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Source criticism: OT & NT

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  • Bob Schacht
    It often surprises me that NT scholars are not more conversant with OT issues. Take Source criticism: surely this is a domain where the methods and theories
    Message 1 of 11 , Jan 2, 1999
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      It often surprises me that NT scholars are not more conversant with OT
      issues. Take Source criticism: surely this is a domain where the methods
      and theories are basically similar. But I see little 'cross-fertilization'
      of ideas between OT and NT source criticism.

      The "Synoptic problem" is, in part, a source-critical issue. The various
      source theories are nicely diagrammed and summmarized by Stephen Carlson at
      http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/index.html

      The dominant view is that Matthew and Luke drew on two sources: Mark and Q
      (Mark Goodacre notwithstanding). The relationship of the Gospels to these
      sources is analyzed primarily in terms of verbatim (or near verbatim)
      identity of sentences and phrases appearing in different Gospels, inviting
      us to consider that the authors copied one from the other or both on a
      common source. Basically, it is a matter of the same story being told 3
      times. GJohn is viewed by most as an independent of these, a fourth version
      of the story, and many on crosstalk consider GThomas as an independent, too
      (although it does not tell the same 'story' because it lacks a narrative
      framework). Thus, the four (canonical) Gospels are viewed by most scholars
      as dependent on three sources, one of which (Q) has not survived as a
      separate manuscript.

      What of the Tanakh or, more specifically, the Pentateuch? Although on the
      surface it tells one tale, it does not take much looking to find a number
      of twice (and sometimes thrice-)told tales. Only here, for the most part,
      the tales are woven together rather than separated into distinct documents.
      It is as if the only surviving Gospel was Tatian's Diatesseron (except that
      Tatian purged the duplications rather than leaving them side by side or
      trying to weave them together). These twice told tales were noticed by
      scholars more than 100 years ago, and Wellhausen was the first to try to
      make a comprehensive synthesis. As John Barton summarizes it, writing in
      the Anchor Bible Dictionary (sub "Source Criticism (OT)"), when the
      Pentateuch is analyzed into fragments and the fragments are sorted, they
      seem to group themselves into four piles, each marked by a "very strong"
      family resemblance. The classic "four source" hypothesis of Wellhausen et
      seq. Except that in this case, only one of the sources could be prominently
      identified with a single book (Deuteronomy, with some related narrative
      materials elsewhere, designated "D".) The other three sources are, like
      "Q", hypothetical. Each of these four sources, designated by J, E, D & P,
      is marked by a uniform style, certain preferences of vocabulary and theme,
      and its own chronological framework, according to Barton. And, just as it
      is usually inferred that GLuke and GMatthew are dependent on the prior
      sources Mark and Q, so it is usually concluded that P presupposes an
      acquaintance with J, and therefore must be later. The J source has, of
      course, been the object of a popular (and controversial) recent attempt to
      re-create it as a coherent document ("The Book of J", 1991) by a Biblical
      scholar (David Rosenberg) and a writer (Harold Bloom), who tried to make a
      case for it as an originally autonomous document.

      This Documentary Hypothesis is far from being outmoded, as some have
      suggested. The NRSV article on the Pentateuch presents it as a reputable
      theory, and the REB article on the Pentateuch describes it as a "widely
      accepted hypothesis." It has become sufficiently established that the
      Anchor Bible Dictionary has a separate and substantial article on each
      source. The composit nature of the Pentateuch, and the very different
      theological and political agendae expressed by each source, along with
      various strange odds and ends included here and there, make it
      inconceivable to me that the whole thing could be a post-Exilic creation.
      In fact, the viewpoints expressed in some of the sources (especially E)
      make no sense in a post-Exilic environment.

