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5248[Synoptic-L] The Critical Edition of Q

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  • Brian E. Wilson
    Nov 25, 2000
      Steven Miller wrote --
      >As you well know, all the original texts of the NT have been lost. The
      >difference between the hypothetical nature of a Q text and the
      >hypothetical nature of the NT text is merely one of degree.

      Brian Wilson commented --
      >If all the manuscript witnesses to the text of the books of the NT had
      >been lost, then I would have agreed with your conclusion, since then
      >the NT books would be hypothetical in the sense in which Q is
      >hypothetical. As it is we have thousands of manuscript witnesses to the
      >text of the books of the NT and absolutely none to the text of
      >hypothetical Q...
      >You seem not to realize that on the basis of text criticism alone, Q
      >is a nonsense, since there are no manuscripts of a document answering
      >to the description of Q as defined by the Two Document Hypothesis. A
      >**text-critical** critical edition of Q would consist of blank pages
      >with no text and no critical apparatus, for there is no manuscript
      >evidence for a document Q, and no manuscript variations within that
      >evidence.

      Steven Miller replied --
      >Your statement appears very silly and out of place in a form devoted to
      >academic scholarship. You've created a straw man with your "text-
      >critical critical edition of Q" and then you laugh and poke fun at how
      >silly it looks with blank pages.

      Steven,
      There is no laughing or poking fun at anything or anyone in what
      I wrote. If my statement appears silly maybe this is because it has been
      mis-understood. The "straw man" I am supposed to have created just for
      the fun of knocking down, may characterize your view-point, not mine.

      As quoted above, at the top, you state that the difference between the
      hypothetical nature of a text of Q and the hypothetical nature of the NT
      text is merely one of degree. The hypothetical nature of the NT text,
      however, is the consequence of there being differing manuscript
      witnesses to that text so that any reconstruction of the text is usually
      accompanied by a critical apparatus showing the variants. From this and
      your statement, however, it follows that a text of Q must also be
      capable of being set out as a possible reconstruction with a critical
      apparatus showing observed variants, ****otherwise the difference
      between the hypothetical nature of Q and the hypothetical nature of the
      NT text would NOT be merely one of degree, but would be a difference in
      kind****.

      It is just not the case, however, that a text of Q is capable of being
      set out as a reconstruction of the document Q with a critical apparatus
      showing variants between the manuscripts of the document Q. In fact,
      such an attempt at a text-critical critical text of Q would consist of
      blank pages with no text and no critical apparatus, for there is no
      manuscript evidence for a document Q, and no variations within that
      evidence.

      The "straw man" of a text-critical critical text of Q is therefore an
      implication of your statement concerning the difference between the
      hypothetical nature of a text of Q and the hypothetical nature of the NT
      text being merely one of degree. If I am knocking down a straw man, it
      would appear to be one that characterizes your stated view. The "straw
      man" is implied by your "merely one of degree" statement.

      You also wrote--
      >The CEQ doesn't present itself as a "text-critical critical edition of
      >Q," but rather as a critical edition of their reconstruction of Q.

      Agreed. The "**text-critical** critical edition of Q" is an implication
      of your stated view, not of the book.

      >As such [the CEQ] does not contain only blank pages, but rather a
      >thoughtful working out of their hypothesis.

      Yes. As I suggested (not Mark Goodacre), the book CEQ is the product of
      **redaction criticism** of the Gospels of Matthew and Luke on the
      assumption that the Two Document Hypothesis is true. (I think Mark
      Goodacre suggested that CEQ may be the product of source criticism of
      the synoptic gospels.)

      >Personally, I have my reservations as to its usefulness, even for those
      >who accept the Two Source hypothesis. But your overtly partisan
      >caricature of the CEQ is disrespectful and grossly unfair.

      I leave others on this List to judge who has produced an overtly
      partisan caricature or been disrespectful and grossly unfair (or silly).

      I think one thing that has come out of this thread is that it seems that
      attempting to establish the text of Q on the assumption that the Two
      Document Hypothesis is true, is not a task for text-criticism, since
      there can be no text-critical text of the hypothetical document Q.

      The question seems to be whether establishing the text of Q on the
      assumption of the Two Document Hypothesis is a task for the source
      critic, or for the redaction critic.

      Best wishes,
      BRIAN WILSON

      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".
      _

      Synoptic-L Homepage: http://www.bham.ac.uk/theology/synoptic-l
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