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Re: A synoptic idea

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  • gentile_dave@emc.com
    Ken wrote: You make a bunch of initial assumptions Dave: I m sure I make some assumptions for simplification, although at least some of these have an empirical
    Message 1 of 12 , Sep 12, 2006
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      Ken wrote:

      You make a bunch of initial assumptions


      I'm sure I make some assumptions for simplification, although at least
      some of these have an empirical base, if we probe deeper. Of course, if
      some false assumption is made, we would indeed want to uncover that. I'm
      sure you have simplifying assumptions as well, in your argument.

      Ken: and then you propose a bunch of hypothetical sources

      Dave: And you have your own hypothesis about Luke's behavior. We propose
      competing hypotheses and look for evidence to support of contradict
      them. Standard rational-empiricism.

      Ken: When your assumptions are criticized, you restate them

      Dave: You argued that "respect" might not be uniform quality, that it
      was divisible, so I changed my wording. "Estimation of a source's
      position to know" is not a something that can easily vary across a
      document by (what we assume to be) a single author.

      Ken: and hypothesize new and different hypothetical sources to do away
      with the difficulties.

      Dave: Additional hypotheses to better explain data are also part of the
      rational-empirical process.

      Ken: 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 charcters in his Lives.

      Dave: If we were discussing free-will and determinism, I don't think I'd
      say something like "Could you read Einstein and consider what
      implications special relativity may have for the question?" Rather, I
      think I would provide information on how it might be relevant. (Special
      relativity brings into question the whole idea of linear time, and if we
      are asking if the past fully constrains the present, understanding what
      we mean by "past" is relevant.)

      So, if you think the actions of a particular ancient author are a good
      analogy to use for your proposed actions by Luke, then I would ask that
      simply state that case. Obviously we have somewhat different background.
      If we didn't there would be no point in discussion, because working from
      the same set of facts and experiences, we'd pretty much arrive at the
      same answer I'd expect. So sharing information not available to the
      interlocutor is one of the things I would expect discussion to

      Ken: Not everything can be accounted for by assuming variant source

      Dave: I'd agree. And I'd also note that what I'm proposing is not
      exactly Boismard.

      Ken: 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.

      Dave: What if we propose that Luke might have been doing something
      analogous to say Herodotus? That is interviewing people, gathering
      sources, and generally trying to make sense of it. Now, I would not
      suggest that that is the only thing Luke is up to, he certainly has
      other purposes. But Luke does tell us

      "1Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have
      been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those
      who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word.
      Therefore, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from
      the beginning, it seemed good also to me to write an orderly account for
      you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of
      the things you have been taught."

      From this we can gather he is interested in sources, and witnesses, and
      investigation, and establishing "certainty" or the facts of the matter.
      Again he can be interested in other things, but he tells us he is
      interested in these things. So again here I would ask what does Luke
      think of Matthew status as a witness or a source, what is Luke's opinion
      of Matthew's ability to know?

      In passing I would add that I don't think a historical account is what
      the author of Mark was up to at all. He was (in my opinion) trying to
      show Jesus as the fulfillment of OT prophecy, and doing something much
      closer to Midrash.


      If by "we" you mean contemporary systems analysts and statisticians who
      try to reduce the synoptic problem to a multivariable equation,

      Dave: I'm accused of reductionism. Scientific investigation requires
      that we be able to reduce the input data to verifiable facts, which map
      as unambiguously as possible to the terms of our language (probably
      mathematical). Certainly in NT studies there are a great many things
      that will not lend themselves to this sort of investigation. However,
      the synoptic problem can be approached this way. If your goal is not the
      scientific or rational-empirical answer to this problem, then we are
      about different tasks.


      Can you give the reasons that it seems unlikely to you?

      Dave: Given that Luke has told us he is interested in witnesses, and
      getting things correct, and given that we accept this (and note that we
      do have cooberation in the fact that we agree he is working from
      multiple sources), it is unlikely he would use direct quotes from a
      source that he thought had no clue.


      Explain to me how you know that sayings source (and only sayings
      sources), have authoritative wording but not authoritative order.

