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23319Paralleomania

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  • Bob Schacht
    Jun 13 8:52 AM
      Things have been quiet here lately, so I am forwarding this comment
      from Rick Hubbard over at the GThomas group, because it is certainly
      of general relevance here, as a discussion of his questions would be.

      Bob Schacht
      Northern Arizona University

      >From: "Rick Hubbard" <rhubbard@...>
      >Sender: gthomas@yahoogroups.com
      >Date: Sun, 13 Jun 2010 11:16:26 -0400
      >Subject: RE: [GTh] Paralleomania (Revisited)

      [snip]

      >During the last few weeks I have spent many hours reading through various
      >journals and monographs hoping to uncover some extended discussion of how
      >one might empirically describe "textual parallels", especially as those
      >"parallels" suggest intertextual relationships among various compositions
      >of early Christian literature during the earliest centuries of the common
      >era. At this juncture, I am fairly confident that no such studies exist
      >although there is certainly no shortage of observations about apparent
      >affinities between some particular piece of literature and another,
      >especially among scholars of the Hebrew Bible.
      >
      >That is not to say, however, that there is not at least some general
      >awareness that "there are parallels and then there are parallels." I was
      >interested to note that the Jesus Seminar's _The Complete Gospels_
      >(Polebridge, 1992) makes some effort to distinguish between **types** of
      >parallels: In it, the textual apparatus eight different sigla are used to
      >classify intertextual correlations:
      >
      >Double hash marks "//" denote "Primary parallels", which are pericopae or
      >sayings that exhibit "significant degrees of verbal similarity";
      >
      >The abbreviation "Cf." is used to signify "a similar or comparable passage
      >with a low degree of verbal similarity";
      >
      >An open right-arrow indicates an "Old Testament passage quoted or alluded to
      >, or Old Testament laws or customs presupposed";
      >
      >The siglum D inside a circle identifies a Doublet, "a duplicate version of a
      >story or saying within the same gospel";
      >
      >The capital letter "I", again enclosed within a circle, marks a "Narrative
      >Index: a reference to an earlier or later event narrated in the same
      >gospel";
      >
      >An encircled "S" designates "an Old Testament or New Testament passage whose
      >wording or substance is used to create a new passage";
      >
      >The letter "T" (circled) represents a "Thematic parallel: a passage with
      >comparable theme or motif".
      >
      >As I see it, this scheme is a step forward from the conventional practice of
      >merely declaring two passages to be "parallels." Still, however it seems to
      >not go far enough. For example, while it is helpful to distinguish between
      >pericopae marked with "//" and those notated with "Cf." there is a
      >**degree** to which each of these apply. For instance, it seems to me that
      >two or more pericopae marked "//" each having 15 words that are identical
      >with respect to vocabulary, grammar and syntax, are **qualitatively**
      >different from two or more pericopae with, say, only matching vocabulary but
      >differences in grammar and/or syntax (a distinction virtually never made as
      >near as I can tell from the reading I have done). Moreover this method of
      >analysis in its present form falls short of addressing the genealogical, or
      >directionality, issue (which I suspect is at the root of most parallel
      >identifications). Then, of course, there are textual features that extend
      >beyond vocabulary, grammar, syntax and theme; form critical and rhetorical
      >properties being two that come to mind. In addition, now that I think about
      >it, some consideration also should be annotated about the pedigree of the
      >texts at hands- is there evidence of a prototype behind any of them (e.g.,
      >an Aramaic or Syriac ancestor)? Moreover, there is also the question of the
      >certainty, or integrity, of the texts- are there variants and is the reading
      >of either of them open to question?
      >
      >So here are the closing questions:
      >
      >First, what value (if any) would derive from a more detailed way of citing
      >parallels?
      >
      >Second, what is the catalogue of properties that should be assessed when
      >textual correlations are proposed?
      >
      >Finally, would it be possible to develop a functional and robust coding
      >system (beginning, perhaps, with the one employed in _The Complete
      >Gospels_)?
      >
      >Rick Hubbard


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