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Re: [XTalk] Literacy, Memory, and Traditions about Jesus

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  • Ron Price
    ... Ken, Let s start with the poverty or otherwise of the early followers of Jesus. The earliest followers of Jesus were probably quite poor. Gal 2:9-10 seems
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 11, 1970
      Ken Litwak wrote:

      > ..... if we assume that the
      > viewpoint is correct that hardly anyone was literate (1-2% of Jews according
      > to people like Herzer) and manuscripts were very expensive and difficult to
      > come by, and the common acknowledged reality that most early followers of
      > Jesus were poor financially, then it is hardly reasonable to think that
      > Matthew and Luke both independently had copies of Mark, Q, and M or L. That
      > would have been too expensive, even if the copies could be obtained, which
      > almost everyone seems to say was not the case.
      >
      > This suggests to me that the evangelists must have drawn not upon written
      > copies of Mark or whatever but that they drew upon people whom they could
      > listen to speak about Jesus' life and teachings, most likely the apostles
      > (unless of course one considers the gospels to be fiction, which I find
      > untenable, given how different they are from any fiction from that period that
      > I can think of).

      Ken,

      Let's start with the poverty or otherwise of the early followers of Jesus.
      The earliest followers of Jesus were probably quite poor. Gal 2:9-10 seems
      to support this. But simultaneously it implies that Paul and his followers
      were generally better off financially because they were assumed to be in a
      position to be able to contribute to the poor.

      When it comes to the gospel writers, they were clearly all relatively well
      educated, for they could all read and write (notwithstanding the fact that
      the gospel archetypes may have been penned by professional scribes for
      neatness). To get to this stage in those days they could hardly have been
      poor, for learning to read and write would presumably have required a supply
      of papyrus, books, and a tutor. We can therefore say, almost by definition,
      that Matthew and Luke themselves could not have been poor. In particular,
      Luke must have been *very* well educated, for he had the skill to be able to
      adapt his style to the nature of the story he was telling (see especially
      the prologue and the nativity stories). This implies he had access to many
      books, and it is therefore a priori very likely that he could have gained
      access to a copy of any available written sources. And of course documents
      such as Mark would have spread rapidly from church to church by copying
      because Christians would have been especially eager to read (or listen to a
      reading of) any written testimony concerning Jesus.

      Finally the close wording of some passages in the gospels, as well as the
      sequence of those passages, can only be satisfactorily explained by positing
      that Matthew and Luke both had *written* copies of Mark, and that Luke had a
      *written* copy of document(s) containing certain non-Markan material common
      to Matthew and Luke.

      Ron Price

      Derbyshire, UK

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • Kenneth Litwak
      In reading several things on literacy and memory in the first-century Greco-Roman world, it seems to me that a couple of points are worth discussing relative
      Message 2 of 15 , Aug 31, 2010
        In reading several things on literacy and memory in the first-century Greco-Roman world, it seems to me that a couple of points are worth discussing relative to the sources/transmission of information about Jesus. In spite of what many scholars affirm, it's clear that memorizing an entire book, let alone several, would have been considered then, as it would now, a feat of excellent/well-trained memory. It is clear from authors like Quintilian that students wrote down and then studied or memorized individual speeches, poems, etc. They did not memorize the entirety of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, or anyone else (assertions to the contrary lack demonstration). This means that Matthew and Luke did not have Mark, Q, M, L, or any text from the Scriptures of Israel memorized unless they were exceptional individuals.

        Additionally, it is commonly affirmed that literacy was low, and that in any case, manuscripts were expensive and difficult to obtain. I have issues with this, rejecting the position I have seen over and over ("William Harris said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me"), but if we assume that the viewpoint is correct that hardly anyone was literate (1-2% of Jews according to people like Herzer) and manuscripts were very expensive and difficult to come by, and the common acknowledged reality that most early followers of Jesus were poor financially, then it is hardly reasonable to think that Matthew and Luke both independently had copies of Mark, Q, and M or L. That would have been too expensive, even if the copies could be obtained, which almost everyone seems to say was not the case.