      The dates of the various sources that I suggested a week or two ago were
      challenged. I am not alone in my views of the early date of J and E. The
      REB article suggests a date in the tenth century B.C.E. for J and E, which
      the NRSV calls the Old Epic "literature". Ian inquires about the date of
      Deuteronomy; the REB suggests that the forgotten "book" of the law found
      during King Josiah's reign in 621 BCE consisted of Deuteronomy 5-26.
      However, the ABD writes that "the question of the authorship and date of
      the DH has become one of the most debated issues in the field of biblical
      studies", which is saying a lot. A number of studies, while acknowledging
      Noth's arguments for the unity of and post exilic date of the final edition
      of the Deuteronomist History, argue for a number of redactions begining in
      pre-exilic times. Frank Moore Cross, in particular, argues for an early
      Deuteronomist school that was written in support of Josiah's reforms. I
      recommend the ABD article by Steven McKenzie, which reviews the various
      viewpoints in detail.

      The article on "E" by Alan W. Jenks in the ABD suggests that the recent
      tendency is to date it as early as the eighth or ninth centuries BCE. Most
      analyses identify the editorial viewpoint of "E" as reflecting the
      interests of the Northern Kingdom, which would make no sense in a
      post-Exilic environment. Whereas "J" clearly has a Jerusalem and Temple
      focus, "E" emphasized (1) the Covenant ("the centerpiece of E's theology of
      history"), (2) the prophetic leadership of Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and
      Moses (presented in different terms from J), (3) the fear of God, and (4) a
      particular theology of history.

      Source criticism in the NT is attempting some similar considerations. For
      example, Q is being studied not only as a collection of pericopae that
      Matthew and Luke drew upon, but for its own distinctive viewpoint. We have
      debated some of this, particularly the theories of stratification of Q and
      the thematic unity of the strata, before. Bill Arnal has summarized
      Kloppenberg's stratification of Q better than anyone (including Klop
      hisself), here on Crosstalk.

      The bottom line is that I think that a study of Pentateuchal source
      criticism provides an interesting perspective on NT source critical
      studies, and I recommend it.

      Bob
      Robert Schacht
      Northern Arizona University
      Robert.Schacht@...

      "This success of my endeavors was due, I believe, to a rule of 'method':
      that we should always try to clarify and to strengthen our opponent's
      position as much as possible before criticizing him, if we wish our
      criticism to be worth while." [Sir Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific
      Discovery (1968), p. 260 n.*5]
    • Jim West
      ... I would only say that you might want to qualify this a bit by adding some or maybe even many . As it is you suggest that NO NT scholars are conversant
      Message 2 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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        At 11:05 PM 1/2/99 -0700, you wrote:
        >It often surprises me that NT scholars are not more conversant with OT


        I would only say that you might want to qualify this a bit by adding "some"
        or maybe even "many". As it is you suggest that NO NT scholars are
        conversant with OT issues. This is, of course, false.

        [snipped]

        >
        >The bottom line is that I think that a study of Pentateuchal source
        >criticism provides an interesting perspective on NT source critical
        >studies, and I recommend it.
        >


        Source criticism of the Pentateuch is hardly utilized in amore in these days
        of literary criticism. In fact- the old notion that the Pent. can be nicely
        cut up is virtually abandoned. Instead, scholars of the Hebrew Bible are
        focusing on the fascinating and incredibly insightful ways ancient authors
        utilized doublets and the like to say things in useful though subtle ways.
        Further- there is precious little support for the idea that the OT was
        composed before the exile- which makes the old J, E, D, P theory absolutely
        impossible.

        >Bob

        Best,

        Jim

        +++++++++++++++++++++++++

        Jim West, ThD
        Quartz Hill School of Theology

        jwest@...
      • Tom Simms
        ... [... snip ... noted as an exemplar of a lecture I might have heard in one of Rev. Dr. Ebbut s lectures in RK at Mount Allison in the late 40 s when he was
        Message 3 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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          On Sat, 02 Jan 1999 23:05:26 -0700, Robert.Schacht@... writes:
          >It often surprises me that NT scholars are not more conversant with OT

          [... snip ... noted as an exemplar of a lecture I might have
          heard in one of Rev. Dr. Ebbut's lectures in RK at Mount Allison
          in the late 40's when he was approaching the True Antediluvian
          Stage of Professorial Development ...]

          >The J source has, of
          >course, been the object of a popular (and controversial) recent attempt to
          >re-create it as a coherent document ("The Book of J", 1991) by a Biblical
          >scholar (David Rosenberg) and a writer (Harold Bloom), who tried to make a
          >case for it as an originally autonomous document.