      Dave: I did not say "only a saying source". That is a sort document that
      we know existed (at least by the 2nd century), and that easily can have
      authoritative wording without authoritative order. The sayings could be
      in thematic order or pneumonic order, for example. Could some other sort
      of document have this characteristic? Yes. Do you want to say this
      characterizes Matthew? That is - do you want to say that Luke thought
      Matthew was in a position to know the facts of the matter, but did not
      regard Matthew's order as representing the correct order of events? I
      think you'd have to argue something like "Luke recognizes that Matthew
      belongs to a genera of writing unconcerned with the real order of
      events." How then does Matthew's genera differ from Mark's in Luke's

      I mean obviously you think Luke rearranges Matthew, but do you think
      Luke does this while thinking that Matthew's order has little to do with
      the real order of events, or do you think Luke does this rearrangement
      thinking that Matthew' order probably is related to the real order of
      events, but Luke is simply not that concerned with the order of events?
      How would you argue that latter point? (other than pointing to the
      rearranged text, which is circular, since that is what we are trying to
      explain). You could of course point to other ancient authors who were
      not concerned with the order of events. That would be enough to raise,
      as one possibility, the idea that Luke was not interested in the order
      of events, but that is not enough show that it is *probable* that Luke
      would not care about the order of events. On the other hand we have what
      Luke told us about his intentions, and the fact that he does follow the
      order of Mark, both of which argue that he probably did care about the
      order of events.

      Ken: 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

      Dave: In my recent posts to Ron, I pointed out that I don't believe that
      an earlier, less corrupted version of Mark contained most of the "Mark/Q
      overlap" material. I described the idea of using text-critical methods
      to go one step further. That is currently we would use the surviving
      texts of Mark to reconstruct Mark, etc. But after we have these and a
      synoptic solution with Markian priority, we can go one step more. We can
      say that our reconstruction of canonical Mark is the conservative
      witness to the original text of Mark, but Matthew and Luke are also
      (less conservative) witnesses to the original text of Mark. We can then
      use text-critical methods to reconstruct "synoptic-prime", a less
      corrupted version of Mark. Having tried this exercise, just for myself,
      the answer I got was that most Mark/Q sections were not in the original
      Mark, and often probably not in Luke's copy of Mark.

      Ken: Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem.

      Dave: To use Occam's razor in its strict sense, it must be the case that
      the proposed hypothesis (say B), when compared to another hypothesis
      (say A), represents a decrease in parsimony without any increase in
      explanatory power. To say that the saying source has no additional
      explanatory power at all is a rather high burden of proof, don't you
      think? Rather, we should acknowledge that your idea is more
      parsimonious, and mine has at least some additional explanatory power
      (as almost any *real* extra hypothesis will), and recognize that both
      factors can contribute to the probable truth of a hypothesis. That is,
      all else equal, the simple hypothesis is more probable, and all else
      equal, the hypothesis with more explanatory power is more probable. When
      all else is not equal there will be cases where the most probable
      hypothesis is the most parsimonious, and there will be cases where the
      most probable hypothesis is the one with the greater explanatory power.
      Our task is to figure out which we are dealing with here.


      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 Matthian 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.

      Dave: O.K. we from here on out we have actual arguments of the matter at
      hand. I'd point out that my original intent was just to say that both
      the FH, and the 2SH have merit and that my idea preserved some of the
      merits of both. My intent was not really to do a critique of the
      arguments for either side, which is what we seem to be doing here. But,
      I'm interested in the argument anyway.

      Ken: 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.

      Dave: Mostly I agree (except with the number and/or name of sources).
      Mark has been around, Matthew is new.

      Ken: Luke knows Mark well and can tell where Matthew has changed it by
      adding, omitting, or recasting material.

      Dave: O.K.

      Ken: Some of the additional material he likes a great deal, particularly
      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.

      Dave: Sounds good.

      Ken: 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.

      Dave: Yep.

      Ken: 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

      First, close conflation of two different written sources at the level of
      wording is a difficult 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.

      Dave: Is this an appeal to authority? (which can have merit) In support
      of a point that may be rather critical to your argument? And what do we
      mean by close conflation? I mean no one here is suggesting anything like
      what the GH folks claim Mark did in conflating Matthew and Luke. The
      question is more whether Luke could/would have kept Matthew in the same
      order at a basically a pericope level. Certainly that could constitute
      "chucks" of material, although smaller than your proposed chunks. Also,
      most ancient authors were not dealing with two versions of the same
      story. So, an analogy here may have little warrant.

      Ken: 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

      Dave: Why exactly from the above? You've pointed out that Luke seems to
      have in fact done this, but that does nothing for establishing our prior
      expectation that he would have done this. We want to ask if our prior
      expectations, based on our hypothesis match with the facts, in order to
      support or disconfirm the hypothesis. We can't use the facts to form the
      prior expectation on our hypothesis, in this case.

      Ken: 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.

