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6638Re: [Synoptic-L] the failure of color coding

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  • Stephen C. Carlson
    Aug 7, 2001
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      At 09:32 AM 8/7/01 +0100, Brian E. Wilson wrote:
      >Brian Wilson wrote --
      >>Every color code system fails to code all significant similarities of
      >>wording between the synoptic gospels.
      >Stephen Carlson replied --
      >>You said this before. It didn't make sense then, and it still does
      >>not make sense now even after being repeated. It might be more helpful
      >>to explain what is meant and address the valid points others brought
      >>up, rather than to repeat oneself in pretty much the identical words.
      > I think I may have covered this point in my posting to Michael
      >Grondin, albeit with some repetition of what I had already said.

      Yes, your response to Mike Grondin has clarified your point.

      Nevertheless, I still take umbrage at characterizing the lack of
      indicating non-verbatim similarities by color coding as a "failure"
      of color coding. Color coding also does not give me your email
      address, but I would not call that a "failure" because it is
      outside of its intended purpose. Similarly, color coding's non-
      indication of certain similarities where there is no lexical
      agreement is not a "failure," because color is not intended to
      capture that information. That information is instead captured
      by the arrangement of the material in parallel columns, as Mike
      pointed out.

      >Brian Wilson continued --
      >>W. R. Farmer saw the truth of this, and admitted that it applied to his
      >Stephen Carlson responded --
      >>It does not seem valid to generalize Farmer's admission of leaving
      >>"some POSSIBLY significant agreements unmarked" (emphasis added) in his
      >>synopticon to "EVERY color code system fails to code ALL SIGNIFICANT
      >>similarities" (emphasis added) as asserted and reiterated in this
      >I entirely agree. I am not sure why you pursue this line of thought. I
      >did not produce my statement by generalizing your quotation from Farmer.

      Then why do you continue to cite Farmer in this connection?

      >Farmer argues that the inadequacy of his *Synopticon* is the result of
      >"cases where two or more passages in one gospel may be parallel to one
      >or more passages in another". His conclusion is that this entails that a
      >color coding of the text of Matthew, Mark and Luke is in danger of
      >either being incomplete or of calling attention to imaginary agreements
      >of wording between synoptic gospels.

      This illustrates the failure in choosing only one passage as the
      parallel. It is not a color-coding failure; it is a parallelism
      failure. Generally, as Dungan later discovered, it is impossible
      to choose which one passage to be "the" parallel, because different
      source theories may view different parallels as the primary parallel.

      >Stephen continued --
      >>Farmer's flaw, which was later discovered by Dungan, was that his
      >>attempt to "determine the nature and extent of the verbatim agreements
      >>THEORY" (emphasis added) is impossible. That, I submit is the problem,
      >>not the color coding.
      >I think you are very confused here. Farmer's *Synopticon* is not a
      >synopsis. It is a color mapping of the verbal agreement between the
      >texts of Matthew, Mark and Luke. ***

      True, but irrelevant. Dungan's criticisms, although discussed in
      reference to synopses, are not limited to synopses but to any tool
      that purports to show the literary relationships between parallel
      synoptic texts. This is true whether Dungan realized it or not.

      >Dungan's thesis is that it is not possible to construct a synopsis that
      >is unbiassed with respect to particular synoptic documentary hypotheses.
      >This has nothing whatsoever to do with color coding the text of the
      >three synoptic gospels to high-light verbal agreements between them. It
      >has rather to do with, for instance, the various pericope divisions that
      >can be followed by those constructing a synopsis.

      Actually, Dungan makes three independent criticisms of biased synopses:
      text, arrangement, and pericope subdivision. Focusing only on the last
      criticism does not tell the full story, especially when my argument was
      directed to the second criticism.

      However, all three criticisms are applicable to Farmer's Synopticon.
      Farmer had to choose a text for his synopticon. That text, NA 25,
      was partly established under the assumption of Markan priority. Farmer
      had to decide which parallel passage is be the color coding reference.
      That decision presupposes a particular arrangement. Farmer's decision
      of whether to color code to another parallel in the same paragraph, e.g.
      Mark 1:2, presupposes a particular pericope decomposition. All of
      Dungan's criticisms are readily applicable to Farmer's Synopticon,
      even though Farmer's Synopticon is technically not a synopsis.

      >>Therefore, it seems that the imaginary failure of color coding has no
      >>relevance to solving the synoptic problem.
      >Again, I think I may have covered this point in my posting to Michael
      >Grondin. In my view the synoptic problem is to put forward a hypothesis
      >that accounts well for the non-parallelism similarities, as well as for
      >the parallelism similarities, between the synoptic gospels.

      Phrased in this manner (though the term "non-parallelism similarity"
      is a bit too infelicitous), the issue may have more relevance to
      the synoptic problem, but it is important to remember that the
      synoptic problem exists in the first place because of the so-called
      "parallelism similarities," without which the so-called "non-parallelism
      similarities" may be insufficient to establish that some literary
      relationship exists between and/or among the synoptics.

      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

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