          The writer Bloom, though not a Biblical Scholar, was a widely
          respected literary critic. I must admit I found his views
          persuasive for I had not then realized how New Kingdom texts
          could become part of the Tanakh (but then too I did not know the
          word `Tanakh' or its meaning). _IMO then_, J was Bithiah, Solo-
          mon's supposed Egyptian Princess wife, Sister-In-Law of Shishak
          and bringing the dowry of Gezer who married Mered after Solomon's
          death. However, such was vain speculation. Those literary
          influences could just as well have reached the Jewish scribes
          during the constant commerce of the Persian Period and richly
          supplied by the antiquarian upwelling in Egypt caused by both the
          Nubian and Levantine incursions. One only has to note how much
          Jewish writers like Josephus knew of that Egyptian Antiquarianism
          in Manetho to realize how freely that information flowed.

          >This Documentary Hypothesis is far from being outmoded, as some have
          >suggested.

          See above, Bob, you're singing from an Out-Of-Date sonsheet, just as are
          the "learned journals" you're citing. See below.

          >The NRSV article on the Pentateuch presents it as a reputable
          >theory, and the REB article on the Pentateuch describes it as a "widely
          >accepted hypothesis."

          [... snip ... noted ...]

          You may recall how I quoted from Wise, Abegg and Cook's _Dead Sea
          Scrolls: A New Translation_, showing the huge gaps in the scroll
          texts of the Later MT. Well, I wasn't as wrong as many thought.
          A private note to Marty Abegg drew the response that their text
          is what is available in readable English. There are fragments,
          but none that can be classified by text source.

          IOW, Biblical Scholars will have to admit that they have NOTHING
          from the ground that supports their theses! The evidence is
          moving to a very late movement of text sources from FOUR AREAS,
          Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Persia. The evidence has been
          there since Champollion but until scholars were willing to set to
          one sdide the power of the accounts and rely on only those parts
          that rested on firm evidentiary foundations, they are spitting
          into the wind.

          >Source criticism in the NT is attempting some similar considerations. For
          >example, Q is being studied not only as a collection of pericopae that
          >Matthew and Luke drew upon, but for its own distinctive viewpoint. We have
          >debated some of this, particularly the theories of stratification of Q and
          >the thematic unity of the strata, before. Bill Arnal has summarized
          >Kloppenberg's stratification of Q better than anyone (including Klop
          >hisself), here on Crosstalk.

          The NT is a different matter, having much more useful proveances
          and some measure of support from other contemporary records.

          >The bottom line is that I think that a study of Pentateuchal source
          >criticism provides an interesting perspective on NT source critical
          >studies, and I recommend it.
          >
          >Bob

          Until you can walk into a roomfull of archaeologists with the
          evidence to support your case, you're out of business, Bob.

          Tom Simms
        • Bob Schacht
          ... Jim, Of course, you are quite right. I certainly did not mean to imply that *NO* NT scholars were conversant with OT source criticism. Its just that I am
          Message 4 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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            At 08:52 AM 1/3/99 +0000, Jim West wrote:
            >At 11:05 PM 1/2/99 -0700, you wrote:
            >>It often surprises me that NT scholars are not more conversant with OT
            >
            >
            >I would only say that you might want to qualify this a bit by adding "some"
            >or maybe even "many". As it is you suggest that NO NT scholars are
            >conversant with OT issues. This is, of course, false.
            >

            Jim,
            Of course, you are quite right. I certainly did not mean to imply that *NO*
            NT scholars were conversant with OT source criticism. Its just that I am
            not personally knowledgable about any of them, or that my brain is
            sufficiently addled that I have forgotten the coversantivity (if there is
            such a word) of some of the scholars with whom I am acquainted.

            >[snipped]
            >...Source criticism of the Pentateuch is hardly utilized in amore in these
            days
            >of literary criticism. In fact- the old notion that the Pent. can be nicely
            >cut up is virtually abandoned.