        This suggests to me that the evangelists must have drawn not upon written copies of Mark or whatever but that they drew upon people whom they could listen to speak about Jesus' life and teachings, most likely the apostles (unless of course one considers the gospels to be fiction, which I find untenable, given how different they are from any fiction from that period that I can think of). I know that this conclusion challenges a huge amount of NT scholarship but after reading so many works that assert that manuscripts were expensive and hard to come by, I think we need to formulate a view that comports with this assumption. If we accept this view of manuscripts, it is not plausible in my view to assert that Matthew or Luke had several manuscripts each to use. This also means that any redactional theories must be abandoned, because we are dealing with memory, not with manuscripts. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. Harris cannot be correct
        and Luke have had complete manuscripts of at least three books. Well, I'm sure that there is much here to debate, so I'd be interested in comments on the manuscript issue.

        Ken Litwak
        Azusa Pacific University
        Azusa, CA
      • Rikk Watts
        For what it s worth... I presented a short paper at SBL last year responding to a range of Chris Stanley s assumptions on the availability of texts in the
        Message 3 of 15 , Sep 2, 2010
          For what it's worth... I presented a short paper at SBL last year responding
          to a range of Chris Stanley's assumptions on the availability of texts in
          the ancient world (all of which I found highly questionable; but he's a good
          mate and we regularly go round on this one). One of the issues I dealt with
          was cost.

          The most specific evidence I could find was in Martial, cited in Harris, who
          writes of a ³nice edition² of 700 lines of his work costing five denarii
          (i.117.17), while a modest little book containing 274 lines went for just
          one (xii.3.2). (The great thing about these numbers is that they are
          presumably in Rome ‹ so they include the cost of importation, inflation,
          etc. ‹ and relate to actual finished works and thus also include cost of
          other materials, labor, and profit margin.)

          I then went on to ask: What might this mean for a scroll of Greek Isaiah?
          Working on the basis of the Qumran Isaiah scroll which contains 1573 lines
          of some 52 characters per line, and allowing a 12% increase in length due to
          writing in Greek and a further 50% due to shorter lines (say 32 characters
          per line as per P46), we would have approximately 2650 lines. Using
          Martial¹s evidence a scroll of Greek Isaiah would range from ten denarii for
          a modest copy to around twenty‹about three weeks¹ wages for a skilled
          laborer‹for a ³nice edition.² Even doubling those figures, they are not
          exactly huge expenses for a ³patron² who owned several slaves and a
          reasonable house (each of those items weighing in at around 1000 denarii),
          even less so for a more wealthy merchant who could afford a larger domicile.
          (I'd earlier argued that portability was a common consideration.) Thus no
          surprise is expressed when Philip joins the Ethiopian who is reading Isaiah
          on his leisurely journey home (Acts 8:30).

          Having too many other things on the go at the moment, I've not been able to
          pursue this. But I'd be very grateful if any one on the list could provide
          other specifics ‹ there are, to my mind, far too many generalizations
          floating around. But I am not entirely persuaded that texts were as
          expensive nor literacy (of the ancient kind) as rare as is sometimes
          suggested.

