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Re: [XTalk] Luke's knowledge of Matthew

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  • Ron Price
    ... Mahlon, All that s needed is to refute the reasoning as to why the Signs Source was postulated in the first place. I wouldn t call that next to
    Message 1 of 21 , Jan 14, 2002
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      I wrote:

      >> There was no such thing [as the Johannine Signs Source].
      >> At least, that's my considered opinion.

      Mahlon Smith replied:

      >Easily said. But non-existence of a source of information is next to
      >impossible to demonstrate.

      Mahlon,
      All that's needed is to refute the reasoning as to why the Signs
      Source was postulated in the first place. I wouldn't call that "next to
      impossible".

      >But like Q, anyone who denies the SG postulate has to provide a more
      >credible explanation of (a) the scattered passages in 4G that have synoptic
      >parallels yet in a form that often contradicts details common to the
      >synoptics

      Our estimate of such passages will depend on our view of the extent of
      the Evangelist's independence of thought. But the general style and
      theology of John in contrast with the synoptics should give us a clue
      about that.

      > & (b) the aporia in style, vocabulary, theological concepts &
      >narrative syntax that permeate canonical 4G. If the theory that 4G was
      >written as a unit by an author who was dependent upon the synoptics had
      >proven adequate to explain these phenomena, no one would have thought to
      >suggest a hypothetical independent source unique to 4G in the first place.

      I agree that the canonical 4G clearly wasn't written as a unit.
      But it is not necessary to postulate a hypothetical source in order to
      explain the aporia. They can be adequately explained by postulating
      multiple editions of the gospel. On my Web site I identify three
      editions, the first of which is considerably more coherent than our
      extant text.

      >In the spring of 1992 the JS took a poll of what works the Fellows each
      >regarded as independent gospel sources. The thesis
      >
      >"There was a written collection of signs utilized by the author of the
      >Fourth Gospel (Signs Gospel)"
      >
      >got the following spread of votes: Red - 37%; Pink - 32%; Grey - 26%;
      >Black - 5%.

      O.K. I accept that an important section of American scholarship is
      mostly in favour of the existence of a Signs Source. I was not meaning
      to deny that, but rather trying to draw your attention to what seems to
      be a modern trend to be less enthusiastic about the Signs Source.

      >> U.Schnelle writes: "In recent exegesis the existence of a 'Semeia
      >> Source' has been vigorously disputed." _The History and Theology of the
      >> New Testament Writings_ (ET: London, SCM, 1998, p.493). He goes on to
      >> present a few arguments plus a string of references.

      > I haven't read Schnelle's book.
      > .....
      > But I feel rather confident in saying that his "few
      >arguments plus a string of references" would hardly be adequate to dissuade
      >those scholars mentioned above who agree on accepting SG as a written
      >composition .....

      How can you be so confident if you (apparently) haven't read the
      modern scholarly arguments for the other side, in particular those of
      Prof. Udo Schnelle?
      P.S. On p.494 of the above-mentioned book, the note attached to the
      sentence: "In recent exegesis, however, the existence of a 'semeia
      source' or 'Signs Gospel' has rightly been seen as problematic." refers
      to no less than 14 passages in scholarly literature, including
      Schnelle's own "extensive argument and detailed evidence" in
      _Antidocetic Christology in the Gospel of John_ (ET: Minneapolis:
      Fortress Press, 1992) 87-194.

      > Until you convince all scholars who see
      >probable grounds for postulating a Johannine narrative Semeia Source rather
      >than the extant synoptic gospels to recant .....

      That's a tall order!
      But I do predict that as time goes by, more and more scholars will
      abandon the hypothesis of a Johannine signs source in favour of a
      hypothesis of multiple editions of the gospel.

      > [Until then] my argument stands & checkmates
      >your claim that the POLLOI in Luke 1:1 is hard to explain if the author did
      >not know GMatt.

      Perhaps it needs rewording:

      The simplest explanation of Luke 1:1 is that Luke knew both Mark and
      Matthew.

      Ron Price

      Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

      e-mail: ron.price@...

      Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
    • bjtraff
      ... I was responding to the broader definition of LOGIA largely because others, like Brian Wilson, defines his own version of LOGIA as containing a
      Message 2 of 21 , Jan 14, 2002
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        --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ron Price" <ron.price@v...> wrote:

        > Yes I do. But the label "TA LOGIA" more naturally suggests a set of
        > sayings than "a narrative of the things which have been accomplished
        > among us". So I don't believe it could have been one of the "many".

        I was responding to the broader definition of "LOGIA" largely because
        others, like Brian Wilson, defines his own version of "LOGIA" as
        containing a significant amount of narrative. Even Q contains, at a
        minimum, the narratives of the disciples of John the Baptist coming
        to Jesus (Matt 11:2-11: Luke 7:18-28), the Centurion's sick servant
        (Matt 5a-10, 13; Luke 7:1-2, 6b-10), and the temptation of Jesus
        (Matt 3:7b-12: Luke 3:7-9, 16-17). (BTW, I know you do not count
        these pericopes as a part of your sQ, but other scholars do accept
        it, and it comes from what they consider to be a "sayings" source).
        Remember that when we talk about Q, we must be looking for double
        traditions, or the definition becomes meaningless. Yet, this
        arbitrary standard should not be used to preclude the possibility
        that some of the narratives offered by Matthew or Luke were found in
        their version of Q. We just cannot know one way or the other with
        any degree of certainty.

        At root, if we find any other written accounts besides Mark, then
        your standard is met, and there is ample evidence that more than one
        other written source existed before Matthew or Luke.

        You wrote:
        >> I think it's wholly unreasonable to assume that L, a pre-Canonical
        >> BN and PN existed as written accounts. The onus of proof should be
        >> on those who assert their existence.

        I replied:
        >First, I have not said that all of these sources existed as written
        >accounts.

        You again:
        Then I can't understand why you mentioned them. For we were discussing
        > "many have undertaken to compile a narrative...", which I take to
        > refer to written documents. If so, L etc. can't be candidates
        > unless they existed as written accounts.

        Ron, I have told you neither that *all* of the sources used by
        Matthew and Luke (besides Mark) were definitely written, nor that
        they were *all* oral. The options are simply not that easy nor are
        they necessarily mutually exclusive. Any one or more of these
        accounts (especially the PN) could be in written form, and we would
        have what you have defined as "many" written accounts. I believe
        that elements of all of the above were probably found in a
        combination of both written and oral form, and the fact that many of
        them were incomplete or fragmentary accounts would explain Luke's
        desire to produce what he considered a coherent or "orderly"
        account. Further, the evidence of the existence of Acts tells us
        clearly that Luke wished to tell us not just about Jesus' birth,
        life, death and resurrection, but also its consequent creation of the
        Church. In my view Luke and Acts must be treated as a unit, with the
        evidence pointing to Luke's intention to produce both books from the
        beginning.

        I wrote:
        > > But when
        > >the evidence is just as obviously against copying (IOW, the two
        > >accounts differ on virtually all important details), then I
        > >believe we should accept what the text tells us, namely that the
        > >texts were created independent of one another.

        You replied:
        > Firstly we can't deduce lack of dependence by merely studying the
        > birth narratives. The evidence for dependence is better elsewhere
        > in the gospels.

        The evidence for dependence may be better elsewhere, but with the BN
        we have a clear example of non-dependence. Similarities (birth in
        Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph, raised in Nazareth, ect.) can largely
        be attributed to early oral traditions, or Mark (son of David), and
        this would include belief in the virgin conception. The differences
        point to independent creation, or sources, or a combination of the
        two. What we cannot deduce, by any means, is that one was dependent
        on the other.