            Well, you are saved by the restriction to "nicely cut up". I made no such
            claims, and indeed the seams are often hard to find, especially between J
            and E. However, I am surprised by your dismissal of the utility of
            pentateuchal source criticism. The editors of the New Oxford [NRSV]
            Annotated Bible (1991), the Anchor Bible Dictionary (1992), Oxford [REB]
            Study Bible (1992), and Achtemeier's Bible Dictionary (1996, which calls
            the Documentary Hypothesis "the prevailing account of the composition of
            the Pentateuch") do not seem to be of the same mind.

            More to the point of this list, the ultimate Source Critical question is,
            to what extent are our surviving documents based on historical sources?
            Which in this list translates as, what can we say about the historical
            Jesus? While source criticism is not the only relevant methodology, it
            cannot be dismissed as irrelevant.

            Similarly, in pentateuchal research, the historical questions are not
            irrelevant. As I recall, one of the *big* issues in understanding our texts
            is, what meaning did the writer intend to convey? If you dismiss the
            original context in which a passage was written, how can you hope to
            understand the answer to this question?

            > Instead, scholars of the Hebrew Bible are
            >focusing on the fascinating and incredibly insightful ways ancient authors
            >utilized doublets and the like to say things in useful though subtle ways.

            I think you are hoist on your own petard. Look at your opening remarks in
            your message about sweeping generalizations about the interests of a
            particular class of scholars, and you'll see what I mean. I have no doubt
            that *some*, perhaps even *many* scholars of the Hebrew Bible are concerned
            with the questions you pose. But I'll bet you that the intentional
            composition of doublets (as opposed to the editorial juxtaposition of
            received parallel texts) is a relatively late practice attempting to make a
            compositional virtue imitating a historically received multiplicity of
            sacred sources. And I'll bet you that there are plenty of scholars of the
            Hebrew Bible who are still very much interested in source critical issues.

            >Further- there is precious little support for the idea that the OT was
            >composed before the exile- which makes the old J, E, D, P theory absolutely
            >impossible.
            >

            I notice how you have changed the nature of the question again, from
            pentateuchal source criticism to the date of composition of the OT (as a
            whole?). Of course, the OT, as a whole, in the form that we now have it,
            was not completed until after the exile. But to return to my point (and not
            your caricature of it), I refer you to the above named reference materials,
            which provide much scholarly support for the idea that *some significant
            literary sources* of the pentateuch (notably J and E, and perhaps some
            others) are pre-exilic in date.

            Nevertheless, if you are right about the post-exilic date of the entire OT,
            this is still a source-critical issue, and you then have to explain the
            occurrence of so much material in the OT (and especially the Pentateuch)
            which makes no sense in a post-exilic context. You also need to explain why
            it is that so many of the stories in the Pentateuch are presented twice (or
            three times), and why the differences between them seem arcane to a
            post-exilic readership.

            Bob


            Robert Schacht
            Northern Arizona University
            Robert.Schacht@...

            "This success of my endeavors was due, I believe, to a rule of 'method':
            that we should always try to clarify and to strengthen our opponent's
            position as much as possible before criticizing him, if we wish our
            criticism to be worth while." [Sir Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific
            Discovery (1968), p. 260 n.*5]
          • Stephen C. Carlson
            ... [...snip...] ... I would say OT source criticism has influenced NT source critical to some extent, especially about a hundred years ago. For example, the
            Message 5 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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              At 11:05 PM 1/2/99 -0700, Bob Schacht wrote:
              >It often surprises me that NT scholars are not more conversant with OT
              >issues. Take Source criticism: surely this is a domain where the methods
              >and theories are basically similar. But I see little 'cross-fertilization'
              >of ideas between OT and NT source criticism.
              [...snip...]
              >The bottom line is that I think that a study of Pentateuchal source
              >criticism provides an interesting perspective on NT source critical
              >studies, and I recommend it.

              I would say OT source criticism has influenced NT source critical to
              some extent, especially about a hundred years ago. For example,
              the use of doublets as a indicator of sources to infer the existence
              and the documentary nature of Q was pioneered in OT source criticism.

              However, the kind of source problem that the Synoptic Problem is
              concerned with is quite different from the source problem of the
              Pentateuch, so the usefulness of OT source criticism (which seems
              even more stagnant than NT source criticism) for NT source criticism
              is limited.