          Best

          Rikk


          > From: Kenneth Litwak <javajedi2@...>
          > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          > Date: Tue, 31 Aug 2010 15:05:29 -0700 (PDT)
          > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
          > Subject: [XTalk] Literacy, Memory, and Traditions about Jesus
          >
          > In reading several things on literacy and memory in the first-century
          > Greco-Roman world, it seems to me that a couple of points are worth discussing
          > relative to the sources/transmission of information about Jesus. In spite of
          > what many scholars affirm, it's clear that memorizing an entire book, let
          > alone several, would have been considered then, as it would now, a feat of
          > excellent/well-trained memory. It is clear from authors like Quintilian that
          > students wrote down and then studied or memorized individual speeches, poems,
          > etc. They did not memorize the entirety of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, or anyone
          > else (assertions to the contrary lack demonstration). This means that Matthew
          > and Luke did not have Mark, Q, M, L, or any text from the Scriptures of Israel
          > memorized unless they were exceptional individuals.
          >
          > Additionally, it is commonly affirmed that literacy was low, and that in
          > any case, manuscripts were expensive and difficult to obtain. I have issues
          > with this, rejecting the position I have seen over and over ("William Harris
          > said it, I believe it, and that settles it for me"), but if we assume that the
          > viewpoint is correct that hardly anyone was literate (1-2% of Jews according
          > to people like Herzer) and manuscripts were very expensive and difficult to
          > come by, and the common acknowledged reality that most early followers of
          > Jesus were poor financially, then it is hardly reasonable to think that
          > Matthew and Luke both independently had copies of Mark, Q, and M or L. That
          > would have been too expensive, even if the copies could be obtained, which
          > almost everyone seems to say was not the case.
          >
          > This suggests to me that the evangelists must have drawn not upon written
          > copies of Mark or whatever but that they drew upon people whom they could
          > listen to speak about Jesus' life and teachings, most likely the apostles
          > (unless of course one considers the gospels to be fiction, which I find
          > untenable, given how different they are from any fiction from that period that
          > I can think of). I know that this conclusion challenges a huge amount of NT
          > scholarship but after reading so many works that assert that manuscripts were
          > expensive and hard to come by, I think we need to formulate a view that
          > comports with this assumption. If we accept this view of manuscripts, it is
          > not plausible in my view to assert that Matthew or Luke had several
          > manuscripts each to use. This also means that any redactional theories must
          > be abandoned, because we are dealing with memory, not with manuscripts. You
          > cannot have your cake and eat it too. Harris cannot be correct
          > and Luke have had complete manuscripts of at least three books. Well, I'm
          > sure that there is much here to debate, so I'd be interested in comments on
          > the manuscript issue.
          >
          > Ken Litwak
          > Azusa Pacific University
          > Azusa, CA
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
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        • Bob Schacht
          ... Thanks to Ken and Rikk for their contributions on this issue. It has been my impression that manuscripts were relatively rare and expensive, although
          Message 4 of 15 , Sep 2, 2010
            At 03:05 PM 8/31/2010, Kenneth Litwak wrote:
            >...I know that this conclusion challenges a huge amount of NT
            >scholarship but after reading so many works that assert that
            >manuscripts were expensive and hard to come by, I think we need to
            >formulate a view that comports with this assumption. If we accept
            >this view of manuscripts, it is not plausible in my view to assert
            >that Matthew or Luke had several manuscripts each to use. ...

            Thanks to Ken and Rikk for their contributions on this issue.

            It has been my impression that manuscripts were relatively rare and
            expensive, although Crossan in the Birth of Christianity examines
            this issue from an interesting perspective.
            * First, it is a mistake to use the Isaiah scroll as a model,
            because our earliest manuscripts are not in scroll form, but on
            papyrus. Crossan suggests this was an economic media that was less
            expensive than scrolls.
            * Second, patrons who owned manuscripts would probably become
            widely known among Christian scholars. Matthew and Luke, in my view,
            did not own copies of Mark, but they knew who did, and where to find
            them. When they wrote their own books, I think they had access to
            Mark for consultation. These copies were mainly in the places that
            became centers of Christianity. The evolving position of "Bishop"
            would naturally have gravitated towards places where patrons had
            copies of manuscripts central to their faith.
            * Third (in no particular order), the major expense in producing
            a copy of a manuscript was not in the media (scroll or papyrus), but
            in the labor and skill of the scribe. Crossan suggests that
            Christians hired literate accountants in the markets of Alexandria
            and other such places where there was a demand for copyists. Most of
            them earned a living by writing letters and accounts, not by copying
            lengthy manuscripts. This is a rather different model than thinking
            about the Qumran "scriptorum".
            I'll bet that somewhere (Rikk?) someone has already been studying the
            evolving relationship between Bishops and patrons who owned
            manuscripts: In the first and second centuries, they both needed each
            other, until a Bishop had gathered a large enough congregation to
            have access to sufficient wealth to commission his (i.e., the
            congregation's) own copies of manuscripts that they had heard about
            but did not yet own.

            That's my idea of what was happening. I think that this is an
            important matter for discussion, and I thank Rikk and Kenneth for raising it.

            Bob Schacht
            Northern Arizona University





            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Rikk Watts
            Thanks for the thoughtful response, Bob... ... - yes, this is a bit tricky. The problem is, I don t know if Marital meant a codex or a scroll, or if he meant
            Message 5 of 15 , Sep 2, 2010
              Thanks for the thoughtful response, Bob...

