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RE: [Synoptic-L] A synoptic idea

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  • Chuck Jones
    Dave, As to your second question below, the answer is Mk, Mt and Lk. When the three overlap, Mk s order is followed some huge percentage of time (forgot the
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 8, 2006
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      Dave,

      As to your second question below, the answer is Mk, Mt and Lk. When the three overlap, Mk's order is followed some huge percentage of time (forgot the number).

      Chuck

      dave wrote:

      Is there a rule that one is likely to rearrange a saying
      source, but not likely to rearrange the order of sayings embedded in a
      narrative source? What literature shows this?



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    • Dave Gentile
      That was Ken s question that I was quoting, (apparently without clarity). But thanks for the answer. Dave Gentile Sr. Systems Engineer/Statistician B.S./M.S.
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 8, 2006
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        That was Ken's question that I was quoting, (apparently without
        clarity). But thanks for the answer.


        Dave Gentile
        Sr. Systems Engineer/Statistician
        B.S./M.S. Physics
        M.S. Finance (ABD Management Science)
        Riverside, IL

        --- In Synoptic@yahoogroups.com, Chuck Jones <chuckjonez@...> wrote:
        >
        > Dave,
        >
        > As to your second question below, the answer is Mk, Mt and Lk.
        When the three overlap, Mk's order is followed some huge percentage of
        time (forgot the number).
      • Ken Olson
        ... So you perceive a problem with Luke s scattering and back it up with an appeal to the authority of those who accept the 2DH? Let s take a look at what a
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 8, 2006
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          On 8 September, David Gentile wrote:

          > I do think Luke had access to Matthew, and used Matthew to a limited extent.
          > Also, I would obviously agree, that "Mark without Q" is simpler than the
          > 3-source hypothesis (in any form). And I certainly would not make any
          > sweeping statements like "an author would never do this". However, the
          > scattering of the sayings is something that suggests (not proves) a saying
          > source, as I think those that support the 2-source hypothesis have correctly
          > pointed out.

          So you perceive a problem with Luke's "scattering" and back it up with an appeal to the authority of those who accept the 2DH? Let's take a look at what a leading proponent of the 2DH actually says about Luke's order. In his review of Mark Goodacre's Case Against Q, Chritopher Tuckett of Oxford takes Goodacre to task for explaining how Luke's ordering of his double-tradition material does indeed make sense. Tuckett complains:

          "The difficulty here is that this is not quite the argument that Q defenders have used. No one has ever doubted that Luke's order may make (Lukan) sense. The argument is not that Luke's order per se is incoherent; it is that Luke's _changes to Matthew's order_ may be difficult to conceive" [Novt 46.4 (2004) 401-403].

          So, according to Tuckett, Luke's order is fine in and off itself. [Tuckett leaves himself an out with the "may"]. The problem is in conceiving why he would have departed from Matthew's order, right?

          [snip]

          > Let me ask and answer a few simple questions -
          > Q: Is Luke's omission of Matthew's birth narrative more consistent with
          > respect for the text of Matthew or lack of respect?
          > A: Lack of respect.
          > Q: Is Luke's rearrangement of Matthew's text more consistent with respect
          > for Matthew's text, or lack of respect?
          > A: Lack of respect
          > Q: Is Luke's close copying of the words of Matthew and or Q, more consistent
          > with respect for that text, or lack or respect?
          > A: Respect.

          There is an unstated, and I believe incorrect, assumption in your reasoning here that I tried and apparently failed to bring to your attention in my last post. So let me ask a few simple questions in return. Is" respect" a relative or an absolute term, and is it uniformly distributed or might it vary from place to place? If Luke had two or more sources should we expect him to respect them all equally or some more than others? And within an individual document should we expect him to respect all aspects and all parts of the document equally, or should we expect his level or respect to vary for different aspects (e.g., he might in theory repect its sequence of events more than he respected the quality of its Greek) and from part to part. In fact, might he not respect some specific aspect or part of one document more than some specific part or aspect of another document even though, in general, he respects the other document more? Your argument that if Luke (ever?) respected Matthew's wording, he would also have respeted his order is a non sequitur.