              Stephen Carlson
              --
              Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
              Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
              "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Interesting point; thanks! ... Well, of course, that is the standard defense of scholarly over-specialization. I was just trying to open up the doors and
              Message 6 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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                At 05:21 PM 1/3/99 -0500, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
                >...
                >I would say OT source criticism has influenced NT source critical to
                >some extent, especially about a hundred years ago. For example,
                >the use of doublets as a indicator of sources to infer the existence
                >and the documentary nature of Q was pioneered in OT source criticism.
                >

                Interesting point; thanks!

                >However, the kind of source problem that the Synoptic Problem is
                >concerned with is quite different from the source problem of the
                >Pentateuch, so the usefulness of OT source criticism (which seems
                >even more stagnant than NT source criticism) for NT source criticism
                >is limited.
                >
                >Stephen Carlson
                >

                Well, of course, that is the standard defense of scholarly
                over-specialization. I was just trying to open up the doors and windows a
                little. Is the difference due to the subject matter, or to the questions we
                choose to ask? And are the appropriate questions really all that different?

                I grant that you have a more sophisticated understanding of source
                criticism than I, a novice, have. Nevertheless, an example might be
                instructive:

                1. The "Lord's Prayer" is found only in Matthew and Luke. Normally in NT
                studies, such shared material is attributed to the source labelled as "Q"
                that is usually dated at least a generation earlier than M & L (i.e., 60-70
                C.E.), and hence only a few generations following its putative historical
                context (i.e., ca. 30 C.E.). This has the effect of enhancing its possible
                historicity (although not in the collective assessment of the Jesus Seminar.)

                2. The so-called "Ten Commandments" are found only in Exodus (20:1-17) and
                Deuteronomy (5:6-21). Yet, the two lists are not identical, meaning that
                either one has amended the other, or that both have a common source.
                Furthermore, Andre Lemaire (1981) proposed no less than four literary
                redactions of the TC, indicating an even more complex set of literary
                relationships. Using source-critical methods could help establish the
                literary relationships between the hypothesized Deuteronomist and
                previous(?) literary strands within the Pentateuch, as well as their
                possible antiquity and origins.

                In what way are these two source-critical problems so different?

                So I still hold that source critics of the OT and NT still can learn
                worthwhile theories and techniques from each other. But since no one else
                seems interested in this enterprise, I'll let it rest.

                Bob
                Robert Schacht
                Northern Arizona University
                Robert.Schacht@...

                "This success of my endeavors was due, I believe, to a rule of 'method':
                that we should always try to clarify and to strengthen our opponent's
                position as much as possible before criticizing him, if we wish our
                criticism to be worth while." [Sir Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific
                Discovery (1968), p. 260 n.*5]
              • Stephen C. Carlson
                ... Bob, both these passges, taken alone, are not sufficient by themselves to establish any kind of a literary as opposed to oral relationships between them.
                Message 7 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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                  At 08:11 PM 1/3/99 -0700, Bob Schacht wrote:
                  >1. The "Lord's Prayer" is found only in Matthew and Luke. [...]
                  >
                  >2. The so-called "Ten Commandments" are found only in Exodus (20:1-17) and
                  >Deuteronomy (5:6-21). [...]
                  >
                  >In what way are these two source-critical problems so different?

                  Bob, both these passges, taken alone, are not sufficient by themselves
                  to establish any kind of a literary as opposed to oral relationships
                  between them. The difference is that there is sufficient other evidence
                  to conclude that Matthew and Luke are literarily interrelated (outside
                  of Mark), but that is this is not the case for D and P. Since literary
                  theories are out in order unless and until there is sufficient evidence
                  for them, only the Lord's Prayer example raises interesting NT-style source
                  critical issues.

                  >So I still hold that source critics of the OT and NT still can learn
                  >worthwhile theories and techniques from each other. But since no one else
                  >seems interested in this enterprise, I'll let it rest.

                  There is somewhat of a difference in terminology between the two
                  disciplines. OT source criticism is more akin to NT redaction criticism
                  than to NT source criticism, and I would be interested to find out if
                  anyone has applied modern NT redaction critical techniques to the OT
                  literary problems.