              > It has been my impression that manuscripts were relatively rare and
              > expensive, although Crossan in the Birth of Christianity examines
              > this issue from an interesting perspective.
              > * First, it is a mistake to use the Isaiah scroll as a model,
              > because our earliest manuscripts are not in scroll form, but on
              > papyrus. Crossan suggests this was an economic media that was less
              > expensive than scrolls.

              - yes, this is a bit tricky. The problem is, I don't know if Marital meant a
              codex or a scroll, or if he meant papyrus or a more expensive material.
              Whatever the case, I simply assumed that the early Christian copies of
              Isaiah would not be in a more expensive format than that assumed by Martial.
              I could be wrong. It might be that Martial was referring to cheaper codices
              on papyrus and the early Christian copies of Isaiah, being a holy book, were
              written in scroll format on something more expensive and with a better hand
              etc.. This is why I consider the impact of them being twice the price. Or
              maybe not: they could have used papyrus codices in an average hand and
              depending on what Martial has in view, they might have been cheaper. But at
              least I have an actual storefront price per line in Rome from this period of
              something that was regarded as literature.

              I consulted Isaiah simply to get the total lines and characters per line. I
              can then estimate the no. of lines for a Greek copy similar in writing style
              and format to P46. None of this, as far as I can see, is impacted by the
              cost of the Isaiah scroll.

              Am I missing something?


              ... material deleted...

              > * Third (in no particular order), the major expense in producing
              > a copy of a manuscript was not in the media (scroll or papyrus), but
              > in the labor and skill of the scribe.
              .. that's what so helpful about Martial. His are the only references that I
              know of that deal with the actual street price for a given number of lines
              and quality. Any references to other specific refs would be deeply
              appreciated. (As I said earlier, guesses and conjectures don't really help
              much).

              Re bishops etc. My concern was mostly with the Pauline churches and whether
              or not they were likely to have had copies of important LXX scrolls. Hence
              I've not actually considered later developments regarding bishops.
              Apologies.

              best

              Rikk
            • Bob Schacht
              ... Thanks for your response, Rikk, and for clarifying a number of relevant points. I m thinking of bishops here in the formative sense, as in Phi 1:1, 1Ti
              Message 6 of 15 , Sep 2, 2010
                At 09:38 AM 9/2/2010, Rikk Watts wrote:
                >Re bishops etc. My concern was mostly with the Pauline churches and whether
                >or not they were likely to have had copies of important LXX scrolls. Hence
                >I've not actually considered later developments regarding bishops.

                Thanks for your response, Rikk, and for clarifying a number of
                relevant points.

                I'm thinking of "bishops" here in the formative sense, as in Phi 1:1,
                1Ti 3:1-2, and Tit 1:7 (episkopos), not bishops as they were during
                the Ecumenical Councils. As this role evolved from that of Elder
                (presbyteros), knowledge of who had copies of which manuscripts would
                be of functional value. Indeed, patrons who had such copies might
                have donated them to such elders/bishops when they themselves died or
                approached death. But that, of course, is mere speculation.

                Bob Schacht
                Northern Arizona University


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • David web
                Hi Ken, thanks for your stimulating contribution. It’s probably worth debating a bit more about the use of memorization. Bauckham makes a justified case
                Message 7 of 15 , Sep 2, 2010
                  Hi Ken, thanks for your stimulating contribution. It’s probably worth
                  debating a bit more about the use of memorization. Bauckham makes a
                  justified case for the practice being extensive and of entire books (Jesus
                  and the Eyewitnesses, pp280-282). This is not to deny manuscript usage but
                  they were aids to memory rather than being used for reference purposes.



                  This would also tie in with your comments on low literacy rates and the cost
                  of manuscripts.



                  In addition to your observation on Mark, the number of eyewitnesses and
                  written notes must have been considerably greater than is implied in the
                  gospel accounts and in Source Criticism. If Jesus engaged in a public
                  ministry for 3.5 years and each day there were a number of notable
                  incidents, then it means there are several thousands of units of
                  information containing his sayings and actions. This is implied in John 21:
                  25 cp Lk 1:1-2. The canonical gospels only contain records of at the about
                  300 of such units of information. So the composers of the gospels
                  probably had a substantial amount of material to sift through in order to
                  compile their books rather than just 2 or 3 well-known manuscripts.