        This problem is compounded by your acknowledgement that Luke may well
        have composed his BN after he had finished the bulk of his gospel.
        Under your theory, Luke would have been using Matthew during his
        composition, but not have offered an infancy narrative. He only does
        this later on, presumably "inspired" by Matt, but not enough to use
        anything unique to Matthew's account (like the genealogy, the Star,
        the flight to Egypt) that could have fit (or even added) very nicely
        into his own theology. Did Luke write his beginning at 3:1 based on
        a total rejection of Matt's BN, preferring Mark's opening, then later
        change his mind? What if he had never written a BN? Would this
        strengthen your argument? In my view it would, as we would then not
        have to contend with the difficulties found in the two accounts of
        Jesus' birth. Yet, if we accept your argument, Luke becomes inspired
        by Matthew, then rejects virtually everything Matthew reports that is
        not already known to Luke's audience, and creates his own account
        virtually in toto. This is simply incredible in my opinion.

        >Secondly to study only the similarities and differences in wording is
        > to ignore the crucial tool of Redaction Criticism.

        I am well aware of the role of Redaction Criticism, just more
        cautious in its use here than you appear to be. I admit that Matt
        and Luke sometimes heavily redacted their sources, but what you must
        explain here is not how Luke redacted Matt, or even how he ignored
        Matt. We must especially account for why Luke contradicted Matt on
        non-theological, or crucial points, when we see far less evidence of
        his doing so with Mark (his own source known to us in extant form),
        or Matt/Q in other instances.

        Remember, it is the minor agreements (like the Jewish mocking at
        Jesus' scourging) that gives any credibility at all to the theory of
        Lucan dependence on Matt. By the same token, the *major*
        disagreements need to be viewed as pointing *away* from such
        dependence. We are then left with whether or not dependence on a
        common source is more plausible and probable then outright dependence
        of one evangelist on the other. In this case I think the answer is
        that a common source is more likely.

        I wrote:
        > >We cannot know what is in Q until we find an extant copy of the
        > >document. I take a very dim view of attempts to reconstruct it in
        > >toto, and claim that we can know all that was in that "document".

        You replied:
        >I think that is unduly pessimistic. If the best efforts of scholars
        >at reconstruction of Q don't posit a location for the sermon, then
        >my point must have some value.

        When scholars are faced with such obvious, and irreconcilable
        differences as we see in the conclusions of the Sermon(s) on the
        Mount and Plain, the most prudent course is to simply admit that we
        cannot know which, if either, evangelist preserved the original form
        more accurately. Sometimes we must accept what we do not, and cannot
        know. In this case, given the lack of clear theological motive for
        Luke's choice of a plain, I would give his presentation a higher
        degree of probability, but the geography of the regions within which
        Jesus preached could have made sermons on hills/mountains very likely
        as well.

        In any case, I have already conceded your explanation as to Matt's
        theological reasons for placing the sermon on a "mountain." I have
        yet to see a similar theological explanation (from anyone) for why
        Luke chose a plain. On this basis, and given that most scholars
        would typically choose Luke's version of Q over Matthew's, it would
        not be excessively speculative to posit that Luke used his source
        most accurately here as well. From my own point of view, I also
        detect, from the "Q Juggernaut", a distinct unwillingness to accept
        potential narrative structures within Q, except when it simply cannot
        be avoided (as in my examples above). In my opinion, this could be
        viewed as excessive rigidity from scholars who are more than happy to
        theorize all sorts of oddities in or about Q, should it fit their own
        arguments/prejudices. Now I hope you can better appreciate my own
        concerns with how the Q Industry tends to function Ron. As I said
        before, I am not entirely unsympathetic to the efforts of you, Mark
        Goodacre and other Q sceptics. :-)

        I wrote:
        > > When textual grounds point to *non* use of a
        > >source, we should be consistent, and accept that the two texts are
        > >independent

        Ron's response:
        > This might be true if dependence always took the form of liberal
        > copying such as can be found in Matthew's use of Mark. But you
        > should not assume that all dependence is like that. Some authors
        > can use a source mre subtly than that.

        I have no problem in looking for subtlety, but once we become
        cavalier about removing any semblance of controls in our research,
        then the field, is literally wide open to any speculations we care to
        offer. As a defender of the Matthean dependence, you would,
        justifiably point to the "minor agreements" as evidence in support of
        your theory. After all, it is here that we find examples where
        Matthew and Luke make few or no changes to minor pericopes and
        texts. At the same time, when we encounter times where the two texts
        depart radically, the reverse argument is not applied with equal
        force. If we read Matthew, we would never know that Jesus appeared
        in Jerusalem after his resurrection. If we read Luke (AND Acts!), we
        would never know he appeared in Galilee. Is Luke simply being
        creative? Or does his source never tell him that Jesus appeared in
        Galilee? To me the latter is the simpler explanation. What about
        Mark's and Matthew's (in agreement against Luke) account of the faith
        of the Gentile woman (Mark 7:24-30; Matt 15:21-28)? What better
        opportunity to "fix" BOTH sources, and show how Jesus really was
        interested in not just saving the Jews/Israel, but also Gentiles? It
        is not my intention to get into an over long debate on all the
        details of Lucan differences from Matthew. My point is that those
        differences exist, and create enormous obstacles to any hypothesis
        that postulates his dependence on Matt. Glossing these differences
        as "creativity", or "imperfect memory" on the part of Luke strikes
        me, as I have said previously, as special pleading.


        > > Are you familiar with Steve Mason's arguments on Lucan use of
        > > Josephus and/or his sources?
        >
        > No. Can you provide a reference please?

        The book is called _Josephus and the New Testament_ by Steve Mason.
        Some of the links (of Luke to Josephus) are better than others, but
        several point very clearly to mutual dependence on a written source
        (s). He examines connections between Jewish Wars, and Antiquities,
        to Luke, and especially to Acts.

        > No, that is not what I meant. My view is that Luke had in his study
        > copies of Mark, Matthew and the sayings source, all of which he had
        > read. But when he came to write his carefully planned gospel, he
        > generally used a 'block' technique, i.e. he had no more than one of
        > his sources open at a given time. When penning the birth narratives
        > he probably had none of his sources open.

        This argument begs the question. Why would we believe such to be the
        case (outside of no other explanation would explain *both*
        dependence, and the obvious differences/contradictions found in the
        Infancy Narratives)?

        I wrote:
        > > Telling us that Luke was
        > >just using his memory of Matt strikes me as a very weak argument.

        You replied:
        > The synoptic authors must have relied on memory for some of their
        > text.

        Again I am forced to ask why we need to believe this is the case,
        except to sustain a presupposition for dependence. Further, how
        would one differentiate such an argument from dependence on mere oral
        sources?

        > Of course an alternative is that Luke might have sketched out a list
        > of incidents he wished to retain from Matthew, e.g. Joseph was
        > descended from David, Mary was with child of the Holy Spirit etc.,
        > and then worked from this outline.

        Here I think it is simpler to accept that Luke worked from commonly
        known and already accepted oral traditions. We might as well suppose
        that John, in his own Gospel, only came to know Joseph's name by
        reading Luke and/or Matthew. In the case of birth by the Holy
        Spirit, as I have argued in my reply to Bob
        http://groups.yahoo.com/group/crosstalk2/message/8815 , Luke may well
        have been building on a tradition hinted at in Romans 8:3 and
        Philippians 2:7, where Paul tells us that Jesus may well have
        participated in his own creation (i.e. "made himself" and "taking the
        very nature of"). The story is older than Matthew, so we need not
        look further for Luke's sources/inspiration for his own BN.

        Thank you once again for your response Ron. And be well.

        Brian Trafford
        Calgary, AB, Canada
      • Ron Price
        ... Brian, This is one of several respects in which I consider these scholars to be wrong. Not only do they think the early source contained narratives, but
        Message 3 of 21 , Jan 15, 2002
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          Brian Trafford wrote:

          > Even Q contains, at a
          >minimum, the narratives of the disciples of John the Baptist coming
          >to Jesus (Matt 11:2-11: Luke 7:18-28), the Centurion's sick servant
          >(Matt 5a-10, 13; Luke 7:1-2, 6b-10), and the temptation of Jesus
          >(Matt 3:7b-12: Luke 3:7-9, 16-17). (BTW, I know you do not count
          >these pericopes as a part of your sQ, but other scholars do accept
          >it, and it comes from what they consider to be a "sayings" source).