                  Stephen Carlson
                  --
                  Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                  Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
                  "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
                • Weasel
                  Jack Kilmon wrote: snip . . . ... Excuse me, but the JS preferred the Lukan form of the LP to the Matthean form precisely because it was the less embellished
                  Message 8 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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                    Jack Kilmon wrote:

                    snip . . .

                    > This is one of the areas that I have to disagree with the JS. Their
                    > reasoning for voting black on the Lukan form of the LP while voting
                    > pink for the Matthean petitions that parallel Luke leave me puzzled.
                    > The Lukan form is almost certainly closer to the original...albeit
                    > with a tad of Lukan redaction... than Matthew's embellished version.
                    >

                    Excuse me, but the JS preferred the Lukan form of the LP to the Matthean form
                    precisely because it was the less embellished of the two.
                    --
                    Dave Jones
                    ----------------------------------
                    The older I grow the more I distrust the familiar
                    doctrine that age brings wisdom.

                    H.L. Mencken

                    AOL Instant Messenger
                    Amphipod38
                  • Jack Kilmon
                    ... This is one of the areas that I have to disagree with the JS. Their reasoning for voting black on the Lukan form of the LP while voting pink for the
                    Message 9 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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                      Bob Schacht wrote:
                      >
                      > At 05:21 PM 1/3/99 -0500, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
                      > >...
                      > >I would say OT source criticism has influenced NT source critical to
                      > >some extent, especially about a hundred years ago. For example,
                      > >the use of doublets as a indicator of sources to infer the existence
                      > >and the documentary nature of Q was pioneered in OT source criticism.
                      > >
                      >
                      > Interesting point; thanks!
                      >
                      > >However, the kind of source problem that the Synoptic Problem is
                      > >concerned with is quite different from the source problem of the
                      > >Pentateuch, so the usefulness of OT source criticism (which seems
                      > >even more stagnant than NT source criticism) for NT source criticism
                      > >is limited.
                      > >
                      > >Stephen Carlson
                      > >
                      >
                      > Well, of course, that is the standard defense of scholarly
                      > over-specialization. I was just trying to open up the doors and windows a
                      > little. Is the difference due to the subject matter, or to the questions we
                      > choose to ask? And are the appropriate questions really all that different?
                      >
                      > I grant that you have a more sophisticated understanding of source
                      > criticism than I, a novice, have. Nevertheless, an example might be
                      > instructive:
                      >
                      > 1. The "Lord's Prayer" is found only in Matthew and Luke. Normally in NT
                      > studies, such shared material is attributed to the source labelled as "Q"
                      > that is usually dated at least a generation earlier than M & L (i.e., 60-70
                      > C.E.), and hence only a few generations following its putative historical
                      > context (i.e., ca. 30 C.E.). This has the effect of enhancing its possible
                      > historicity (although not in the collective assessment of the Jesus Seminar.)

                      This is one of the areas that I have to disagree with the JS. Their
                      reasoning for voting black on the Lukan form of the LP while voting
                      pink for the Matthean petitions that parallel Luke leave me puzzled.
                      The Lukan form is almost certainly closer to the original...albeit
                      with a tad of Lukan redaction... than Matthew's embellished version.

                      Add to this the even more embellished Didache version taken from
                      Matthew and I see a flower that has bloomed from a definite "shoot"
                      and "stem." That was a pun (g).

                      >
                      > 2. The so-called "Ten Commandments" are found only in Exodus (20:1-17) and
                      > Deuteronomy (5:6-21). Yet, the two lists are not identical, meaning that
                      > either one has amended the other, or that both have a common source.
                      > Furthermore, Andre Lemaire (1981) proposed no less than four literary
                      > redactions of the TC, indicating an even more complex set of literary
                      > relationships. Using source-critical methods could help establish the
                      > literary relationships between the hypothesized Deuteronomist and
                      > previous(?) literary strands within the Pentateuch, as well as their
                      > possible antiquity and origins.
                      >
                      > In what way are these two source-critical problems so different?
                      >
                      > So I still hold that source critics of the OT and NT still can learn
                      > worthwhile theories and techniques from each other. But since no one else
                      > seems interested in this enterprise, I'll let it rest.

