6625[Synoptic-L] the failure of color coding
- Aug 2, 2001David Peabody wrote --
>The work of Tom and I differs here from that of my dissertation
>advisor. In our forthcoming synopsis, all three of these pericopae are
>set out side by side with the appropriate underlining and color codes
The question is whether any underlining is appropriate if you set
out the three "Anointing" passages (Mt 26.6-12, Mk 14.3-9, Lk 7.36-50)
side by side and compare them. On what criterion are the observable
agreements in wording between the Lukan and the Markan versions, for
instance, deemed not to be "imaginary", but significant? After all, we
can put virtually any two synoptic passages alongside each other and
observe at least some agreements in wording, such as KAI, or the
definite article. Where do we draw the line between, on the one hand,
similarities of wording that are objectively there and unlikely to be
the result of mere coincidence, and, on the other hand, similarities
that we may subjectively be reading into the situation, and that are
"imaginary", in Farmer's terminology?
It seems to me that in his *Synopticon* Farmer exercised caution in his
"general principle" stated in the brief Introduction, that is --
>It was on this basis that he decided that the observable similarities
>"to leave some possibly significant agreements unmarked rather than to
>risk calling attention to imaginary ones".
between "Anointing" in Luke and the versions of that story in Matthew
and Mark should be not be considered significant, so that there are no
color coded words at all in the Lukan version of the Anointing, Lk
7.36-50, in his *Synopticon*.
In my view, ultimately any color coding fails whatever criteria are used
for determining the line between "imaginary" and significant verbal
agreements. This is because the vaguer similarities of wording that are
not sufficiently strong to meet the criteria being used, must be
accounted for just as much as those clear similarities that meet the
criteria. Color coding cannot point definitively to a solution to the
synoptic problem, therefore. It can provide limited data only.
A solution to the synoptic problem would, in fact, reveal the failure of
any color coding system to pin-point all similarities of wording
resulting from the documentary relationship between the synoptic gospels
it posits. I would suggest that identifying the failure of any color
coding to code all similarities of wording between synoptic gospels, is
crucial to solving the synoptic problem.
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