          Brian,
          This is one of several respects in which I consider these scholars to
          be wrong. Not only do they think the early source contained narratives,
          but they sometimes erroneously describe it as a "sayings source" when it
          is patently more than that. In any case I don't see where this is
          leading, for they don't equate Q with TA LOGIA.

          >Remember that when we talk about Q, we must be looking for double
          >traditions, or the definition becomes meaningless. Yet, this
          >arbitrary standard should not be used to preclude the possibility
          >that some of the narratives offered by Matthew or Luke were found in
          >their version of Q.

          My radical approach to the early source is to start with the core
          material identified as those doublets in Matthew and Luke which could
          reasonably be explained by their use of the two sources: Mark and the
          early source. This leads to over 20 sayings which can be used as a
          general guide to the type of pericope to be expected in the source as a
          whole. (Q scholars do a similar thing, but they start with the whole
          double tradition.)
          Now all the narratives normally assigned to Q have Matthean
          characteristics which indicate that they were not part of Q but were
          composed by Matthew.
          As it happens, there is an extant source from the Roman period which
          consists entirely of sayings attributed to Jesus, i.e. the so-called
          Gospel of Thomas.
          Taking these three observations together gives a strong indication
          that the source behind Matthew and Luke was a pure sayings source. I
          therefore reject the "possibility" you mentioned as being highly
          improbable.

          >> ..... we were discussing
          >> "many have undertaken to compile a narrative...", which I take to
          >> refer to written documents. If so, L etc. [pre-Canonical
          >> BN and PN] can't be candidates
          >> unless they existed as written accounts.

          >Ron, I have told you neither that *all* of the sources used by
          >Matthew and Luke (besides Mark) were definitely written, nor that
          >they were *all* oral. The options are simply not that easy nor are
          >they necessarily mutually exclusive. Any one or more of these
          >accounts (especially the PN) could be in written form

          I rest my case. If you can't *show* they were written, then my point
          stands. Mark and Matthew are the clearest candidates for Luke's "many".

          > ..... Further, the evidence of the existence of Acts tells us
          >clearly that Luke wished to tell us not just about Jesus' birth,
          >life, death and resurrection, but also its consequent creation of the
          >Church. In my view Luke and Acts must be treated as a unit, with the
          >evidence pointing to Luke's intention to produce both books from the
          >beginning.

          So what? I don't follow your drift.

          >> ..... we can't deduce lack of dependence by merely studying the
          >> birth narratives. The evidence for dependence is better elsewhere
          >> in the gospels.

          >The evidence for dependence may be better elsewhere, but with the BN
          >we have a clear example of non-dependence.

          You seem to ignore the possibility that Luke decided *not* to be
          over-dependent here. You're treating him as a modern historian. He
          wasn't. In those days they didn't have the same concern for historical
          accuracy that we do today.

          > Similarities (birth in
          >Bethlehem to Mary and Joseph, raised in Nazareth, ect.) can largely
          >be attributed to early oral traditions

          We'll have to agree to differ here. The fictional association with
          Bethlehem had to start somewhere, and there's no evidence of it before
          Matthew.

          >Under your theory ..... Did Luke write his beginning at 3:1 based on
          >a total rejection of Matt's BN, preferring Mark's opening, then later
          >change his mind?

          My belief is that initially Luke didn't see any need for a birth
          narrative. I suggest that after a year or two he got feedback from his
          readers (especially his female readers?) that they liked Matthew better
          because it had a birth narrative. Or was it that the elders of Luke's
          church were anxious to make their publication compete better against the
          publication of Matthew's church? So he decided to incorporate his own
          version, and put great effort into it, making it into a literary
          masterpiece in order to win back allegiance to his own account. For this
          purpose consistency with Matthew was unimportant. It might even have
          been counter-productive. ('It says much the same, so we'll stick with
          Matthew.')

          > ..... what you must
          >explain here is not how Luke redacted Matt, or even how he ignored
          >Matt. We must especially account for why Luke contradicted Matt on
          >non-theological, or crucial points, when we see far less evidence of
          >his doing so with Mark (his own source known to us in extant form),
          >or Matt/Q in other instances.

          Basically a return to copying mode with its implications of constraint
          was not going to impress the dissatisfied readers. Artistic creation
          requires freedom.

          >Remember, it is the minor agreements (like the Jewish mocking at
          >Jesus' scourging) that gives any credibility at all to the theory of
          >Lucan dependence on Matt. By the same token, the *major*
          >disagreements need to be viewed as pointing *away* from such
          >dependence.

          That depends on Luke's agenda, which is where Redaction Criticism
          comes in.

          > ..... given the lack of clear theological motive for
          >Luke's choice of a plain, I would give his presentation a higher
          >degree of probability

          The bottom line is that I just take a more skeptical attitude than you
          do. To me Luke's "plain" is meaningless unless it is seen as a
          deliberate rejection of Matthew's "mount" which we both agree we *can*
          explain as an allusion to Moses.

          > but the geography of the regions within which
          >Jesus preached could have made sermons on hills/mountains very likely
          >as well.

          I don't think Luke's "plain" had any connection with the actual
          location of something Jesus said or did. i.e. it's a literary artifact,
          not a historical fact. You see what I mean about attitude determining
          interpretation?

          > ..... From my own point of view, I also
          >detect, from the "Q Juggernaut", a distinct unwillingness to accept
          >potential narrative structures within Q, except when it simply cannot
          >be avoided (as in my examples above).

          Narrative in Q is the almost inevitable consequence of the 2ST
          hypothesis of the independence of Matthew and Luke. It's just that the
          hypothesis is mistaken, so the Q which is a consequence of that
          hypothesis never existed.

          > ..... As I said
          >before, I am not entirely unsympathetic to the efforts of you, Mark
          >Goodacre and other Q sceptics. :-)

          Phew! You present yourself as a pretty formidable opponent. ;-)

          > ..... As a defender of the Matthean dependence, you would,
          >justifiably point to the "minor agreements" as evidence in support of
          >your theory. After all, it is here that we find examples where
          >Matthew and Luke make few or no changes to minor pericopes and
          >texts. At the same time, when we encounter times where the two texts
          >depart radically, the reverse argument is not applied with equal
          >force.

          But you cannot deny that there's a fundamental asymmetry here. This is
          reflected in the opening sentence of Crossan's answer to my query in an
          online seminar about his degree of confidence in GTh's independence:

          *** I am always more cautious, Ron, on arguments for independence
          *** than I am on ones for dependence.

          > If we read Matthew, we would never know that Jesus appeared
          >in Jerusalem after his resurrection. If we read Luke (AND Acts!), we
          >would never know he appeared in Galilee. Is Luke simply being
          >creative?

          Creative: yes. Simply: I doubt it. He probably had his reasons for
          setting the appearance in 24:13ff. near Jerusalem. Perhaps it was
          related to his grand concept of the place of Jerusalem in the spread of
          the gospel (Acts 1:8) which he likely already had in mind.

          > ..... What about
          >Mark's and Matthew's (in agreement against Luke) account of the faith
          >of the Gentile woman (Mark 7:24-30; Matt 15:21-28)?

          Amongst the synoptic writers, Luke was arguably the most keen to
          emhasize the importance of the mission to the Gentiles, and also the
          most sensitive to anti-Gentile material. He could easily have been
          embarrassed about the tradition that Jesus had said: "Let the children
          be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and throw
          it to the dogs", with its repulsive equation of Gentiles to dogs.