          > Thus we have at least some evidence of both respect for Matthew and or Q,
          > and some evidence of lack of respect for Matthew's text (assuming Luke knew
          > it). Thus two texts one of which had Luke's respect, and one of which did
          > not, would have more explanatory power than one text here.

          Because respect is absolute and indivisible? You've never, for instance, seen a movie that generally sucked but had some excellent lines it? Or a good movie with tedious scenes that you wanted to fast forward through? Does Luke's use of Mark as a source generally show respect, or lack of respect for Mark? What about his changes of Mark's grammar? What about his Great Omission of material from Mark 6-8? In fact, does not the rewriting of source material into a new narrative almost by definition show a combination of repect and lack of respect, or, rather, varying degrees of respect?

          > We also know that sayings sources existed (Thomas), And we know that Luke
          > has treated the material as individual unit sayings. Just given that
          > information, if we had to guess at the nature of Luke's source, we would
          > guess Luke had a saying source.

          I am unable to follow the argument here. If it is true that Luke has "treated the material as individual unit sayings" doesn't that mean he is not following the order of his source, whether it was Matthew or a sayings source? If not, what does it mean?

          > So I do think we have some evidence that suggests a saying source, and
          > therefore my suggestion explains additional data in ways empirically at
          > least somewhat more probable than the explanation of "Mark without Q".

          You appear to be using some definition of "empirically" with which I'm not familiar. Empiricism is precisely what I don't see in your discussion. You are attempting to answer the synoptic problem by posing a series of choices as binary opposites and working on a purely theoretical level. You don't deal with Luke's likes and dislikes at the level of content, or his historical situation, or the methods of composition that might have been avaialble to him, nor do you try to set his work in the context of other ancient literature (excepting a very slight appeal to the other synoptics and Thomas). To use a (somewhat) common expression, you are assuming a spherical cow.

          > However, again I do agree "Mark without Q" has greater parsimony. And at
          > this point I do not have a formal argument that the increased explanatory
          > power of my hypothesis justifies the decrease in parsimony, so I'll just
          > leave that up to individual judgment.

          Formal arguments, greater parsimony, and explanatory power are all very nice in their places, but if you want to solve the synoptic problem, or convince anyone that you can, you are first going to have to show that you understand Mark, Matthew, and Luke as authors, and explain why they wrote what they did. I'm afraid that I do not foresee your efforts to solve the synoptic problem at the abstract will ever be successful.

          Best,

          Ken

          Kenneth A. Olson
          MA, History, University of Maryland
          PhD Student, Religion, Duke University


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        • Ken Olson
          ... As to your second question below, the answer is Mk, Mt and Lk. When the three overlap, Mk s order is followed some huge percentage of time (forgot the
          Message 4 of 12 , Sep 8, 2006
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            Chuck wrote:

            >>Dave,

            As to your second question below, the answer is Mk, Mt and Lk. When the
            three overlap, Mk's order is followed some huge percentage of time (forgot
            the number).

            dave wrote:

            Is there a rule that one is likely to rearrange a saying
            source, but not likely to rearrange the order of sayings embedded in a
            narrative source? What literature shows this?<<

            Chuck,

            Actually that was ny question, and a trick one at that. Could you find out
            what that "huge percentage" is and document it? On the 2DH, Luke is held
            generally to follow the order of his sayings source against his narrative
            source in the so-called Mark-Q overlap passages.

            Best,

            Ken

            Kenneth A. Olson
            MA, History, University of Maryland
            PhD Student, Religion, Duke University



            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Maluflen@aol.com
            Following Dave s logic here, would it not also be true to say that Luke most likely used not only the LXX OT, but also a hypothetical sayings source containing
            Message 5 of 12 , Sep 9, 2006
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              Following Dave's logic here, would it not also be true to say that Luke most likely used not only the LXX OT, but also a hypothetical sayings source containing the sayings of OT characters when he composed, say, Acts 7? He shows great "lack of respect" to his LXX source, with regard to the way he (1) completely omits large segments of the story from his source (say, Exodus), and (2) completely re-writes the stories he does tell from this source. However, he shows "respect" for his other source, when he cites words said by these characters, including God, verbatim! Or is there something wrong with Dave's argument?

