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Are we serious?

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  • Kym Smith
    Dear Listers, Though I am sure I will receive a resounding rebuke (which would be better than the usual resounding silence!) I must ask whether or not the
    Message 1 of 6 , May 18 5:48 AM
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      Dear Listers,



      Though I am sure I will receive a resounding rebuke (which would be better than the usual resounding silence!) I must ask whether or not the members of this list are actually interested in finding a solution to the Synoptic Problem. It is natural to hold dear one's own conclusions about this or any other matter, but the diversity of answers indicates that no one can be absolutely certain of their particular stance. Simply to ignore or fend off new ideas - especially if they are not extreme - not only stifles genuine study but has the scent of academic arrogance.



      Is this just sour grapes? In part, maybe! Three months ago I posted a whole new approach to the SP. Was it an extreme view? No. Was it a whole essay? No. It was just a simple scenario which, as far as I can see, resolves virtually all the issues that the SP throws up. Apart from one two-word comment (off-list - but for which I am grateful) there was no response at all. No, "How did you come to that?" or "That part of it is worth a bit more thought" or "What evidence do you have for it?" Nothing!



      From time to time the list seems to strain at literary gnats but at times, like here, ignores a camel!



      Surely a group such as this has some responsibility to encourage work on the SP, even from amateurs like me. I know that time is precious but surely a useful question or honest critique, what ever, is not too much to ask. Silence is the least helpful and most discouraging.



      Have I offended by producing a book without first working through the issues on the list? This can't be so because I was moving towards the solution I have now published in my first post to the list in July 2001 and in others subsequently.



      Enough belly-aching from me! I'll now crawl back into my cyber box and get on with all the other things I should be doing.



      Kym Smith

      St Luke's Anglican Church

      Adelaide

      South Australia

      khs@...


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    • Jim West
      ... There is no solution to the Synoptic Problem (unless some new, indisputable evidence comes to light, like an authentic copy of Q from the dusty sands of
      Message 2 of 6 , May 18 6:16 AM
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        Kym Smith wrote:
        > Dear Listers,
        >
        >
        >
        > Though I am sure I will receive a resounding rebuke (which would be better than the usual resounding silence!) I must ask whether or not the members of this list are actually interested in finding a solution to the Synoptic Problem. It is natural to hold dear one's own conclusions about this or any other matter, but the diversity of answers indicates that no one can be absolutely certain of their particular stance. Simply to ignore or fend off new ideas - especially if they are not extreme - not only stifles genuine study but has the scent of academic arrogance.

        There is no "solution" to the Synoptic Problem (unless some new,
        indisputable evidence comes to light, like an authentic copy of Q from
        the dusty sands of Egypt dated to the 1st century). So until that happy
        day, what we have to do is offer the best possible solutions. Further,
        until the guild is persuaded by that one perfect theory (which I haven't
        come up with yet) ;-) then we will all continue to think, study,
        write, receive correction, and learn. It is, after all, about the
        journey, not about the destination.

        Best

        Jim



        --
        Jim West, ThD

        http://drjewest.googlepages.com/ -- Biblical Studies Resources
        http://drjimwest.wordpress.com -- Weblog
      • Kym Smith
        It would seem that some replies to the list are not going to the list but to whomever sent the post to which one is attempting to respond. Though John Poirier
        Message 3 of 6 , May 18 10:19 PM
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          It would seem that some replies to the list are not going to the list but to whomever sent the post to which one is attempting to respond. Though John Poirier has since tried to explain the list's silence, I am here trying to reconstruct a response I sent to Jim West.



          Jim West wrote:


          <<<There is no "solution" to the Synoptic Problem (unless some new, indisputable evidence comes to light, like an authentic copy of Q from the dusty sands of Egypt dated to the 1st century). So until that happy day, what we have to do is offer the best possible solutions. Further, until the guild is persuaded by that one perfect theory . then we will all continue to think, study, write, receive correction, and learn. It is, after all, about the journey, not about the destination.>>>





          Clearly there is a solution to the Synoptic Problem and many have made valuable contributions towards finding it. And, while the journey is important - especially how we behave and how we treat one another on it - the destination is what it is all about. You may enjoy the scenery and the companionship on any journey you take but the journey is ultimately about getting somewhere for some purpose. Otherwise it is likely to be nothing more than self-indulgence.



          How would you know whether of not there is new evidence - for instance, about Q, as you suggest - if you don't question new suggestions? My concern is that the silence indicates, rather, a refusal to ".think, study, write, receive correction, and learn" except, perhaps, amongst select company.



          Kym Smith

          St Luke's Anglican Church

          Adelaide

          South Australia

          khs@...




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        • Kym Smith
          Dear Bruce, Thankyou for breaking your silence, even if reluctantly. Let me comment on several portions of your post. BRUCE
          Message 4 of 6 , May 20 2:01 AM
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            Dear Bruce,



            Thankyou for breaking your silence, even if reluctantly. Let me comment on several portions of your post.



            BRUCE <<<My own silence in response to Kym Smith's proposal of some months ago, to be frank rather than silent for a moment, was due to the fact that I found that proposal rhetorically overelaborate and aetiologically unconvincing.>>>



            By 'aetiologically unconvincing' I suspect that you mean that my explanation of the relationships between the gospels and why and who used what (or whom) is not convincing. Whether or not you are right, to be told that much is useful because it makes one review and reassess ones work. It is better to be told that than to have no response at all.

            That my proposal is 'rhetorically overelaborate', on the other hand, seems to be saying that it is worked out in too much detail, that it is too comprehensive for something which we would assume will always have some vagaries. You will need to tell me if I am not reading you correctly.