          >It is not my intention to get into an over long debate on all the
          >details of Lucan differences from Matthew. My point is that those
          >differences exist, and create enormous obstacles to any hypothesis
          >that postulates his dependence on Matt.

          Only if you have some predetermined conception about Luke's respect
          for Matthew's gospel. Remember that on both Farrer and 3ST, Luke chose
          to base his structure on Mark rather than Matthew, and this indicates
          that he had less respect for Matthew than for Mark.

          >>> Are you familiar with Steve Mason's arguments on Lucan use of
          >>> Josephus and/or his sources?

          >> No. Can you provide a reference please?

          >The book is called _Josephus and the New Testament_ by Steve Mason.
          >Some of the links (of Luke to Josephus) are better than others, but
          >several point very clearly to mutual dependence on a written source
          >(s).

          Thanks. Actually a Web site summary of Mason's arguments has since
          been brought to my attention. They look fairly convincing. So Luke may
          also have had access to Josephus' writings. But these weren't accounts
          of Jesus' life, so they don't directly relate to the "many" of Luke 1:1.

          >> ..... My view is that Luke had in his study
          >> copies of Mark, Matthew and the sayings source, all of which he had
          >> read. But when he came to write his carefully planned gospel, he
          >> generally used a 'block' technique, i.e. he had no more than one of
          >> his sources open at a given time. When penning the birth narratives
          >> he probably had none of his sources open.

          >This argument begs the question.

          It isn't an argument, so much as an attempt to explain the apparent
          lack of conflation in Luke and the obvious disagreements between the
          birth narratives. There is admittedly no independent support for this
          scenario.

          >> The synoptic authors must have relied on memory for some of their
          >> text.

          >Again I am forced to ask why we need to believe this is the case,
          >except to sustain a presupposition for dependence.

          But earlier you wrote that 'L' was probably at least partly based on
          oral tradition. Oral tradition depends on memory. So we agree that
          memory has some role.

          > ..... Further, how would one differentiate such an argument
          > from dependence on mere oral sources?

          Anyone accepting that Luke knew Matthew would surely be right in
          supposing that e.g. Luke's assertion that Mary was with child by the
          Holy Spirit probably came from Matthew rather than from oral tradition.

          >Here I think it is simpler to accept that Luke worked from commonly
          >known and already accepted oral traditions.

          Again, we'll have to beg to differ. For prior to the penning of
          Matthew there's no evidence of any tradition involving the detailed
          circumstances of Jesus' birth.

          > ..... Luke may well
          >have been building on a tradition hinted at in Romans 8:3 and
          >Philippians 2:7, where Paul tells us that Jesus may well have
          >participated in his own creation (i.e. "made himself" and "taking the
          >very nature of"). The story is older than Matthew .....

          What you have shown is that the idea of incarnation was explored long
          before Matthew, but that is rather different from the detailed
          circumstances of Jesus' birth.

          >Thank you once again for your response Ron.

          And I wish you all the best, Brian.

          Ron Price

          Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

          e-mail: ron.price@...

          Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
        • Mahlon H. Smith
          ... Demonstration implies providing evidence that is capable of convincing others including skeptics. Farmer long ago exposed reasoning as to why [Q] was
          Message 4 of 21 , Jan 15, 2002
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            I wrote:

            > >...non-existence of a source of information is next to
            > >impossible to demonstrate.

            Ron Price replied:

            > All that's needed is to refute the reasoning as to why the Signs
            > Source was postulated in the first place. I wouldn't call that "next to
            > impossible".

            Demonstration implies providing evidence that is capable of convincing
            others including skeptics. Farmer long ago exposed "reasoning as to why [Q]
            was postulated in the first place" & enlisted a team of scholars to refute
            it. Farrer likewise argued the dispensibility of Q & still has faithful
            disciples like Mark Goodacre challenging the Q hypothesis through the global
            network of the internet. I don't think either Mark or Tom Longstaff who mans
            the 2 Gospel Hypothesis website would claim that either of them has
            demonstrated the non-existence of Q with refutations capable of convincing Q
            proponents, any more than Nietzsche demonstrated the death of God to the
            satisfaction of theists. Despite centuries of non-theistic scientific
            explanations of the universe & recent progress toward a grand unifying
            cosmological theory, I don't think many research scientists --even those who
            are atheists--would be so bold as to claim that the non-existence of God has
            been "demonstrated."

            Thus, "to refute the reasoning as to why the Signs Source was postulated in
            the first place" is only to challenge that hypothesis: an initial step in
            launching a debate with its proponents. Whether that refutation will hold up
            under close scrutiny or provide a better interpretation of the gospel data
            that led to the formulation of the SG hypothesis in the first place depends
            on how SG proponents respond. If they start abandoning ship in large
            numbers, then one can safely claim that SG's non-existence was successfully
            demonstrated. But IMHO that has not yet happened. You may have found
            arguments that you & others find adequate to account for the shape of the
            data in 4G without resorting to a Semeia source hypothesis. But until those
            arguments succeed in convincing proponents of SG to abandon their arguments
            for its existence, you or like minded scholars have not successfully
            *demonstrated* the non-existence of SG.

            The reason why I said SG's non-existence is "next to impossible to
            demonstrate" has to do with the burden of proof. To demonstrate that
            something probably exists or existed all one has to do is gather evidence
            that convinces people to believe in its existence. On the other hand, to
            demonstrate the non-existence of anything requires persuading people that
            (a) their postulate does not fit the facts & (b) the data cited to support
            it requires an alternate explanation.

            Ron wrote:
            >
            > I agree that the canonical 4G clearly wasn't written as a unit.
            > But it is not necessary to postulate a hypothetical source in order to
            > explain the aporia. They can be adequately explained by postulating
            > multiple editions of the gospel. On my Web site I identify three
            > editions, the first of which is considerably more coherent than our
            > extant text.
            >

            To risk semantic quibbling, any non-extant text that is postulated as the
            basis for subsequent editions of an extant work is a "hypothetical source."
            So if you propose a 1st edition of 4G that "is considerably more coherent
            than our extant text," you are in fact doing exactly what proponents of SG
            have done. You may not wish to characterize your 1st edition of 4G as a
            "Signs gospel" or "Semeia source." But a source by any other name is still
            a source. And unless you can produce a separate ms. of your 1st edition, it
            is still hypothetical.

            You may disagree with proponents of SG as to the parameters of that 1st
            edition. But in that, you are not doing anything essentially different from
            scholars who have debated the shape of SG or Q since these sources were
            first identified.

            The ultimate issue regarding the SG hypothesis is whether that heavily
            edited 1st edition of the gospel of John was dependent on the synoptic
            gospels or not. Anyone who admits that this proto-text of John had access to
            an alternate version of the baptist, miracle or passion narratives that was
            not based directly & solely upon parallel passages in the synoptic gospels
            has in fact formally accepted the SG hypothesis, however much one may
            dispute others' characterizations of the contents of this work. On the other
            hand, anyone who argues that this parallel material in 4G is derived
            directly & solely from the narratives in the synoptics has to be prepared to
            explain *in detail* -- not just in vague generalities -- (a) why the
            Johannine form of these pericopes differs in many important details from the
            synoptics & (b) why the Johannine form can often be shown to presuppose a
            more "Jewish" (or at least Semitic) Sitz than the synoptic narratives. This
            requires meticulous analysis & evaluation of all parallel pericopes. Only
            when one has succeeded in presenting a more credible case for Johannine
            direct dependence on our extant synoptic narratives in *all* instances of
            variant parallels than is offered by the hypothesis of a SG independent of
            the direct borrowing from synoptic texts -- one that is capable of
            dissuading proponents of SG -- can one claim to have really "refuted" the
            case for SG.