              Leonard Maluf
              Blessed John XXIII National Seminary
              Weston, MA
              -----Original Message-----
              From: gentile_dave@...
              To: kenolson101@...; Synoptic@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Fri, 8 Sep 2006 4:12 PM
              Subject: RE: [Synoptic-L] A synoptic idea



              For the choice between "Mark without Q" and my suggestion, we have to ask if
              there is enough evidence to support the idea that Luke used a saying source
              at all. I know that many who favor the 2SH find Luke's scattering behavior
              somewhat implausible in the "MwQ" hypothesis, as well as his omission of the
              birth narrative.

              Let me ask and answer a few simple questions -
              Q: Is Luke's omission of Matthew's birth narrative more consistent with
              respect for the text of Matthew or lack of respect?
              A: Lack of respect.
              Q: Is Luke's rearrangement of Matthew's text more consistent with respect
              for Matthew's text, or lack of respect?
              A: Lack of respect
              Q: Is Luke's close copying of the words of Matthew and or Q, more consistent
              with respect for that text, or lack or respect?
              A: Respect.

              Thus we have at least some evidence of both respect for Matthew and or Q,
              and some evidence of lack of respect for Matthew's text (assuming Luke knew
              it). Thus two texts one of which had Luke's respect, and one of which did
              not, would have more explanatory power than one text here.








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            • Dave Gentile
              ... reasoning here that I tried and apparently failed to bring to your attention in my last post. So let me ask a few simple questions in return. Is
              Message 6 of 12 , Sep 9, 2006
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                Ken Olsen wrote:
                >
                > There is an unstated, and I believe incorrect, assumption in your
                reasoning here that I tried and apparently failed to bring to your
                attention in my last post. So let me ask a few simple questions in
                return. Is" respect" a relative or an absolute term, and is it
                uniformly distributed or might it vary from place to place? If Luke
                had two or more sources should we expect him to respect them all
                equally or some more than others? And within an individual document
                should we expect him to respect all aspects and all parts of the
                document equally, or should we expect his level or respect to vary
                for different aspects (e.g., he might in theory repect its sequence
                of events more than he respected the quality of its Greek) and from
                part to part. In fact, might he not respect some specific aspect or
                part of one document more than some specific part or aspect of
                another document even though, in general, he respects the other
                document more? Your argument that if Luke (ever?) respected
                Matthew's wording, he would also have respeted his order is a non
                sequitur.

                Dave: Let's try a word other than "respect", that might capture my
                meaning better. Does Luke regard the gospel of Matthew as an older
                source with better knowledge of actual events than Luke himself has?
                Or does Luke regard Matthew as a contemporary with an actual
                knowledge of events similar to Luke's own? I think Luke, in general,
                can only have one opinion of the author's position to know. I
                suppose that we might make a rather special exception for the birth
                narrative, but other than that, I think Luke's view has to be fairly
                consistent regarding Matthew's ability to know.

                Now could Luke have regarded Matthew as an authoritative source and
                still rewritten him? Yes. Although I think we would want to see
                argument as to why he would want to, before we considered this the
                most likely possibility. In other words, this does not strike us as
                the most probable apriori. Could Luke have viewed Matthew as
                relatively unauthoritative and still used his wording for quotes?
                Yes, although this last idea seems somewhat unlikely to me.

                Ken:

                >
                > > We also know that sayings sources existed (Thomas), And we know
                that Luke
                > > has treated the material as individual unit sayings. Just given
                that
                > > information, if we had to guess at the nature of Luke's source,
                we would
                > > guess Luke had a saying source.
                >
                > I am unable to follow the argument here. If it is true that Luke
                has "treated the material as individual unit sayings" doesn't that
                mean he is not following the order of his source, whether it was
                Matthew or a sayings source? If not, what does it mean?