            On the latter point, your first, what I have written on the list is a simple summary. It comes out of three quite different books but which all work together to give a whole picture. ('Redating the Revelation and.'; 'The Amazing Structure of the Gospel of John' and 'The Synoptic Problem: A Johannine Solution'). Much work has gone into allowing the comprehensiveness of this solution. That the Synoptic Problem could be worked out to such detail might be more than we could have hoped for, but it is what we should hope for. It is the destination that is most important!



            BRUCE <<<My sense of the NT field at large is that it no longer regards the Synoptic Problem as very important; some major figures in the field have told me so directly.>>>



            I guess endlessly turning over the same material would lead to few new insights and so energies might be better spent elsewhere. As you say, '.work on [the SP] tends to reach a technical impasse.' If, however, new discoveries allow new insights, there may be much to gain from reigniting the discussion. The redating of most of the NT and the priority of the Revelation over much of it certainly allows a new and, I would say, helpful - if broad - perspective.

            Few would disagree that a new technical or literary breakthrough is required for the discussion to progress any further. But it is precisely this that I believe I have found. It was not a long lost 'copy of Q from the dusty sands of Egypt' (as per Jim West) but a literary clue in the texts we have ever had before us. It would have continued unnoticed if not for the work I have done on the structure of John.

            Reread the solution I have proposed. How significant would it be if the uncompleted, apostolic work which I suggested was begun and abandoned (AEEMark) could be recovered? That is what I believe I have done. And AEEMark then provides clues to the relationships between the three later gospels (Jn, Mt and Lk) which then allow such a detailed solution to be offered.



            BRUCE <<< The trend of those implications seems to be distinctly unfavorable to certain clauses of the Nicene Creed. This is the sort of situation that is almost guaranteed to produce a stalemate, unless indeed it is to produce a split. Probably nobody in the field wants a split, and it looks to me as though we are in the middle of just such a stalemate.
            In that situation, a tacit agreement to leave the thing alone, and go on to other questions, is a not unnatural response. I conclude that the field, and this list along with the rest of the field, is behaving in a very natural way.>>>



            The solution I have offered poses no threat to orthodoxy. If anything, it strengthens it. However, even if it did threaten it, if the pursuit of truth means the exposure of wrong views, no matter how long-held, we should not, thereby, be put off. If truth is truth it will prevail - even if we are its eventual casualties. It is 'behaving in a very natural way', in the sadder sense of 'natural', if we are put off, and an unworthy unity we would be seeking to uphold.



            Sincerely,



            Kym Smith

            St Luke's Anglican Church

            Adelaide

            South Australia

            khs@...




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          • Mark Goodacre
            Thanks for the interesting posts, Kym, and for getting discussion on the list going again. In response to the general point about the quietness of the list, I
            Message 5 of 6 , May 20 8:27 AM
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              Thanks for the interesting posts, Kym, and for getting discussion on the
              list going again. In response to the general point about the quietness of
              the list, I think there are several things operating. One is that in
              general e-lists are less active than they once were. The overall trend is
              towards less frequency in posting. Compare the traffic on Xtalk, for
              example, and note how there are in general fewer posts every month than
              there used to be. To some extent, I think this is due to the new kid on the
              block, which is blogging. Those with blogs will be more inclined to post
              their thoughts there than they will on an email list. It's also a question
              of personnel. I used to post on Synoptic-L regularly, for example, and this
              was in large part because I was working intensively on the Synoptic Problem
              at that time. I still work on the Synoptic Problem but at the moment it is
              not my main research interest and I am currently working on other things.
              Again, there will be others in the same situation.

              I think that it is also important to observe that some posts that are more
              likely to stimulate discussion than others. In general, if you look back
              over the history of this and other lists, the posts that generate most
              discussion, the most successful thread starters, are those that are short,
              pithy, and home in on an interesting phenomenon, a useful piece of data, an
              observation, a critical thought, and so on. On the whole, people don't have
              the time to respond to essay-posts, and they are regularly the least
              successful thread starters.

              They are just my reflections on the relative quietness of the list, but
              others will have different thoughts.

              With best wishes
              Mark
              --
              Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
              Associate Professor
              Duke University
              Department of Religion
              Gray Building / Box 90964
              Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
              Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530

              http://NTGateway.com/goodacre


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            • Bob Schacht
              ... I d like to add that posts most likely to get responses are those that ask a good question. Bob Schacht University of Hawaii ... [Non-text portions of this
              Message 6 of 6 , May 20 10:40 AM
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                At 05:27 AM 5/20/2007, Mark Goodacre wrote:
                >Thanks for the interesting posts, Kym, and for getting discussion on the
                >list going again. . . .
                >
                >I think that it is also important to observe that some posts that are more
                >likely to stimulate discussion than others. In general, if you look back
                >over the history of this and other lists, the posts that generate most
                >discussion, the most successful thread starters, are those that are short,
                >pithy, and home in on an interesting phenomenon, a useful piece of data, an
                >observation, a critical thought, and so on. On the whole, people don't have
                >the time to respond to essay-posts, and they are regularly the least
                >successful thread starters.

                I'd like to add that posts most likely to get responses are those that ask
                a good question.

                Bob Schacht
                University of Hawaii


                >They are just my reflections on the relative quietness of the list, but
                >others will have different thoughts.
                >
                >With best wishes
                >Mark
                >--
                >Mark Goodacre Goodacre@...
                >Associate Professor
                >Duke University
                >Department of Religion
                >Gray Building / Box 90964
                >Durham, NC 27708-0964 USA
                >Phone: 919-660-3503 Fax: 919-660-3530
                >
                >http://NTGateway.com/goodacre
                >
                >
                >[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                >
                >
                >
                >Synoptic-L homepage: http://NTGateway.com/synoptic-l
                >Yahoo! Groups Links
                >
                >
                >


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