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Re: Thoughts on GosThom

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  • Andrew Bernhard
    MARK WROTE: That completes a quick survey of the issue of literary identity in the Oxyrhynchus fragments. There is one very good case of literary identity (the
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 1, 1998
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      MARK WROTE:
      That completes a quick survey of the issue of literary identity in the Oxyrhynchus
      fragments. There is one very good case of literary identity (the first one listed,
      from P Oxy 1) and there are lots of interesting smaller cases where the texts are
      identical
      over a smaller amount of space.

      An investigation of the Coptic material is necessary too, of course, but there seem
      to be some grounds here for a limited degree of literary dependence one way or the
      other. What do others think? Is there enough here at least to establish a limited
      amount of literary dependence one way or the other?

      - - - -

      Mark,
      Thanks for the list. I've looked over the parallels in the Greek fragments and I
      must confess I don't think there is much of a case for literary dependence on that
      basis. You yourself admit that there is only "one very good case of literary
      identity." As for the rest, I don't think the nearly verbatim agreement is enough
      to prove dependence.

      Luke 17:21/POxy 654.15-16: First, Fitzmeyer's reconstruction is based on the Lucan
      parallel. And second, even if the reconstruction is accurate, this saying is so
      short that it could easily have been carried verbatim in the oral tradition. If you
      and I heard the saying, "the kingdom of God is within you" (7 words) in church, and
      decided to write it down again later, I bet we would come up with identical sayings.

      The same comment about how easily the sayings could have been transmitted verbatim
      in oral tradition also applies to the remainder of the parallels you list. I notice
      as I look through the parallels that they all are short and have a form of the
      equitive verb eimi (except for the parallels you list to POxy 1.30-35 which don't
      exactly qualify as verbatim agreement anyway). This suggests to me that all of the
      "verbatim" agreements are of an extremely simple ("primitive") consturction and
      could easily have been carried _verbatim_ in an oral form. I don't care about how
      people change sayings in their mind when they memorize them, you and I could easily
      memorize 7 or words and recite them verbatim. That does not prove that one of us
      borrowed from the other.

      That, in the end, leaves us with the only extensive parallel (Lk.6:42/POxy 1.1-4).
      Here we have 13 words verbatim, probably more. But we also have a coptic
      counterpart that differs slightly.. So, it would seem to me that we do indeed (as
      you note is possible) have an instance of harmonization. I think the best
      explanation is that POxy 1 has been harmonized with a canonical saying. It seems
      less probable that the Coptic has been unharmonized with the synoptics.

      In the end, I don't think these parallel amount to much of anything. No wonder they
      are never cited in arguments for dependence. They are so slight that they don't
      indicate anything and the one parallel that might is extremely questionable.

      Andrew
    • Andrew Bernhard
      ... but I find virually NO parallels that indicate verbatim agreement... ... Sigh...I m teaching myself Coptic now...for now, I must take your word for it.
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 1, 1998
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        > I would want to add one or two words to qualify what you say, though:
        >
        > (1) The sample of Thomas that Oxyrhynchus gives us is not that large. That we
        > find some verbatim agreement in such a small sample may be striking.

        but I find virually NO parallels that indicate verbatim agreement...

        >
        > (2) There are good cases of very close agreement in Coptic Thomas, one of the
        > best being Thom. 79a // Luke 11.27-28 on which I have recently written an
        > article (not published yet). It is something we thrashed out on Crosstalk a
        > while ago. I listed some of the other close agreements in the post to which I
        > referred, but the list is not exhaustive of course.

        Sigh...I'm teaching myself Coptic now...for now, I must take your word for it.
        Still, my inclination is that parallels in translation indicate nothing except that
        the scribe was familiar with the canonical gospels when he made the translation. I
        remember in my Greek last year, I was translating part of the birth story out of
        Luke. It also happened to be a text I have heard read in church every year at
        Christmas and as I sight translated, my translation sounded suspiciously like the
        RSV, without even the slightly effort or thought on my part.

        > (3) To talk about the log and speck example as "extremely questionable" is
        > too strong. Sribal harmonisation is a possibility, but we do not have enough
        > textual evidence to go on when studying Thomas. Should Thomasine independence
        > benefit from the lack of evidence or should limited Thomasine knowledge of the
        > Synoptics?

        Perhaps it is too strong. Regardless, we can't turn this into a question of: what
        would we think if we had more evidence? We don't know what we would think if we
        had more evidence, if we did, well, we'd have that evidence and would have to
        speculate about other evidence that we didn't have. In short, we can only work
        with what we have.