                Dave: Maybe I can improve that slightly. The fact that Matthew and
                Luke present the material in different orders, in pieces the size of
                individual sayings and pericope, suggests, on the face of it, that
                the material does not have any authoritative order. This in turn
                brings to mind a saying source, which could have authoritative
                wording, without authoritative ordering.

                Of course one could argue that Luke chose to change what he regarded
                as an authoritative order. But, then this does need argumentation in
                order to contradict the face-value suggestion.

                Ken: To use a (somewhat) common expression, you are assuming a
                spherical cow.

                Dave: O.K. that's not completely inapt here. The arguments above are
                extremely high level and not at all detailed. I would argue they are
                empirical, but at a universal level rather than a detailed one.

                Without looking back at your original post, your position seems to
                me to have been that the idea of a saying source has no merit at
                all. I do think my high level arguments are enough to contradict
                that idea.

                You also seemed to be saying that Luke could have done what he did
                without a saying source, and I agreed.

                Now, if you are saying that based on detailed study of Luke's
                behavior in all cases, you think there is enough evidence to do away
                with a saying source as a serious contender, then I'm certainly
                willing to accept that as your view based on your study of those
                individual details.

                Dave Gentile
                Riverside, IL
              • Dennis Dean Carpenter
                snip We also know that sayings sources existed (Thomas) snip There was a sayings source (Thomas), but we don t really know that it was any earlier than the
                Message 7 of 12 , Sep 10, 2006
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                  snip "We also know that sayings sources existed (Thomas)" snip

                  There was a sayings source (Thomas), but we don't really know that it was any earlier than the second century, or for that matter, that the fourth century Coptic manuscript we have points us in a trajectory toward the first century.

                  Dennis Dean Carpenter
                  Dahlonega, Ga. USA

                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • Ken Olson
                  ... meaning better. Does Luke regard the gospel of Matthew as an older source with better knowledge of actual events than Luke himself has? Or does Luke regard
                  Message 8 of 12 , Sep 11, 2006
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                    On 10 September 2006, Dave Gentile wrote:

                    >>Dave: Let's try a word other than "respect", that might capture my
                    meaning better. Does Luke regard the gospel of Matthew as an older
                    source with better knowledge of actual events than Luke himself has?
                    Or does Luke regard Matthew as a contemporary with an actual
                    knowledge of events similar to Luke's own? I think Luke, in general,
                    can only have one opinion of the author's position to know. I
                    suppose that we might make a rather special exception for the birth
                    narrative, but other than that, I think Luke's view has to be fairly
                    consistent regarding Matthew's ability to know.<<

                    It's not the word I'm objecting to, it's the method. You make a bunch of
                    initial assumptions and then you propose a bunch of hypothetical sources to
                    fit them and you wait for everything to click into place. When your
                    assumptions are criticized, you restate them and hypothesize new and
                    different hypothetical sources to do away with the difficulties. It doesn't
                    seem to have dawned on you that you may just be using the wrong approach.

                    Perhaps you could read Jubilees and then tell me whether the author
                    considered the Torah an "authoritative" text or not. Or make a list of
                    biblical quotations in John and then tell me if John regarded the OT as an
                    "authoritative" text. Or tell me why Plutarch assigns certain sayings to
                    different characters in his Lives. Not everything can be accounted for by
                    assuming variant source texts. Mark Goodacre has used the ways modern
                    filmmakers adapt the gospels to film to illustrate the different ways that
                    purpose and medium affect the final product. He's been criticized for using
                    an anachronistic analogy. But that is much of the point--we may be
                    committing anachronisms ourselves if we assume that the gospel authors went
                    about their business with the same purposes and the same methods modern
                    historians do.