            >
            > O.K. I accept that an important section of American scholarship is
            > mostly in favour of the existence of a Signs Source. I was not meaning
            > to deny that, but rather trying to draw your attention to what seems to
            > be a modern trend to be less enthusiastic about the Signs Source.
            >

            Trends in scholarship are not easy to determine in the short run. For not
            every scholar who accepts a hypothesis publishes on it. And those who
            publish may not represent or convince the majority. The publication of a few
            major works that challenge or disregard a scholarly hypothesis may give the
            impression of a "trend" when in fact it repesents only a tangent by a
            minority that will soon spin itself out. The Death of God theology of the
            late 60s is a perfect example of this: a lot of books, articles & media
            attention from a handful of scholars that fizzled out in less than a decade.
            Even with participation of greater number of scholars, a more sophisticated
            statistical basis for measuring degrees of consensus, & a life span of more
            than 17 years, I would not claim that the JS represents a "trend" in
            historical Jesus scholarship. Trends depend on the demonstrable ability of
            a few to influence the thinking (of behavior) of others. The SG hypothesis
            has been around in one form or another for more than 60 years. Even a string
            of disparate challenges to SG does not a "trend" make any more than a string
            of disparate challenges to Q. Only if an alternate hypothesis emerged that
            drew away a significant number of supporters from SG could one properly
            speak of a "trend".

            I wrote:

            > > I haven't read Schnelle's book.

            Ron replied:

            > How can you be so confident if you (apparently) haven't read the
            > modern scholarly arguments for the other side, in particular those of
            > Prof. Udo Schnell?

            You presume too much. Just because I said I had not yet read one recent book
            does not justify your conclusion that I "haven't read the modern scholarly
            arguments for the other side."

            If you'll pardon an autobiographical note: I have been doing research on all
            hypotheses related to the Johannine problem since I entered seminary more
            than 40 years ago. I've read & critiqued the works of all major Johannine
            scholars of the 20th c. (& some from 19th) as well as all patristic
            references. I have taught a course on GJohn for more than 20 years. And I
            try to keep abreast of recent developments thru notices from several friends
            who are Johannine specialists (e.g., Fortna, Culpepper, S. Winter) &
            research tools like Felix Just's website. I was early influenced by British
            scholarship (Burney, Gardner-Smith, Dodd, Barrett) & was skeptical of
            Bultmann's theories. I was a slow convert to the SG hypothesis & have made
            it the basis of my teaching only for a little more than a decade. Yet I
            continue to read major critiques of SG by scholars such as Neirynck (my
            former teacher), van Bella, etc. So the fact that I have not gotten around
            to reading one book is hardly evidence of my ignorance of "the modern
            scholarly arguments for the other side." I am no amateur or dilettante in
            this field. So, in the future I'd recommend that you not jump to conclusions
            on the basis of your ignorance of the scholarship of the one with whom you
            are debating.

            Ron concluded:

            > But I do predict that as time goes by, more and more scholars will
            > abandon the hypothesis of a Johannine signs source in favour of a
            > hypothesis of multiple editions of the gospel.

            I see you are a prophet. Time will tell whether true or false ;-). From my
            vantage point, however, I have not yet detected any ground swell of scholars
            abandoning the SG ship, however much they may think it needs repair. I
            myself have been working on a major ms. that refines & corrects Fortna's
            hypothesis in the light of more than 3 decades of debate. God-willing, I'll
            get time to complete it within in a few years.

            Shalom!

            Mahlon

            Mahlon H. Smith
            Department of Religion
            Rutgers University
            New Brunswick NJ 08901

            http://religion.rutgers.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html

            Synoptic Gospels Primer
            http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/

            Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
            http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
          • bjtraff
            First, I would like to thank Ron for a very interesting discussion. I think we have reached the conclusion of that debate, and baring further questions or the
            Message 5 of 21 , Jan 15, 2002
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              First, I would like to thank Ron for a very interesting discussion.
              I think we have reached the conclusion of that debate, and baring
              further questions or the presentation of new evidence, I am content
              to allow him the last word if he should wish to take it. In that
              spirit, I will make a few final comments to his last post, then wrap
              up.

              --- In crosstalk2@y..., "Ron Price" <ron.price@v...> wrote:

              > Now all the narratives normally assigned to Q have Matthean
              > characteristics which indicate that they were not part of Q but were
              > composed by Matthew.

              As I explained in my previous reply, I see no reason to suppose that
              Luke conveyed accurate narrative information regarding the Sermon on
              the Plain. The reason this appears to not be classified as a part of
              Q is (a) single traditions, by definition must be excluded from Q,
              and (b) the proponents of Q have a strong motivation to downplay as
              much possible narrative as they can. They are justified in saying we
              cannot know with certainty how the sermon ended, but if we accept a
              less rigid standard, we can be reasonably confident that at times,
              Luke does get some of his narrative right, even independently of Mark
              and Matt (after all, he does on many historical points found
              elsewhere in his Gospel and Acts).

              > As it happens, there is an extant source from the Roman period which
              > consists entirely of sayings attributed to Jesus, i.e. the so-called
              > Gospel of Thomas.

              Well, since I think GThomas is obviously dependent upon the
              Synoptics, this is not much of an argument. It is, however, a
              separate discussion and I am prepared to set it aside for now.

              > >Ron, I have told you neither that *all* of the sources used by
              > >Matthew and Luke (besides Mark) were definitely written, nor that
              they were *all* oral. The options are simply not that easy nor are
              > >they necessarily mutually exclusive. Any one or more of these
              > >accounts (especially the PN) could be in written form
              >
              > I rest my case. If you can't *show* they were written, then my point
              > stands. Mark and Matthew are the clearest candidates for
              > Luke's "many".

              No one can "prove" how much of any source was written vs. oral until
              we can find an extant copy of the source. Assuming dependence on
              Matt goes well beyond the evidence, as it involves a great deal of
              speculation and special pleading in order to make the case defensible.

              > > ..... Further, the evidence of the existence of Acts tells us
              > >clearly that Luke wished to tell us not just about Jesus' birth,
              life, death and resurrection, but also its consequent creation of the
              Church. In my view Luke and Acts must be treated as a unit, with the
              evidence pointing to Luke's intention to produce both books from the
              beginning.
              >
              > So what? I don't follow your drift.

              Given the totality of Luke and Acts, it is obvious that Luke's
              resources (i.e. sources) were greater than Mark, or Matt, or any
              other Gospel, we should not claim that Matt *must* have been among
              them. That comes from the evidence for dependence, and as I have
              argued, that evidence is far from convincing.

              > You seem to ignore the possibility that Luke decided *not* to be
              > over-dependent here. You're treating him as a modern historian. He
              > wasn't. In those days they didn't have the same concern for
              > historical accuracy that we do today.

              Of course Luke treated his sources as an ancient instead of a
              modern. This is, however, a long way from demonstrating that when
              the man had a clear source that offered plenty of material that suits
              his theology and purpose, that he is going to reject it and invent
              material that must go out of its way to contradict what he had in
              that source.

              > My belief is that initially Luke didn't see any need for a birth
              >narrative. I suggest that after a year or two he got feedback from
              >his readers (especially his female readers?) that they liked Matthew
              >better because it had a birth narrative. Or was it that the elders
              >of Luke's church were anxious to make their publication compete
              >better against the publication of Matthew's church? So he decided to
              >incorporate his own version, and put great effort into it, making it
              >into a literary masterpiece in order to win back allegiance to his
              >own account. For this purpose consistency with Matthew was
              >unimportant. It might even have been counter-productive. ('It says
              >much the same, so we'll stick with Matthew.')

              I wonder if it ever occurred to Luke (using your scenario), that more
              than a few people might wonder why he couldn't get very many of
              Matt's details right, even on the minor issues. I suppose it should
              come as no surprise that I find my own speculation as to why Luke
              composed the BN to be more convincing. ;-)

              The bottom line is that I just take a more skeptical attitude than you
              > do. To me Luke's "plain" is meaningless unless it is seen as a
              > deliberate rejection of Matthew's "mount" which we both agree we
              > *can* explain as an allusion to Moses.