                      Part of the problem may be the tendency of NT scholars to be
                      Greek chauvinists. Whenever I extend source criticism for
                      Yeshuine sayings to an Aramaic common denominator, many NT
                      scholars turn red in the face, gasp for breath and
                      mail me letter bombs. OT source work deals in Aramaic
                      and Hebrew. Graecists and Hebraists are like oil and water.

                      Jack
                      --
                      ______________________________________________

                      taybutheh d'maran yeshua masheecha am kulkon

                      Jack Kilmon
                      jkilmon@...

                      http://www.historian.net
                    • Bob Schacht
                      ... Stephen, Thank you for helping me understand the state of the field in this manner. If I understand what you are saying correctly, the Ten Commandments
                      Message 10 of 11 , Jan 3, 1999
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                        At 11:22 PM 1/3/99 -0500, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
                        >At 08:11 PM 1/3/99 -0700, Bob Schacht wrote:
                        >>1. The "Lord's Prayer" is found only in Matthew and Luke. [...]
                        >>
                        >>2. The so-called "Ten Commandments" are found only in Exodus (20:1-17) and
                        >>Deuteronomy (5:6-21). [...]
                        >>
                        >>In what way are these two source-critical problems so different?
                        >
                        >Bob, both these passges, taken alone, are not sufficient by themselves
                        >to establish any kind of a literary as opposed to oral relationships
                        >between them. The difference is that there is sufficient other evidence
                        >to conclude that Matthew and Luke are literarily interrelated (outside
                        >of Mark), but that is this is not the case for D and P. Since literary
                        >theories are out in order unless and until there is sufficient evidence
                        >for them, only the Lord's Prayer example raises interesting NT-style source
                        >critical issues.
                        >

                        Stephen,
                        Thank you for helping me understand the state of the field in this manner.
                        If I understand what you are saying correctly, the Ten Commandments example
                        is ruled dissimilar because it is *assumed* that the sources involved were
                        oral rather than written; is that correct?

                        The problem I have with that is that I disagree with the assumption.
                        According to the ADB article on "Writing and Writing Materials",
                        "When Israel appears as a people in central Palestine towards the end of
                        the 13th Century B.C. (as indicated by reference to it on the Merneptah
                        Stela), the Israelites occupied a region where alphabetic writing was
                        already known for several centuries. They naturally adopted the "Canaanite"
                        alphabetic linear script as is probably shown by the Raddanan inscribed
                        handle (12th century B.C.), the inscribed ostracon from Izbet Sartah (near
                        Aphek), dated 11th century B.C. [Cross 1980], and the Khirbet Tannin
                        fragment [end of 11th century B.C. [Lemaire 1985c])."
                        This article even discerns the beginning of various national schools of
                        scribes associated with state organizations in the region at the beginning
                        of the first millenium B.C., mentioning Phoenician, "Hebrew (see David's
                        kingdom)," Aramaic, Ammonite, and Moabite. The Gezer tablet, dated to the
                        second half of the 10th century provides additional evidence for early
                        writing in Palestine.

                        Given this archaeological data, it seems to me absolutely untenable to
                        suppose that the kingdom of David and Solomon was illiterate (i.e., had no
                        scribes in the royal court), and that therefore it seems quite unnecessary
                        to suppose that the traditions usually ascribed to the J and E sources were
                        merely oral. For this reason, it seems to me that the question of the Ten
                        Commandments sources for Deuteronomy and Exodus cannot be *assumed* to have
                        been only oral, and that it would be quite legitimate to proceed as if the
                        question of literary relationships is appropriate.

                        It would make a difference if the so-called "J" and "E" strands (or, to
                        bring it back to the present example, Deuteronomy and Exodus) contained
                        actual internal evidence of having been transmitted orally rather than in
                        writing until some late date. I mean evidence, not a priori assumptions. Is
                        there any such evidence?

                        >...There is somewhat of a difference in terminology between the two
                        >disciplines. OT source criticism is more akin to NT redaction criticism
                        >than to NT source criticism, and I would be interested to find out if
                        >anyone has applied modern NT redaction critical techniques to the OT
                        >literary problems.
                        >
                        >Stephen Carlson

                        I would also be interested. Thank you for this information.