                    >>Now could Luke have regarded Matthew as an authoritative source and
                    still rewritten him? Yes. Although I think we would want to see
                    argument as to why he would want to, before we considered this the
                    most likely possibility. In other words, this does not strike us as
                    the most probable apriori.<<

                    If by "we" you mean contemporary systems analysts and statisticians who try
                    to reduce the synoptic problem to a multivariable equation, project modern
                    ideas of historiography and investigative journalism onto first century
                    authors, and have not engaged in study of how ancient authors used their
                    sources or what the term "authoritative source" might mean in an ancient
                    context, I might agree.

                    >>Could Luke have viewed Matthew as
                    relatively unauthoritative and still used his wording for quotes?
                    Yes, although this last idea seems somewhat unlikely to me.<<

                    Can you give the reasons that it seems unlikely to you? Or do you mean for
                    us to take the fact that it seems unlikely to you as having probative value?
                    At least you're using the first person here.

                    >>Dave: Maybe I can improve that slightly. The fact that Matthew and
                    Luke present the material in different orders, in pieces the size of
                    individual sayings and pericope, suggests, on the face of it, that
                    the material does not have any authoritative order. This in turn
                    brings to mind a saying source, which could have authoritative
                    wording, without authoritative ordering.<<

                    Explain to me how you know that sayings source (and only sayings sources),
                    have authoritiative wording but not authoritative order. Do you mean this
                    is intuitively obvious to you, or have you done a study of ancient
                    literature that shows authors kept the wording of order and sayings found in
                    narrative sources but kept the only the wording but changed the order of
                    sayings sources? Which literature shows this? While you're at it explain
                    to me why Luke departs from the Markan order for most of the so-called
                    Mark/Q overlaps (everything after the Temptation).

                    >>Of course one could argue that Luke chose to change what he regarded
                    as an authoritative order. But, then this does need argumentation in
                    order to contradict the face-value suggestion.<<

                    Aaaargh! The meaning of the word "authoritative" needs to be
                    contextualized. It does not have a "face-value" applicable to all times and
                    places.

                    >>Ken: To use a (somewhat) common expression, you are assuming a
                    spherical cow.

                    Dave: O.K. that's not completely inapt here. The arguments above are
                    extremely high level and not at all detailed. I would argue they are
                    empirical, but at a universal level rather than a detailed one.<<

                    The assumptions you make are neither empirical nor universal.. You state a
                    bunch of a priori principles that you expect the evangelists to have
                    followed. When problems with these assumptions are pointed out to you, you
                    try hypothesizing new lost sources that don't have to face them rather than
                    admit that your assumptions may be wrong. Your "universal" level is not
                    universal, it grew up in a particular time and place. I do not mean to
                    suggest that modern epistemological methods are bunk--I'm kind of fond of
                    them. However, you seem to be assuming not just that modern epistemological
                    methods work, but that ancient authors used them in the same way you would.
                    And you're wrong.

                    >>Without looking back at your original post, your position seems to
                    me to have been that the idea of a saying source has no merit at
                    all. I do think my high level arguments are enough to contradict
                    that idea.<<

                    Actually, it's the "high level arguments" to which I am objecting.

                    >>You also seemed to be saying that Luke could have done what he did
                    without a saying source, and I agreed.<<

                    Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

                    >>Now, if you are saying that based on detailed study of Luke's
                    behavior in all cases, you think there is enough evidence to do away
                    with a saying source as a serious contender, then I'm certainly
                    willing to accept that as your view based on your study of those
                    individual details.<<

                    OK. I have, in fact, put these arguments to you before. When I point out
                    that Luke may have rearranged Matthew's order in response to the conditions
                    he faced in trying to combine Markan and Matthean material, your response
                    has invariably been to try to do away with the conditions I describe by
                    hypothesizing further lost sources for which those conditions did not exist.
                    But I'll give it one more shot. I should, perhaps, add that I can speak only for myself and other proponents of the Farer theory may well disagree with me.

