4713[Synoptic-L] redaction-critical arguments
- Sep 6, 2000Brian Wilson wrote --
>Stephen Carlson replied --
>My point is that (Stein's) redaction-critical argument can proceed only
>if it is assumed that either the 2DH or the GH is true. His conclusion
>is the **conditional** statement --
>If either the 2DH OR the GH is true, then, by comparing the use of the
>title 'Son of David' in the synoptic gospels, it is seen that it is
>more probable that the 2DH is true (in which Matthew used Mark) than
>that the GH is true (in which Mark used Matthew).
>Stein's conditional statement does not answer the source-critical
>question "Is the 2DH true?" or "Did Matthew use Mark?". For the
>condition he sets allows the possibility that the 2DH is false or that
>it could be true.
>My general point is I have yet to find a redaction-critical argument
>which does answer a source-critical question. Maybe the nature of
>redaction-criticism is such that its arguments cannot answer source-
>It occurs to me that your characterization of Stein's argument (quoted
>hereinafter) does indeed answer a source critical question: Under given
>circumstances, which source theory, the 2DH or the GH, is more probable
>than the other?
>>If either the 2DH OR the GH is true, then, by comparing the use of the
>>title 'Son of David' in the synoptic gospels, it is seen that it is
>>more probable that the 2DH is true (in which Matthew used Mark) than
>>that the GH is true (in which Mark used Matthew).
>Certainly seems like an answer to a source-critical question to me.
I think it may be worth looking more closely at this. I wonder
whether the phrase "Under given circumstances" may point to a weakness
in your argument. I would suggest that the circumstances may not be
given, but may be entirely hypothetical. (Indeed they may well be
The logic of Stein's argument is -- *IF* you answer one source-critical
question, *THEN*, on that basis, I can answer another source critical
question for you. But his answer to the second source-critical question
is dependent on the answer to the first source-critical question being
known. And the point is that the answer to the first source-critical
question is not known. So Stein's argument answers no source-critical
question. His argument would answer a source-critical question (Is the
2DH more probable than the GH?) IF another source-critical question
could first be answered (Is either the 2DH or the GH true?). But we do
not know that either the 2DH or the GH is true, and indeed both may well
be shown to be false on other grounds.
The general point I am suggesting is that no redaction-critical argument
can answer a source-critical question. The issue this raises, of course,
is whether redaction-criticism is of any use in trying to solve the
Synoptic Problem. I doubt that it is. I am sure that redaction criticism
has a very important place in unravelling the implications of a solution
to the Synoptic Problem once this has been established. Once a synoptic
documentary hypothesis is accepted, then, on the assumption of that
documentary solution, redaction-critical arguments can be used to try
and work out how each writer treated his source material and what was
the theological view-point of each writer. But such redaction criticism
comes only after a solution to the Synoptic Problem has been found. It
is not used in actually solving the Synoptic Problem.
To quote from the ST MARK commentary in the "Black's NT Commentaries"
>The commentator takes it for granted that a solution to the Synoptic
>"Can we be certain that the particular theory of literary relationships
>between the Synoptics on which our redaction-critical analysis is based
>is correct? Certainly a different theory will lead to different
>results, and if we have chosen the wrong one our conclusions will be
>false" (page 3).
Problem is assumed before redaction-criticism can begin, and that if we
have got our solution to the Synoptic Problem wrong then the redaction-
critical arguments we base on it will be worthless.
On this view, far from redaction-critical arguments justifying any
hypothesis of the documentary relationship between the synoptic gospels,
it is a hypothesis of documentary relationship between the synoptic
gospels which justifies any redaction-critical arguments.
E-mail; brian@... HOMEPAGE www.twonh.demon.co.uk
Rev B.E.Wilson,10 York Close,Godmanchester,Huntingdon,Cambs,PE29 2EB,UK
> "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot_
> speak thereof one must be silent." Ludwig Wittgenstein, "Tractatus".
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