                  David E. C. Ford
                  Fundación Universitaria Seminario Bíblico de Colombia
                  Medellín, Colombia







                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                • John E Staton
                  Just a couple of things to throw in: 1. If one followed the work of Andrew D Clarke (Serve the Community of the Church, Eerdmans 2000) one might suggest the
                  Message 8 of 15 , Sep 3, 2010
                    Just a couple of things to throw in:

                    1. If one followed the work of Andrew D Clarke (Serve the Community of
                    the Church, Eerdmans 2000) one might suggest the patrons *were* the
                    "bishops", such as they were then. Clarke suggests it was the owners of
                    the houses where the churches met who gravitated towards the leadership
                    role. If I remember correctly, he suggests the individual owners of
                    houses were elders and the "bishop" was the owner of the house where the
                    "whole church" (i.e. the gathering of all the house churches in a place
                    like Corinth) met.

                    2. After a lecture given by James Dunn on the theme of his book "Jesus
                    Remembered", I asked a question about whether Q could be an oral source.
                    He said he thought not because the verbal agreements were too close. I
                    know some list members don't allow for Q at all, but given that Dunn is
                    a something of a champion of "orality", his remarks would tell against a
                    theory that Matthew and Luke did not have access to a written copy of Mark.

                    Best Wishes

                    --
                    JOHN E STATON
                    www.christianreflection.org.uk
                  • Bob Schacht
                    ... John, Thanks for this reference. I have no doubt that sometimes patrons and bishops were one and the same. However, I distinguished between them out of
                    Message 9 of 15 , Sep 3, 2010
                      At 11:51 AM 9/3/2010, John E Staton wrote:
                      >If one followed the work of Andrew D Clarke (Serve the Community of
                      >the Church, Eerdmans 2000) one might suggest the patrons *were* the
                      >"bishops", such as they were then. Clarke suggests it was the owners of
                      >the houses where the churches met who gravitated towards the leadership
                      >role. If I remember correctly, he suggests the individual owners of
                      >houses were elders and the "bishop" was the owner of the house where the
                      >"whole church" (i.e. the gathering of all the house churches in a place
                      >like Corinth) met.

                      John,
                      Thanks for this reference. I have no doubt that sometimes "patrons"
                      and "bishops" were one and the same. However, I distinguished between
                      them out of deference to the idea that they may not always have been
                      so. Perhaps one of the paths to leadership in early Christianity was
                      to commission a copy of one or more of the Gospels, because it would
                      give you an advantage over those who did not have their own copies.
                      Of course, this presumes that there was a difference. Even today, in
                      many congregations, not everyone owns a Bible. And of course, if you
                      don't own a Bible, you probably won't get very far in Church leadership roles.

                      Bob Schacht
                      Northern Arizona University


                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                    • Rikk Watts
                      I m surprised at Dunn s remarks. Depends I suppose on what he means by Q. Looking at Kloppenborg s Q Parallels, I m struck more by the (well-known) range of
                      Message 10 of 15 , Sep 3, 2010
                        I'm surprised at Dunn's remarks. Depends I suppose on what he means by Q.
                        Looking at Kloppenborg's Q Parallels, I'm struck more by the (well-known)
                        range of diversity in verbal agreements of so-called Q material from the
                        remarkable John the Baptist preaching section (Mt 3/Lk 3) to others such as
                        Great Supper (Mt 22/Lk1 14) where there is so very little in common it
                        sounds like the variation belongs at the source; i.e. two different tellings
                        employing a similar story line.

                        My difficulty lies in trying to explain how, if Q were a single document,
                        Matt's and Lk's of Mark differs so much from what they do with Q. The
                        variation is so wide I think it best to see Q as a range of materials, some
                        written some oral, some common, and some not (I sometimes wonder if some of
                        the Q stuff, might actually be better considered so-called special Matt or
                        Lk; as per Mt 22/Lk 14 above).

                        Ah well... too complex for my little brain...