                    Luke has two main written sources, Mark and Matthew. He and the Christian
                    community he knows have had Mark for a while before Matthew comes along.
                    Luke knows Mark well and can tell where Matthew has changed it by adding,
                    omitting, or recasting material. Some of the additional material he likes a
                    great deal, particulary some of Jesus' ethical teachings (which Mark does
                    not have a lot of), other material is less pleasing, and some of it is
                    awful. Where Matthew has recast Mark, he generally, but not always, prefers
                    the original that he and his church have used for a long time. But he
                    recognizes the potential of what Matthew has done in rewriting and
                    "updating" Mark and making it fit the needs of his target audience better.
                    He decides to do the same thing.

                    Luke decides he's going to follow Mark, the older and usually fuller [in the
                    overlapping material] source for as far as Mark goes, taking over its basic
                    narrative and keeping it in its Markan order. He will use Matthew's
                    additional material primarily to supplement Mark. The question is: how will
                    he go about adding the supplementary material to his Markan framework?
                    There are two considerations that must be made before addressing this
                    question.

                    First, close conflation of two different written sources at the level of
                    wording is a diffiuclt procedure. The consensus among classicists is that
                    that most ancient authors did not attempt close conflation but wrote with
                    one source in front of them at one time. In The Four Gospels, Streeter
                    notes that Luke follows Mark and his other source (which Streeter took to be
                    Proto-Luke, a combination of Q and L) in fairly large alternating blocks for
                    a few chapters at a time. He also noted that Luke's sources overlapped (the
                    so-called Mark-Q overlaps) and that when this happened, Luke followed one or
                    the other and didn't try to conflate them. Streeter noted that in the case
                    of the Mark-Q overlaps Luke chose to follow the version in his non-Markan
                    source instead of that of Mark. He admitted that he could not tell where
                    the reverse might have happened (i.e., if Luke was following Mark's version,
                    how would we tell if there were also a version in his non-Markan source?).
                    So if Luke's sources are Mark and Matthew we might reasonably expect that he
                    would use them in alternate blocks and not try to conflate them closely.

                    Second, one of the most widely acknowledged characteristics of Luke is his
                    dislike of doublets. He does indeed have about ten doublets, all sayings
                    and none more than two verses in length. Whether he did not care enough to
                    take the the time to edit them out, or he especially liked these sayings
                    enough to use them twice I don't know. But in general, he does not like
                    doublets. We do not have two Temptations, two Beelzebul pericopes, two
                    Parables of the Mustard Seed, or two Feeding Miracles in Luke, despite te
                    fact that he would have had more than one version of each in his sources.
                    So we might reasonably expect a Luke who knew Mark and Matthew generally not
                    to reuse the same material in both its Matthean and Markan forms.

                    Now if Luke follows these two principles (as major scholars who accept the
                    2DH argue he does) it will be almost impossible to follow Matthew's order,
                    and undesirable to try. Matthew's order depends on Mark. His settings for
                    his five sermons are taken from Markan settings, which Luke has already used
                    and doesn't want to repeat. He also isn't going to attempt close conflation
                    by trying to stick all of Matthew's additions into the closest possible
                    Markan parallel location. Further, except for the Sermon on the Mount,
                    Mathew's sermons are expanded versions with a core of Markan material, which
                    Luke has already used. This leaves Mark with a bunch of Matthean material
                    removed from its Markan context, and Luke arranges it as best he can. The
                    Sermon on the Mount is a special case, being more than twice as long as any
                    speech in Luke-Acts. It is a "masterpiece" when read by one studying it at
                    his leisure, but a horror to anyone forced to listen to it read aloud from
                    beginning to end (something no modern lectionary attempts). Luke, like
                    modern filmmakers who have portaryed the Sermon, keeps a trimmed form of the
                    Beatitudes and a few other things in nearly the same location and
                    redistributes the rest to other parts of his gospel. When combined with
                    Luke's other Matthean and special material, the final result is one that "no
                    one has ever doubted may make good (Lukan) sense." Or so Tuckett says.

                    Best,

                    Ken

                    Kenneth A. Olson
                    MA, History, University of Maryland
                    PhD Student, Religion, Duke University

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