherine Smith:
      Minor, Major or Misunderstood? A Linguistic Approach to the ‘Minor Agreements’

      The so-called ‘minor agreements’ have long been recognised as a problem in studies of synoptic relationships especially for the two-source theory, the most widely accepted of the hypotheses. How big a problem they pose depends, in part, on how many there are and this is something which varies considerably from study to study. There have been several attempts to qualify the minor agreements using different methods of counting and classification. There is a general trend, however, to see the minor agreements and their surrounding text as lists of words rather than as part of a discourse. This paper will survey some of the ways in which the minor agreements have been enumerated before suggesting an alternative approach informed by systemic linguistics which treats language as a network of decisions made at both the semantic and syntactic level. This approach offers a potential framework through which the minor agreements can be studied and which takes into account their relationship
      with the surrounding text in a more systematic way than is generally the case.

      The abstract for Jeen Ho Ahn is rather terse, so I’m not sure how well the Acts 10 link is going to work:
      How the Four Gospels were Formed

      This paper is an exploration of how the four gospels were historically formed, drawing on evidential NT data, NT textual criticism and the views of early church fathers on gospel formation. This study will be examined under the hypothesis that the gospels originated from Peter's sermon in Acts 10.

      On the other end of the spectrum, the abstract for Thomas Louis Brodie is much more detailed, so much, in fact, that it is difficult to imagine it fitting comfortably into just a 30 min. time slot:
      The Septuagint, Especially the Gospel-like Elijah-Elisha Narrative (1 Kings 16:29-2 Kings 13), as Key to Solving the Synoptic Problem

      Within Luke-Acts lies a stream of passages, a total of about 25 chapters, that has a distinctive dependence on the Septuagint, especially on the Elijah-Elisha narrative. (The passages: most of Luke 1-4; 7:1-8:3; parts of Luke 9:51-19:10; most of Luke 22-24); Acts 1:1-15:35). The evidence for this distinctive stream consists of: (i) Initial plausibility; (ii) Sustained verifiable similarities; (iii) Intelligibility of the differences. These passages are not only distinct; originally they were separate---a shorter version of Luke-Acts. Evidence: (i) Initial plausibility---many similar hypotheses; (ii) The distinctive passages’ narrative coherence; (iii) The distinctive passages’ precise eightfold structure: [1]. Jesus’ infancy narrative: Luke 1-2. [2]. Jesus’ early ministry: 3:1-4:22a (except 3:7-9; 4:1-13); 7:1-8:3. [3]. Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem: 9:51-10:20; 16:1-9,19-31; 17:11-18:8; 19:1-10. [4]. Jesus’ death and resurrection: chaps. 22-24 (except 22:31-65). [5]. The church’s b
      eginnings: Acts 1:1-2:42. [6]. The church’s early ministry: 2:43-5:42. [7]. The church’s move away from Jerusalem: 6:1-9:30. [8]. The church’s transformation, integrating the Gentiles: 9:31-15:35. (iv) The structure has a verifiable precedent­the eightfold Elijah-Elisha narrative; (v) The hypothesis works; early Luke-Acts explains much gospel development. Given this hypothesis the sequence of gospel development emerges as follows: early Luke-Acts; Mark; Matthew; John; canonical Luke-Acts. Each writer used all the preceding gospels. (Modern Q is not necessary). The evidence: ·Early Luke-Acts explains more of Mark than does any other text. ·Early Luke-Acts and Mark­plus Deuteronomy/Sirach­explain most of Matthew. ·Early Luke-Acts, Mark, and Matthew (esp. discourses) explain much of John. ·Early Luke-Acts, Mark, Matthew, and John all help explain canonical Luke-Acts. The criteria for tracing dependence between the gospel texts are (again): (1) initial plausibility; (2) sustained veri
      fiable similarities; (3) intelligibility of differences. Conclusion: The hypothesis is verifiable, and explains much gospel development, including the essential Synoptic Problem.

      Finally, John Dart revisits the intriguing question whether Luke's copy of Mark was as complete as our current copies:
      Luke’s “Big Omission” of Mark 6:47-8:26?: Literary evidence and other reasons why Luke never saw it

      Harvard’s Helmut Koester once suggested that the author of Luke was using an earlier version of Mark when his narrative proceeded directly from the feeding of the 5,000 to the “Who do you say I am?” episode (Luke 9: 17-18). Luke otherwise follows Mark’s narrative fairly closely before and after that point. By contrast, the Gospel of Matthew uses nearly all episodes in that section that begins with Jesus walking on water. Koester said an editor’s hand was indicated by several peculiarities, such as doublet miracles and two examples of Hellenistic-style healings with spit found nowhere else in the synoptics. But other scholars tend to reject this theoretical editor. Some speculate that those pages were simply missing in Luke’s copy of Mark. Some say Luke disliked the repetitious material or did not want the extra trips into Gentile territory. It will be proposed that while an editor mimicked some of Markan storytelling methods and vocabulary (Koester rightly suggested a scribal inte
      rloper would try that), the over-the-top, gross characterizations of Jesus contrast sharply here with his depiction elsewhere. His tongue-lashing of his disciples (8:14-21) is both untypical of Jesus and anti-climactic in the gospel’s slowly worsening portrait of the followers. Jesus twice “groans in this section, speaks about defecating and refers to Gentiles as “dogs.” Even in the travel itinerary, the time sequence is awry as Jesus starts his walk on the lake, and the trip to Tyre and Sidon boggles some scholars’ minds.

      I won’t be attending the Edinburgh meeting, so I'd appreciate any report about how well any of these were received, especially the first one.

      --
      Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
      Weblog: http://www.hypotyposeis.org/weblog/
      Author of: The Gospel Hoax, http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1932792481
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