              But your conclusion here is more question begging. Even if Luke
              wanted to detach Jesus from any association with Moses (something I
              do not think can be shown from his text), we need not presume that
              Luke's audience (largely Gentiles unfamiliar with the OT) would make
              such a connection, even IF Luke placed the Sermon no a mountain.

              > I don't think Luke's "plain" had any connection with the actual
              > location of something Jesus said or did. i.e. it's a literary
              artifact,
              > not a historical fact. You see what I mean about attitude
              determining
              > interpretation?

              Yes I do. And it is interesting to see how it works both on oneself,
              and on others. :-)

              I wrote:
              > > ..... As a defender of the Matthean dependence, you would,
              justifiably point to the "minor agreements" as evidence in support of
              > >your theory. After all, it is here that we find examples where
              > >Matthew and Luke make few or no changes to minor pericopes and
              texts. At the same time, when we encounter times where the two texts
              > >depart radically, the reverse argument is not applied with equal
              > >force.

              You replied:
              > But you cannot deny that there's a fundamental asymmetry here.

              Actually, I do not see the asymmetry. Many of the major
              disagreements are on minor points (like who was Jesus' grandfather).
              Such discrepancies only gain significance because justifying Luke's
              supposed rejection of Matt's account requires considerable
              rationalization in my opinion.

              > This is
              > reflected in the opening sentence of Crossan's answer to my query
              in an
              > online seminar about his degree of confidence in GTh's independence:
              >
              > *** I am always more cautious, Ron, on arguments for independence
              > *** than I am on ones for dependence.

              Well, I could see Crossan's reasons for saying such a thing, but
              quite frankly, I think he goes well beyond any evidence in
              postulating earlier sources like the Cross Gospel and Secret Mark.
              Let's just say that Crossan's arguments deserve a thread of their own
              if we wish to pursue them.

              I wrote:
              > > ..... What about Mark's and Matthew's (in agreement against Luke)
              > >account of the faith of the Gentile woman (Mark 7:24-30; Matt
              > >15:21-28)?

              You replied:
              > Amongst the synoptic writers, Luke was arguably the most keen to
              > emhasize the importance of the mission to the Gentiles, and also the
              > most sensitive to anti-Gentile material. He could easily have been
              > embarrassed about the tradition that Jesus had said: "Let the
              children
              > be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children's food and
              throw
              > it to the dogs", with its repulsive equation of Gentiles to dogs.

              I agree that Luke probably was embarrassed by this particular
              pericope. But as we can see elsewhere in his Gospel, Luke is fully
              capable of turning an embarrassment to his favour. This particular
              tradition strikes me as perfect material for Luke, yet he neglects to
              address it. If he only saw it in Mark, then we can explain his
              rejection of it (Luke rejected about half of what Mark wrote in any
              case), but if it is in Mark AND Matt, then his ignoring of this
              embarrassing event becomes almost inexplicable. Luke could, and
              would, have done better.

              > Only if you have some predetermined conception about Luke's respect
              > for Matthew's gospel. Remember that on both Farrer and 3ST, Luke
              > chose to base his structure on Mark rather than Matthew, and this
              > indicates that he had less respect for Matthew than for Mark.

              The argument from structure shows only that Luke knew Mark's
              structure. His failure to use Matt's hardly serves as evidence that
              he was aware of it. In my opinion the opposite is far more likely.

              > Thanks. Actually a Web site summary of Mason's arguments has since
              > been brought to my attention. They look fairly convincing. So Luke
              > may also have had access to Josephus' writings. But these weren't
              > accounts of Jesus' life, so they don't directly relate to
              > the "many" of Luke 1:1.

              I was interested only in showing that Luke had other written sources
              than those available to Mark and Matt. We cannot know how many their
              were, but it is easy to suppose, given the intro in Luke 1 that he
              had several (and who knows, maybe Matt was among them, though I still
              doubt it).

              > It isn't an argument, so much as an attempt to explain the apparent
              > lack of conflation in Luke and the obvious disagreements between the
              > birth narratives. There is admittedly no independent support for
              this
              > scenario.

              Alright. And this is my point as well Ron. I still think that the
              explanation requires a good deal of special pleading.

              > >Again I am forced to ask why we need to believe this is the case,
              > >except to sustain a presupposition for dependence.
              >
              > But earlier you wrote that 'L' was probably at least partly based on
              > oral tradition. Oral tradition depends on memory. So we agree that
              > memory has some role.

              But Matt was not an oral tradition at all. IF Luke had Matt
              available to him, then we have no logical reason available to us as
              to why he rejected even mundane points in Matt's Gospel, let alone
              those things that would have been clearly useful to Luke's theology.

              > Anyone accepting that Luke knew Matthew would surely be right in
              > supposing that e.g. Luke's assertion that Mary was with child by the
              > Holy Spirit probably came from Matthew rather than from oral
              tradition.

              For reasons I have argued elsewhere in greater depth (especially in
              my reply to Mahlon and to Bob), I think the virgin conception was
              known in sources earlier than Matt or Luke. I do not know if they
              were in a written source, nor do I think we can know, given the clear
              differences in the only two reports we have left to us.

              I wrote:
              > > ..... Luke may well
              > >have been building on a tradition hinted at in Romans 8:3 and
              > >Philippians 2:7, where Paul tells us that Jesus may well have
              > >participated in his own creation (i.e. "made himself" and "taking
              the
              > >very nature of"). The story is older than Matthew .....

              You replied:
              >What you have shown is that the idea of incarnation was explored long
              > before Matthew, but that is rather different from the detailed
              > circumstances of Jesus' birth.

              Agreed. But what I have shown goes a long ways into explaining how a
              belief in a virgin conception by the Holy Spirit could have come
              about between the time of Paul (ca. 50) and the Canonical Gospels
              (ca. 70+)

              Thus, I am content to conclude this discussion. Again I thank you
              Ron, and wish you well.

              Peace,

              Brian Trafford
              Calgary, AB, Canada
            • Ron Price
              ... Brian, Thanks to you also. This is about as far as we can take it profitably. I ll just add one or two clarifications. ... I agree with you on GTh
              Message 6 of 21 , Jan 16, 2002
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                Brian Trafford wrote:

                >I would like to thank Ron for a very interesting discussion.
                >I think we have reached the conclusion of that debate .....

                Brian,
                Thanks to you also. This is about as far as we can take it profitably.
                I'll just add one or two clarifications.

                >> As it happens, there is an extant source from the Roman period which
                >> consists entirely of sayings attributed to Jesus, i.e. the so-called
                >> Gospel of Thomas.

                >Well, since I think GThomas is obviously dependent upon the
                >Synoptics, this is not much of an argument.

                I agree with you on GTh dependence. My point was only that the extant
                GTh is a historic example of the genre of my proposed sQ, i.e. a
                collection of sayings attributed to Jesus.

                >Given the totality of Luke and Acts, it is obvious that Luke's
                >resources (i.e. sources) were greater than Mark, or Matt .....

                Just because Luke probably also had sources for Acts, doesn't show
                that he had any more sources for his gospel.

                > ..... What about Mark's and Matthew's (in agreement against Luke)
                > account of the faith of the Gentile woman (Mark 7:24-30; Matt
                > 15:21-28)?
                > .....
                > .....
                >If he [Luke] only saw it in Mark, then we can explain his
                >rejection of it (Luke rejected about half of what Mark wrote in any
                >case), but if it is in Mark AND Matt, then his ignoring of this
                >embarrassing event becomes almost inexplicable.

                But I argued that Luke had less respect for Matthew. Anyway if he
                rejected this pericope whilst editing Mark, he would surely not go out
                of his way to select it from Matthew.

                >. ..... IF Luke had Matt
                >available to him, then we have no logical reason available to us as
                >to why he rejected even mundane points in Matt's Gospel, let alone
                >those things that would have been clearly useful to Luke's theology.