                        Best
                        Rikk


                        > From: John E Staton <john.staton@...>
                        > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Date: Fri, 03 Sep 2010 19:51:58 +0100
                        > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                        > Subject: [XTalk] Re: Literacy, Memory, and Traditions about Jesus
                        >
                        > Just a couple of things to throw in:
                        >
                        > 1. If one followed the work of Andrew D Clarke (Serve the Community of
                        > the Church, Eerdmans 2000) one might suggest the patrons *were* the
                        > "bishops", such as they were then. Clarke suggests it was the owners of
                        > the houses where the churches met who gravitated towards the leadership
                        > role. If I remember correctly, he suggests the individual owners of
                        > houses were elders and the "bishop" was the owner of the house where the
                        > "whole church" (i.e. the gathering of all the house churches in a place
                        > like Corinth) met.
                        >
                        > 2. After a lecture given by James Dunn on the theme of his book "Jesus
                        > Remembered", I asked a question about whether Q could be an oral source.
                        > He said he thought not because the verbal agreements were too close. I
                        > know some list members don't allow for Q at all, but given that Dunn is
                        > a something of a champion of "orality", his remarks would tell against a
                        > theory that Matthew and Luke did not have access to a written copy of Mark.
                        >
                        > Best Wishes
                        >
                        > --
                        > JOHN E STATON
                        > www.christianreflection.org.uk
                        >
                        >
                        >
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                      • Mark Goodacre
                        Hi Rikk. Hope you re doing well. Difficult to resist some Synoptic discussion. ... Actually, that s pretty much Dunn s line. He speaks of big Q and little
                        Message 11 of 15 , Sep 3, 2010
                          Hi Rikk. Hope you're doing well. Difficult to resist some Synoptic discussion.

                          On 3 September 2010 15:18, Rikk Watts <rwatts@...> wrote:

                          > I'm surprised at Dunn's remarks. Depends I suppose on what he means by Q.
                          > Looking at Kloppenborg's Q Parallels, I'm struck more by the (well-known)
                          > range of diversity in verbal agreements of so-called Q material from the
                          > remarkable John the Baptist preaching section (Mt 3/Lk 3) to others such as
                          > Great Supper (Mt 22/Lk1 14) where there is so very little in common it
                          > sounds like the variation belongs at the source; i.e. two different tellings
                          > employing a similar story line.

                          Actually, that's pretty much Dunn's line. He speaks of big Q and
                          little q, a Q document and q traditions. He is impressed by that
                          variation too, from high verbatim agreement to relatively low
                          agreement. Kloppenborg, though, has an interesting response in ETL a
                          couple of years ago and I'd recommend taking a look. He compares the
                          kind of verbatim agreement we find in the Synoptics with other ancient
                          parallel texts. I find myself much closer to Kloppenborg than to
                          Dunn here.

                          > My difficulty lies in trying to explain how, if Q were a single document,
                          > Matt's and Lk's of Mark differs so much from what they do with Q. The
                          > variation is so wide I think it best to see Q as a range of materials, some
                          > written some oral, some common, and some not (I sometimes wonder if some of
                          > the Q stuff, might actually be better considered so-called special Matt or
                          > Lk; as per Mt 22/Lk 14 above).

                          If Q was not a single document, the difficulty is in attempting to
                          explain the commonalities in order between Matthew and Luke. And I am
                          not sure that I agree that the variation between Matthew's and Luke's
                          use of Mark and their inferred use of Q is as great as you suggest. A
                          study of the range of agreement in Matthew // Mark, Mark // Luke and
                          the inferred range of agreement in Matthew // Q and Q // Luke would
                          provide a lot of similarities once differences due to form, genre etc.
                          had been allowed for. The only major observation that I would make as
                          a Q sceptic in this context is that the verbatim agreement between
                          Matthew and Luke in the double tradition is often much higher than we
                          would have expected on the basis of a comparison between Matthew and
                          Luke in the triple tradition, where agreement between them, even in
                          sayings material, is lower.

                          Best wishes
                          Mark
                          --
                          Mark Goodacre
                          Duke University
                          Department of Religion
                          Gray Building / Box 90964
                          Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
                          Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

                          http://www.markgoodacre.org
                        • Rikk Watts
                          Mark... good to hear from you (and glad you couldn t resist). Any specifics on the Kloppenborg ref? Re the studies on relative variations as per your final
                          Message 12 of 15 , Sep 3, 2010
                            Mark... good to hear from you (and glad you couldn't resist).