      Dave: Hmmm...this is rather circular. Your first sentence maintains that
      Luke had a dislike of doublets. One would imagine that this is widely
      acknowledged, *because* Luke in fact does not have many doublets. But
      then we can't use Luke's dislike of doublets to form a prior expectation
      that he would not form doublets. The fact of the doublets can't be part
      of any prior expectation about doublets. And we care about the prior
      expectation of doublets, because you want to argue that the reason for
      the observed text is that Luke would consider elimination of doublets as
      more important than keeping an (authoritative?) order. That would
      require providing reasons to believe Luke would dislike doublets, other
      that the fact that he avoided them. We need to know what might motivate
      his distaste for doublets. I might suggest that maybe he didn't like
      doublets, because he was concerned about actual events, and actual
      events don't happen twice. Alternately, we might say he didn't want to
      waste space, or something like that, but I thought I'd throw the
      possible concern about actual events in there.

      Ken: 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.

      Dave: So your argument then is that Luke rearranged an (authoritative?)
      source, because it would have been too difficult to keep in the correct
      order and avoid doublets? That would not work for me, since we've agreed
      Luke has a good working knowledge of Mark. He should be able to avoid
      doublets (if this was his goal), with any order he chooses that at least
      roughly follows Mark.

      Or if keeping the order of Matthew was not too difficult the argument
      would then be that Luke wants to avoid pericope-level conflation for
      some reason, even though he could do it, if he chose to? Well, that
      would be one side of an argument then. On the other side I would say
      that given that Luke has two sources with the same basic story, and
      given that he has expressed an interest in witnesses, sources, and
      actual events, he probably would attempt such a pericope level
      conflation if he viewed Matthew's order as historical. (All else being

      Alternately if Luke did not think Matthew had a better knowledge of
      actual events than Luke himself, then his decision to use Matthew at
      all, and particularly to use verbatim quotes from Matthew that
      contradict Mark, does not fit with Luke's own statement of his
      intentions. In fact we stipulated above that Luke regards Matthew's
      gospel as new on the scene, if we then hypothesis that Luke used Matthew
      extensively then this contradicts Luke's statement of his intent to go
      back to the beginning.

      I suppose the other piece to testing these hypotheses would be to look
      at the actions on Matthew's part. Given that Mark is well established,
      and if we suppose Matthew does not himself have first hand knowledge,
      then does Matthew have reasonable expectation that his gospel will be
      accepted and read if he just writes it, without claiming any earlier
      sources? (Luke, his contemporary, seems to think he needs a preface with
      this claim), and renaming Levi to Matthew may be part of Matthew claim
      to being based on first hand accounts) Is it reasonable for Matthew (if
      this is a late work and not the work of a disciple) to expect people to
      use his gospel instead of Mark? That would depend how the community of
      Christians looked at the gospel of Mark at the time Matthew was written.
      From Paul we might infer that they already had an idea of Christian
      Scripture by the time Matthew writes. Maybe I'm wrong, but while people
      generally accept commentary on scripture, or new insight, they generally
      don't like fully contemporary re-writes to scripture. In any case, the
      claim of a source (perhaps claimed to be translated from Hebrew of
      Aramaic) could not help but increase the popularity of Matthew's gospel,
      if people believed the claim.

      So where are we in summary?

      If say Matthew is fully contemporary to Luke we might expect some
      problem with its acceptance, given that there is already a concept of
      scripture, and that Luke needed to use a preface to say he used old
      sources, and that Matthew's rename of Levi may be a claim of being based
      on a first hand witness. Also contradicting this idea are Luke's
      verbatim quotes from Matthew, after telling us he is interested in
      original witnesses and events.

      If we say Matthew is in fact in position to know first hand, then we
      might wonder why it is written so late. We might also appeal to
      authority and say most modern scholars do not hold this to be the case.
      It also seems quite possible for Luke to keep Matthew's order of events
      at a pericope level (this is not particularly close conflation), while
      avoiding doublets. But Luke does not do this. And I would argue that
      based on Luke's statement about his intentions, and given that Luke
      regards Matthew as an authentic witness, all else being equal, we would
      expect him to try to preserve Matthew's order where it was reasonably
      achievable, but the facts contradict this expectation.

      However, if Matthew is a contemporary of Luke, given the barrier that
      might be present to the publication of a second more contemporary
      version of the gospel, Matthew has motive to forge a saying source
      (which could have quotes in no historical order, but say in thematic
      order). Luke's behavior then is fully consistent with his stated
      intentions of going to original sources and witnesses, and his
      acceptance of the saying source as original, and his recognition of
      Matthew as contemporary.

      Dave Gentile

      Riverside IL

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Dave Gentile
      ... round, it ... 16:17. ... That s reasonable. And, all else being equal, probably our first guess. But Christianity was also a fairly radical break from
      Message 2 of 12 , Sep 12, 2006
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        Ron wrote:

        > As Christianity was born out of Judaism, and not the other way
        round, it
        > seems to me more natural to see Mk 13:31 as a development of Q

        That's reasonable. And, all else being equal, probably our first
        guess. But Christianity was also a fairly radical break from
        Maybe we shouldn't expect much in the way of *conservative* Jewish
        attitudes from the first followers. Paul didn't like them much in
        his early conservative stage.