                On the 3ST, Luke is posited not as going through Matthew rejecting
                bits here and there, but rather going through and *selecting* the
                occasional pericope to supplement a text based mainly on Mark and sQ.
                This editorial attitude is vastly different from what you have just
                described. Such an attitude could amply explain what you take to be
                extensive rejections.

                Ron Price

                Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                e-mail: ron.price@...

                Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
              • Ron Price
                ... Mahlon Smith replied, ... Mahlon, O.K. I accept your citicism here. I should have simply pointed out that a Signs Source is not the only possible
                Message 7 of 21 , Jan 16, 2002
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                  I wrote:

                  >> But it is not necessary to postulate a hypothetical source in order to
                  >> explain the aporia. They can be adequately explained by postulating
                  >> multiple editions of the gospel .....

                  Mahlon Smith replied,

                  >To risk semantic quibbling, any non-extant text that is postulated as the
                  >basis for subsequent editions of an extant work is a "hypothetical source."

                  Mahlon,

                  O.K. I accept your citicism here. I should have simply pointed out
                  that a "Signs Source" is not the only possible explanation of the
                  peculiarities of our extant text of John.
                  However it is, as you admitted, less well supported than Q, and its
                  role as a candidate for one of the "many" in Luke 1:1 is therefore
                  disputable.

                  >The ultimate issue regarding the SG hypothesis is whether that heavily
                  >edited 1st edition of the gospel of John was dependent on the synoptic
                  >gospels or not .....
                  > ..... anyone who argues that this parallel material in 4G is derived
                  >directly & solely from the narratives in the synoptics .....

                  That's the way I see it, at least as far as *written* sources are
                  concerned.

                  > ..... has to be prepared to
                  >explain *in detail* -- not just in vague generalities -- (a) why the
                  >Johannine form of these pericopes differs in many important details from the
                  >synoptics & (b) why the Johannine form can often be shown to presuppose a
                  >more "Jewish" (or at least Semitic) Sitz than the synoptic narratives. This
                  >requires meticulous analysis & evaluation of all parallel pericopes. Only
                  >when one has succeeded in presenting a more credible case for Johannine
                  >direct dependence on our extant synoptic narratives in *all* instances of
                  >variant parallels than is offered by the hypothesis of a SG independent of
                  >the direct borrowing from synoptic texts -- one that is capable of
                  >dissuading proponents of SG -- can one claim to have really "refuted" the
                  >case for SG.

                  So refutation of a hypothesis is not easy. But I still say it is not
                  "next to impossible".

                  >>> I haven't read Schnelle's book.

                  >> How can you be so confident if you (apparently) haven't read the
                  >> modern scholarly arguments for the other side, in particular those of
                  >> Prof. Udo Schnell?

                  >You presume too much.

                  I apologize for presuming too much in regard to other opponents of the
                  Signs Source.

                  >If you'll pardon an autobiographical note .....

                  Yes indeed. It was most interesting. Consider my wrist duly slapped!

                  >I myself have been working on a major ms. that refines & corrects Fortna's
                  >hypothesis in the light of more than 3 decades of debate. God-willing, I'll
                  >get time to complete it within in a few years.

                  I wish you well in this project. Or am I being a little inconsistent
                  here? ;-)

                  Ron Price

                  Weston-on-Trent, Derby, UK

                  e-mail: ron.price@...

                  Web site: http://homepage.virgin.net/ron.price/index.htm
                • Stephen C. Carlson
                  ... The way I look at it, the burden of production and the burden of persuasion. The burden of persuasion should always rest with the one asserting the
                  Message 8 of 21 , Jan 16, 2002
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                    At 11:21 AM 1/15/2002 -0500, Mahlon H. Smith wrote:
                    >The reason why I said SG's non-existence is "next to impossible to
                    >demonstrate" has to do with the burden of proof. To demonstrate that
                    >something probably exists or existed all one has to do is gather evidence
                    >that convinces people to believe in its existence. On the other hand, to
                    >demonstrate the non-existence of anything requires persuading people that
                    >(a) their postulate does not fit the facts & (b) the data cited to support
                    >it requires an alternate explanation.

                    The way I look at it, the "burden of production" and the "burden
                    of persuasion." The burden of persuasion should always rest with
                    the one asserting the existence of a hypothetical entity. One
                    should not be forced to prove a negative.

                    The burden of production, on the other hand, is a way of moving
                    the dialectic forward. The one proposing the hypothesis has the
                    initial burden of production to marshal the evidence. If a
                    sufficient amount has been assembled that would be persuasive
                    unless unrebutted, then a prima case has been made. Making a
                    prima case shifts the burden of production (but not ultimately
                    the burden of persuasion) to the side disputing the hypothesis.
                    In other words, it is unseemly to just sit and say "I'm not
                    convinced" without giving any reason or evidence why.

                    As for the Signs Gospel in particular, I've been very impressed
                    by the linguistic evidence, especially as presented by van Walde.
                    In fact, I'm much more sanguine about its existence than that of
                    the other famous hypothetical document of the first century.

                    As for terminology, I'd prefer not to name these hypothetical
                    documents as "sources" like the "Signs Source" or the "Sayings
                    Source" unless one really does want to reserve the
                    possibility that it is an oral source. For documents, they
                    were not written to be sources for some other work that does
                    not exist yet, so it is disrespectful to denigrate that effort.

                    I'm still not sure about the appropriateness for the term
                    gospel for a lot of these works, especially for Q, but that
                    is an issue for another day.

                    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
                  • Karel Hanhart
                    ... Dear Mahlon, May I hear your response on my (dated) article The Structure of John 1,35 - 4,54 in Studies in John Brill, Leiden 1970 . (Festschrift in
                    Message 9 of 21 , Jan 21, 2002
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                      "Mahlon H. Smith" wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > The ultimate issue regarding the SG hypothesis is whether that heavily
                      > edited 1st edition of the gospel of John was dependent on the synoptic
                      > gospels or not. Anyone who admits that this proto-text of John had access to
                      > an alternate version of the baptist, miracle or passion narratives that was
                      > not based directly & solely upon parallel passages in the synoptic gospels
                      > has in fact formally accepted the SG hypothesis, however much one may
                      > dispute others' characterizations of the contents of this work. On the other
                      > hand, anyone who argues that this parallel material in 4G is derived
                      > directly & solely from the narratives in the synoptics has to be prepared to
                      > explain *in detail* -- not just in vague generalities -- (a) why the
                      > Johannine form of these pericopes differs in many important details from the
                      > synoptics & (b) why the Johannine form can often be shown to presuppose a
                      > more "Jewish" (or at least Semitic) Sitz than the synoptic narratives. This
                      > requires meticulous analysis & evaluation of all parallel pericopes. Only
                      > when one has succeeded in presenting a more credible case for Johannine
                      > direct dependence on our extant synoptic narratives in *all* instances of
                      > variant parallels than is offered by the hypothesis of a SG independent of
                      > the direct borrowing from synoptic texts -- one that is capable of
                      > dissuading proponents of SG -- can one claim to have really "refuted" the
                      > case for SG.
                      >
                      > >
                      > > O.K. I accept that an important section of American scholarship is
                      > > mostly in favour of the existence of a Signs Source.
                      > >
                      >
                      > Trends in scholarship are not easy to determine in the short run. For not
                      > every scholar who accepts a hypothesis publishes on it. And those who
                      > publish may not represent or convince the majority.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > If you'll pardon an autobiographical note: I have been doing research on all
                      > hypotheses related to the Johannine problem since I entered seminary more
                      > than 40 years ago. I've read & critiqued the works of all major Johannine
                      > scholars of the 20th c. (& some from 19th) as well as all patristic
                      > references

                      Dear Mahlon,

                      May I hear your response on my (dated) article The Structure of John 1,35 - 4,54
                      in "Studies in John" Brill, Leiden 1970 . (Festschrift in honor of J.N.
                      Stevenster). I have never read an article refuting my proposal. I am (still)
                      holding the position of Neyrinck c.s. in Louvain that John knew the Synoptics.
                      This may be an old fashioned posittion in view of what was stated in the above
                      exchange; namely, that the existence of a Semeia source independant of the
                      Synoptic Gospels is held by most American Scholars. Perhaps you have an
                      annotation somewhere in your notes where a critique was written.

