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Re: Source criticism: OT & NT

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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
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          • 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 5 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 6 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 7 of 11 , Jan 4, 1999
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                  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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