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Re: [Synoptic-L] A synoptic idea

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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 1 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 2 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 3 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



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        • 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 4 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 5 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 6 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

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              • 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 7 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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