                        Respectfully,
                        Bob
                        Robert Schacht
                        Northern Arizona University
                        Robert.Schacht@...

                        "This success of my endeavors was due, I believe, to a rule of 'method':
                        that we should always try to clarify and to strengthen our opponent's
                        position as much as possible before criticizing him, if we wish our
                        criticism to be worth while." [Sir Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific
                        Discovery (1968), p. 260 n.*5]
                      • Stephen C. Carlson
                        ... It doesn t quite work that way. The burden of proof is on the one asserting that there is a literary relationship between two texts. Since the Ten
                        Message 11 of 11 , Jan 4, 1999
                        • 0 Attachment
                          At 10:57 PM 1/3/99 -0700, Bob Schacht wrote:
                          >At 11:22 PM 1/3/99 -0500, Stephen C. Carlson wrote:
                          >>Bob, both these passges, taken alone, are not sufficient by themselves
                          >>to establish any kind of a literary as opposed to oral relationships
                          >>between them. The difference is that there is sufficient other evidence
                          >>to conclude that Matthew and Luke are literarily interrelated (outside
                          >>of Mark), but that is this is not the case for D and P. Since literary
                          >>theories are out in order unless and until there is sufficient evidence
                          >>for them, only the Lord's Prayer example raises interesting NT-style source
                          >>critical issues.
                          >>
                          >
                          >Thank you for helping me understand the state of the field in this manner.
                          >If I understand what you are saying correctly, the Ten Commandments example
                          >is ruled dissimilar because it is *assumed* that the sources involved were
                          >oral rather than written; is that correct?
                          >
                          >The problem I have with that is that I disagree with the assumption.

                          It doesn't quite work that way. The burden of proof is on the one
                          asserting that there is a literary relationship between two texts.
                          Since the Ten Commandments are easily memorized, there is little
                          and insufficient reason to reach the conclusion that there is a
                          literary interrelation between D and P solely on the basis of this
                          common tradition.

                          The same would be true if the only point of contact between Matthew
                          and Luke is the Lord's Prayer. However, the evidence for establishing
                          a literary interrelationship between Matthew and Luke (even in non-
                          Markan parts) is strong enough. This allows for, but does not mandate,
                          consideration of a possible common literary origin of the Lord's Prayer.
                          This is permissive, not mandatory, because with a memorable passage like
                          the Lord's Prayer, one cannot rule out an oral interrelation.

                          >Given this archaeological data, it seems to me absolutely untenable to
                          >suppose that the kingdom of David and Solomon was illiterate (i.e., had no
                          >scribes in the royal court), and that therefore it seems quite unnecessary
                          >to suppose that the traditions usually ascribed to the J and E sources were
                          >merely oral. For this reason, it seems to me that the question of the Ten
                          >Commandments sources for Deuteronomy and Exodus cannot be *assumed* to have
                          >been only oral, and that it would be quite legitimate to proceed as if the
                          >question of literary relationships is appropriate.
                          >
                          >It would make a difference if the so-called "J" and "E" strands (or, to
                          >bring it back to the present example, Deuteronomy and Exodus) contained
                          >actual internal evidence of having been transmitted orally rather than in
                          >writing until some late date. I mean evidence, not a priori assumptions. Is
                          >there any such evidence?

                          Because of where I perceive the burden of proof, I would like to see actual
                          internal evidence of a written interrelation between J and E before I would
                          feel right in reaching that conclusion. The problem is that the procedure
                          of combining J and E into a harmony tends to eradicate the very evidence
                          that is necessary to reach that conclusion: literary similar pericopae get
                          conflated, so it is hard to assign them to a particular source, and
                          dissimilar pericopae are preserved as doublets or lose one member.

                          I do not dispute that there was a literary culture, just whether there is
                          enough evidence to conclude that these particular, hypothetical, reconstructed
                          texts stand in some literary as opposed to oral relationship with one
                          another.

                          Stephen Carlson
                          --
                          Stephen C. Carlson mailto:scarlson@...
                          Synoptic Problem Home Page http://www.mindspring.com/~scarlson/synopt/
                          "Poetry speaks of aspirations, and songs chant the words." Shujing 2.35
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