                            Any specifics on the Kloppenborg ref?

                            Re the studies on relative variations as per your final para. Any
                            suggestions?

                            Blessings
                            Rikk


                            > From: Mark Goodacre <Goodacre@...>
                            > Reply-To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Date: Fri, 03 Sep 2010 16:48:46 -0400
                            > To: xtalk <crosstalk2@yahoogroups.com>
                            > Subject: Re: [XTalk] Re: Literacy, Memory, and Traditions about Jesus
                            >
                            > Hi Rikk. Hope you're doing well. Difficult to resist some Synoptic
                            > discussion.
                            >
                            > On 3 September 2010 15:18, Rikk Watts <rwatts@...> wrote:
                            >
                            >> I'm surprised at Dunn's remarks. Depends I suppose on what he means by Q.
                            >> Looking at Kloppenborg's Q Parallels, I'm struck more by the (well-known)
                            >> range of diversity in verbal agreements of so-called Q material from the
                            >> remarkable John the Baptist preaching section (Mt 3/Lk 3) to others such as
                            >> Great Supper (Mt 22/Lk1 14) where there is so very little in common it
                            >> sounds like the variation belongs at the source; i.e. two different tellings
                            >> employing a similar story line.
                            >
                            > Actually, that's pretty much Dunn's line. He speaks of big Q and
                            > little q, a Q document and q traditions. He is impressed by that
                            > variation too, from high verbatim agreement to relatively low
                            > agreement. Kloppenborg, though, has an interesting response in ETL a
                            > couple of years ago and I'd recommend taking a look. He compares the
                            > kind of verbatim agreement we find in the Synoptics with other ancient
                            > parallel texts. I find myself much closer to Kloppenborg than to
                            > Dunn here.
                            >
                            >> My difficulty lies in trying to explain how, if Q were a single document,
                            >> Matt's and Lk's of Mark differs so much from what they do with Q. The
                            >> variation is so wide I think it best to see Q as a range of materials, some
                            >> written some oral, some common, and some not (I sometimes wonder if some of
                            >> the Q stuff, might actually be better considered so-called special Matt or
                            >> Lk; as per Mt 22/Lk 14 above).
                            >
                            > If Q was not a single document, the difficulty is in attempting to
                            > explain the commonalities in order between Matthew and Luke. And I am
                            > not sure that I agree that the variation between Matthew's and Luke's
                            > use of Mark and their inferred use of Q is as great as you suggest. A
                            > study of the range of agreement in Matthew // Mark, Mark // Luke and
                            > the inferred range of agreement in Matthew // Q and Q // Luke would
                            > provide a lot of similarities once differences due to form, genre etc.
                            > had been allowed for. The only major observation that I would make as
                            > a Q sceptic in this context is that the verbatim agreement between
                            > Matthew and Luke in the double tradition is often much higher than we
                            > would have expected on the basis of a comparison between Matthew and
                            > Luke in the triple tradition, where agreement between them, even in
                            > sayings material, is lower.
                            >
                            > Best wishes
                            > Mark
                            > --
                            > Mark Goodacre
                            > Duke University
                            > Department of Religion
                            > Gray Building / Box 90964
                            > Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
                            > Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530
                            >
                            > http://www.markgoodacre.org
                            >
                            >
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                          • Mark Goodacre
                            ... The article is: John Kloppenborg, “Variation in the Reproduction of the Double Tradition and an Oral Q?,” ETL 83/1 (2007): 53-80. Kloppenborg points
                            Message 13 of 15 , Sep 3, 2010
                              On 3 September 2010 17:02, Rikk Watts <rwatts@...> wrote:

                              > Mark... good to hear from you (and glad you couldn't resist).
                              >
                              > Any specifics on the Kloppenborg ref?
                              >
                              > Re the studies on relative variations as per your final para. Any
                              > suggestions?

                              The article is: John Kloppenborg, “Variation in the Reproduction of
                              the Double Tradition and an Oral Q?,” ETL 83/1 (2007): 53-80.
                              Kloppenborg points out, rightly, that the level of agreement between
                              the Synoptics is very high compared with other parallel documents in
                              antiquity.