        > But the synoptic gospels, within which this conservative reaction
        > supposed to have been manifested, were all penned in the first
        > whereas my understanding is that Gnosticism didn't really have much
        > influence until the early second century.

        O.K. proto-Gnostic then. But for that matter, I doubt the author of
        Matthew would have though much of the gospel of John (or the ideas
        that led to it) either. Identifying Jesus as God may have been a
        step to far for him. In any case, we agree the author of Matthew
        represents a conservative turn from Mark, at least when it comes to
        his attitude towards Hebrew scripture.

        So we have this time line -

        1) Early Jewish followers (probably rather radical)
        2) Mark – with a liberal take on Hebrew scripture
        3) Mathew, with a conservative view of Hebrew scripture.

        So, if we have another document with a conservative attitude, where
        does it fit in that time line? Well, anywhere really.


        >I think it's quite reasonable,
        > bearing in mind Papias' statement that Matthew assembled the
        logia, to
        > attribute the first written form of Lk 16:17 to the apostle

        Reasonable, yes. But a successfully forged early saying source, and
        a real early saying source will probably have much in common,
        including Papias' testimony about them, so that can't be used to
        separate the ideas.

        Dave Gentile
        Riverside, IL
      • E Bruce Brooks
        To: Synoptic In Response To: Dave Gentile On: Sayings Sources, Real and Otherwise From: Bruce Among much else of interest in his latest contribution, Dave had
        Message 3 of 12 , Sep 13, 2006
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          To: Synoptic
          In Response To: Dave Gentile
          On: Sayings Sources, Real and Otherwise
          From: Bruce

          Among much else of interest in his latest contribution, Dave had remarked,
          "But a successfully forged early saying source and a real early saying
          source will probably have much in common, including Papias' testimony about
          them, so that can't be used to separate the ideas."

          I merely want to say that I think this is a very important principle. Too
          many things could correspond to certain bits of medium early external
          testimony for complete certainty, and in any case, our ability to detect
          forgeries at this distance is necessarily somewhat impaired. Any hypothesis
          compatible with the words of Papias (wherever the boundary between them and
          Eusebius's comments may lie, and whatever exactly they mean, and ignoring
          the Johannine bias of Papias, and assuming that Papias in this remark has a
          probity which is conspicuously missing from what we know of his own
          writings) is probably the better for it, other things being equal. But it is
          still worthwhile to be reminded that the category of hypotheses which could
          be judged compatible with the words of Papias is a somewhat wide one.


          E Bruce Brooks
          Warring States Project
          University of Massachusetts at Amherst

          [The name "Papias" reminds me that in the early China field, we have a
          conspicuous case of a major court historian, a man of learning or anyway of
          wide acquaintance in the world of texts, who showed incredible naivete in
          evaluating recent forgeries as genuine productions of antiquity, and whose
          own editing of earlier texts for inclusion in his book ranged from
          amateurish to downright clumsy. He had an accepting mind and a trembling
        • Emmanuel Fritsch
          Hello, Arguing about technical details in Luke on a french forum, we deeply disagree about keramon in Luke 5:19. It has been said that tiles were not
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 11 2:00 AM
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            Arguing about technical details in Luke on a french forum, we deeply
            disagree about "keramon" in Luke 5:19. It has been said that "tiles"
            were not present in Syria at the beginning of Ist century, so that it
            constitutes an error of Luke.

            Since I was not convinced, I said it, and I have been sharply accused
            for being a defender of inerrancy.
            Hence I would like to look around the question.

            Even if "tiles" for "keramon" is the mainstream translation, in french,
            english, german, we have other translation for this "keramon". Segond
            translate "par une ouverture du toit".

            Bailly, the standard greek-french dictionnary, proposes "clay".
            Greek online bible (http://www.greekbible.com) proposes :
            > 1) clay, potter's earth
            > 2) anything made of clay, earthen ware
            > 3) a roofing tile
            > 3a) the roof itself
            > 3b) the phrase "through the roof", means through the door in the
            > roof to which a ladder or stairway led up from the street
            > (according to the Rabbis distinguish two ways of entering
            > a house, "the way through the door" and "the way through
            > the roof". For Synonyms see entry 5858

            I would like to know :
            - what is the source for this definition ? (and for the whole lexicon of
            greek online bible)
            - are there any other stuff about the translation of "keramon" I should
            have looked at ?
            - are there any other stuff about "keramon" in Luke ?

            Thanks in advance,

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