        > (4) Among the agreements that you do not find so convincing is P Oxy 654, 27-31
        > (Thom. 5) // Luke 8.17 etc. If I may quote from another earlier message
        > (http://www.egroups.com/list/crosstalk/1036.html):
        >
        > Let me put it another way. Luke is re-writing Mark here and simply
        > changing the wording and structure a little. This is at least prima facie
        > Lukan redaction of Mark. Thomas contains the same wording -- eight words
        > verbatim, three of which agree with Luke against Mark. The natural
        > presumption in such cases is Thomasine dependence on Luke.
        >

        The natural presumption ONLY IF we presume that there has to be some kind of
        dependence and to make such an assumption I have to see some kind of indication
        that it is justified and so far, I don't. Luke's redaction may have been only
        natural if Mark's phrase was awkward. If somebody came up to me and said "He ain't
        got a dog," I would naturally repeat the language that I understand, but am not
        accustomed to and say, "He does not have a dog." This is a three word difference,
        but it doesn't mean I had to borrow directly literarily from somebody who said what
        I said. I guess I don't agree with you that this minute change couldn't have
        resulted from oral transmission.

        In summary, I still maintain that the only parallel that is significant enough to
        possibly suggest dependence is POxy 1.1-4...and that doesn't meet my standards of
        establishing a pattern.

        Andrew
      • Mark Goodacre
        ... You may be right. You are certainly right, I think, about the notion that 7 words here and 7 there is not going to be overwhelming, the kind of thing that
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 1, 1998
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          On 1 Oct 98 at 8:18, Andrew Bernhard wrote:

          > Thanks for the list. I've looked over the parallels in the Greek fragments
          > and I must confess I don't think there is much of a case for literary
          > dependence on that basis. You yourself admit that there is only "one very
          > good case of literary identity." As for the rest, I don't think the nearly
          > verbatim agreement is enough to prove dependence.

          You may be right. You are certainly right, I think, about the notion that 7
          words here and 7 there is not going to be overwhelming, the kind of thing that
          could be held in oral tradition, etc.

          I would want to add one or two words to qualify what you say, though:

          (1) The sample of Thomas that Oxyrhynchus gives us is not that large. That we
          find some verbatim agreement in such a small sample may be striking.

          (2) There are good cases of very close agreement in Coptic Thomas, one of the
          best being Thom. 79a // Luke 11.27-28 on which I have recently written an
          article (not published yet). It is something we thrashed out on Crosstalk a
          while ago. I listed some of the other close agreements in the post to which I
          referred, but the list is not exhaustive of course.

          (3) To talk about the log and speck example as "extremely questionable" is
          too strong. Sribal harmonisation is a possibility, but we do not have enough
          textual evidence to go on when studying Thomas. Should Thomasine independence
          benefit from the lack of evidence or should limited Thomasine knowledge of the
          Synoptics?

          (4) Among the agreements that you do not find so convincing is P Oxy 654, 27-31
          (Thom. 5) // Luke 8.17 etc. If I may quote from another earlier message
          (http://www.egroups.com/list/crosstalk/1036.html):

          Now there are eight words verbatim agreement here between Luke and Thom
          (though noting, of course, that there is some need for reconstruction in P
          Oxy 654), and in three of them there is agreement against Mark, OU FANERON
          GENHSETAI against EAN MH FANERWQHi, as well as the absence of TI from Thom
          and Luke against Mark. This is minor variation, of course, and in some ways
          that is why it is striking: it is hardly the kind of variation that will be
          due to influence of oral tradition.

          Let me put it another way. Luke is re-writing Mark here and simply
          changing the wording and structure a little. This is at least prima facie
          Lukan redaction of Mark. Thomas contains the same wording -- eight words
          verbatim, three of which agree with Luke against Mark. The natural
          presumption in such cases is Thomasine dependence on Luke.

          That is not to say that we might also need to see some clear evidence of
          distinctively Lukan traits, language, themes and so on. The difficulty for
          the Oxy P material is that there are not very many triple tradition pieces
          to go on in the search for Lukan redaction of Mark, and here we come back
          to Stephen's question: "who is allowed to benefit from the lack of
          evidence"?

          I know that Steve has an answer to this, though.

          Mark
          -------------------------------------------
          Dr Mark Goodacre mailto:M.S.Goodacre@...
          Dept. of Theology Tel: +44 (0)121 414 7512
          University of Birmingham Fax: +44 (0)121 414 6866
          Birmingham B15 2TT
          United Kingdom

          Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/goodacre
          World Without Q: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/q
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