                      Thank you for your help. Karel Hanhart
                    • Mahlon H. Smith
                      Dear Karel: I m flattered by your request for my response to your 1970 article on the structure of John 1-4 & am a bit embarassed to admit that I don t recall
                      Message 10 of 21 , Jan 21, 2002
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                        Dear Karel:

                        I'm flattered by your request for my response to your 1970 article on the
                        structure of John 1-4 & am a bit embarassed to admit that I don't recall
                        having read it. In 1970 I was preoccupied with founding the department of
                        Religion at Rutgers & completing my own dissertation in medieval studies, so
                        I was not then in a position to be keeping abreast of new publications in
                        Johannine studies.

                        I can try to locate a copy of the Stevenster Festschrift at a nearby
                        library, but I am not sanguine on finding it. My experience with U.S.
                        libraries is that their holdings in Festschriften are spotty at best & the
                        price of Brill publications often serves as a deterent to their acquisition,
                        unless specifically requested by a faculty member at that institution. If
                        you can fax me a copy of your article (732-932-1271) or send it as an email
                        attachment (mahsmith@...) to my office it will save me the time
                        & effort of tracking it down.

                        I should have been more precise in my previous post when I claimed to have
                        "critiqued the works of all major Johannine scholars of the 20th c." I meant
                        to say that I had read with a critical mind the *major works* (i.e.,
                        commentaries, monographs) by leading scholars that made a significant impact
                        on the debate & direction of 20th c. Johannine studies, particularly
                        American academic scholarship (which includes European scholars whose voices
                        have influenced debate on this side of the globe). I did not mean to leave
                        the impression that I had read every article (or even minor monograph) on 4G
                        that was published in any language or any venue anywhere in the world. My
                        reading of journals & occsional articles in collections has been necessarily
                        more selective & I know that many have escaped my notice. So I cannot
                        pretend comprehensiveness in reviewing every thesis on 4g that has been
                        floated over the past century. But I am more than willing to consider yours,
                        now that you have called it to my attention.

                        Shalom!

                        Mahlon

                        P.S. As for your self-deprecating characterization of your article as
                        "dated" & your allegiance to Neyrinck's claim that John knew the synoptics
                        as "old fashioned": that is remains to be seen. Having studied for a year
                        under Neyrinck I am well acquainted with his thorough scholarship & powers
                        of critical reasoning. So I don't lightly dismiss his arguments or those of
                        his followers without giving them due review.


                        Mahlon H. Smith
                        Department of Religion
                        Rutgers University
                        New Brunswick NJ 08901

                        http://religion.rutgers.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html

                        Synoptic Gospels Primer
                        http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/

                        Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
                        http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
                      • Karel Hanhart
                        Dear Mahlon, Thanks for your kind response. The Festschrift is in the series Supplements to N.T. vol XXIV, Brill 1970. It should not be too difficult. In 1970
                        Message 11 of 21 , Jan 24, 2002
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                          Dear Mahlon,
                          Thanks for your kind response. The Festschrift is in the series Supplements to
                          N.T. vol XXIV, Brill 1970. It should not be too difficult. In 1970 most
                          theological seminaries still had funds to subscribe to Novum Testamentum.
                          Unfortunately, I donot have the article on a floppy - it was written in the
                          pre-cumputer age. In the article the name Nathanael - conspicuously absent in the
                          Synoptics - is Hebrew for 'God has given'. Its Aramaic parallel is Matthew:
                          mattai, mattaia - 'gift of JHWH'
                          John 1,45 offers a fair characterization of the Gospel of Matthew, "We have found
                          him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the
                          son of Joseph." In Mt Jesus is portyrayed as the new Moses,; the autjhor
                          repeatedly introduces his quotations from Tenakh with the formula, "This was to
                          fulfill what JHWH has spoken by the prophets". Mt's concern is to make clear why
                          trhe Messiah came from Nazareth. Finally, Matthew's genealogy and the opening
                          chapters focus on Joseph, while Luke centers on Mary etc etc. Similarly I argue
                          that in 1,040-42 may well refer to Mark, although this is by no means obvious. The
                          reading 'proton' in vs 41 probablky refers to Peter. In the following three
                          chapters 2- 4, Jesus itinerary follows the order of Acts 1,8, as Miss A. Guilding
                          observed : Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, end of the earth, if the healing of the
                          'royal official' official's son indeed refers to the Roman centurion. (Normal
                          Greek doesnot have a word for Emperor. basileus could mean king or emperor;
                          kaisar was word borrowed from the Latin, as van Unnik made clear long ago. Good
                          luck, in finding the article. No one has responded to the article as yet, except
                          Kuemmel, who was addicted to Kittel's Woerterbuch.

                          your Karel

                          .
                          "Mahlon H. Smith" wrote:

                          > Dear Karel:
                          >
                          > I'm flattered by your request for my response to your 1970 article on the
                          > structure of John 1-4 & am a bit embarassed to admit that I don't recall
                          > having read it. In 1970 I was preoccupied with founding the department of
                          > Religion at Rutgers & completing my own dissertation in medieval studies, so
                          > I was not then in a position to be keeping abreast of new publications in
                          > Johannine studies.
                          >
                          > I can try to locate a copy of the Stevenster Festschrift at a nearby
                          > library, but I am not sanguine on finding it. My experience with U.S.
                          > libraries is that their holdings in Festschriften are spotty at best & the
                          > price of Brill publications often serves as a deterent to their acquisition,
                          > unless specifically requested by a faculty member at that institution. If
                          > you can fax me a copy of your article (732-932-1271) or send it as an email
                          > attachment (mahsmith@...) to my office it will save me the time
                          > & effort of tracking it down.
                          >
                          > I should have been more precise in my previous post when I claimed to have
                          > "critiqued the works of all major Johannine scholars of the 20th c." I meant
                          > to say that I had read with a critical mind the *major works* (i.e.,
                          > commentaries, monographs) by leading scholars that made a significant impact
                          > on the debate & direction of 20th c. Johannine studies, particularly
                          > American academic scholarship (which includes European scholars whose voices
                          > have influenced debate on this side of the globe). I did not mean to leave
                          > the impression that I had read every article (or even minor monograph) on 4G
                          > that was published in any language or any venue anywhere in the world. My
                          > reading of journals & occsional articles in collections has been necessarily
                          > more selective & I know that many have escaped my notice. So I cannot
                          > pretend comprehensiveness in reviewing every thesis on 4g that has been
                          > floated over the past century. But I am more than willing to consider yours,
                          > now that you have called it to my attention.
                          >
                          > Shalom!
                          >
                          > Mahlon
                          >
                          > P.S. As for your self-deprecating characterization of your article as
                          > "dated" & your allegiance to Neyrinck's claim that John knew the synoptics
                          > as "old fashioned": that is remains to be seen. Having studied for a year
                          > under Neyrinck I am well acquainted with his thorough scholarship & powers
                          > of critical reasoning. So I don't lightly dismiss his arguments or those of
                          > his followers without giving them due review.
                          >
                          > Mahlon H. Smith
                          > Department of Religion
                          > Rutgers University
                          > New Brunswick NJ 08901
                          >
                          > http://religion.rutgers.edu/profiles/mh_smith.html
                          >
                          > Synoptic Gospels Primer
                          > http://religion.rutgers.edu/nt/primer/
                          >
                          > Into His Own: Perspective on the World of Jesus
                          > http://religion.rutgers.edu/iho/
                          >
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