                              Our difficulty is in part that we are so familiar with the Synoptics
                              that we can lapse into thinking of the agreement between them is
                              somehow the norm. In fact, the high-end verbatim agreement is very
                              unusual in antiquity.

                              All best
                              Mark
                              --
                              Mark Goodacre
                              Duke University
                              Department of Religion
                              Gray Building / Box 90964
                              Durham, NC 27708-0964    USA
                              Phone: 919-660-3503        Fax: 919-660-3530

                              http://www.markgoodacre.org
                            • David Mealand
                              On the claim that there is more agreement in the double than the triple tradition there is a very good discussion of the long running controversy here: Poirier
                              Message 14 of 15 , Sep 4, 2010
                                On the claim that there is more agreement
                                in the double than the triple tradition
                                there is a very good discussion of the long
                                running controversy here:

                                Poirier John C. 2008 'Statistical Studies of
                                the Verbal Agreements and their Impact on the
                                Synoptic Problem', CBR 7 68-123

                                Points covered include the importance of
                                doing counts on sayings and narrative separately,
                                also on not relying on samples that do not
                                fairly represent the range in each set of texts,
                                also the point that very close agreement is found
                                only in less than half of the DT.

                                Note esp. Mattila's 2004 rebuttal of
                                Carlston & Norlin's claims of closer
                                agreement in DT than in TT
                                - her random samples of sayings material
                                show 53.7% agreement in the DT and 53.5%
                                in the triple tradition according to
                                Poirier p.80.

                                Someone also made a different point that
                                some of the studies do not adequately
                                reflect the fact that some comparisons
                                of agreement in the triple tradition are
                                done with awareness of the closeness
                                of Mat and Lk to Mark while comparable
                                comparisons of the double (Mt/Lk) tradition
                                are done in the absence of the posited source.
                                If anyone knows where this point is
                                made more accurately I would be glad to
                                have the reference as I have mislaid this one.

                                David M.


                                ---------
                                David Mealand, University of Edinburgh







                                --------

                                --
                                The University of Edinburgh is a charitable body, registered in
                                Scotland, with registration number SC005336.
                              • Rikk Watts
                                Thanks Mark, ... ... a whole host of fascinating questions emerge: What might this imply about using other ancient copying practices as some kind of standard
                                Message 15 of 15 , Sep 4, 2010
                                  Thanks Mark,

                                  > John Kloppenborg, ³Variation in the Reproduction of
                                  > the Double Tradition and an Oral Q?,² ETL 83/1 (2007): 53-80.
                                  > Kloppenborg points out, rightly, that the level of agreement between
                                  > the Synoptics is very high compared with other parallel documents in
                                  > antiquity.
                                  > ... In fact, the high-end verbatim agreement is very
                                  > unusual in antiquity.

                                  ... a whole host of fascinating questions emerge:

                                  What might this imply about using other ancient copying practices as some
                                  kind of standard for determining Synoptic relationships? Wouldn't it
                                  suggest caution in employing, as a comparative base, other literature that
                                  does not exhibit this kind of fidelity to sources? Might this suggest
                                  instead that what might be considered a normal variation in the broader
                                  literature is not normal for the Synoptics and hence indicative of not
                                  following a source? I.e. a given divergence in the Synoptics is actually a
                                  stronger indicator of not following a source than it would have been in the
                                  broader literary world. Doesn't this suggest taht the most reliable guide
                                  is to use the Synoptics themselves as our base (as in the past); i.e. see
                                  what they do when they are following material, and then weigh divergences in
                                  that light? Might this suggest that there is more special material in Mt,
                                  Mk, Lk than previously thought?

                                  Has anyone thought about why the Synoptics have this unusually high level of
                                  agreement (I'm assuming from what you've said that K regards the Synoptics
                                  as unique in this respect)?

                                  What does this say about what they thought they were doing and how they
                                  regarded the materials they were handling? E.g. what does it mean when, for
                                  sake of argument, Matt or Lk decide not to follow Mark and add their own
                                  special material?

                                  Perhaps K has addressed these kinds of questions in his article.

                                  Just some thoughts.

                                  Rikk
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